Does the use of a graphing calculator tutorial affect the attitudes, achievement, and calculator ability of non-mathematics majors in a calculus course?
The use of graphing calculators in a mathematics classroom is becoming more common place. Teaching with technology has allowed for advancements in the rapidity with which students learn and the degree to which they retain the material taught. As a result, teachers have time to delve more deeply into mathematical topics that might otherwise have merely been touched upon. This study shows the effects of a graphing calculator tutorial for non-mathematics major students taking calculus as a required course. Qualitative methods were used in order to provide information about the types of students taking a calculus course for nonmathematic students. The tutorial was used to help the student better understand the use of a graphing calculator while learning calculus. The study tested changes in attitudes, achievement, and ability with respect to the use of a graphing calculator through the use of a post-survey, a pre/post-quiz, and overall grade comparison. The tutorial was not heavily used by the students. This finding suggests that students are not dependent on the use of a graphing calculator to better understand calculus and its applications.