Concepts, Assessments, Subversions
Edited By Matteo Stocchetti
The Future of Mathematics Textbooks: Ramifications of Technological Change
Daniel Chazan & Michal Yerushalmy
As mathematics educators, the object of our research is a societal endeavor whose policies and practices are shaped by societal forces, including technological developments. Textbooks have historically played key roles in determining the mathematics curriculum by specifying the content to be taught and by providing guidelines about how this content might be taught. In this paper, we argue that technological changes pose challenges to the roles played by the textbooks and curriculum materials written by textbook authors and curriculum developers. The role of specifying what is to be taught is under challenge from centralizing forces supported by technological capacities for large-scale data mining. And, the role of providing guidance on instruction is under challenge from changes to processes for authoring and publishing books; these changes have the potential to shift the role of teachers in the curriculum development process. While we do not see these challenges as representing the death knell for textbooks, we argue that with these technological changes, textbooks may no longer play as large a role as a driver of educational change. To support our argument, we explore the historical roles of mathematics textbooks in educational systems and specify two challenges, supported by recent technological advances, to these roles that we have outlined above.
“I predict that the word “textbook” will soon carry the same connotation as the word “scroll” does today. The word “scroll” harkens to a time when scholarly materials were produced on...
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