This essay is a critical evaluation of Helen Forgasz' article 'Teachers, Equity, and Computers for secondary mathematics learning' (Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education ; 2006, vol. 9, pp 437-469). Helen is a director of HDR in Monash University Australia and she has written massive articles associated with the use of technology in mathematics learning and equity issues particularly gender issues in computer based mathematics classrooms.
The purpose for selecting this paper is also discussing the contents of 'Recent development in Mathematics Education' module and this journal covers the two major contents of the module, (a) The role of IT in mathematics education, (b) The impact of feminisms on mathematics education. I have tried to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Forgasz's article by answering the following questions.
What is the need of this article? Why technology is important and how the author arguing that whether employing technology in mathematics education will have a positive impact on students' learning? What is the belief of teachers in learning of mathematics education with the help of technology? What is the significant effect of professional development computer courses on teaching mathematics in computer based environment? What is the teachers' point of view about gender issue in classrooms? Does use of technology affect on females confidence in mathematics classrooms teaching?
The scholarly literature has been consulted to answer the above questions.
Need of this article:
In this contemporary world no one can deny the importance of technology in every field of life(Kersaint, 2007). Technology has made the life easy and fast. It has been arguing since long that technology also enhances the students' learning in mathematics. (e.g. Berry et al.,2006; Forster, 2006; Galbraith, 2006; Kersaint, 2007; Mistreeta, 2005) But for what extent the technology helps in students' mathematics learning, there is a need of such article to discover the empirical data which shows the ground realities that whether the use of technology in mathematics education really enhance students learning or not? Another reason for the need of this article is to explore the universal issue about genders in mathematics education, as it is a general stereotype belief that girls do not feel comfortable with mathematics and computers (Sáinz and López-Sáez, 2010),so when we use computers in mathematics learning, will the girls be able to show good performance in computer based mathematics classroom?
Forgasz (2006) makes an effort to explore the teachers' views about the effectiveness of the computer use on students' mathematics learning, and also she has investigated the teachers' belief that how boys and girls learn mathematics with technology, whether in similar ways or different.
In this essay the author first introduces the background and context of the study and mentions that the previous studies did not identified two major points which has discussed in this article.
- Teachers' views about the effectiveness of computers on students' mathematics learning.
- Teachers' believes that whether learning and understanding of mathematics with technology among boys and girls are same or different.
In order to achieve these goals, the study is based on empirical work established on three years study endeavour to examining issues related to the use of computers for secondary mathematics erudition in Victorian schools in Australia. Since the author's aim of this essay is focus only on teachers views about their students and computers, so in this article Forgasz(2006) has discussed the result finding from the teachers only (students' results have discussed in other articles for eample,Forgasz,2004,2005) . Nevertheless to explain the structure of the survey she has discussed about students as well. In first year (2001) grade 7-10 students and representatives of grade 11 students and their 96 teachers were participated in the survey and the data collected from 29 schools. Whilst in next year (2002) only grade 10 mathematics students and their six teachers from three schools out of 29 schools which took part in first year were involved in the study and information collected from the observation in the classroom and from videotaped. In third year (2003) again grade 7-10 students and their 75 mathematics teachers and a sample of grade 11 students from 24 of the 29 schools took part in first year were assessed in the survey.
The data was collected from the questionnaires which were distributed among the teachers in 2001 and 2003, the questions on questionnaire were as follows: "(a) About you: background information, (b) About you and computers,(c) Computers in your school,(d) Teaching and learning mathematics: beliefs about learning mathematics,(e) About your students and computers in this mathematics class, (f) About using computer software for mathematics: lists of software provided, (g) your reasons for using/not using computers to teach mathematics, (h) Anything else " (Forgasz , 2006, p.446)
The in-depth study of grade 10 mathematics classrooms was organized in 2002, in which data was collected by different sources,e.g. through questionnaire, mathematics lessons in the classroom which were videotaped, daily plan sheet etc.
How the author arguing that whether employing technology in mathematics education will have a positive impact on students' learning?
