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Jurnal Pendidikan Matematik, 2 (1), 16-31 (2014)

ISSN: 2231-9425

ENHANCING STUDENTS’ UNDERSTANDING OF STATISTIC


USING TI-NSPIRE GRAPHING CALCULATOR
Nor’ain Mohd. Tajudin 1, Noraini Idris2
1
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Tanjong Malim, Perak
2
Faculty of Education
University of Malaya

ABSTRACT
In general, the potential for graphing calculators (GC) to radically change the teaching of Statistics is
enormous. Students can analyze data numerically and graphically, compare expected results to observe
results, create models to describe relationships, and generate simulations to understand statistical
situations in ways that would not be possible without technology. Further, it allows students to use real
data in real situations, move easily between tabular representations, graphical representations, and
symbolic representations of the data, and provides the opportunity to think about how each representation
contributes to understanding the data. These activities will enable students to create relationships in their
own minds and constructing their own knowledge derived from basic knowledge and experiences during
statistics classes. This paper elaborates how the TI-Nspire GC can be used to enhance students’
understanding in learning Statistics and presents a quasi-experimental study which investigates form four
students’ performance in learning Statistics using the tools. The results showed that students in the
experimental group (GC strategy) had significantly better scores in the Statistics Achievement Test than
those from the control group (conventional instructional strategy). These findings indicate that students
who were exposed to the use of TI-Nspire GC performed better in the test. The use of this strategy
enables students to exploit the fullest advantages of the use of GC in achieving in-depth understanding of
statistical concepts and facilitating students in solving statistical problems.

Keywords: Graphing calculator, TI-Nspire graphing calculator strategy, conventional instructional


strategy, statistics for secondary school

INTRODUCTION

There are many kinds of technology that are considered relevant to teach statistics these
days. These range from very powerful computer software such as Mathematical, Maple,
and Math Lab to much powerless technologies such as the use of calculators and paper
and pencil. The use of hand-held technologies, namely, the graphing calculators has
been explicitly suggested in the curriculum specifications for secondary school
mathematics (Ministry of Education, 2012). In the case of graphing calculator, the
Ministry of Education has started distributing the graphing calculators to several
hundred secondary schools throughout the country since 2002. However, the usage of
graphic calculators in Malaysian school is still in the early stage and there are not many
schools which have explored the use of the technology (Noraini, 2006; Nor’ain et al.,
2009; Lim & Kor, 2004). Furthermore, Malaysia has not started on compulsory
Jurnal Pendidikan Matematik, 2 (1), 16-31 (2014)
ISSN: 2231-9425

implementation of using graphic calculator in teaching and learning of mathematics. In


comparison, countries such as England, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and
United States of America has longed implement the usage of graphic calculator as early
as 1998. Since the scientific calculators are already used in the Malaysian Certificate
Examination level, it would also be timely to think about using graphing calculators in
the context of mathematics teaching and learning and thus in Malaysian public
examination. This would bring Malaysian secondary mathematics education to be at par
with other countries and thus, it is worth to spend a large amount of money acquiring
the handheld devices.

Even though graphing calculators were distributed to several selected schools in 2002,
not much success has been recorded as to their use in mathematics classroom practices.
Most probably, the problem is that most teachers have not learnt mathematics using
these technology tools before hence they were lack of knowledge of technological
pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) on how to use them in mathematics teaching.
According to a study by Effandi and Norazah (2007), two factors have been identified
as the main factors in the application of technology in the teaching and learning of
mathematics. The first factor is the teachers’ perception that the use of technology is not
able to help in the teaching and learning of mathematics. This was further worsened by
the fact that teachers always claim that they do not have sufficient time to prepare for
ICT integrated lessons. According to a research by Haslina et al. (2000), in the present
teachers’ professional development courses, there are hands-on activities but this was
not supported by relevant modules or manuals for the facilitators and the course
participants. The activities conducted in those courses are teacher-centered and in most
situations, courses are conducted using softcopy materials supplied by vendors. The
approach was rather ineffective in the learning of the particular software which
normally requires active participation from the participants.

