Title

The implementation of technology in the calculus classroom: An examination of teacher beliefs, practice and curriculum change

Date of Award

1992

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation

Advisor(s)

Philip L. Doughty

Keywords

Teaching, New technology, Teacher goals, Teaching style, Change

Subject Categories

Education

Abstract

This study examines the process of implementation through the beliefs and practices of teachers in order to gain an understanding of the relationship between teacher constructs, contextual influences, actual use, and the meaning that teachers acquired for the change. The new curriculum which was implemented included the use of programmable graphics calculators in teaching calculus.

The research design is based on the use of comparative case studies. The primary data were collected through in-depth interviews with each of the teachers who implemented the Pilot Program. The interviews were audio taped, then transcribed. These data were supplemented with fieldnotes from classroom observations, workshops, and seminars.

Findings center on the relationship between teachers' goals, view of their role, teaching style, actual use, and their acquired meaning for the change. Contextual influences are discussed. The teachers' meaning for the change includes their perceptions of the role and value of the technology in classroom instruction. Changes in teachers' instructional methods and beliefs concerning teaching and learning are discussed. The findings also include the change which occurred in the curriculum.

The use of the calculator as an instructional tool is compatible with interactive or inquiry-oriented methodologies. Teachers with teaching styles which support the use of these methodologies used the calculator more during instruction. The teachers' meaning for the change ran along a continuum from perceiving it as a computational tool to that of an instructional tool. Those on the computational end stressed content-oriented goals and viewed learning as listening. The teachers who grew to view the strength of the calculator as an instructional tool have student-centered and discipline level goals for their students; interactive, inquiry-driven teaching styles; and student-centered views on learning which included the view that students can learn through interactions.

The use of the calculator as an instructional tool in the calculus classroom requires some change in the curriculum, is a vehicle for implementing parts of the existing curriculum, and is a vehicle for reform due to things it now makes possible which couldn't be done without the use of technology.

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