Vol. 6 No. 2 (2023): July-December [Edit closure: 31/07/2023]
Suggested quote (APA, seventh edition)
Vélez Vera, D. A., & Rivadeneira Loor , F. (2023). Digital tools for the development of skills in the area of mathematics. Delectus, 6(2),86-99. https://doi.org/10.36996/delectus.v7i1.216
Instituto de Postgrado, Universidad Técnica de Manabí, Ecuado
Departamento de Didáctica, Facultad de Filosofía, Letras y Ciencias de la Educación, Universidad Técnica de Manabí, Ecuador
Today, it is imperative in the educational system to abandon traditionalism and promote innovative new strategies based on ICTs to improve academic performance in mathematics. The aim of this research was to implement the use of digital tools for the development of skills in third-year baccalaureate mathematics at the Alida Zambrano García Educational Unit, located in the canton of El Carmen, province of Manabí, Ecuador. The approach of this study is descriptive and cross-sectional, and a survey was conducted with 139 students, along with an interview with teachers involved in teaching the subject at the institution. The students acknowledged the limited use of digital tools in mathematics classes, but believe that access to and use of these tools could enhance their understanding of the subject, improve mathematical problem-solving, and thus, increase their academic performance, as well as generate greater motivation to study. Teachers recognize the benefits of digital tools in learning mathematics, although they currently use few and face difficulties for their effective incorporation into the classes. Despite these limitations, teachers believe that digital tools can improve students' performance in mathematics and seek strategies to integrate them more effectively, while recognizing the need for additional resources and support. The identified situation has led to the development of a proposal designed to mitigate the existing problems.
Keywords: digital tools; Mathematics; competencies; teaching-learning; baccalaureate.
The entire world underwent a radical and unexpected change when the World Health Organization (WHO) issued an official communication on March 11, 2020. This report stated that the COVID-19 disease had become a pandemic that would affect all nations. The implications for health and the immediate socioeconomic and educational changes were evident (WHO, 2020). In the educational field, the greatest transformation lay in the mandatory suspension of face-to-face academic activities and their substitution with virtual modalities (Elisondo & de las Barrera, 2022). This new approach to the teaching-learning process has reinforced digital learning, enabling students to acquire essential skills and competencies to face life (Ayuso et al., 2020). Thus, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have allowed the establishment of innovative learning scenarios and the design of new educational practices. The latter were, for the most part, unknown to both teachers and students, who were not prepared to assume such a change. This circumstance forced the creation of intensive training programs for teachers in the handling of digital platforms and tools that would allow the educational process to be developed with greater dynamism and creativity (Cruz, 2020). Hence, according to Semanate & Robayo (2021, p. 389), "it is necessary to innovate in the learning process to foster in the learner the ability to learn effectively and autonomously, considering their own needs to apply knowledge in various contexts". These authors also highlight the need to leave behind traditional practices and promote new innovative strategies based on ICTs to improve academic performance, especially in mathematics. Currently, education is facing a crisis derived from the use of outdated pedagogical methods, which urge the student to be simply a repeater of content and to learn only for the current school cycle.
