ETEC 533: Technology in the Mathematics and Science Classroom

ETEC 533: Technology in the Mathematics and Science Classroom (elective course)


This advanced graduate course aims to address contemporary, international research on how people teach and learn mathematics and science with digital technologies. There have been recent advancements in both social science, cognitive psychology and computing that have had an impact on our understanding of how people learn science and math. As well, ongoing research on math and science education, teacher practice, curriculum studies, and pedagogy is uncovering the complexity associated with learning and teaching within dynamic learning environments. The integration of three disciplines: cognitive psychology, computer science, and education, provides us with a framework to study the cognitive and social affordances of technology in the mathematics and science classroom.

This framework can be used to understand the (re) emergence of several genres in teaching and learning, including: knowledge representation, knowledge diffusion, learning-on-demand, and embodiment. Each is being amplified and augmented with technological advancements, such as dynamic visualization tools, computer simulations, collaboratories, networked databases, hand-held devices, and virtual reality, and evidence of their application to educational contexts are growing.

In this course, we will analyze video case studies, conduct field-based interviews, critique primary and secondary research papers in the field, examine historically substantive technology-enhanced science and math learning projects, and interact with dynamic information visualization tools, online networked communities, and multisensory immersive environments. Course activities and assignments will enable students to build upon and share informed and grounded positions on contemporary issues related to technology in the mathematics and science classroom and create pedagogical designs for math or science technology-enhanced learning experiences


In this course, you will have opportunities to:

  • Students will frame issues in contemporary educational technology research by synthesizing cases and international research.
  • Students will demonstrate a situated understanding of technology in mathematics or science classrooms, drawing upon interviews in authentic school contexts and prior experiences as sources of insight.
  • Students will create a pedagogical design of a learning environment that integrates technology within a mathematics or science context and is informed by substantive technology-enhanced science and math learning projects discussed in the course
  • Students will display a critical awareness of the implications technology has for students, teaching practice, curriculum development, and schools, through their analyses and discussions of technology-enhanced learning environments.
  • Students will reflect upon their learning throughout the course and synthesize reflections within a web-based inquiry folio.
  • Students will extend readings and resources available in the course by making relevant applications and connections to their own personal inquiries and contexts.

Premise of the Course

Digital technology

It is a premise of this course that we are living in a digital age, and therefore , the predominant focus of the course is on interactive digital technologies such as computers. In addition, computers are more complex than other instructional media such as overheads, and the question of integrating computers and computer-based systems is not trivial for educators. Computers are also currently moving towards subsuming other media.

For example, DVDs now store images that were once shown on slides and videotape; presentation software can generate overhead transparencies. In addition, a majority of digital technologies presented in this course are designed for use by students and teachers with the aim of affecting understanding and skills in the domains of math and science.

Consequently, students will be expected to focus on digital technologies for major course assignments. The digital technologies presented in the course will not be learning object repositories or lesson plan clearinghouses that are geared towards teachers engaged in lesson planning. Students in the course, however, are encouraged to explore multiple resources, such as these, for their assignments.

Collaborative learning

It is a premise of the course that learning is an individual, social, and contextualized process. Students can anticipate individual and group assignments in this course. Students will be expected to appreciate and learn from diverse math and science technology-enhanced learning contexts that are present within the course.

Learning by design and with reflection

It is our view that learning can occur by design, especially if active reflection is associated with this process. Students will be expected to pedagogically design a technology enhanced learning environment for math or science. For the purposes of this assignment, pedagogical design will refer to design that is principally driven by theories of learning and knowledge of teacher practice and policy.

For example, teachers may design lesson activities based upon their understanding of how their students learn. Students will be expected to use their analyses of technology-enhanced learning environments from the course to inform the pedagogical design in this assignment. Students will not be expected to develop their designs or use computer programming skills at any point in the course.

Drawing meaningful connections

It is our view that learning is optimized when it is relevant. Due to the international nature of the course, the course is not directly designed, however, around a single curriculum or a specific classroom. You are invited to extend examples from the course and make relevant connections to your personal curriculum and personal practice. Course assignments will attempt to facilitate meaningful connections.

Integration of math and science

Technology in the mathematics and science classroom will have some focus on math projects and others on science as they appear in the literature, but generally, as a group, we will endeavor to integrate the two domains in an interdisciplinary fashion. Students will be expected to study both science and math related projects and consider how both math and science can be integrated within a single technology-enhanced learning environment.


Teachers, administrators, and software developers may find this course relevant to their interests.

Course Materials

Course materials will be available as downloadable articles from the library or links to software. There are no required textbooks in the course, however three texts below are recommended.

  • The first text contains overviews of some of major research studies in the field.
  • The second text is a practical and comprehensive book for teachers and administrators interested in the integration of educational technology.
  • The third text is published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and represents current research on technologies such as calculators, geometry software, PDAS, the internet, and webquests and k-16 children learning math, with a focus on young children.

Readings will not be recommended or assigned from either of these texts in the course, however, they represent a possible choice of resources if you are interested. It is your option to purchase these additional texts; they are not required for this course.

  • Jacobsen & Kozma (Eds.). (2000). Innovations in science and mathematics education: Advanced designs for technologies of learning. Mahwah , NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
  • Roblyer, M.D. (2004). Integrating educational technology into teaching, 3rd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Masalaski, W.J, & Elliott, P.C. (Eds.). (2005). Technology-supported mathematics learning environments. Reston , VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Also, two texts below may be of some additional interest:

  • Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Computers as mindtools for schools, 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1997). The Jasper project: Lessons in curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Merlot Learning Object Repository. Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and On-line teaching.

  • MERLOT is a free and open resource designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education. Links to online learning materials are collected here along with annotations such as peer reviews and assignments.

ETEC 533: Technology in the Mathematics and Science Classroom