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The Effect of Graphic Calculator on Teaching and Learning of Mathematics

The Effect of Graphic Calculator on Teaching and Learning of Mathematics

Introduction

Mathematics is the subject which students often find difficult. Therefore, Teacher education activities would consequently unfold the necessity of inserting mathematical discourse into the context of teaching mathematical concepts in an easier way to decrease the levels of anxiety. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2000) points out that technology is an essential component in teaching mathematics, and it influences the way mathematics is taught and learned (Grab and Grab, 2007 cited in Lijun Ye, 2009, p. 134).

Waits and Demana (1996) have defined the graphic calculator as a small device that can be used in the regular classroom and at home. It is a personal computational technology, and it is user friendly. The graphing calculator has been more and more popular within classrooms. “Over the past decade, secondary mathematics teachers have moved to adapt the graphing calculator into their practice”. (Waits and Demana, 1996 cited in Harskamp et al, 2000, p.37) But the question of the article seems to be, does it stand as a tool or a crutch within the classroom when it comes to student learning?

Literature Review

In the literature review several studies that investigate the effect of the graphic calculator in mathematics teaching and learning by discussing advantages for both students and teachers. The focus of the research is analysing the purpose of using a graphic calculator, which includes some advantages and limitations, and I will also refer to studies that have observed student working styles when using a graphic calculator.

These studies investigate, variously, a range of teaching / learning contexts and show the advantages and disadvantages of such usage.

On High-School Students Use of Graphic Calculators in Mathematics

It is difficult to know students thinking patterns when solving mathematical problems when using technology. Berry and Graham carried out research to investigate student working styles when using a graphic calculator by employing soft ware loaded into the calculator. The researchers also sought the effect of using a graphic calculator and sought to identify some of the barriers when using a graphic calculator for problem solving.

Two case studies were used as a research tool in order to observe students when using a graphic calculator to solve mathematical problems. The first case study created a group of seven students who took a statistics examination. The key record software was loaded into the graphic calculators that students were using during this examination. Students interviewed about their approach to the examination and their use of the graphic calculator after the examination. In the second case study, the researchers used key record software to observe a group of twelve first year undergraduate students who used a graphic calculator to find solutions for twelve mathematical tasks. Students were taking a calculus module.

This study found that the key record software was an excellent tool to capture student thought processes when using a graphic calculator ...

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