The break with these outdated methods is fundamental, according to Jiménez (2018), the implementation of various technological or computer means to store, process, and disseminate all kinds of information, whether visual, digital or otherwise, is essential, both in the work environment and in education, where it has become a panacea, and its absence would be even more detrimental, as its use as a teaching tool is imperative. Similarly, Zaldúa (2018) argues that the "use of technological instruments is a priority in current communication, as communication technologies make a significant difference between a developed civilization and a developing one". The integration of technology into the educational field is a necessity aimed primarily at developing digital competence in students. The present study also addresses mathematical competence, which according to Niss (2003), cited by Iñiguez (2015), is "the ability to understand, evaluate, make and use mathematics in a variety of mathematical and non-mathematical contexts" (p.118). On the other hand, the Ministry of Education [Minedu] (2020) maintains that mathematical skills are cultivated through problem-solving, applying logical thinking that will facilitate the understanding of situations that the student faces in their daily life. These skills are reflected in the level of understanding and the ability to find solutions to problems that arise in various scenarios. To achieve this goal, the use of technological resources in teaching and learning mathematics is essential, and should be a motivating didactic strategy for the student, promoting meaningful learning through the use of digital tools, facilitating the construction of knowledge both individually and collectively. These tools have improved academic performance in mathematics, in addition to promoting the development of competencies through the use of ICTs (Semanate & Robayo, 2021). For Grisales (2018), the use of ICTs and their tools in teaching mathematics is of vital importance, mainly to improve student performance. However, the strategy must be based on didactic, methodological, and pedagogical elements. In this context, Criollo (2022) states that "the low performance and disinterest of students are due to the lack of concentration and motivation in teaching mathematics. To find a solution to this problem, the use of digital tools in this area is proposed, as students currently tend to develop their ability to manipulate devices and digital tools, which allows them to learn in a discovering and attractive way". These statements lead to the objective of this research, which is the implementation of the use of digital tools for the development of competencies in third-grade baccalaureate mathematics at the Alida Zambrano García Educational Unit, in the canton of El Carmen, province of Manabí, Ecuador.
This research was grounded in the positivist paradigm, adopting a mixed approach. A theoretical framework was established as the foundation of the study, and field research was conducted using various instruments to meet the proposed objectives. The nature of this study is descriptive and cross-sectional. According to Hernández et al. (2014): "In this type of study, the researcher should be able to define, or at least visualize, what will be measured (which concepts, variables, components, etc.) and who or what data will be collected from (people, groups, communities, objects, animals, facts)" (p. 92). The research involved the direct participation of 139 students and two teachers from the third year of high school at the Alida Zambrano García Educational Unit, located in the canton of El Carmen, province of Manabí, Ecuador. The study relied on both bibliographical and field research at a descriptive level, exploring the advantages of digital tools applied in the evaluation of mathematics to improve the academic performance of third-year high school students. A field investigation was conducted to collect information from various sources, using two types of instruments that allowed us to achieve the proposed objectives. In addition, we relied on documentary and bibliographic sources.
The research utilized the following methods:
The following techniques were employed to collect information: a survey for the students and an interview for the teachers at the educational level under study. In this context, Hurtado (2020) points out that: "the interview and survey are techniques based on personal interaction and are used when the information required by the researcher is known by others or when what is being researched is part of these people's experience." The instruments used to collect information were a questionnaire and a topic guide. Both were designed to obtain clear answers, but that allow to characterize the phenomenon under study and delve into its essence.
Once the results were recorded, a descriptive analysis was carried out. With the collected information, the statistical analysis was developed, using frequency and percentage techniques. Trends were observed and interpreted to arrive at conclusions.
Upon asking students about the regular use of digital tools in mathematics classes, it was verified that the majority indicate that they are not often used. 36.7% express total disagreement, and 27.3% show partial disagreement (Figure 1). This aspect of the study highlights the identified problem.
Figure 1. Frequent use of digital tools in mathematics classes
Chancusig et al. (2017) alert about the situation in Ecuador in this regard, as not all educational institutions are effectively employing digital technologies and it is common to witness the predominance of classes with a traditional focus. This result contrasts with what was obtained by Bravo & Suástegui (2022), who determine that the use of digital tools in the teaching of mathematics by students indicates that most of them use ICT for their learning. This is linked to their acquisition of meaningful knowledge in the new educational context.
A 23.0% of the surveyed students express their total agreement and a 36.7% express their partial agreement about the usefulness of digital tools to improve the understanding of mathematical concepts (Figure 2). It is noteworthy that, despite not being used as frequently, the importance of using such tools is recognized. In this regard, Cenith et al. (2020) emphasize that when teachers implement strategies that link technological knowledge, pedagogy, and content as a daily practice in classes, a better understanding of the contents by the students is fostered.
