Use of microcomputers in mathematics in Hong Kong higher education
Since the innovation of computers some 40 years ago and the introduction of microcomputers in 1975, computers are playing an active role in education processes and altering the pattern of interaction between teacher and student in the classroom. Computer assisted learning has been seen as a revolution in education. In this research, the author has studied the impact of using microcomputers on mathematical education, particularly at the Hong Kong tertiary level, in different perspectives. Two computer software packages have been developed on the microcomputer. The consideration of the topic to be used in the computer assisted learning was arrived at in earlier surveys with students who thought that computers could give very accurate solutions to calculations. The two software packages, demonstrating on the spot the error that would be incurred by the computer, have been used by the students. They are both interactive and make use of the advantages of the microcomputer's functions over other teaching media, such as graphics facility and random number generator, to draw to the students' attention awareness of errors that may be obtained using computers in numerical solutions. Much emphasis is put on the significance and effectiveness of using computer packages in learning and teaching. Measurements are based on questionnaires, conversations with students, and tests on content material after the packages have been used. Feedback and subjective opinion of using computers in mathematical education have also been obtained from both students and other teachers. The research then attempts to examine the suitability of applying computer assisted learning in Hong Kong education sectors. Some studies on the comments made by students who participated in the learning process are undertaken. The successes and failures in terms of student accomplishment and interest in the subject area as a result of using a software package is described. Suggestions and recommendations are given in the concluding chapter.