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Mathematics Department

SY 2014 2015

THE APPLICATION OF TRIGONOMETRIC FUNCTIONS THROUGH

TECHNOLOGY MEDIATED INSTRUCTION

An Action Research

THROUGH TECHNOLOGY MEDIATED INSTRUCTION

Problem solving is a characteristic of mathematical activity and an important way of

developing mathematical knowledge. Since in general, the utmost concern of teachers is the

success of the student based on the domains of educational objectives and their independent

success based on their abilities as problem solvers. Balogun (1982), stressed that problem

solving can help students improve their analytic powers and consequently apply these powers in

diverse situations including, mathematical facts, skills, concepts and principles by illustrating

mathematical applications and the interrelations among objects.

As prescribed by Polya (1966), mathematical problem-solving can best be achieved when

students are introduced to the problem, able to recollect known relationships and fact about the

problem, obtain necessary requirements needed for the solution to the problem, analyse the

requirements with respect to the relations and verify the solution after analysis. Hence, the

primary goal of Mathematics teaching is to develop a community of problem solvers.

According to Nuqui (Manila Bulletin, 2004), many students have thwart attitude towards

mathematics especially in problem solving. Some approach math classes with apprehension and

fear that they may embarrass themselves by being unable to solve mathematical problems.

Others lack confidence to perform the process and become frustrated because they have poor

foundations in attacking mathematical problems.

Mathematics appreciation, understanding and effective feedback process can be achieved

when appropriate and simplified presentation is employed. Problem-solving approach combined

with Computer-Assisted Instruction is an integration of two teaching methods which sends

stimuli while presenting to the mental auditory learning and seeing senses of the learner at the

same time. In effect, it stimulates and sustains students interest in mathematics. Several studies

have been carried out using CAI in teaching mathematics (Oswald, 1996; Harrington, 1999;

Spinelli, 2001; Warner and Mechan, 2001).

The combination of CAI-PS is usually a good beginning in lesson presentation to

foundation mathematics students. Afolabi (2011) outlines benefits for the utilization of CAI-PS

as development of problem solving skills, development of functional knowledge and

manipulative skills, acquisition of scientific appreciation and interest. The primary aim of

teaching mathematics is to enable students development of understanding and skills related to

mathematical operations and development of abilities applicable to problem solving. That

obviously indicates Packards (1993) views, that students who are actively involved in their own

learning usually become more independent learners and problem solvers.

Putting all these together, the researchers believe that technology-mediated instruction

will provide opportunities and experiences for the students to develop and improve their problem

solving skills and performance. Thus, it was considered as a strategy for experimentation. This

enables the students to practice skills necessary for problem solving. The students interact to

clarify and understand the problem, describe and illustrate the problem, discuss and suggest

methods to solve the problem and apply operations not only inside the classroom but also

especially outside the four walls of the classroom.

The Problem

This is an action research designed to improve the problem solving skills of fourth year

students through technology-mediated instruction.

are very good in memorizing mathematical facts, concepts and principles but do not know how

to relate and apply them in solving word problems in mathematics. One such observation as cited

by Ramos (2000) was that high school students could hardly solve problems that require higher

thinking skills, consequently, students with poor analyzing skills often misinterpret a problem.

Another research as cited by Corpuz, found out that most of her students got low on

mathematical problems which requires higher cognitive processes.

This was confirmed by the results of the observations conducted by the researchers that

most students could hardly solve word problems. They lack skills in solving problems. The

researchers also noticed that during the pretest, the students spent much time in reading and

analyzing a certain word problem.

Analysis of the Problem. The researchers observations coupled with the results of the

pretest indicated that students are poor in solving problems, particularly applications on

trigonometric functions. Likewise, their poor performance was a manifestation of their poor

problem solving skills. Specifically, students difficulties to solve problems are due to the

following factors:

1. poor background on the steps of problem solving;

2. difficulty in setting up relationships among the given and the unknown and in

setting up equations and analyzing the problem;

3. difficulty in associating previously learned concepts and skills to new lessons; and

4. lack of motivational technique.

Having identified these cause, the researchers thought of using technology-mediated

instruction to enhance the students problem solving skills.

The Hypothesis

In conducting this action research, the researchers aimed to improve the problem solving

skills through technology-mediated instruction. The researchers were guided by the hypothesis:

If the students were exposed to technology-mediated instruction, then their problem solving

skills will be greatly improved. For deeper understanding of the formulated hypothesis, they

considered that technology-mediated instruction allow students to discover, explore and

investigate problems. Interaction is maximized. Also, exposure to real life problems is

introduced.