Figure 2. Utility of digital tools to improve the understanding of mathematical concepts
A total of 25.2% of the surveyed students show complete agreement and 36.0% express partial agreement regarding the utility of digital tools in solving mathematical problems (Figure 3). The awareness of students about the value that digital tools possess in the teaching-learning process is noticeable. Numerous studies have focused on this theme and converge on the importance of using digital tools in solving mathematical problems (Castaño et al., 2021; Macías et al., 2022).
Figure 3. Utility of digital tools in solving mathematical problems
The fact that digital tools motivate students to study mathematics is a palpable reality. In Figure 4, it is illustrated that 23.0% of respondents strongly agree and 46.7% somewhat agree. Salto & Erazo (2021) recognize the vital role of digital tools in motivating students during the teaching-learning process. Similarly, Maroto (2021) highlights that digital educational opportunities are a space that encourages students to learn.
Figure 4. Usefulness of digital tools in motivating to study mathematics
These results indicate a strong acknowledgment by the students about the value and benefit of using more digital tools in learning mathematics. According to Maroto (2021), digital tools not only allow students to acquire and consolidate the core knowledge of their learning, but also promote the development of cross-cutting skills that will be useful in their future. However, it is essential to take into account the individual needs and context of each student to ensure these tools are implemented effectively and enhance rather than complicate the learning process. As such, the training of teachers in the use of these tools and their integration into pedagogy are critical aspects to consider in the implementation of digital technologies in the teaching of mathematics.
Figure 5. Benefit of using more digital tools in learning mathematics
In Figure 6, it is observed that students express the need to gain more knowledge and improve their skills in the use of digital tools, with a resounding 97.8% totally agreeing to receive training in this aspect. Revelo (2020) argues that this situation is based on the training and application that the educator gives to these tools. The same author points out that most teachers and students have unfavorable perceptions about their knowledge in the use of ICT as useful tools for learning mathematics. The demand for training on the use and application of ICT as didactic resources, which allow improving the quality of education, promoting more effective communication and interaction between teachers and students, thus promoting cooperative learning, significantly influences this (p. 84).
Figure 6. Desire to receive more training in the use of digital tools for the study of mathematics
A 23.0% of the student participants in the survey completely agree, and 36.7% partially agree, that the use of digital tools enhances their academic performance in mathematics. This result is similar to that obtained when they were asked if these tools improved their understanding and facilitated the resolution of mathematical problems. It is important to underline what Bravo & Saústegui (2022) maintain in this regard, arguing that the knowledge and use of these tools by teachers and students have a significant impact on the teaching and learning process. This is because contemporary technologies provide complementary resources that can enrich the educational system when combined with high-quality teacher performance.
Figure 7. Use of digital tools to improve academic performance in mathematics
The 93.5% of the surveyed students fully agree that the use of digital tools promotes collaboration and teamwork in the field of mathematics. This is a relevant factor that should be considered when designing a teaching strategy to implement in math classes.
Figure 8. Use of digital tools facilitates collaboration and teamwork in mathematics
Maroto (2021) points out that digital tools foster "teamwork, imagination and creativity, reasoning and critical analysis, solving practical problems, and the use of new technologies" (p.27). Similarly, Álvarez & Agudelo (2019) highlight that, in problem solving, the environments created with the use of digital tools favor cooperative learning, which also stimulates motivation and joint knowledge construction.
All students give a level of approval to the importance of access to digital tools for effective mathematics learning. A total of 32.4% completely agree, 49.6% partially agree, and the rest are neutral. Once again, the recognition of the importance of these tools in the teaching of mathematics is evident.
The access, knowledge and use of digital tools by teachers and students have a significant impact on teaching and learning. The technologies employed in today's education provide additional resources that can enhance the educational system, especially in mathematics, where virtual learning objects can enrich classes, as well as promote social interaction and collaboration among students (Bravo & Saústegui, 2022).
