Results on Learning of Algebra from the CAYEN project
1. In lessons using the black-box-approach (in which the equation is unknown), CAS pupils who were taught with an emphasis on math principles mastered new challenges in algebra well and were able to work independently.
2. Use of CAS makes it possible to get an overview of a topic at the beginning, simply by trying out new commands. Thus, with CAS it is easily possible to learn many aspects of a mathematical topic in parallel.
3. In our analysis of pupils’ written comparisons of graphic, numeric and symbolic representations, in the CAS-group we noticed many positive comments about advantages of algebra. An effect was that they were more motivated to use algebra and inserted it more often in open tasks.
4. CAS pupils master the transition from arithmetic to algebra more easily.
CAS students accept the output of the calculator as a common means of expression and realize the relevance of algebra. Furthermore, early in the curriculum they perceive the versatility of algebraic work in contrast to arithmetic approaches. By using CAS the pupils learned many commands and algebraic transformations; it did not matter that they could not do them all in a technology-free way. By contrast, GC-pupils sometimes had difficulties in accepting that the same underlying rules are valid in algebra and arithmetic. They argued that their calculators should be able to handle expressions with variables, if the same rules would be valid.
5. CAS-pupils’ argumentation concerning algebra included more mathematical arguments and was more objective than the argumentation of the GC-pupils.
6. We observed that the thoughts of pupils using CAS were on a high algebraic level and included reference to many concepts.