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Graphics calculators: A (brief) case of technology

Bradley, J., Kemp, M. and Kissane, B. (1994) Graphics calculators: A (brief) case of technology. Australian Senior Mathematics Journal, 8 (2). pp. 23-30.

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Undergraduate service courses in mathematics are not generally regarded as providing fertile ground for experimentation, and nor are they usually sought after as stimulating educational environments. perhaps inaccurately on both counts. In many universities such courses rarely attract high profile staff, and are regarded as a necessary evil, providing 'bread and butter' work. In this paper, we suggest that the thoughtful use of graphics calculators in such an environment can not only have a positive effect on students and their learning, but can also act as a powerful stimulus fa staff. Indeed in a recent interview (Trotter, 1991) the prominent US mathematics educator Bert Waits said, "It's the most exciting thing I've been involved in my lifetime and a career of 30 years." In this paper we report on our own experiences, generally positive, but always interesting and challenging, in using graphics calculators in Fundamentals of Mathematics, a first year, semester long mathematics course, at Murdoch University. The paper provides some background, a rationale for using graphics calculators in the way that we have, and outlines the issues of teaching, learning and assessment that have arisen from this experience. It also includes some detailed evaluative information from both students and staff.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers
Copyright: 1994 AAMT
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