UBC Theses and Dissertations
Computers in trigonometry : a useful tool as a textbook supplement? Matheson, Peggy Ann
The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of utilizing microcomputers with traditional, textbook-based classroom instruction for teaching the graphing of trigonometric functions in grade 12 algebra. The study was conducted over six teaching days in two phases. In phase one, the Microcomputer First group was given a classroom demonstration using a Macintosh microcomputer and the software program "Master Grapher". The students in this group then completed exercises in a microcomputer laboratory utilizing the same software program, working either individually or In pairs. The Textbook First group was given a traditional lesson and an assignment from a textbook. A researcher-developed test to assess comprehension of graphing trigonometric functions was administered to both groups on the third day. In phase two of the study, the treatments were reversed. A second posttest was administered on the third day of phase two. This permitted the comparison of the effectiveness of the order of the treatments: microcomputer followed by textbook Instruction with textbook followed by microcomputer Instruction. Posttest 1 and 2 scores were analyzed using an analysis of covariance, with an achievement score comprised of Algebra 12 test scores received prior to the experiment as the covariate. As well, Posttest 2 scores were analyzed using two covariates, the Algebra 12 test scores and Posttest 1 results, to determine the effect of the treatments. On posttest 1, the adjusted mean score of students in the Textbook First group was significantly higher (p ≤ .05) than the adjusted mean score of the students in the Microcomputer First group. The analysis of covariance using two covariates on posttest 2 indicated no statistically significant difference between the adjusted mean score of students in the Textbook First group who had just completed the microcomputer treatment, and the adjusted mean score of students in the Microcomputer First group who had just completed the textbook treatment. On posttest 2, the analysis of covariance using one covariate showed that the difference between the adjusted mean scores of the two groups was not statistically significant indicating that the order of treatment was not related to achievement. However, effect sizes of .86 for posttest 1 and .22 for posttest 2 indicated that in both phases, students completing the textbook treatment scored higher on the achievement tests than students completing the microcomputer treatment. When the data for both posttests were arranged according to gender, time of the day the class was taken, and whether the course was being repeated, no statistically significant relationships were detected. In conclusion: (a) traditional, textbook-based classroom teaching produced higher achievement scores on a test of graphing trigonometric relations than teaching which used a microcomputer and the software program "Master Grapher"; (b) student achievement was not affected by the order in which they were given the two treatments; and (c) there was no relationship between the treatment and factors of gender, time of day, and repetition of the course.
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