The Use of
Graphic Calculators in the Malaysian Secondary Schools: Students'
Perspective and Teachers' Constraints
School of Mathematical Sciences
Universiti Sains Malaysia
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 (TI-83 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 t-test 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.