Forgasz (2006) states that use of computers in mathematics classrooms should expand not contract and it helps in students' mathematics learning. But she gives the reference of many researches (e.g., Cox, Leder, & Forgasz, 2004) and claims that it has been found in those studies that girls are no longer disadvantaged in the mathematics classroom setting, but they hesitate with technology and there is a concern that use of computers in mathematics education may impact negative on girls learning.
Sainz and Lopez-Saez (2010) give comments in the favour of Forgasz and states that in computer based mathematics class it has been observed that girls are less confident with computers as compared to boys and girls hesitate to use technology which may negative effect on their future studies.
The hesitation of girls with use of computers can be reduced by effective teaching strategies.(Powers and Blubaugh, 2005)
Technology in mathematics classroom:
Forgasz (2006) argues that technology plays significant role in mathematics learning and the use of computers and other technological tools are more effective than traditional instruction for doing calculations and other basic skill practices. Her argue that IT plays a significant role in education and learning is quite valid.
Kersaint (2007) states that "the use of technology has enabled students to visualize mathematics, engage in active learning strategies, verify conjectures, have positive attitudes, and build confidence in their ability to do mathematics."(p.257)
Wenglinsky (1998) (cited in Mistretta, 2005) is also in the support of employing technological tools in mathematics classroom which have positive effects on students' achievement in mathematics and he further quotes the findings revealed from the 1996 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) that the appropriate use of computers may assist to improve student mathematics performance as well as enhance the overall learning environment of the school.
Technology is an important characteristic in many mathematics classrooms. Powers and Blubaugh (2005) state that the use of internet is spreading so fast and they quote the report of National Centre for Education Statistics (1999) in which it has mentioned that "the percentage of public high school classrooms having access to the Internet jumped from 49% in 1994 to 94% in 1998."(p.254).
Powers and Blubaugh (2005) argue in the favour of using computers in classrooms and state that computers and calculators have made mathematics easy to understand which improve the students learning.
Forgasz(2006) emphasize on the use of technology in mathematics learning and argues that in coming future it will be difficult to survive without any knowledge of technology, further she quotes an example of Reddy (2004) that the vitorian VCE examination of mathematics will be completed on-line in next five years. So those students who are not familiar and confident with using computers may face a lot of difficulty.
Vekiri (2010) agrees with Forgasz argument and states that plenty of research articles give the evidence that students who have confidence in their computer abilities can get more benefit in mathematics education and other fields of life in future.
O'Brien (2008) emphasizes on the use of technology and says that we have to spread the technology in education as well to make our brighter future. Wood et al. (2003) states that teaching and learning of mathematics are progressively relying on technology, at present computers programs are become integral part of mathematics education from primary schools to university levels.
NCTM (2000) (cited in Shamatha et al., 2004, p.377) stated that by "using technological tools, students can reason about more general issues and they can model and solve complex problems that were heretofore inaccessible to them"
Use of graphic Calculator:
Forgasz(2006) also mentions the importance of calculators in mathematics education and states that use of calculators and other hand-held technologies help the students to enhance their mathematical thinking .
Foster (2006) also admits that use of graphic calculators and other technology tools shows rich learning outcomes in students. While Berry et al. (2006) argue in a different way and stated that when students use the graphic calculators and other hand-held technology in mathematics problems, teachers can see only the outcomes of their activity, they cannot identify the process of their mathematical thinking rather it really improve students' mathematical thinking or just make them dependents.
Galbraith (2006) states that calculator is essential tool for mathematics in secondary schools and students treat it as a human partner. Sometimes students completely rely on calculators and this dependency leads their learning outcomes narrow.
Interactive Whiteboard :
At present there is an extensive use of interactive whiteboards in schools in most developed countries around the world. Torff and Tirotta (2010) states that "technological capabilities of the IWB and its attendant software are highly compelling to students, effectively drawing them into the content of the lesson Investment of financial and human resources in IWB technology is seen as warranted in part because it promises to make learning more engaging for students, especially in technical subjects (e.g., mathematics) in which teachers sometimes struggle in their efforts to help students engage and achieve"(p.379)
Teachers, parents and use of Technology:
Technology is one of the components of teaching and learning. It is not only used for learning students but also helps to create the relationship between teachers and parents. Merkley et al. (2006) state that "Electronic portfolios offer a unique and contemporary approach to help inform parents of children's efforts, progress, and achievement over time."(p.12). Moreover Bigalow (2003) (cited in Merkley et al., 2006, p.12) also state that "school and classroom Web sites promote and maintain home-teacher communication by informing parents and community members of school and classroom activities".