Mathematics teachers need preparation in identifying what and how to teach in the era
of 21st century. They need guidance to be able to do and how do they need to develop
this knowledge for teaching mathematics. In other words, to be prepared to teach
mathematics, teachers need an in-depth understanding of mathematics (content),
teaching and learning (the pedagogy), and TPCK – “an overarching conception of their
subject matter with respect to technology and what it means to teach with technology”
(Niess, 2005, p.510). TPCK for teaching with technology means that as teachers think
about particular mathematics concepts, they are concurrently considering how they
might teach the important ideas embodied in the mathematical concepts in such a way
that the technology places the concept in a form understandable by students.

Thus, this research attempts to provide the current best practices in integrating the use
of latest graphing calculator technology (i.e. TI-Nspire) in teaching and learning of
mathematics, to compare the effects of using graphing calculators in teaching and

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learning of mathematics on students’ performance hence expanding the knowledge base


for these technologies.

Mathematical Understanding and the Use of TI-Nspire Graphing Calculator

According to Skemp (1976, 1978), the concept of ‘understanding’ is a faux amis. He


looks at understanding mathematics from two perspectives, both of which fulfill
particular functions in everyday life. They are relational understanding and instrumental
understanding. The former refers to knowing both what to do and why while the latter is
only the ability to apply rules (knowing what to do) but without knowing the reasons
(the why). Skemp (1978) further mentions that instrumental understanding is just a
piece of rote memorization of basic skills and algorithms while relational understanding
is robust, connected and full of interconnecting ideas and less dependence on memory.
The knowledge acquired by a learner instrumentally might be rendered useless if the
learner confronts a slightly different problem situation while knowledge gain through
relational understanding is more adaptable to new tasks.

Perkins (1993) and his colleagues at Harvard University formulate a concept of


understanding based on the performance perspective. Briefly, this performance
perspective mentions that understanding a topic of study is concerned with the ability to
perform in a variety of thought-demanding ways relating to the topic. Examples of
thought-demanding ways are explaining, gathering evidence, finding examples,
generalizing, applying concepts, analogizing and representing in a new way. Perkins
(1993) further stresses that the more thought-demanding performances the student can
display, the more confident the teacher would be that the student understands.

Hiebert and Carpenter (1992) define understanding in terms of the way information is
represented and structured. They argue that the mathematical idea, procedure, or fact is
understood if its mental representation which is the internal network is part of a network
of representations. The number and the strength of the connections will determine the
degree of understanding. Further, mathematical idea, procedure, or fact is understood
thoroughly if it is linked to existing networks with stronger or more numerous
connections. Hiebert and Carpenter also emphasized that the connections which create
networks form several kinds of relationships, including similarities, differences, and
inclusions and subsumptions.

Recently, Carpenter and Lehrer (1999) characterized understanding in mathematics and


science in terms of mental activity. This mental activity contributes to the development
of understanding and not as a static attribute of a person’s knowledge. The five forms of
mental activity are; constructing relationships, extending and applying mathematical
and scientific knowledge, reflection, articulation, and making knowledge one’s own.

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Basically, the notions of understanding put forward by Skemp (relational


understanding), Perkins (performance perspective), Hiebert and Carpenter
(representation of knowledge) and Carpenter and Lehrer (five forms of mental activity)
all point to the same thing; the main ingredient in understanding should be the ability of
the learners to retain what they learn and transfer it meaningfully to novel situations.

The instrumental knowledge of statistics is knowledge of a set of planning that is fixed


for performing statistics tasks. The characteristic of these plans is that they prescribe a
step-by-step procedure to be followed in performing a given task, with each step
determining the next (Skemp, 1978, p.14). However, the process of learning statistical
concepts and skills are active. The students should learn by investigating, exploring, and
collecting data by themselves. These activities will enable students to create
relationships in their own minds and constructing their own knowledge derived from
basic knowledge and experiences during statistics classes. These activities would have
been too difficult to attempt without technology. Exploratory activity in statistics lesson
may facilitate an active approach to learning as opposed to a passive approach where
students just sit back passively listening to the teacher. This creates an enthusiastic
learning environment. This clearly shows the application of constructivist learning
environment.

