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What Students Choose to Do and Have to Say About Use of Multiple Representations in College Algebra
Article

, Rowan University, United States

JCMST Volume 26, Number 1, ISSN 0731-9258 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA

Abstract

This report summarizes findings on strategies chosen by students (n=38) when solving algebra problems related to various functions with the freedom to use a TI-83 graphing calculator, influences on student problem-solving strategy choices, student ability to approach algebra problems with use of multiple representations, and student beliefs on how the use of multiple representations affects their understanding of functions. Findings indicate that even when students are knowledgeable and capable of using the calculator for graphical and tabular approaches to problems after regular use of the calculator in class for solving similar problems, they tend to choose to use symbolic methods of solution as their primary strategy. Influences on why students choose one representation over another when solving problems include student perception of what is mathematically proper, student perception of instructor beliefs about the value of given methods, processes and uses of representations modeled by instructors, and the efficiency in which a given representation can produce an answer to a problem. Students were better at approaching problems with the use of multiple representations at the end of their 10-week algebra course than at the beginning of the course. They recognized benefits of learning many ways to approach a problem and thought that using multiple representations deepened their understanding. However, many students maintained the belief that symbolic manipulation is the mathematically correct way of solving problems while graphical and tabular uses of the calculator should only be used for checking purposes.

Citation

Herman, M. (2007). What Students Choose to Do and Have to Say About Use of Multiple Representations in College Algebra. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 26(1), 27-54. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved October 20, 2019 from .

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