Electronic Proceedings of the Seventh Annual International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics

Orlando, Florida, November 17-20, 1994

Paper C003

Graphing and Visualization in the College Algebra Classroom

Margo Alexander

Department of Mathematics & Computer Sciences
Georgia State University
University Plaza
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: (404) 651-2245
Fax: (404) 651-2246

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Each year technological advancements play an increasingly important role in the mathematics curriculum. The applications and implications of hand-held graphing calculators are reshaping methods for teaching mathematics. Graphing calculators now provide students with the opportunity to interact visually with mathematics in ways never experienced before in their education.

The role of the TI-82 graphing calculator in the mathematics classroom was the focus of a study done at Georgia State University in the winter 1994 and spring 1994 quarters. The course was designed to implement the use of technology in the college algebra classroom in order to meet the needs and purposes of today's students.

The purpose of the study was to investigate how the graphing calculator can provide a visual pictorial form to algebraic concepts, thereby enabling students to 'see' the significance of abstract patterns and mathematical problem solving that previously could be interpreted only by traditional means.

The results indicated that students response to the use of technology in the classroom was very positive. Most students believed that concrete visualization through the use of graphing calculators was beneficial to their understanding of algebraic concepts. The instructional strategies used in this research show that the use of graphing calculators gave the students the opportunity to explore more topics and develop their problem solving skills.

Keyword(s): graphing calculators, TI-82, college algebra