Page: 127-137 Author: Vaníček, J. Key words: computer assisted learning didactics of mathematics, cognitive technology, teachers preparation, mathematics software.
After a period of enthusiastic discovery and acceptance of electronic learning and computer technologies as educational in-struments, the world is finding itself in a period of critical reflection. The notparticularly convincing results obtained from use of technologies as educational instruments may be a problem caused by insufficient identification of the risks and disadvantages of technology-assisted teaching, both at the planning stage of the educational process and in teacher training.
In this article the term (computer) cogni-tive technology is used to mean equipment or medium that is expected to facilitate cog-nitive activites, such as computers present during learning, or making learning possible or more effective. This term allows us to make a distinction between the use of computers simply to find and share information and for communication, amdthe kind of computer applications that contribute to the individual‘s learning process, to the acquisition of understanding in itself.
A large part of the article relates to the individual risks and negatives of deploying cognitive technologies in the teaching of mathematics. The following risks and identi-fied and commented on:
- over-use of technologies;
- focus on the technology itself instead of mathematical content;
- the diversion of attention from mental operations to tools, from creative mathe matical activities to user procedures;
- encouragement of domination of the user (or consumer) approach to technologies
- the use of extensive professional/oc cupational programmes unsuitable for teaching;
- reluctance of teachers to change curricu lum and style of teaching.
The following section outlines a vision of a teacher who really masters the technology and its possibilities, and compares it with reality - the actual situation, documented using illustrative examples, of a teacher left at the mercy of technologies. The article then presents two research projects that investi-gated whether the computer was perceived as a useful teaching aid, or more just a kind of motivating accessory to learning.
Part of the article is devoted to the risk of introducing computer-assisted learning (for example the way the teacher‘s view of geometry may be tightly bound to paper and pencil), the „seriousness of computer tasks“ for grading pupils), and risks in teacher training using computers, since this requires not a mere adding of knowledge of technology to the existing range of teaching skills but a change in the style of teaching and understanding of the mathematical content of the syllabus in its changed form.
In conclusion the author expresses the fear that if computers are isolated from school mathematics or are introduced into learning chaotically, without analysis of the attitude and didactic training of teachers, they may not fulfil the requirements of teachers and will be unjustly entirely rejected - which is something that will impact on the information literacy of the population.