One form of technology, the graphing calculator, has “become one of the most widely
adopted technologies in education because they are a proven-effective, affordable,
handheld device with direct linkages to curricula” (Roschelle & Singleton, 2008, p.
951).TI-Nspire technology extends current graphing calculator technology in ways that
fit with research recommendations (Centre for Technology in Learning, SRI
International, 2007). Specifically, TI-Nspire learning handhelds have bigger, sharper
screens, allowing graphs to be explicitly labelled and for students to see graphed
functions in more detail. Two important enhanced capabilities of the TI-Nspire graphing
calculator are dynamically-linked multiple representations and save and review of
student work.

Previous graphing calculators were designed with a screen that allowed for individual
representation of mathematical analysis (e.g., students were unable to view a graph of a
function and the mathematical equation at the same time). The TI-Nspire technology
can display up to four representations namely algebraic, graphical, geometric, numeric
and written on the same screen. These representations can be dynamically linked, so
that changes made to one representation of a concept are automatically reflected in
others instantly. Changes can be viewed simultaneously across multiple representations.
The Centre for Technology in Learning (2007) noted that these linked representations
helped focus students’ attention on the relationships among algebraic equations, graphs,
and tables of data.

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Furthermore, with TI-Nspire technology, students and the teacher can create, edit and
save a sequence of mathematical steps in a document that can be saved and later re-
opened. Research suggests that the save and review feature can improve teaching and
learning by enhancing reflection, enabling formative assessment and increasing
academic learning time. Ng. (2011) stated that the TI-Nspire should be used to
stimulate students to think mathematically so that they can engage strongly with
mathematical structures and concepts in ways that are not possible with traditional
paper and pencil approaches.

In this study, by using the tool such as the TI-Nspire graphing calculator, students may
have the benefits in developing their understanding of statistical concepts including
grasp of basic concepts before they study further advanced topics. Therefore, in order to
help students learn statistics with understanding the teacher should facilitate the
construction of ideas concepts and processes through a careful selection of resource
materials and relevant with the real world problems. Rather than just development of
mechanical and computational skills, TI-Nspire graphing calculators also allow for
cultivation of analytical adeptness and proficiency in complex thought process.
Problems representing real-world situation and data with complicated numbers can also
be addressed. This would offer new opportunities for students to encounter statistical
ideas not in the curriculum at present. With appropriate use of the graphing calculator,
students can avoid time-consuming, tedious procedures and devote a great deal of time
concentrating on understanding concepts, developing higher order thinking skills, and
learning relevant applications. In addition to paper-and-pencil, mental and estimation
skills, the graphing calculator assists student to execute the procedures necessary to
understand and apply the statistical concepts.

In this study, statistics achievement is one of the variables investigated by introducing


the graphing calculators, specifically the TI-NSpire as teaching and learning tool in the
mathematics classroom. Specifically, this study will find out whether the use of the TI-
Nspire graphing calculators by students and teachers in the teaching and learning of the
Statistics topics effective in increasing student achievement.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The research questions for this study are:

1. How TI-Nspire graphing calculator can be used to enhance students’ understanding


in learning the Statistics topic?
2. What are the effects of TI-Nspire graphing calculator on the Statistics achievement of
Form Four (16 years old) students?

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METHODS AND PROCEDURES

This study was a case study and employed the quasi-experimental nonequivalent
control-group pretest posttest design. Figure 1 shows the diagrammatic representation of
the nonequivalent control-group pretest posttest design. An X indicates an experimental
treatment, and a “dash” indicates no experimental treatment. The O1s indicate the
measurements made during the pretest while the O2s indicate the measurements made
during the posttest. A pretest and post test was administered to both the control and
experimental groups. The experimental group underwent an intervention where they
learnt mathematics using the TI-Nspire CX graphing calculator for four weeks while the
control group on the other hand learnt mathematics using conventional learning method.
The conventional instruction strategy was a whole-class instruction. Students were not
allowed to use the TI-Nspire graphing calculator. The following are the activities which
were used by the teacher in the classroom; teacher explains the mathematical concepts
using only the blackboard, teacher explains on how to solve mathematical problems
related to the concepts explained, students are given mathematical problems to be
solved individually, teacher handles discussion of problem solving, and teacher gives
the conclusion of the lesson