Shields and Behrman (2000) state that mostly parents accept that computers and internet can facilitate children in many ways, specifically in their homework, and those who do not have access of computer at home are left behind.
Tomte (2008) states that, students who use computers at home are more confident during using computers in schools and computers help them in making their assignments at home.
Power and Blubaugh(2005) state that Now-a-days all primary and secondary students are born in a world of technology ,so it is natural for them to use the technology in mathematics education and 'to exclude these devices is to separate their classroom experiences from their life experiences, One objective in preparing teachers for the future is to ensure that their classrooms will include the technology that will be commonplace for a future generation of mathematics learners, thus ensuring that the mathematicians, mathematics educators, and citizens of tomorrow experience harmony between their world of mathematics and the world in which they live'.(p.260)Teachers' belief about technology in mathematics classroom:
After engaging with Forgasz article, I have discovered that all teachers have different opinions about their belief on computers' advantages in mathematics learning. Forgasz (2006) argues that a clear majority of the participants from her study are in the favour of using computers in mathematics classroom and most of the teachers have believed that computers do assist students' mathematical understanding.
But some of them had no positive arguments in the favour of computers and they did not belief that computers help in students learning. One of them argues that "the students still see a computer lesson as a 'slack' lesson or a fun lesson, because they mostly need to read instructions, they rarely understand exactly what we are trying to get them to master" (Forgasz, 2006, p.455)
Shields and Behrman (2000) also argue that students prefer to play games on computers instead of learning mathematics, sometimes by playing violent games they become aggressive. Moreover some teachers believe that students prefer to use the computers for playing games, web chatting and internet surfing rather than mathematical study.
Another teacher from Forgasz (2006) study also state that 'It is a way to help students but I have been equally successful without computers' (p.455)
Niess and Garofalo (2006) give the reasons for such opinion from the teachers; one possibility is their teaching experience without computers, so they feel comfortable without computers during mathematics teaching. The other reason is lack of knowledge and practice with technology. Forgasz(2006) emphasizes on the teachers' professional development course of computers for subdue this problem.
One more teacher in her study has a positive perception about computers and states that "Particular software saves time and verifies their understanding. Computers allow them to carry out problems/exercises/questions quicker '(Forgasz, 2006, p.454)
Mistretta (2005) took a research on pre-service teachers' views about the use of technology and found out that 86% of pre-service teachers indicated that computer software help in students' mathematics learning. The comment of teachers are as follows:"Instructional technology can enhance the mathematics learning environment by providing visual demonstrations, interdisciplinary connections, and practical applications," "Teachers don't have to hunt for information about math topics," "Software and websites can readily give teachers the information they need to understand the topics they teach," and "Instructional technology helps the teacher bring mathematics to life with real-world connections." (Mistretta ,2005, p.23)
So overall we can conclude that as compared to disfavour, most arguments are in the favour of using computers in mathematics classrooms.
Is it necessary for the teachers to get professional development courses?
In this century, every child is very computer literate (Forgasz, 2006).At this time, technology is almost using in all schools of developed countries. So the major issue facing by the policy makers is to prepare the future teachers, who teach the students by using such technologies.(Powers and Blubaugh, 2005). Before applying the technology in mathematics classrooms it is necessary for the educators that they have already knowledge of the particular subject. Forgasz (2006) argues on the belief of teachers and states that
'What teachers believe is a subset of what they know, and this will impinge on their teaching practice.'(p.464). There is also a famous Chineese saying
"If you want to give the students a cup of water, you (the teacher) should have a bucket of water of your own". (Peng, 2007, p.289 )
Forgasz (2006) also emphasize on teaching education in the shape of professional development computer courses.Powers and Blubaugh (2005) draw attention on the need of trained teachers and put stress on policy makers and state that the expansion of technology will demand the professional teachers for instructional purposes, so policy makers should play their role to introduce professional development computer courses and teachers should take part in the related PD course to solve this issue.