Figure 9. Importance of access to digital tools for effective mathematics learning
95.0% of the students fully support suggesting the use of digital tools to other third-year high school mathematics students. From a teaching perspective, it can be affirmed that students transmit their classroom experiences to lower levels, whether positive or negative. As Revelo (2020) indicates, this leads to rethinking daily pedagogical practice. This does not imply integrating technologies for the sake of doing so, but rather using them at every moment, according to the complexity of the content in each area of knowledge.
Figure 10. Recommendation of the use of digital tools to other third-year high school mathematics students
Interview with Teachers
The implementation of digital tools in the study of mathematics for third-year high school students is highly beneficial. These tools enable students to perceive abstract concepts in a more visual and interactive way, thus facilitating their learning and providing them with a more enriching experience.
The use of digital tools in my methodology of teaching mathematics is limited and is recognized as an area that requires improvements.
Digital tools provide numerous advantages in the teaching and learning process of mathematics. These technologies facilitate the visualization of mathematical concepts in a clearer and livelier way, promote active participation of students, and provide an opportunity to experiment and learn independently. Additionally, the use of digital tools can contribute to the development of technological skills, preparing students for the contemporary digital world.
They have encountered obstacles when using digital tools in math lessons. A predominant challenge has been the lack of training and familiarity with the various available tools. They have also faced complications in finding relevant digital resources that align with the curriculum and meet students' demands. To address these challenges, they have sought training opportunities in the use of digital tools and have started exploring online platforms that provide specific resources for math instruction.
Despite the restricted use of digital tools, they believe that their appropriate implementation can have a positive effect on students' performance in mathematics. Digital tools can enhance the understanding of concepts, promote problem-solving, and stimulate active student engagement, which, in turn, can lead to an improvement in academic performance.
To effectively incorporate digital tools into math classes, they strive to develop strategies that allow them to make the most of these technologies. They explore various online resources, collaborate with other teachers to exchange ideas, and are receptive to students' suggestions to adapt their teaching methods.
Despite the limited experience, they have noticed that students demonstrate a higher level of motivation and engagement when digital tools are used in mathematics. The interactive and visual nature of these tools seems to capture their attention and provide them with a sense of autonomy and control over their learning.
To make more efficient use of digital tools in teaching mathematics, it is considered beneficial to have more resources and greater support in terms of teacher training. It would also be helpful to have a wider variety of digital tools that align with the different levels and requirements of students.
To other teachers interested in using digital tools in their mathematics classes, I would advise them to start by exploring various online educational resources and platforms. It is essential to seek training opportunities to familiarize themselves with the tools and learn how to effectively incorporate them into lessons. Additionally, collaborating with other teachers and exchanging experiences and resources can be beneficial.
It is agreed that there may be a difference or inequality in access to digital tools among students. To address this issue in the classes, a mix of digital tools and conventional methods is used to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate and learn, regardless of their access to technology.
Title: Digital Assessment: Strengthening Cognitive Skills in Mathematics
Justification of the Proposal:
The inclusion of digital tools in the assessment of cognitive skills in mathematics provides numerous advantages for both students and teachers. These resources enable a more active, interactive, and personalized evaluation, stimulate enthusiastic student participation, and provide instant feedback. Additionally, they encourage the development of technological skills and facilitate monitoring and analysis of each student's individual progress. The Alida Zambrano García Educational Unit would benefit from this proposal as it would elevate the quality of teaching and the assessment of cognitive skills in mathematics.
The proposal is aimed at students and teachers of the third year of high school at Alida Zambrano García Educational Unit, located in El Carmen Canton, Manabí Province, Ecuador.
Objective of the Proposal:
The inclusion of digital tools in the assessment of cognitive skills in mathematics is an effective strategy to enhance the teaching-learning process and strengthen the academic performance of third-year high school students at Alida Zambrano García Educational Unit.
Activities of educational innovation to be developed in the proposal:
Adequate Digital Tools for Assessing Cognitive Skills in Mathematics at the High School Level.