Group Pretest Treatment Posttest

Experimental O1 X O2

Control O1 - O2

Figure 1. Research Design of the Study

The sample of the study was selected purposely from two secondary schools in Perak
State, Malaysia. Results of Form Four students in the two selected schools were
examined. Students from the average classes were selected as accessible group. For this
purpose, the best and weakest classes were omitted as these groups of students may not
have the same characteristics as those from the average classes. The fish-bowl which is
the most unbiased sampling technique was used to select two intact classes of average
students (Nachmias & Nachmias, 1981).For each school, one of the classes served as
the experimental group (graphing calculator strategy group) while the other class served
as the control group (conventional instructional strategy group). The total number of
students in the sample was 49 in the control group and 46 in the experimental group.

The Statistics Achievement Test (SAT) is designed by the researcher to measure


students’ performance on the Statistics topics. Initially, a test specification table for
SAT is prepared by the researcher incorporating the different levels of ability or
achievement according to Blooms Taxonomy. Furthermore, it was constructed based
on the Form Four mathematics syllabus and the Form Four mathematics textbooks. It
was a systematic formal test, using a paper-and-pencil procedure and it produced
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numerical scores. The test covered four main Statistics subtopics vis-à-vis measures of
central tendency and dispersion, concepts of histogram, concepts of frequency polygons
and concepts of cumulative frequency. All the questions are submitted to the validators
for content validation. The reliability index of Cronbach’s coefficient alpha SAT was
determined to be 0.70. Thus, the reliability of the test is considered sufficiently
acceptable.

The SAT was administered to all students in the sample. The test was conducted on two
occasions as a pre-test, and post-test. The purpose of the pre-test was to examine the
students’ prior knowledge in order to provide a baseline before the experiment. The
post-test was used to measure the students’ knowledge after the treatments had been
applied.

The data collected from the research instruments was analyzed quantitatively to answer
the research questions. Data were obtained from the pretest and posttest of Statistics
Achievement. The statistical analysis software SPSS was utilized to calculate the mean
and standard deviation of the scores from the control and experimental groups of each
participating school. In this study, firstly, the independent mean t-test was conducted
on the SAT scores to determine if the difference between the experimental group and
the control group of each participating schools prior to the intervention is significant or
not significant. If the tests show that the difference between the two groups prior to the
treatment is not significant, then the independent mean t-test will be conducted on the
scores of the post-tests of each participating schools to determine whether the difference
between the experimental group and the control group after the treatment is significant
or not significant. If the tests show that the difference between the two groups prior to
the treatment are significant, then the ANCOVA test will be conducted on the scores of
the post-tests of each participating schools to determine whether the difference between
the experimental group and the control group after the treatment is significant or not
significant. The ANCOVA is used in this case as it will make correction to the
difference that existed between the experimental and control groups prior to treatment
so that the difference observed between the experimental and control groups after
treatment is only due to the treatment and not because of the difference that existed
between the two groups earlier (Fraenkal & Wallen, 2006). The use of the ANCOVA
will also enable the study to determine whether the difference between the experimental
and control groups after the treatment is significant or not significant.

How TI-Nspire Graphing Calculator can be used to Enhance Students’


Understanding in Statistics Topic

The following examples show how the TI-Nspire graphing calculator can be used to
enhance students’ understanding in the Statistics Topic. There were two examples of
lessons given in this article. Both examples were explained briefly in this article.

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Lesson 1 consisted of two activities. The first activity was to achieve the learning
objective of understanding a set of data by using a measures of central tendency and
measures of dispersion. In this activity, the learning outcomes were students will be able
to
1. Identify the types of statistical data- ungrouped data and grouped data.
2. Explore and calculate various measures of central tendency and measures of
dispersion using TI-Nspire graphing calculator
3. Explore and predict the changes to measures of central tendency and measures
of dispersion using TI-Nspire graphing calculator when the data change.
4. Predict and create formulas for measures of central tendency and measures of
dispersion.

