The Use of
Graphic Calculators in the Malaysian Secondary Schools: Students'
Perspective and Teachers' Constraints
Husna Hasan husna@cs.usm.my
School of Mathematical Sciences Universiti Sains Malaysia Malaysia
Abstract
Graphic calculators were introduced into the Malaysian New Curriculum
for Secondary Schools to enhance the quality of teaching and learning
of mathematics in the classrooms. This is also in line with its new
revised curriculum. A number of schools were selected to receive
graphic calculators (TI83 Plus) to be incorporated into the teaching
of mathematics and science subjects. A project on exploration of
graphing calculators has been carried out at a rural school. The
students involved were in Form 4 (16 years old) at the secondary
school. They come from low income families and have limited access to
the new technology. Because of that, their interests in mathematics are
questionable and they thought mathematics is a very difficult subject
in school. Two topics (Statistics and Linear Line) from the syllabus of
their mathematics curriculum were chosen. In addition to the
traditional way of teaching, the students were also exposed to the
graphic calculators to help them understand mathematical concepts.
Their perception after learning the topics were noted before and after
using the graphic calculators to see whether their interest has changed
due to the usage of graphic calculators. Their preferences towards the
topics in the syllabus were also noted to see whether graphic
calculators could change their preferences on certain topics. At the
end of their learning process, a test was given to this group of
students and their scores were compared to the control group (not
exposed to graphing calculators). Statistical analyses show that their
interest in the Statistic topic have been altered by the usage of
graphic calculators. There is also a tendency for certain topics to be
preferred over others due to graphic calculators. The ttest shows that
there is a significant difference in scores achieved by the two groups
of students. The project students were very satisfied with what they
have achieved and they feel that the use of graphic calculator has
given them a significant change in the way they think about mathematics
as a whole. At the end of the paper, the problems and constraints that
the teachers may face during teaching and how to overcome them were
discussed.
