CONTACT: SCOTT HAUSER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
UI education professor receives $518,000 for curriculum project
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- High school students may soon learn complex mathematical
subjects in new ways that take advantage of advances in computer technology,
thanks to a $518,000 grant to a University of Iowa College of Education assistant
Rose Zbiek, who specializes in mathematics education in the Division of Curriculum
and Instruction, has been awarded $518,477 to help develop a new, computer-supported
curriculum to improve the mathematical education of high school students.
Zbiek's award is part of a $1.8 million grant to researchers at Pennsylvania
State University from the National Science Foundation.
The new, four-year grant is designed to capitalize on an earlier pilot project
by Zbiek and other researchers that resulted in a one-year curriculum for
teaching algebra to high school students, called Computer-Intensive Algebra
In CIA, students use computers to model real-world relationships and to study
function and advanced mathematical concepts, and then use the models and concepts
to solve a variety of mathematical problems.
The one-year curriculum, "Computer-Intensive Algebra/Concepts in Algebra:
A Technological Approach," is currently in use in 26 states.
The new project, called CAS-Intensive Mathematics Project (CIM), will create
a three-year curriculum that complements and extends the CIA curriculum. It
will assume constant access but not dependency on computer algebra systems
(CASs) and dynamic geometry software.
"We have found that integrating mathematics at the level of concepts
with a package of computing tools has been quite successful in raising the
level of mathematics comprehension and sophistication," Zbiek says. "The
idea for the curriculum component of the new project is to extend that model-based,
computer-supported curriculum throughout the high school years. Students will
use powerful but affordable computing tools to study multiple aspects of pure
and applied mathematics."
Zbiek says the use of technology in mathematics education relies on a synergistic
relationship, a connection the new curriculum project is designed to research.
"To study mathematical understanding and thinking in the presence of
technology, we need students engaged in mathematical tasks that involve technology,
and we need students who know how to use the technology well enough to do
mathematics," she says. "Conversely, the better we understand mathematical
understanding and thinking in the presence of technology, the better able
we are to construct curriculum materials that appropriately engage students
in learning and doing mathematics."
Zbiek and Kathy Heid of Penn State are co-directors of the project.