Action Taken

This section presents the procedure done in gathering the necessary information needed

for the action research. This includes the sources of data, research instrument, data gathering

procedure and statistical treatment.

Sources of

Sardonyx, and IV Topaz. Thirty (30) students were randomly selected from each section.

Research Instruments. Two similar tests involving applications of trigonometric

functions word problems (the pretest and posttest) were the main tools in gathering the data. It

was a 5-item researcher-made test on word problem involving applications of trigonometric

functions. This instrument provided the students an opportunity to reason logically in solving

word problems with varying degree of difficulty. All items were based on the 2010 SEC

compliant books to ensure content validity. Each problem was given five points. These problems

tested the skills of the students in understanding the problems, devising a plan, carrying out a

solution and checking the answer. Each problem was scored based on the scoring plan shown in

Table 1.

Skill

Understand the Problem

(UP)

Devising a Plan (DP)

Carrying out a Plan (CP)

Looking Back (LB)

Total

1

2

3

Total

1

2

1

5

1

2

1

5

1

2

1

5

1

2

1

5

1

2

1

5

5

10

5

25

The maximum point that could be given to solutions of students poor problem solving

skills is 25. The scores together with the mean scores were interpreted using the following range

of values with their respective interpretation. The researchers assigned the range on the highest

obtained score and the lowest obtained score in the pre test with the same class size and class

intervals.

Range

Descriptive Interpretation

21 25

Outstanding

16 20

Very Satisfactory

11 15

Satisfactory

6 10

Fair

15

Poor

Data Gathering Procedure. The researchers used three steps in gathering the

data, namely pretesting, treatment and posttesting. The researchers administered the five-item

pretest to the fourth year students on the application of trigonometric functions. The scores were

tabulated and analyzed. After analyzing the results, the results revealed that the students did not

perform well because they got low scores. And so, the researchers gave immediately the

treatment which is technology-mediated instruction.

The intervention was employed for ten class meetings. The researchers used the said

method in teaching how to solve word problems. They gave the students several

activities/exercises inside the classroom using different websites and softwares. The students

were grouped by pair and were given instructions on how to use the websites and softwares. In

each pair, the students were allowed to discuss problems, investigate the facts and unknown and

carry out with the solutions together. During the technology-mediated instruction, different

groupings were made to maximized social interaction because the researchers believe that this is

one way of promoting student-student interaction or this could motivate them to solve problems.

After the intervention, the posttest was administered. The scores were tabulated and

analyzed to determine if there is an improvement in the problem solving skills of the students.

The researchers also analyzed the responses of the students in the question, Was the technologymediated instruction helped you improved your problem solving skills? Why? to supplement

the gathered data.

Statistical Treatment. To determine the effectiveness of the technology-mediated

instruction in enhancing the problem solving skills of the students, the results of the pretest and

posttest were analyzed and interpreted using the frequency counts, mean, percentage, standard

deviation and t-test for correlated samples. Frequency counts were used to determine how many

students got scores equal to or above the 50% in the pretest and posttest scores of the students.

The t-test was used to determine the significance of the difference of the mean scores of the

pretest and posttest to describe the totality of the improvement in the problem solving skills of

the students.

This part presents an analysis and interpretation of the data gathered. A comparison of the

students scores before and after the implementation of the intervention and the improvement of

their problem solving skills are discussed in this section.

Pretest and posttest scores of students of IV Sapphire. Table 2A shows that in the

pretest, 19 out 30 students got scores ranging from 6 to 10 with a descriptive interpretation of

Fair while in the posttest 30 or 100% of the respondents got scores ranging from 21 25 with

a descriptive interpretation of Outstanding. This means that the problem solving skills of the

students were improved from Fair to Outstanding.

The posttest mean score (22.37) of the students is very much greater than their pretest

mean (7.50) as evidenced by the computed t value of 29.20 which is greater than the critical

value of 2.76 at the 0.01 level of significance with 29 degrees of freedom. This implies that there

was a significant improvement in the problem solving skills of the students.

