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|Title:||The effects of using software tools to study functions and their graphs|
|Author(s):||Frederick, Harold Richard|
|Doctoral Committee Chair(s):||Travers, Kenneth J.|
|Department / Program:||Education|
|Degree Granting Institution:||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
Education, Technology of
|Abstract:||The use of function plotter software for instruction holds great potential. Articles have been written that tell of the use of the software in the classroom and that sound very positive. But there is very little empirical evidence that shows the effect on achievement of using function plotters. The research reported in this study informs educators about the effect on achievement of plotting points by hand versus seeing them plotted by a computer.
One group (Plotter Group, n = 18) of volunteers from a beginning university algebra course completed graphing tasks using software that plotted on the computer monitor the graph of a function that the student entered into the computer. The other group (Table Group, n = 18) used software that give only the solution pairs for the graph of the function. These had to be plotted by the student in order to see the graph. In both cases, the student was relieved of doing the tedious calculations.
The students completed a set of tasks taking about 5 hours (over a 6 week period) involving functions and their graphs. The treatment did not have an overall effect on achievement measured by a post-test and by final exam items nor did it have a differential effect on post-treatment mathematics or computer attitudes. There was, however, an interaction between the treatment and both the graphing ability as measured by the pre-test and the computer experience of the subjects. The subjects with lower graphing ability received higher final exam scores if they used table software rather than plotter software. Those with higher pre-test scores did not differ in the two treatment groups.
Subjects who had not taken computer programming in high school scored significantly lower on the final exam if they were in the Plotter Group than the subjects in the Table Group. Mathematics ability and computer programming experience may have helped the subjects to cope with the plotter software which may have been seen as complex or too graphic.
It appears that when using new tools such as function plotters in education one needs to take into account the experiences and abilities of the learner. Such tools should be used discriminately to be most effective.
|Rights Information:||Copyright 1989 Frederick, Harold Richard|
|Date Available in IDEALS:||2011-05-07|
|Identifier in Online Catalog:||AAI8916248|