Mathematics Web-Based Learning for Malaysian Secondary Schools in Geometry

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Prepared by Yeo Lian Ming

1. Title : Mathematics Web-Based Learning For Malaysian Secondary Schools In Geometry

2. Chapter 1 Introduction

Background Of The Problem

Learning of geometry is formally introduced in the Malaysian primary mathematics curriculum. The emphasis in geometry increases as students progress to secondary education, where about forty percent of the sixty topics in the five-year secondary mathematics curriculum comprises geometry content (Malaysian Ministry of Education, 1998). It is paramount that students at the beginning level of secondary education are provided with logical reasoning skills to build on subsequently more rigorous experiences of formal geometry. The Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM,2000), and other important literature in the area of mathematics education call for emphasis in geometry at all levels. Geometry is a unifying theme to the entire mathematics curriculum and as such is a rich source of visualization for arithmetical, algebraic , and statistical concepts. For example, geometric regions and shapes are useful for development work with the meaning of fractional numbers, equivalent fractions, ordering of fractions, and computing of fractions (Sanders, 1998, p.20). However, geometric concepts are often neglected in elementary and middle level schools in favour of teaching computational skills ( Huetinck & Munshin, 2004 ; Noraini Idris, 2006 ). Various reasons related to mathematical system itself, curricular materials, instructional practice, and cognitive development have been proposed to explain students’ the difficulties with geometry. In many Malaysian schools, the teaching and learning of mathematics has been reported to be too teacher centred and that the students are not given enough opportunities to develop their own thinking (Malaysian Ministry of Education, 2001). This situation invariably results in students becoming passive receivers of information, which in many cases do not results in conceptual understanding. Many students are not able to comprehend what their mathematics teachers teach especially on the topic of geometry because mathematics content is taught with the intention of finishing the syllabus and preparing for examinations. Little regard is given to how well the students understand geometrical concepts. On the topic of geometry, students encounter difficulties in applying what they have learnt due to spatial inability and visualization problems. In secondary school, mathematics teacher’s biggest challenge is to find a way how to get students’ interest to learn geometry. Through web-based learning, teacher can give students a new and stimulating way to learn and practice mathematics when and where it is suitable for them. The use of computers in education can be utilized as a new technological support for the visualization of abstract concepts through computer-generated virtual representations, allowing for the generation of mental model of the geometrical concepts. Moreover, the use of the World Wide Web as an educational delivery medium has pushed the limits of instructional design. It is becoming commonplace for students to register for programs, access course materials, communicate and submit assignments, and retrieve grades electronically. Classrooms and conference facilities in schools around the world are web-friendly, with many offering video-conferencing or full virtual classroom facilities. But the real question is this: does web-technology help or hinder learning? The best answer seems to be that it depends on the situation. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes it hinders. On the plus side, the Internet has moved management education ahead by enabling rapid, easy access to education and information, shared workspace tools for collaboration, instant communication and messaging, and...
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