Technology is receiving a great deal of attention in education reform. From the President's Report on the Use of Technology to Strengthen K-12 Education (1997) to the NCTM Standards 2000 Draft (1998) technology is becoming increasingly more encouraged as a teaching tool and medium.
Technology offers opportunities to enhance student learning in mathematics. Reports show students who used graphing calculator technology were more active, participated in more group work, were able to read and interpret graphs, and were more willing to engage in problem-solving (Dunham, 1993, 1995). These opportunities are important for those who have not traditionally done very well within the mathematics curriculum. These are students who are tracked, filtered, and as such actively choose to "disidentify" (Steele, 1992) with mathematics.
This study examines two classes of middle school students - a high tracked group and a low tracked group and their experiences learning about rate, and reading and interpreting graphs in a technology-intensive setting, and attitudes toward mathematics. The students used graphing calculators with distance sensors to collect real-time graphical data and create distance versus time graphs. Students completed attitudinal surveys and achievement tests and four students from each class were interviewed about their experiences in mathematics and this period of instruction.
The results suggested that low and high performing students in both classes with technology-intensive instruction displayed more understanding of graphing concepts and positive attitudes toward mathematics.