These Research Notes provide research-based answers to questions which are important to educators. Most of the Notes have been prepared by the Center for Technology in Learning of SRI International, Inc.
(1) What are the benefits of graphing calculators for students in developmental mathematics courses at the postsecondary level?
Existing research suggests that integration of graphing calculators can improve student conceptual understanding, attitudes toward math, and retention in college level studies in math and related fields. Learn more
(2) Should graphing calculators be allowed on important tests?
Broadly speaking, unless a test's goal is to measure mental arithmetic and related simple computational skills, including graphing calculators on tests does no harm. Further, including graphing calculators may increase the validity of the test and enable more accurate measurement of student skills in realistic situations. Learn more
(3) Should students have frequent access to graphing calculators?
Research shows that when students use graphing calculators frequently, they tend to score higher on national, state and school level tests. Frequent use can occur in class and/or during homework. Research also indicates that it is not simply the frequency of access, but types of use that matter. Learn more
(4) 6th Graders with Disabilities using 4-function Calculators: What one study says.
Students with disabilities performed better when they used a calculator, but still not as well as students without disabilities when they used a calculator. Learn more
(5) How graphing calculators build deep understanding: what one study says.
In an ethnographic study of TI-89 use in a Precalculus class, the device played an important, mediating role in the progressive evolution of mathematical thought, from the concrete to the abstract, or from material to theoretical knowledge. This study provides a detailed account of how deep conceptual understanding can build through use of a graphing calculator. Learn more
(6) Lessons from SimCalc: What research says.
SimCalc is a promising model for teaching mathematics in a technology-facilitated environment. At the heart of the model is the use of technology to integrate graphical, dynamic and linguistic representation to enhance student learning. At Texas Instruments, we see implications that extend far beyond the project and are important to the entire graphing calculator and classroom networking community in math and science education. Learn more
(7) Why invest in improving Algebra 2 and beyond?
By improving Algebra 2 and subsequent high school mathematics courses, schools could broaden the population of students who enroll and succeed in advanced mathematics courses. With each additional mathematics course completed, students become much more likely to graduate from college and to earn a high income as adults. Learn more
(8) Why should a teacher use technology in his or her mathematics classroom?
Technology can reduce the effort devoted to tedious computations and increase students' focus on more important mathematics. Equally importantly, technology can represent math in ways that help students understand concepts. In combination, these features can enable teachers to improve both how and what students learn. Learn more
(9) The Pedagogical Potential of TI-Nspire™
TI-Nspire™ technology extends current graphing calculator technology in ways that fit with research recommendations. Two important enhanced capabilities are (1) dynamically-linked multiple representations and (2) save and review of student work. Learn more
(10) Why should mathematics educators consider using technology with Computer Algebra System (CAS) features?
Some mathematics tools can input symbolic expressions, but output only numbers or graphs. CAS technology, however, can also output symbolic mathematical expressions. Researchers recommend that teachers use CAS features to focus on concepts, personalize the curricular sequence to fit student needs, and emphasize meaningful mathematical tasks. Although we await evidence based on the strongest research designs, studies throughout the world consistently report benefits when teachers integrate CAS with a focus on learning math concepts. Learn more
(11) Why is having access to portable handheld devices in a teacher's own math classroom better than going to an ICT suite?
Portable handheld devices in the teachers' own classroom enable frequent, integral use of technology in teaching, whereas when a teacher and students must go to a different room, ICTs are likely to be occasional and peripheral to the learning process. Frequent, integrated use in teaching provides greater benefits from an investment in technology. Learn more
(12) How can teachers translate students' positive attitudes towards ICTs into better mathematics learning?
Most of today's students like technology. Yet liking technology does not automatically translate into better learning. To make the link, teachers can give students more responsibility for their own learning and challenge students with substantive mathematical problems. Benefits include increased persistence in solving problems, and greater willingness to take on challenging problems requiring deep understanding. Learn more
(13) How does classroom use of TI-Nspire™ and the TI-Nspire™ Navigator™ System enhance student engagement, collaboration and learning?
Research on teachers' use of TI-Nspire technology in mathematics and science classrooms shows that the unique capabilities of this new generation of handheld device help teachers engage learners in exploration, focus on conceptual understanding, and deepen learners' work with mathematical and scientific models. In addition, research suggests that forthcoming integration of the TI-Nspire Navigator System will further enhance classroom collaboration and formative assessment. Learn more
(14) Does math achievement improve when teachers know more about student thinking in a TI-Navigator™ classroom?
Research shows that students tend to score higher on mathematics achievement tests when the teacher knows, through a network-connected classroom, more about how students are thinking about mathematics. Learn more
(15) Systemic vs. one-time teacher professional development: what does research say?
A growing consensus of researchers and practitioners has found that systemic, ongoing teacher professional development is more effective than traditional one-time workshops. Learn more
(16) A comprehensive framework for improving mathematics in low-performing secondary schools
To improve mathematics in lowperforming schools, educators should address a broad range of factors systemically, including an intensification strategy, coherent curriculum, effective pedagogy, deeper teacher mathematics knowledge, positive social factors and supportive organizational structures. Learn more
(17) How can teachers use technology to help students with special needs improve learning in mathematics?
Addressing students' special needs must start with getting the foundations of mathematics teaching right. Within good teaching practice, technology can support special needs students by offering multiple ways to represent mathematics, support action and expression, and engage students' interest, consonant with the principles of Universal Design for Learning. Learn more