# Paper on Unlocking Mathematical Potential: The Impact of Computer Use in Middle School Education

Published: 2023-11-16
 Type of paper:Â Essay Categories:Â Students Computer science School Mathematics Pages: 6 Wordcount: 1464 words
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## Introduction to the Study

Computer Use in MathematicsThe growth of computing and information technology has seen its application in many sectors of the contemporary world. Increasingly, the utilization of computers and the internet continues to expand tremendously. Coupled with this growth has been a significant reduction in the mean user age. Abdusselam, Gol, and Yiddiz (2016) projected steady and extensive growth in the application of computers and the Internet in the education of both teachers and students. By 2016, at least 55% of individuals between ages 16 and 74 were proficient in and household users of computers (Abdusselam, Gol, & Yiddiz, 2016). The study also noted that only 25% of this population used desktops, compared to 43% that used laptops, and 97% used mobile devices. In regards to use by gender, at least 64% of the American male population were computer users in 2016, compared to 46% of women computer users in the age bracket 16-74 years. These figures qualify the conclusion that computers have become irrevocable aspects of modernity as more individuals find it necessary to keep pace with information technology.

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There is a direct correlation between mathematics and computers that dates back to the origin of computers as tools to simplify mathematical processes (Hamvlet, 2015). The building blocks of mathematics are layouts and patterns. As a science, it focuses on sizes, spaces, shapes, and numbers, which form the basis for problem-solving, prediction, analysis, interpretation, and information processing. Hamvlet (2015) noted that the essential tools of such problem-solving include binary operations such as division, multiplication, subtraction, and addition of whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. Gradually, computers have grown in their capacity to handle complex mathematical problems in the least time possible. Also, improvements in the graphical user interface (GUI), internet speeds, and networking capacities enhance the potential of computers as perfect tools for pedagogical training and classroom teaching.

## Problem Statement

Educators can develop a conducive learning environment that helps improve math skills among middle school students by tapping into the potential of computers and internet growth. As a starting point, teachers can create, encourage, and support these learners to use websites with relevant mathematical content. Abdusselam, Gol, and Yiddiz (2016) observed that students increasingly found the internet as a reliable and fast avenue medium for accessing educational material. The increased relevance of computers to student academic life has, therefore, led to the improved uptake of computer skills. Even more encouraging is the vast uptake of computer games. Educators can transfer the fun, and interactive activities applied in video games to develop mathematical models that help reach teaching goals. Internet penetration to homes and schools has also increased significantly over the past decade and with it, the potential for computer-assisted learning. Proper use of the internet can help make proper use of the many hours and energy that students spend on computers. Hamlvet (2015) noted that making instructional material in online environments can help improve their math skills.

## Purpose of the Study

Students find math complex, and so have little natural interest in the subject. According to Hamvlet (2015), this attitude can be attributed, in part, to the traditional instructional approaches that allow learners little interaction and visualization of mathematical models and application of concepts. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between the application of computing in mathematical instruction to the growth of math skills among middle-class students. The study will be significant to the provision of clear guidance on the development of instructional strategies towards bettering middle school students' mathematical skills through the development of online resources for the learning of mathematics. The pursuit of this objective is the understanding that computer games have great potential for educational and commercial engagements.

Teachers require the right tools to develop and present instructional materials for learners. However, a set of factors limit the realization of such goals. Teacher training is majorly influenced by traditional classroom teaching methodologies, which limits their capacity to prepare teachers for online teaching environments. For teachers who are duly trained, learning institutions are mostly ill-equipped to provide proper online teaching experiences. As for learners, there is a need for personalized learning to ensure access to instructional materials by students irrespective of their disabilities and level of educational needs. As such, online learning environments hold the key to ensuring that students have uniform learning experiences. For students in rural schools or disadvantaged backgrounds, remote learning can help reduce the cost of education and ensure access to the best learning materials.

Research QuestionsThis study will seek to answer the research question: Does the usage of computers in the instruction of math improve math skills among middle school learners? The researcher hypothesizes that the proper application of the internet and computers in delivering instructional material will enhance middle school students' math and academic performance.

Chapter Two: Literature ReviewInternet use as an instructional medium has seen a significant application, especially in higher education learning (Ruzgar, 2015). Outside the classroom environment, the younger generation continues to be the critical mass that supports information technologies. Increased internet penetration and access to computers have led to a growth in their application in the past decade. According to Ruzger (2015), the use of information technologies to develop an online medium for instructional material is long overdue.

## The Internet and Computers

The adoption of computers and Internet technologies in almost every sector of the modern world cannot be overstated. Abdusselam et al. (2016) employed a qualitative study with a sample of 483 participants to determine the adoption of these technologies within middle and secondary schools in Giresum and Trabzon cities. The study was undertaken during the fall semester of the academic year 2015/2016. The data collection process entailed the design o the research question and their disbursement to participants online. Using eight open-ended questions, the researchers collected data relating to the attitudinal perspectives of students to computers and the internet, internet and computer program preferences, and challenges relating to their use of computers and the internet, particularly during their access to academic materials. The outcome of their study is relevant to the present research, as it offers insight into how these essential tools can be tailored for the proper development of math skills among middle-class students. According to Abdusselam et al. (2016), despite the numerous benefits that learners obtain from their use of computers and access to the internet, there exist challenges that limit the scope of their application in the development of math instructional material.

## Improved Student Outcomes Related to Computer Use

According to Ayieko et al. (2017), there is a direct correlation between computer use and improved performance among eight-grade students. Their study examined the relationship between student application of computers to access mathematical instructional material. The researchers sought to determine the impact of computer use on student comprehension skills in mathematics, and how the development of specific computer applications helps to strengthen these skills. While the study targeted learners in Singapore, Taipei, Finland, and China, its outcomes are generalizable since the selected countries ranked high globally in terms of mathematics achievement among eighth-graders from international assessments. The study relied on data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) database. The TIMS website ranks among the top five international assessment bodies with over 50 participating countries. The researchers also relied on questionnaires that were duly filled by mathematics teachers, which asked about the attitudes, experiences, and backgrounds regarding the application of computers in mathematics teaching.

The study by Ayieko et al. (2017) used eighth-grade students as their dependent variables. The researchers employed covariates to help control the variables. The study determined that the development of effective instructional frameworks for the instruction of mathematics among eighth-graders must focus on both content and the cognitive growth students derive from their interactions with the material. Nonetheless, the study noted a significant negative correlation between remote interaction of mathematics instruction material through computers and the cognitive scores in all the countries studied. Hence, remote student interaction with learning materials did not improve the development of cognitive development among eighth-graders. Student reasoning in mathematics did not improve due to the limitations in the design of the resources. On the contrary, the study established that when teachers engaged learners formally in computer use, there was significant growth in reasoning scores and cognitive performance.

## The Impact of Computer Games on Student Development of Math Skills

The effect of computer games on cognitive performance has also been an area of research. Sayan (2015) employed academic computer programs to avail mathematics instruction materials to an experimental group of learners and used pretest and posttest models for control. The study engaged learners and teachers in the development of elementary school scholastic programs based on the New Turkish Elementary Curriculum. All of the learners that constituted the sample of 44 student participants were fifth-grade students. This group was split midway into an experimental group and a control group. Each of the two groups was provided with a 25-question pretest questionnaire.

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