I am applying for academic mathematics positions, and I noticed that a few job applications ask for experience using technology in the classroom.

What use of "technology" in the classroom are these hiring committees looking for in an applicant?

The only things I can think of for mathematics is the use of computing programs, or videos and demonstrations shown on a projector.

  • 4
    Note that "in the classroom" here is meant figuratively, not literally; they are asking about your experience in using technology in your teaching, whether inside or outside the classroom. Nov 21, 2015 at 19:44
  • Also, often you can be just as justified for not using it especially in the literal classroom. A classics class will probably have less need than, say, a geology class. Tech for tech's sake isn't necessarily a good thing. But you definitely need to be experienced with things like Blackboard/Canvas. Nov 22, 2015 at 1:44

2 Answers 2


It's hard to guess exactly what the authors of the advertisement meant. However, there are lots of technologies that the advertisement could be referring to, including

  • Graphing calculators.
  • Numerical and symbolic computation software (MATLAB, Maple, Mathematica, etc.)
  • "Clicker" audience response systems.
  • Lecture capture recordings.
  • Prepared video clips for students to view outside of class.
  • Learning Management Systems like Blackboard, Canvas, etc.
  • Systems for online discussion of the course such as Piazza.
  • Computer based homework systems like WebWork, Maple TA, etc.

In evaluating candidates, I want to know what experience they've had with these technologies and how they've decided to incorporate them into their teaching.

Most experienced instructors will have used at least some of these and have opinions about how best to use them. A candidate who can't talk intelligently about these technologies is probably lacking teaching experience. Someone who claims experience with these technologies and has the "wrong" opinions about how to use them will likely be seen as a poor fit for the position.

Before you go for an on-campus interview (or even for a telephone or skype screening interview), it would be a good idea to see what technologies have been adopted at the campus you're visiting so you can be prepared to discuss this during your interview.

  • 1
    Nice. However, I'd note that I'm not looking for a particular set of "right" answers because I don't think I have all the answers, but the candidate should have a justification for their opinions that shows that they have thought about these thing in the context of actual teaching experience. I know some very good teachers who swear by clickers and other equal good teachers who loathe them; it depends on personal style and what other choices they'd made. Nov 21, 2015 at 22:35

Great answer from Brian, helpful comment from dmckee. I have a couple of thoughts to add.

Here's what they don't want: someone who just works his way across the blackboard panel by panel, as might have been done 40 years ago.

Please make sure that you have a clear purpose and intended benefit from each technological tool you introduce. Also remember to accommodate a variety of types of learners. (Example: My ODEs professor would write a complicated equation on the board and then stand smack dab in front of it while talking about it. I needed to see it while he was discussing the equation.)

Please don't forget about geogebra.

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