Berry et al.(2006) also states that "A major challenge to the introduction of hand-held technology such as graphic calculators into mathematics learning and assessment is that those in and entering the teaching profession often do not have the pedagogical knowledge of how to teach effectively with such technology. Because of the common view of mathematics as a body of knowledge (number, algebra, calculus and geometry) school leavers have learned some content, often using traditional teacher-centred learning methods, which can be carried out more efficiently by technology." (p.307)
Teachers' knowledge about the subject is the focal part in teaching. That is why, mostly educators emphasize on the professional development course ,particularly in mathematics and computers. Borko (2004) says that professional development courses help the teachers to enhance their knowledge and develop new instructional practice and it is impossible to introduce new technology in mathematics education without teachers' understanding. Another place Borko (2004) also states that the changes in classroom practices demand by the reform visions ultimately rely on teachers, so teachers' familiarity and confidence with computers is essential.
Mistretta (2005) gives more stress on professional development training for teachers and states that generally the teachers who have already received professional developing training in computers are more confident and competent during teaching as compared to those who do not have PD training, so they cannot use computers effectively.
Galbraith(2006) states that the success or failure of any teaching approach depends upon the teaching quality with which the teachers teach and students engage and for the improvement of teaching knowledge and quality, professional development courses plays an important role.
Garet et al. (2001) criticise those teachers who perform the professional development course that focuses heavily on just memorizing facts and they do not understand the subject knowledge deeply. Furthermore, they emphasize on teachers and state that teacher should be fully aware of their subject knowledge and should know that how their students learn more effectively, because this skill is an integral part of their profession.
Borko (2004) argues that professional development courses and workshops are not only the source of learning, it may be occurred in different ways, teachers may learn from the classroom experiences, during the conversation with a colleague or during the counselling a trouble child, therefore we have to understand teachers learning within these multiple settings.
The above discussion shows that all researchers are in the favour of professional development course in one way or the other and they realize the need of professional development courses.But Forgasz (2006) demands such professional development model, which make the teacher proficient to solve the issues related to girls less efficacy with computers.
Wood et al (2003) suggest that inclusive classroom practice is the best way to reduce the gender stereotype belief. This practice allows the students to deal with computers confidently, further they state that the professional the professional practice of mathematics has changed , the teaching and learning must also be changed to reflect tthis transformation in practice.
In the classroom we have endeavour to create an atmospherewhere sex difference between students in their learning were not apparent, by the use of inclusive assessment practice,by careful choice and development of teaching material and by monitoring the reaction of the targeted gropu to teaching and learning methods this practice reduced the historical disadvantaged faced by the women who want to study mathematical science particularly in a single sex environment. In The next generation of teachers must be provided opportunities to experience reform-based instruction as learners and to practice facilitating this pedagogy themselves. It is our hope that this work of situating practical technology-supported activities within a powerful theoretical framework on learning will continue to be shared and will be useful to others ( Shamatha et al,2004, p.377) Technology, in and of itself, is complex. Yet even more complicated is finding ways in which to use it as a tool for teaching and learning. Guided by this theoretical framework, technology supported activities can work meaningfully in a learning environment that research proves effective.( Shamatha et al,2004, p.378) "Lederman and Neiss (2000) report that technology courses which are part of teacher preparation programs often emphasis pre-service teachers' learning about technology rather than the integration of technology into classroom teaching".(cited in(Mistretta, 2005) "The explaining teacher has to draw on theoretical constructs from mathematics education and educational theories more generally, in order to understand not only what the mathematics lesson could be like, but also why the mathematics lesson could be prepared in a certain way. That is the fundamental feature of the task of lesson explaining, namely, knowing ''what'' and knowing ''why''.(Peng, 2007)(p.291)What is the teachers' perception about difference between boys and girls understanding mathematics? and is it biased and typical stereotype gender believe?