Table 2A. Pretest and posttest scores of students of IV - Sapphire

Range of Scores

21 25

16 20

11 15

6 10

15

Total

Mean

Standard Deviation

Mean Difference

t value

** p < .01

Descriptive

Interpretation

Outstanding

Very Satisfactory

Satisfactory

Fair

Poor

Pretest

f

0

0

3

19

8

30

7.50

2.69

%

0.00

0.00

10.00

63.33

26.67

100.00

Posttest

f

30

0

0

0

0

30

22.37

14.87

14.87

29.20**

%

100.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

100.00

(p = .000)

Pretest and posttest scores of students of IV Sardonyx. It can be gleaned from table

2B that in the pretest, 18 of the respondents got scores ranging from 1 5 with a descriptive

interpretation of Poor. In the posttest, it can be noted that 19 out of 30 respondents got scores

ranging from 16 20 with a descriptive rating of Very Satisfactory. This means that after the

intervention was done, the performance of students were improved from Poor to Very

Satisfactory.

The finding is strengthened by the results of the t test where the posttest mean score

(17.93) of the students is significantly higher than the pretest mean score (5.23). This evidently

shown by the computed t value of 20.01 which is greater than the critical value 2.76 at the 0.01

level of significance at 29 degrees of freedom. This implies that technology-mediated instruction

is an effective intervention in enhancing the problem solving skills of students.

Table 2B. Pretest and posttest scores of students of IV - Sardonyx

Range of Scores

21 25

16 20

11 15

6 10

15

Total

Mean

Standard Deviation

Mean Difference

t value

** p < .01

Descriptive

Interpretation

Outstanding

Very Satisfactory

Satisfactory

Fair

Poor

Pretest

F

0

0

1

11

18

30

5.23

3.18

%

0.00

0.00

3.33

36.67

60.00

100.00

Posttest

F

5

19

6

0

0

30

17.93

2.63

12.70

20.01**

%

16.67

63.33

20.00

0.00

0.00

100.00

(p = .000)

Pretest and posttest scores of students of IV Topaz. It can be noted form table 2C

that 18 of the students got scores ranging 1 5 with a descriptive rating of Poor in the pretest

while 19 of the 30 respondents got a score ranging from 16 20 with a descriptive rating of

Very Satisfactory. This suggests that after the intervention was done, the performance of

students were improved from Poor to Very Satisfactory.

Results of the t test disclosed that the posttest mean score (20.40) of the students is

significantly higher than their pretest mean score (4.73) as indicated by the computed t value of

32.62 which is greater than the critical value of 2.76 at the 0.01 level of significance with 29

degrees of freedom. This implies that there was a significant improvement in the skills of the

students in solving word problems through the integration of technology in the classroom.

Table 2C. Pretest and posttest scores of students of IV - Topaz

Range of Scores

21 -- 25

16 -- 20

11 -- 15

6 -- 10

1 -- 5

Descriptive

Interpretation

Outstanding

Very Satisfactory

Satisfactory

Fair

Poor

Total

Mean

Standard Deviation

Mean Difference

t - value

** p < .01

Pretest

F

0

0

1

8

21

30

4.73

2.49

Posttest

%

0.00

0.00

3.33

26.67

70.00

100.00

F

12

18

0

0

0

30

20.40

0.97

15.67

32.62**

%

40.00

60.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

100.00

(p = .000)

Based also on the answers of the students regarding the question, Was the technologymediated instruction helped you improved your problem solving skills? Why?. Technology

mediated instruction is really of great help or a good strategy in improving problem solving skills

of the students. Some of their answers were:

The use of technology inside the classroom helped me in

understanding the problem. With the interactive websites and

interactive activities with computer have boost my motivation in

solving mathematics problems.

- Student 1

softwares improved my ability to comprehend the problems I am

solving. And with a just a click you can have an interaction of your

classmates without opening your mouth.

- Student 2

Conclusion

Based on the findings presented, the skills of the students in solving word problems were

greatly improved through technology-mediated instruction. Thus, technology mediated

instruction is effective in improving the problem solving skills of the students.

Recommendations

Since technology-mediated instruction was proven to be effective, the researchers highly

recommend that mathematics teachers should use this as a strategy in teaching mathematics

especially in problem solving not only on the applications of trigonometric functions but also

related topics or concepts. It is also recommended that school administrators must ensure that

facilities be available to maximize the use to technology inside the mathematics classroom.

Moreover, further trainings should be conducted on the proper use of technology inside the

classroom.

It is also recommended that researches parallel to this must be conducted in a longer

period of time to see the real effectiveness of the technology-mediated instruction.

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