Graphics calculators:
Some implications for course content
and examination
M. Anderson, L. Bloom, U. Mueller
and P. Pedler
Department of Mathematics
Edith Cowan University
malcolm.anderson@cowan.edu.au
l.bloom@cowan.edu.au
u.mueller@cowan.edu.au
p.pedler@cowan.edu.au
Abstract
The availability of graphics calculators
in the classroom has sparked a revolution
in the teaching and examination of
both secondary and tertiary mathematics
whose implications have not yet been
fully explored. While it has been
quickly recognised that graphics calculators
allow the more formal aspects of topics
such as calculus and matrix algebra
to be downgraded in favour of realistic
and interesting applications, the
use of a symbolic and numerical package
in place of pencil and paper raises
a number of problems that are rarely
addressed in mathematics courses.
These include the limitations of the
calculator software, troubleshooting
and error analysis.
In this paper we consider some
changes that the use of graphics
calculators imposes on the teaching
and examination of Calculus and
Linear Algebra. We examine the type
of material that could be omitted
from the present syllabus, as well
as some topics that would need to
be added. In the latter category
we include some description of the
algorithms calculators use to construct
graphs, perform symbolic differentiation
and integration and solve systems
of linear equations. Particular
reference will be made to the HP38G
and HP48G graphics calculators.
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