In this first activity (ungroup data), students will create a column for a data using “Add
Lists & Spreadsheet to: New Document”. They will find the statistical calculation of the
data using the statistical menu and the One-Variable Statistics box. Then, teacher needs
to change the values of the data, and try to discuss the changes of each measure of
central tendency and dispersion. Students will explore the possibilities of varying the
data. In addition, teacher can guide students to give the definition of each measure and
can ask students to predict the formula for each measure.

In second activity (group data), student will create four columns for the lower
boundaries, upper boundaries, mid-points and frequencies of the data. To find the
statistical calculation, students will do the same thing as for the ungroup data for
Activity 1.As in Activity 1, teacher needs to change the values of the data, and try to
discuss the changes of each measure of central tendency and dispersion. Students will
explore the possibilities of varying the data. Teacher can also guide students to give the
definition of each measure and can ask students to predict the formula for each measure.
In addition, teacher will ask students to give opinions about the difference between
Activity 1 and 2, and give the conclusion of doing these two activities.

Lesson 2 also consisted of two activities to understand the concept of histogram. The
learning outcomes were students will be able to
1. Draw a histogram for ungrouped data and grouped data with equal class width
using TI-Nspire using TI-Nspire graphing calculator.
2. Interpreting the information from histogram.
3. Explore and analyze the data from the histogram to solve statistics problem.

In the first activity, students will use the same set of ungroup data as in Activity 1 in
Lesson 1(save in file named “score”) to create a histogram. Students will create a
histogram by choosing 5: Add Data & Statistics, and 3: Histogram. Students can draw
the histogram by touching their touchpad and move the cursor to each bar of the
histogram or pressing the menu and choose 4: Analyze and A: Graph Trace. Based on
students’ experience in Activity 1(Lesson 1), the teacher can ask students to change the
class interval of the histogram based on the criteria such as : (i)Size of class interval: 4.
(ii) The lower boundary of the first class interval: 3.5. Then, students can discuss the

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changes that they had explored. As described, the students were able to build their plots
to explore and analyze the data

For activity 2, students will use the set of group data as in Activity 2 in Lesson 1(save in
file named “study time”) to create a new histogram. The teacher will ask students to
discuss the steps that they need to be considered before drawing the histogram for
grouped and ungrouped data. Then, teacher will ask students to do group discussions to
solve problems related to the concepts of histogram in daily life using the TI-Nspire
activity.

Students’ Achievements in Statistics Topics

Students’ Statistics achievement was measured by the overall test performance in


Statistics Achievement Test (SAT). The test was a systematic formal test, using a paper-
and-pencil procedure and it produced numerical scores. The total test performance for
the SAT was 34. The test was conducted in the 4 sample schools twice, firstly as a
pretest before the study and again as a posttest at the end of the study.

Table 1. Mean, standard deviation and t-values for both groups for pretest
School Group N Mean s. d t- p-value
value

A Experimental 25 10.08 4.56


-4.278 .000
Control 25 15.44 4.29

B Experimental 21 21.76 6.14


2.556 .015
Control 24 17.63 4.45

Table 1 shows the means and standard deviations for pre-SAT test for both
experimental and control groups for School A and B. The results show that in pre-SAT
test, the control group had a mean score of 15.44 (standard deviation = 4.29) and the
experimental group had a mean of 10.08 (standard deviation = 4.56). The computed t-
value between the pretests of the control and experimental group is -4.278 at p = .000.
Hypothesis testing shows that this value is significant at p < 0.05. This also mean that
the students in the control and experimental were not similar in their achievement in the
Statistics topic prior to the treatment. For School B, the control group had a mean score
of 17.63 for the pre- SAT test (standard deviation = 4.45) and the experimental group
had a mean of 21.76 (standard deviation = 6.14). The computed t-value between the
pretest of the control and experimental groups is t=2.556 at p = .015. Hypothesis testing
shows that this value is significant at p < 0.05. This indicates that both groups were
differs in their SAT tests prior to the treatment. Therefore, the ANCOVA test is
conducted on the scores of the post-SAT tests to determine whether the difference
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between the experimental group and the control group after the treatment is significant
or not significant for both schools.