Indeed, digital tools offer several advantages for both students and teachers in assessing and monitoring progress in learning mathematics.
The perceptions of both students and teachers regarding digital tools, although differing in some aspects, converge in recognizing their potential to enrich the teaching and learning process in mathematics. Students perceive the utility of digital tools not only as a means to improve their conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills but also as a source of motivation for studying. In contrast, teachers, despite being aware of the challenges they face when incorporating these tools in the classroom, such as the need for training and additional resources, acknowledge their value in improving student performance.
The proposed approach aims to address the identified issues by promoting a more dynamic, interactive, and personalized mathematics assessment through the use of digital tools. This approach intends to foster greater active participation from students and provide immediate feedback on their performance. By implementing this proposal, it is expected that both teachers and students will overcome current barriers and maximize the pedagogical advantages that digital tools can bring to the teaching and learning of mathematics.
Limitations: The study has identified certain limitations in the current use of digital tools in mathematics teaching. Despite recognizing the potential of these tools to enhance understanding and academic performance in mathematics, teachers indicate that their use is still limited, and they face difficulties in their effective integration into classes. This could be a result of the lack of training and familiarity with the variety of available resources. Additionally, there is a highlighted need for additional resources and support to maximize the use of digital tools in the classroom. On the other hand, the digital divide among students can present a significant challenge, limiting accessibility and effectiveness of these tools for all students.
Contribution to scientific knowledge: The study provides a valuable theoretical contribution by highlighting the relevance and potential of digital tools in the teaching and learning of mathematics. It underscores how these tools can drive motivation and improve students' understanding and performance by enabling an interactive and personalized learning experience. The need to provide training and support to teachers for effectively implementing these tools in their classes is emphasized. The value of digital tools in providing immediate feedback to students, enabling autonomous learning and faster adaptation, is also recognized. These findings highlight the importance of continuing to explore and develop strategies for effectively integrating digital tools into mathematics teaching.
Álvarez, Y. G., & Agudelo, C. I. (2019). Resolución de problemas con tecnología en un ambiente de aprendizaje colaborativo wiki en la educación media. Revista Logos, Ciencia & Tecnología,11(2), 151-165. https://doi.org/10.22335/rlct.v11i2.876
Ayuso, L., Requena, F., Jiménez, O., & Khamis, N. (2020). The Effects of COVID-19 Confinement on the Spanish Family: Adaptation or Change? Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 51(3–4), 274–287. https://doi.org/10.3138/jcfs.51.3-4.004
Bravo, A., & Suástegui Solórzano, S. (2022). Herramientas Digitales para el Desarrollo de la Motivación en el Aprendizaje de Matemática del Nivel Básico Superior. Polo del Conocimiento, 7(6), 372-397. http://dx.doi.org/10.23857/pc.v7i6.4078
Castaño, E., Castro, J., Ojeda, A. & Ozuna, D. (2021). Estrategia Heurística de Pólya con mediación de Moodle para el fortalecimiento de la competencia de resolución de problemas en contextos numéricos y geométricos. [Trabajo de maestría. Universidad de Cartagena. Colombia]. https://repositorio.unicartagena.edu.co/handle/11227/14615
Cenith, G., Araujo, S., & Santos, G. (2020). Conocimiento tecnológico pedagógico del contenido en la enseñanza de matemática en el ciclo superior de la escuela secundaria. Perfiles educativos, 42(167), 53-67. https://doi.org/10.22201/iisue.24486167e.2019.167.59276
