I wanted to get wiser about how instructional technologists interact with math teachers. In particular, I wanted to know what makes math teachers more reticent to adopt technology than teachers from other disciplines.

Help me out: if you're an instructional technologist, what makes math (or math teachers) challenging to support?

— Dan Meyer (@ddmeyer) April 17, 2017

Alice Keeler offers professional development in technology much more often than I do and echoed the question:

Almost every event I will have an admin come up to me with "We are Google Apps... it's going great... except for the math dept"

— Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) April 17, 2017

Here are the primary reasons for that disconnect I received on Twitter:

**Technology is a distraction from content and assessment objectives.**

Ts worry that tech will get in the way of being able to get through their curriculum especially with standardized tests.

— Nicole Johnson (@njohnson0622) April 17, 2017

Perceived time constraints associated with test materials and completing a curriculum.

— Diane Savatt (@MrsSavatt) April 17, 2017

Also in Texas, algebra is a gatekeeper for a diploma, so pressure is immense math teachers. They have to KNOW something is going to work.

— Caleb Hudgens (@calebhudgens) April 17, 2017

**Computers are not a natural medium for doing mathematics.**

Worst things to happen to the relationship between Math Teachers and IT are QWERTY, Equation Editor, GoogleDocs & LaTeX.

— Cal Armstrong (@sig225) April 17, 2017

Math needs doodles

Traditional teaching methods being seen as the "right" way to teach math. Complicated workarounds to type math characters.

— Jessica McMahon (@JK_McMahon) April 17, 2017

Reliance on a pen/stylus-based input device. I totally get this need, but it's a challenge to support in a BYOD environment.

— Jay Heath (@heathjw) April 17, 2017

**Generally, it’s hard to break from tradition.**

When new pedagogy ideas are too different from current work - have to have something to connect to.

— Jade White (@JadeMohrWhite) April 17, 2017

some technology-driven deviations of mathematics break the age old norms of what it means to "do math" in traditional settings.

— John Stevens (@Jstevens009) April 17, 2017

Many Ts feel traditional paper-pencil (and often multiple choice) are the only valid way for Ss to show their thinking/be assessed in math.

— Annie Forest (@mrsforest) April 17, 2017

**There are more applications for the humanities than for math.**

Most tech PD is on writing/research so math Ts feel it won't work for them-difficult to get Ts past this &be comfortable w/it themselves too

— Kim Scarbrough (@frenchmath) April 17, 2017

I don't like sitting in PD where I hear presenters say "this may not work for you math teachers" over and over.

— Rachel (@rlawsum) April 17, 2017

Sometimes you don't have great examples of math assignments, so they feel left out on training without math examples.

— Jeff See (@JeffreyASee) April 17, 2017

**Math edtech often focuses on routine math knowledge.**

The last ins tech coach session we had demoed kahoot and quizlet as vocab review. Maybe fewer free options to reach/assess depth??

— Deb (@dbarnum11) April 17, 2017

https://twitter.com/jetpack/status/854082944494915584

This! As a teacher, the examples provided are rarely math focused. Plus, a lot of tools seem to focus on speed & competition...

— Deb (@dbarnum11) April 17, 2017

**Math anxiety and technology anxiety compound.**

We have math anxiety compounded with Tech anxiety at times!

— Rayshell Fambrough (@Tech_Buddha) April 17, 2017

Many ITs shy away from math because it isn't their background; math is [incorrectly] seen as different, beyond people, not for everyone.

— Amy Roediger (@AmyRoediger) April 17, 2017

Finally, here is a strategy for working with math teachers that sounded promising to me.

I sometimes ask Ts to makeover (or let me help makeover) a lesson they hate, something they loathe to teach. A little win builds traction.

— Amy Roediger (@AmyRoediger) April 17, 2017

Thanks for educating me, everybody.

## 1 Comment

## Allison Krasnow

April 17, 2017 - 8:03 pm -I missed the original posting on Twitter, but will share here as I have several thoughts.

I do think there’s a serious chicken and egg situation. Teachers and admins alike often believe that it’s a given that English and History teachers have to have tech for research/writing. So, often, math teachers have to rely on the scraps. In my district, when math teachers sign up for a cart, it is very common for English or History teachers to ask a math teacher to give it up for the day because there is an important project they need their students to finish. HOWEVER, in my district when we gave math teachers their own carts, exclusively for them, their use of tech increased exponentially. They have a cart of 1/2 the amount of Chromebooks as they have students. When asked recently if they prefer this for next year or would prefer sharing a full cart with just 1 other teacher, 100% responded that they want their own 1/2 cart, explaining that not having to negotiate and share with English/History teachers was important as in the moment, how do you evaluate who ‘needs it’ more? Having said that, some are still reluctant. I think often in a math class, use of tech is just for a portion of class: to model an idea, check your intuition of a solution, etc. Often teachers don’t want to take the time to get the tech out and put it away for only a portion of class. Having your own cart goes a long way to eliminate the time issue here.

Second, as others mention, the vast majority of folks in the TSA/Instructional Tech world are not math people. In fact, as others have mentioned, they come right out and tell you that. In my instructional tech department, no one (but me) wants to touch math lessons as they feel they don’t know the content well enough. I haven’t done a good job of building capacity in my department to have TSAs comfortable doing model lessons in math classrooms, even 3rd-5th grade. So tech tools which are non-content-based and can be used in any discipline to impact pedagogy and learning (Pear Deck, Nearpod, Kahoot, Google Forms, Explain Everything, Screencastify, Flocabulary, etc etc) aren’t often used in PD with math teachers because there simply aren’t enough district TSA folks comfortable with the math audience.

And then there’s time. I think many teachers feel that no matter what, they still need to teach an idea themselves so there’s not ‘time to do it twice’ using tech. I agree with Jade’s sentiments on that one. Those of us in the instructional tech world have to keep working hard towards shifting pedagogy to become less traditional.