Table 2. Mean, standard deviation for experimental and control groups on pre and
posttests of SAT
School Group N Mean s.d
A Covariate Experimental 25 20.24 5.16
(pretest)
Dependent Control 25 14.72 7.04
(Posttest)
B Covariate Experimental 21 23.95 6.58
(pretest)
Dependent Control 24 17.79 5.58
(Posttest)

Means and standard deviations of the students’ achievement in SAT tests based on the
posttest given are shown in Table 2. For School A, the post-SAT test mean for the
experimental group was 20.24 (standard deviation = 5.16) and the posttest mean for the
control group was 14.72 (standard deviation = 7.04). Using the analysis of covariance,
there was a significant difference on the mean performance scores in the SAT between
the experimental and the control groups (F(1, 48) = 10.38, p < 0.05, partial eta squared
= .181). The findings of the ANCOVA showed that the experimental group performed
significantly better that the control group in learning Statistics topic.

For School B, the post-SAT test mean for the experimental group was 23.95 (standard
deviation =6.58) and the posttest mean for the control group was 17.79 (standard
deviation = 5.58). Using the analysis of covariance, there was a significant difference on
the mean performance scores in the SAT between the experimental and the control
groups (F(1, 43) = 5.272, p < 0.05). These findings indicate that the experimental group
significantly performed better than the control group in learning the Statistics topic for
both schools.

DISCUSSIONS

Table 3 presents the summary of the results of the independent means t-test at p< .05 for
2 secondary schools involving students’ statistics achievement in the topic of Statistics.
The pretest results of both School A and B showed that students’ achievement from
both control and experimental groups were not similar. However, the post test results
indicated that students from the experimental group performed better than the control
group. The findings indicate that students who were exposed to the use of graphing
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calculators performed better in the test. Therefore, the findings have shown that the use
of graphing calculators by students in the learning of Statistics is effective in improving
their achievement. This study confirms other earlier studies (Nor’ain et al.,2011;Horton
et al., 2004; Noraini Idris, 2004, Acelajado, 2004; Noraini Idris et al., 2003; Connors &
Snook, 2001; Graham & Thomas, 2000; Hong et al., 2000; Adams, 1997; Smith &
Shotberger, 1997; Quesada & Maxwell, 1994; Ruthven, 1990). The consensus of these
reviews was that students who use graphing calculators displays better understanding of
various mathematical concepts, improved problem solving, and higher scores on
achievement tests.

However, this study contradicted a few study such as by Wilson and Naiman (2004),
Upshaw (1994) and Giamati (1991) where their results have shown that the graphing
calculator group had negative impact on students’ achievement. Their findings showed
that that the graphing calculator group had not acquired effective schemas that enabled
transfer to be enhanced due to the short duration of intervention (two weeks) whereby
the learning of using the graphing calculator may have interfered with learning of the
mathematical content. In this study, a long-term (four weeks) use of the tool was
sufficient in establishing better students’ performances.

Table 3. Summary of the results of the t-tests for the students’ Statistics achievement

School Statistics Achievement Test


(SAT)

Pre-test Post-test ANCOVA

(Covariate= SAT Pretest)

A S - S

B S - S

Note: S=significant at p<.05

Probably the use of graphing calculators assisted students in their learning of this topic
because statistics concepts can be visualized through these graphing calculators to
enhance their understanding. Also, graphing calculators allow visualization and drawing
of graphs and constructing histogram, frequency polygon, ogive, which can help
students grasp the statistical concepts. The use of graphing calculators provides
opportunities for students to explore statistical concepts and encourage more learning
activities in the mathematics classroom. Hence, supports better grasp and understanding
of statistical concepts, leading to better achievement results.

Another reason for the marginally better performance of the TI-Nspire group could be
that using this tool in learning mathematics makes less cognitive demand (reduction of

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cognitive load) because a larger part of the cognitive process is taken over by the
graphic calculator (Salomon et al., 1992; Pea, 1985). This allows students to focus
attention on the problem to be solved rather than the routine computations, algebraic
manipulations or graphing tedious graphs which require the switching of attention from
the problem to the computation and then back to the problem. This means that
reduction of cognitive load and distribution of cognition in graphing calculator medium
requires students to focus only on one aspect and enhance the understanding of
Statistical tasks. Therefore, more individual will be able to perform statistical tasks and
allow them to work on application problems, thus stimulate students’ interest and
facilitate the teaching and learning of Statistics.

