Developing Conceptual Understandings of Functions and Function-Related Concepts in Graphing Calculators Based Environment
AbstractThe study occurred in three Precalculus classes. Two intertwined aspects were considered. The first aspect dealt with enabling students to build a stronger conceptual understanding of functions and related concepts and the second was to study what conditions provide for a successful learning environment utilizing graphing calculators. The key factors identified and applied were: long-term exposure to ill-structured problems; writing about the concepts; the teacher answering questions with appropriate questions/prompts to provide for scaffolding; cooperative learning; and the teacher's proficiency with graphing calculator. The students developed a deeper understanding of the concepts and they were more willing to attempt complex problems. Their communication skills improved. The study indicates that problem-based learning in a technology oriented environment provides appropriate conditions for developing critical thinking and communication skills.