Yearly, the recognition of the capability of technology in the aspects of learning and teaching mathematics has been developing greatly. Various math congresses, workshops, and publications developed an idea of graphing calculators, which help to understand the concepts of mathematics. The graphing calculator is a small handheld device capable of solving various tasks, such as the ones with variables, solving the equations simultaneously, and plotting graphs. They can also be programmed to allow the users to develop programs, customized and applied in engineering or scientific and educational fields. The first graphing calculator was produced by Casio.
This technology has created challenges for teachers when performing their tasks in the classrooms. The teachers are forced to reconsider the content of the mathematics, strategies of assessment, and methods of education that they use, even though they have the ability to use an easier and a small computer (Bates). Graphing calculators change the notion of demonstrating the secondary mathematics knowledge, unlike the other calculators of the four functions that are a careful mixture.
This technology enhances students to learn basic concepts, explore open-ended questions, patterns, and rules that make the necessary application in the real world, which is accessible in their classrooms. The results and the use of graphing calculators are causing changes in the teaching process. This has made learning exciting since the students are able to visually interact with mathematics like never before in their education experience. The graphing calculator provides a pictorial form that is visible when handling the concepts in algebra, enhancing the students to understand the importance of solving mathematical problems and abstract patterns. Earlier, it could only be interpreted by the old and usual methods. It also enables the students to grasp the mathematical concepts by applying spatial visualization (Fey).
The use of the TI 84 graphing calculator makes the teaching and the learning process enjoyable and fun. The teacher or the instructor uses the system projected over the head panel in the classroom. This is now actively used, giving students a chance to discover things and experiment. They are able to visualize what they could have never imagined (Smith). Besides, an interactive environment is created, which gives room for the construction of mathematical understanding by the students themselves.
The use of this calculator was implemented so that there can be a supplement in the mathematics instructions in the classroom. The teacher guides the students when demonstrating the algebraic concepts and solving problems in a visual manner. Additionally, students attain other skills, such as the development of competency in solving problems, development of a more understanding concept in graphs, and other materials that are quantitative in their daily tasks, like fitting the graphs of functions to pictures and in the real world scenario. Hence, modeling and functions enhanced their concept images (Goldberg).
These calculators are made in a way that they have the computer algebra system. When data are entered into the calculators, they produce symbolic results. They control the expressions of the algebra, the operations that perform, for example, factors, and they expand them and simplify the equations. Interestingly, they produce answers without any approximations, but in the exact form. These calculators are also used in laboratories. They are attached to the meteorological instruments, pH gauges, and other laboratory devices and sensors, whereby they function as modules of communication in monitoring, interaction, and polling with the teacher.
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The graphing calculator, especially the TI 84 plus, is of great significance, in particular to high school science and mathematics. It has A MathPrintTM, a technology where students can enter equations and fractions in the proper notation, and they are able to see it exactly as it is displayed on the board and as printed (Fey). This encourages students to participate in mathematical and science congress since it enables them to solve mathematical problems very easily as compared to earlier methods, where they had to solve the problems manually.
It is common that the use of a graphical calculator is not an issue in any way, but it leads to various educational issues, like why should these calculators be used in teaching mathematics and how should the technology be used? Although this technology is very important, it has caused other issues and questions, like: is it really important to understand and know the similar content today as compared to the earlier days when this technology has not been used? What is it that can be learned in a new way? What is it that can be of value and be added to the curriculum as a cause of this new technology? Graphical calculators can do much more than just simple things. They have been developed in a way that supplements the mathematical learning experience.
The mathematical concepts that can be applied in the use of the graphical calculator involve the use of the calculator as the expediency tool, amplifiers of the theoretical knowledge, integration vehicle, and critical thinking catalyst.
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The students miss the key aspect in the mathematical lesson when they find themselves in a trap that involves the computation of tedious mathematics or the plotting of a complex graph point by point. This calculator is used as an expediency tool since it minimizes the time and the energy needed for solving cumbersome mathematical tasks. For example, the parabola drawn using the graphical calculator explains the quadratic equation examination.
Using the calculators as the conceptual understanding amplifiers enables the provision of multiple mathematical concepts. This is possible through curve tracing and table building; this allows the students to practice the information in a meaningful and varied way. For instance, the division of fractions using the graphical calculator shows that it is similar to multiplication using the reciprocal (Goldberg).
The use of the graphical calculator will become more advanced in the future if at all more research can be conducted. To my mind, the graphical calculator will be able to analyze the data and draw the line, as well as scatter graphs and make predictions of the data in terms of extrapolation and interpolation. The graphing calculator can be improved by enlarging the internal memory of the system so that more data can be stored in it and no data is deleted (unless one wants to do that). This technology is there to exist since it has improved the attitudes of students towards mathematics, their understanding, and their grasping of mathematical concepts. Furthermore, it is fast, accurate, and more reliable. The use of the graphing calculator is a step forward to a more mature and knowledgeable body concerning the graphing calculator application in the learning and teaching process.