In this study, it is important to note that students are no longer passive absorbers of
information but rather constructive participants in the learning process. The TI-Nspire
graphing calculator allowed them to interact with their environment by exploring and
manipulating the graphing displays, checking the accuracy of the solution or observing
the effect of different parameters in a problem on graphical displays. This findings
confirmed with Bruner (1977) which stressed that active learning environment provide
opportunity for students to understand and remember concepts they had discovered in
their own exploration.

IMPLICATIONS TO TEACHING AND LEARNING

The use of graphing calculators provides an alternative to teaching mathematics. It


allows more flexibility in terms of student activities. Students are exposed to activities
that encourage exploration of mathematical concepts and this will help students see
mathematics as a ‘fun’ subject.

TI-Nspire graphing calculators also assist teachers in maximizing the teaching time in
the classroom. For example, teachers can very quickly show students different types of
representation of data with the use of graphing calculators and they do not have to waste
time construct the graphs, histogram, frequency polygon etc. manually. This will also
allow teachers to encourage more student-centered activities. Through these activities
students will be encouraged to do more discussion and group work.

In addition, teachers can make the best use of this technology by employing the
“balanced approach”. This approach can be achieved by routinely employing three
strategies that were recommended by Waits and Demana (2000): solves analytically
using traditional paper and pencil algebraic methods, and then supports the results using
a graphing calculator, solves using a graphing calculator, and then confirms analytically
the result using traditional paper and pencil algebraic methods, and solves using
graphing calculator when appropriate (because traditional analytic paper and pencil
methods are tedious and/or time consuming or there is simply no other way!). It is
hoped that this approach will exploit the fullest advantages of the use of graphing
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calculator in achieving in-depth understanding of mathematical concepts and facilitating


students in solving mathematical problems.

In this study, integrating the use of TI-Nspire graphing calculator in teaching and
learning of topic, namely the Statistics shows promising implications for the potential of
the tool in teaching Statistics at the Malaysian secondary school level. The findings
from this study have provided valid evidence that to a certain extent, the TI-Nspire
graphing calculator strategy is superior to conventional instruction strategy. Integrating
the use of this tool can be beneficial for students as this instructional strategy has proven
to improve students’ statistical performance.

In the past, students only produced numerical summaries such as the mean, mode,
standard deviation (SD) or range. Making plots was a tedious task, and calculating the
SD seems to have been considered so complicated that often it was not taught until
students were nearly finished with their formal schooling, if ever. Consequently,
students had little experience with variability and understanding its importance, with
inspecting distributions and understanding how they can have the same characteristics
yet be very different, with looking at alternative displays of the same data and
understanding how they each reveal something new about the data. Here, the TI-Nspire
graphing calculators make these ideas accessible. This technology has expanded the
range of graphical and visualization techniques to provide powerful new ways to assist
students in exploring and analyzing data and thinking about statistical ideas, thus
allowing them to focus on interpretation of results and understanding concepts rather
than on computational mechanics.

Furthermore, students will be able to build their histogram using the TI-Nspire graphing
calculators, hence to explore and analyze the data. Students can investigate relationships
between different categories within the data. For example, they can investigate whether
there is any difference in the amount of change carried by boys and girls. This tool also
allows students to move from constructing plots to thinking about the information that
the plots convey. Students can consider more questions, such as describe the difference
between the amount of change carried by boys and by girls, what do you think a
histogram of the amount of change for girls would look like? Why is the X not an
outlier in the box plot for the change carried by boys or girls? These activities will
deepen their understanding of data analysis and came up with the solutions to the
questions given. Furthermore, this learning strategy gives students and teachers more
opportunities for communication, feedback, reflection, critical and reasoning thinking
and hence creating a conducive learning environment.

Acknowledgment

The authors would like to express their appreciation to Malaysian Ministry of Education
for kind contribution of Knowledge Transfer Grant no 057007-2012-004-02 for the
financial support in this research.
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ISSN: 2231-9425

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Corresponding Author:

Dr. Nor’ain Mohd. Tajudin


Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Science & Mathematics,
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris
Email: norain@fsmt.upsi.edu.my

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