Research Student: Michael Achile Umameh
Mathematics Teachers’ Appropriation of Digital Resources: The Implications for Classroom Practices and Teacher Education
Submission Date: October 2017
The core of my study is to understand mathematics teachers’ appropriation and integration of digital resources into mathematic teaching; its impact on classroom practices and the implication for teacher education. Teachers’ appropriation of digital resources occur in complex contexts and the wide variety of resources bring with it challenges and opportunities for the teachers in adapting resources for teaching mathematics. Hence, interactions with digital resources in the context of practice has become a focus of attention.
This exploration combines an activity theoretic approach with the more recent ‘documentational approach’ from the French didactics as theoretical tools for developing an understanding of, and building up a coherent explanation for the phenomena under investigation.
My passion for mathematics developed and was nurtured from an early age of 10 for a specialized training for mathematically gifted children. Since then, mathematics and the sciences have always been fun, source of excitement, pleasure and bewilderment. In my days in St. Kizito minor seminary, under the tutelage of inspiring Mathematics teachers we achieved a 100% national performance in mathematics. This is the foundation on which I am building a vision and a future for mathematics teacher education.
Providentially, I went on to undertake clerical training to the Catholic Priesthood, during which I obtained BA Philosophy (University of Ibadan); B.Th. Theology (Pontifical Urban University, Rome), and afterwards BSc(Ed) Mathematics (University of Benin, Benin-City) and M.Sc. Education, Technology and Society (University of Bristol, UK).
Over the years I have worked in various academic and pastoral institutions in Nigeria and the UK. Presently, I am the First Education outreach fellow for the School of Education, University of Leeds, engaged in inspiring the next generation to take on mathematics and science education.
What motivated me to undertake PhD study?
ICT has becomes a central catalyst for change, including: Changes in educational policies; changes in teaching patterns/perspectives; changes in learning approaches; changes in classroom organisation and management and changes in the role of teachers in the context of an ICT enriched classroom. Teachers roles are not just changing they are called to become managers of these changes as well.
My motivation in undertaking a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education is to enable me develop the needed critical research competences and teaching expertise. It is my hope that this will enable me:
- Improve my proficiency in mathematics and mathematics education discourse.
- Make pedagogical and theoretical contributions to the research in integrating innovative digital technologies into mathematics teaching.
- Make school-based teachers’ professional development and professional teaching practices more effective and efficient.
- Create innovative ways of building up mathematics learning communities where teachers and learners could share resources and expertise using the affordances of digital technologies.
- Transfer these skills and competencies to the universities/colleges in Nigeria.
I have always loved mathematics but felt the difficulty and ambiguity around the usefulness of mathematics is as a result of the poverty of teaching strategies, a lack of adequate digital technological tool use and the gaps between research and practice.
What makes me passionate about my subject?
My starting point derives from an understanding of mathematics teachers as professionals with an ever evolving context of practice. I place great importance on the integration of ICT tools and the varieties of new digital resources (into mathematics classrooms, teaching and learning) with its potentials and affordances as providing opportunities for improving teachers’ practices and students’ performance. This why it has become a focus of attention for research. It is my firm belief that a research-informed and theory driven appropriation of digital technologies by mathematics teachers will have a significant impact on their teaching and on students’ learning.
What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?
My long term vision and plan is a life in the academic and mathematics education related industry. A beginning focus would be:
- Mathematics teacher education research
- Ethnomathematics of the Igala speaking people of Nigeria
- Philosophy of Mathematics and Science education