Forgasz's article points out some universal issues related to gender and technology in mathematics education. I am, to some extent agree with her conclusions related to gender issues. She concludes that teachers' perceptions about their students are typical gender stereotyped and they believe that girls are less interested in using the technology in mathematics education than boys.
It has also mentioned in the "latest Global Gender Gap Report, published by the World Economic Forum, that no country in the world has yet reached equality between men and women."(Tomte , 2008, p.2)
Forgasz(2006) states that in computer based mathematics classrooms, teachers believe that boys are better, competent and interested with computers then girls.
Tomte (2008) also has the same opinion that "Boys have a more positive attitude towards computers, less computer anxiety and more computer confidence than girls, Boys are also more confident in success and perceive a higher degree of control than girls do." (p.5)
Vekiri (2010) believe that both boys and girls consented upon the frustration connected to computer problem, but boys can handle the problem better than girls.
Meelissen and Drent (2008) have the same opinion and they state that research on use of computers by different genders has shown that "girls and women are often behind in ICT use and ICT knowledge and skills , furthermore girls and women have less positive attitudes towards ICT and show less confidence in using ICT compared to boys and men" (p.970)
Forgasz (2006) states that researches find out that, girls are no longer disadvantaged in mathematics and they excel academically than boys but in this article, teachers belief that in case of computers, girls show hesitation to use technology in mathematics classroom. This typical gender stereotype belief of teachers may be negatively effect on girls 'mathematics learning outcomes.
To some extent Wood et al. (2003) have the same opinion and they state that ten years ago the result achieving by the boys from school to university level in Australia were always higher than girls but now the situation is different and some recent studies indicate that both girls and boys deal with the use of technology in the same way, specifically if both boys and girls are in a single -sex environment.
Forgasz (2005) also There are some in the wider educational community who no longer believe that gender is an educational issue. Among others there is growing concern about boys' educational disadvantage. Research findings and examination results support contentions that girls excel over boys in many subject areas. It is also clear, however, that girls still encounter disadvantage in the hard sciences, mathematics, and computing computing - computer fields Vekiri (2010) argues that "boys and girls perceived similar teacher expectations, However given the observed magnitude of the relationship between perceived teacher expectations and female students' self-efficacy, it is important in future studies to examine how teachers communicate expectations and personal beliefs about gender issues to the students as well as the long-term effects of teacher expectations and beliefs on student self-efficacy beliefs and academic choices "(p.22)
Sainz and Lopez-saez (2010) states that the participation of females in ICT related subjects is very low because most of them do not feel comfortable with computers that is why on average, "only 24% of university degrees and advanced research qualifications in computing were awarded to females." (p.578)
They further states that "The scarce representation of women in highly technical fields is associated with women's lower perception of their scientific and technical abilities, and negative attitudes towards technology and scientific fields, as well as a lower utility of scientific and technical fields and, in general, their lack of interest in these fields."(ibid ,p.579)
Certainly the gender gap in education is a major issue in all over the world but there is a great influence of the cultures and societies on it.(Tmte, 2008).
It might be possible that females have less interest towards computer related subject because of its unique social image. Sainz and Lopez-Saez (2010) state that "the social image about computer scientists as geeks, nerds or socially isolated people and the general conception that computer science is a male-dominated arena seem to influence girls' negative attitudes towards computers".(p.579)
Societies and cultures have sound impact on genders learning attitudes, particularly in computers and mathematics learning because classroom cannot be separate from the culture in which it resides, so external factors will always impact on classroom practice.(Wood et al., 2003)
Tomte (2008) states that "Research on ICT, gender and education identifies gender differences in several fields, like learners' performances, attitudes towards computers and skills as well as the impact of teachers, parents and peers"(p.2)
"Parents do have influence on children and young peoples' use of ICT, both in terms of encouraging ICT use, for instance in homework, and in general. PISA 2006 shows us that the parents' socio-economic status (SES) influences children's access and use of ICT at home and also to some extent influences their schoolwork".(Tmte, 2008)
Vekiri (2010) states that same point of view about gender difference , he argues that boys' and girls' beliefs are particularly affected by parents, teachers, and school instruction and he further states that in his study he finds that teachers' perception about girls' confidence with computers were more than boys but use of computers motivate both genders towards their mathematics learning.
