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Teachers’ Perceptions of the Impact of Graphing Calculators in the Mathematics Classroom Article

, Montana State University, United States ; , Oregon State University, United States

JCMST Volume 16, Number 2, ISSN 0731-9258 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards states that at the high school level, graphing calculators must be available to all students at all times. The purpose of this study was to compile teachers' impressions of the barriers and/or incentives associated with the use of graphing calculators on classroom dynamics, curriculum and evaluation, training, support, and overall attitude. Hewlett-Packard (HP) gave 30 HP-48S graphing calculators and an overhead projection device to 36 high schools across the United States. Each school was also given a mandatory 1-day inservice, as well as an optional 1-week summer workshop, on how to use the calculator and integrate it into the classroom. A year later, each of the schools was contacted and asked if a teacher would participate in a telephone interview which contained primarily open-ended questions. Twentyseven teachers, representing a wide range of high school mathematics classes, participated in the audiotaped interviews. Recurring themes that emerged from the interviews were organized into these categories: (a) advantages of calculator use, (b) disadvantages of calculator use, (c) classroom dynamics, (d) curriculum and evaluation, and (e) professional support and development. The results demonstrated that the teachers' perceptions of the advantages appeared to be instructionally related, whereas the perceptions of the disadvantages appeared to be primarily logistical in nature. The dynamics of a classroom tended to shift to more discussion, inquiry, and cooperative learning. There was considerable reluctance to deviate from stringent curriculum requirements that are reinforced by standardized tests. This study gave teachers a chance to share their knowledge, experiences, and insights, which in turn will help guide the design of curriculum materials, inservice programs, and support systems to best equip teachers to handle the demands and opportunities that technology presents.


Simonsen, L.M. & Dick, T.P. (1997). Teachers’ Perceptions of the Impact of Graphing Calculators in the Mathematics Classroom. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 16(2), 239-368. Charlottesville, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved April 27, 2018 from .