Students' understanding of elementary differential calculus concepts in a computer laboratory learning environment at a university of technology.
This thesis investigates the mathematical cognitive errors made in elementary calculus concepts by first-year University of Technology students. A sample of 34 first year students, the experimental group, from the Durban University of Technology Faculty of Engineering were invited to participate in project in elementary calculus using computer technology (CT). A second group, the control group, also consisted of 34 first year engineering students from the same University were given a conventional test in elementary calculus concepts. The experimental group was then given the same conventional test as the control group on completion of the project in elementary calculus using computer technology (CT). The purpose of the analysis was to study the effect of technology on the understanding of key concepts in elementary calculus. The major finding was that technology helps students to make connections, analyse ideas and develop conceptual frameworks for thinking and problem solving. The implications include: • Improvement of curriculum in mathematics at tertiary level; • New strategies for lecturers of elementary calculus; • An improved understanding by students taking the course in elementary calculus. • Redesign of software to improve understanding in elementary calculus.