Another issue highlighted by the author is gender stereotyping. Fargasz(2006) states that generally the teachers hold male domain stereotyped beliefs about mathematics learning and understanding particularly in the case of computers and due to this belief female students are often disadvantaged. Kennedy (2010) also criticizes the teachers on their male domain stereotyping belief and states that girls encounter the gender stereotyping in schools due to some teachers and administrator and it is a barrier for girls' progress towards technology. Further Kennedy (2010) believes that some girls are not interested in computers because of their male teachers because they feel comfortable with the female teachers.
Gender's effect on future occupation:
Forgasz (2006) argues that the formal stereotyped attitude of teachers can affect the girls' future occupations. It is a wide spread general perception that suitable female occupations are only nursing and teaching (Kennedy, 2010). Meelissen and Drent (2008) also agree with Forgasz argument and they have same opinion about the negative effect of teachers' stereotyped belief on girls' future occupation .When generally we talk about suitability of teaching occupation for girls, it doesn't mean that computer teaching, because it has often observed that mostly the computer teachers are males (Tmte, 2008)
Law (2008)(cited in Tomte, 2008, p.10) states that there is Recent findings from a SITES 2006 study, which focuses on pedagogy and ICT use in schools around the world in math and science, concludes, for instance, that despite more systems having higher percentages of ICT-using male teachers for both teacher populations, the gender imbalance is probably not due to gender specific differences in the pedagogiacal adoption of ICT. The authors, claim that any such difference is more likely to relate to social, historical, cultural and other cotextual differences between male and female teachers in the specific education systems.
"Some findings, however, indicate that a teacher?s gender does matter when it comes to their appearance as good role models. Using the data of a Dutch large-scale survey on ICT use in primary education (almost 4000 grade 5 students), Meelissen and Drent identified two school related factors which turned out to have a small positive effect on the computer attitude of girls; a teacher-centered pedagogical approach and computer experience of female teachers (Meelissen, 2007). The survey also showed that even if female teachers show the same intensity and the same variety in ICT use for educational purposes, they were less convinced about their ICT knowledge and skills than their male colleagues. Neither the intensity nor the variety of the teachers` ICT use for educational purposes had an effect on students` computer attitudes. In this perspective, Meelissen and Drent claim that teacher trainers should not only pay attention to their students 11 awareness of gender differences in computer attitudes and computer use of primary school children, but they should also focus on gender differences in self-confidence in ICT use of future teachers (Meelissen, 2007)."(Tmte, 2008)(pp.10-11)
Forgasz (2006) argues that girls are less confident and interested in using computers than boys. Now there are different points which create lack of interest in girls about computers. Sainz and Lopez-Saez (2010) states that interest of an individual depends upon his or her nature, mostly girls have extroversion nature, they are loquacious, whilst the social image of computer scientists are as geeks, nerds or socially isolated people. So generally the girls may be avoided computer education because of their extroversion nature.
Kennedy (2010) emphasizes on education policy makers to design computers courses taking into account of girls' interest and state that "if we want to get girls to attend computer camps, Saturday camps or after school technology activities, we have to design them with girls' interests in mind."(p.1)
Further Forgasz(2006) contention that more use of computers in mathematics classroomagainst the nature of girls and it may have negative effect on girls. Gordon (2001) ( cited in Meelissen &Drent, 2008) emphasize on the policymakers and researchers to do some steps to make computer environment learning more attractive for girls.
Are the females really ignored in mathematics classrooms teaching?
Forgasz (2006) also addresses the gender issue on the other side of picture and states that most of the study which has been conducted in western societies, now believe that girls are no longer disadvantaged in mathematics classroom and there is a concern about boys' educational disadvantage.
The paper of Forgasz(2006) is among those papers which point out that girls are better academically than boys in all subjects including mathematics. This article does not show that females really ignorned in mathematics classroom. The concern is only with the use of technology. Meelissen and Drent (2008)
Tomete (2008) has the same opinion and states that mostly the researchers investigate about the disadvantages of girls in mathematics classrooms but if the researchers consider the boys as the norm and as a representative of the actual goals to reach, they will find that boys are more underprivileged in the educational system.
