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Graphing Calculator for Probability Students: How Was It Perceived?

Keywords: handheld technology , graphing calculator , beliefs and perceptions , Probability

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Abstract:

Most students see Mathematics as one of the most challenging and stressful subjects, which if given an option, would rather opt out than undertake it. With low motivation and interest levels, the thought of undertaking a course in Mathematics can be worrying for some. Consequently, teachers are faced with disinterested students, who are passive in class, which makes teaching of the subject even more challenging. At times, with non participative students, Mathematics classrooms appear 'solemn'. Through the years, teachers have been experimenting or 'trying out' various approaches/techniques, in their attempt to develop students' interest and motivation. With the advent of information technology tools, teachers have now attempted to adopt more innovative approaches and incorporate ICT tools into Mathematics classrooms as well. One such tool is the graphing calculator (GC), which is adopted in this study. The incorporation of GCs into Malaysian Mathematics classrooms is at its infant stages. The study examined the students' reactions toward the incorporation of GCs into Probability lessons as well as the subject itself. Findings favor the adoption of GC in learning Probability, particularly in terms of calculator usage, quality of output, understanding of Probability concepts, confidence in solving problems, enhanced communication abilities and positive attitudes towards GC. Recommendations made aimed at assisting educators, policy-makers and researchers in enhancing the quality of the teaching and learning of Probability.

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