Chancusig, J., Flores, G., Venegas, G., Cadena, J., Guaypatin, O., & Izurieta, E. (2017). Utilización de Recursos Didácticos interactivos a través de las TIC ́S en el proceso de enseñanza matemática [Use of interactive Teaching Resources through ICTs in the mathematical teaching process]. Boletín Virtual, 6(4), 112-133. https://n9.cl/952el
Criollo, S. A. (2022). Herramientas digitales para el fortalecimiento de las matemáticas de los estudiantes del sexto C de la Escuela de EGB Manuela Cañizares, año lectivo 2020-2021. [Universidad Politécnica Salesiana. Cuenca, Ecuador]. https://dspace.ups.edu.ec/bitstream/123456789/22258/1/UPS-CT009653.pdf
Cruz, B. (2020). Desafíos y oportunidades de la educación en línea en el contexto de la pandemia de COVID-19. Polo del Conocimiento, 5(1), 394-404. http://dx.doi.org/10.23857/pc.v5i1.1946
Elisondo, R. C., & de la Barrera, M. L. (2022). Pandemia y experiencias de aprendizaje en escuelas secundarias de Río Cuarto (Argentina). Cuadernos De Investigación Educativa, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.18861/cied.2022.13.1.3174
Grisales, A. (2018). Uso de recursos TIC en la enseñanza de las matemáticas: retos y perspectivas. Entramado, 14(2), 198-214. http://www.scielo.org.co/pdf/entra/v14n2/1900-3803-entra-14-02-198.pdf
Hernández, S., Fernández, C. C., & Baptista, L. (2014). Metodología de la Investigación. Editorial McGraw Hill. http://observatorio.epacartagena.gov.co/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/metodologia-de-la-investigacion-sexta-edicion.compressed.pdf
Iñiquez, P. F. (2015). El desarrollo de la competencia matemática en el aula de Ciencias experimentales. Revista Iberoamericana de Educación, 67 (2), 117-130. https://rieoei.org/historico/deloslectores/6761Iniguez.pdf
Jiménez, D. A. (2018). Herramientas Digitales para la Enseñanza de las Matemáticas en la Educación Básica y Superior. Revista de Educación a Distancia (RED), 3, 25. https://repository.ucc.edu.co/bitstream/20.500.12494/11110/1/2019_herramientas_digitales_matematicas.pdf
Macías, M., Caro, E. O., & Fernández. F. H. (2022). Las mediaciones TIC en la resolución de problemas matemáticos, un abordaje documental. Revista Gestión y Desarrollo Libre, 7(14). https://revistas.unilibre.edu.co/index.php/gestion_libre/article/view/9384/9589
Maroto, S. A. (2021). Oportunidades digitales educativas a raíz del COVID-19: Del escape room al BreakOut online. e-publica, 29, 27-57. http://e-publica.unizar.es/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/293Maroto.pdf
Ministerio de Educación [Mineduc] (2020). Caja de herramientas para el refuerzo diagnóstico. 2020-2021. https://educacion.gob.ec/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2020/09/Caja-de-herramientas-para-refuerzo-diagnostico_DINCU.pdf
Salto, M., & Erazo, J. (2021). Padlet como herramienta digital para la enseñanza de las Matemáticas. CIENCIAMATRIA, 7(13), 158-172. https://doi.org/10.35381/cm.v7i13.477
Semanate, S. D., & Robayo J. D. (2021). Estrategia didáctica basada en TIC para mejorar el desempeño académico en el área de matemática. Episteme Koinonia, 4(8), 388-400. http://portal.amelica.org/ameli/journal/258/2582582021/2582582021.pdf
World Health Organization [WHO] (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). https://tinyurl.com/yckrkctt
Zaldúa, H. S. (2018). El Uso De Herramientas Digitales Matemáticas - San Joaquín - La Mesa. Universidad Externado de Colombia. https://bdigital.uexternado.edu.co/bitstream/001/966/1/CCA-spa-2018-El_uso_de_herramientas_digitales_matematicas_San_Joaquin_La_Mesa.pdf
Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Vélez Vera, D. A: Conceptualization, Data Curation, Formal Analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Resources, Software, Supervision, Validation, Visualization, Writing – Original Draft, Writing – Review & Editing. Rivadeneira Loor, F: Conceptualization, Formal Analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Project Administration, Validation, Visualization, Writing – Original Draft, Writing – Review & Editing.
Informed Consent: Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.
Data Availability Statement: Not applicable