Major focus of Forgasz (2006) articles is about teachers' belief on gender issue but she did not mention the pedagogical approaches which will create the interest of computers and other technologies in girls. As we have discussed above that there are some reasons due to which girls show less interest in computers. For example parents' belief about their daughters' occupation. Mostly parents do not encourage their daughter to choose the computer related field , since their childhood. This wrong belief of parents, leaves negative impact of computers in girls' mind. Another reason of girls' less participation is social image of computers that it is a male dominant subject. Kennedy (2010) gives some suggestions to enhance the interest of girls towards computers and states that motivation and encouragement by providing appealing activities can play important role to develop the interest of girls in computers, by designing such courses which appeal to the girls, and by providing attractive role models can encourage girls to choose computer related carriers .
There are some other ways to enhance the interest of girls towards technology. For example cell phones and iPods and courses of web designing can stimulate the girls towards technology .Once the girls feel comfortable with computers, they can easily adopt computer profession in future.(Kennedy, 2010)
First geek girl:
Motivation plays important role in achieving any target. We can develop the interest of technology in girls by using motivation. I would like to give an example of Sarah blow who is a software engineer in London. She has played a significant role to enhance the interest of girls towards computers. Among her relatives and friends she was the only female who had selected computer field. When she started job, she became frustrated and annoyed about being one of the only females attending technical events. So she decided to make a forum on internet and invited girls to participate in it and then she invited those girls on dinner and taught them about different computer courses. In this way she has participated in the society to move one step more towards reducing the gap of girls and boys in computers. She was named"One geek girl".(Williams, 2010)
Like this one geek girl other people can also play an active role in the society and reduce the gender gap in computer re lated subjects.
Responsibility of policy makers:
It is the responsibility of government policy makers and curriculum developer that they make some strategies to reduce the gap of technology between boys and girls. For this purpose they need to make the course according to the nature of girls to enhance their interest in computers. Another effective way to stimulate girls towards computers is to make a role model for them .it is the nature of human being that we inspire with other people. So it is a very effective way to raise the charm towards technology.
Inclusive assessment practice:
Forgasz (2006) argue that girls are better than boys in mathematics but the use of technology in mathematics education may impact negatively on girls mathematics performance because girls are reluctant with technology. So there is a need of any type of professional development for teachers which helps to resolve this issue.
Wood et al (2003) state that inclusive classroom practice is one of the effective pedagogy which can reduce the historical disadvantaged faced by the women who want to study mathematical science particularly in a single sex environment where both boys and girls deal confidently with computers. Wood et al. (2003) argue that due to expansion of technology the professional practice of mathematics has completely changed, and then the methods of teaching and learning have to change as well.
In the classroom we have endeavour to create an atmospherewhere sex difference between students in their learning were not apparent, by the use of inclusive assessment practice,by careful choice and development of teaching material and by monitoring the reaction of the targeted gropu to teaching and learning methods . In "When the global and local work together , then inclusive eduction is likely to offera richer and more satisfying experience of mathematics to the students."(ibid, p.264)
After engaging Forgasz's essay I personally think that findings and conclusion of this paper is valuable and there is still a gap between girls' and boys' learning attitude towards mathematics with computers. It is a global issue and no one can deny it. As Tomte (2008) mentions that still in 21st century there is not a single country in the world which has obtained equality between men and women. Different governments and non-governments organisations are struggling to provide equal chances for all men and women in every field of life. Since in this essay, the discussion is only on teachers' perception about girls. Forgasz criticize it and declare it teachers'gender-stereotype beliefs. Some scholarly literatures find out that there are some factors involve in girls' less participation in computer based subjects, like parents effects, social effect, for some extent media effect. I have also given some suggestions of Kennedy (2010) and Wood et al., (2003) for betterment of girls' participation towards technology.
In contrast, Forgasz also discusses the other side of picture and states that now there is a growing concern about boys' educational disadvantage in many educational communities.