Dynamical Software and the Derivative Concept

Dynamical Software and the Derivative Concept

Ljubica Dikovic (Business Technical University, Serbia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4050-4.ch009
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Modern teaching trends impose the need of spending less time on the manipulative approach to differential and integral calculus, putting the accent on the conceptual understanding of the subject. This chapter presents the standard approach and method used to teach the derivative of a function and indicates some critical points in the teaching of the derivative, offering, at the same time, suggestions for overcoming them. As a supplement, the author gives e-resources that can make possible the implementation of a stimulating, visual, dynamic, and broadened method for teaching the derivative of a function.
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The major obstacle to understanding the teaching of differential calculus is a large number of complex mathematical and dynamical concepts that the students did not encounter in their previous schooling. It is well known that students have great difficulty with the concept of the limit, derivative and integral, which are strongly linked. Currently many students are unprepared to study calculus, see no relevance in the topics taught, and fail the calculus course (Anderson & Loftsgaarden, 1988).

To alleviate these difficulties and obstacles, teachers often make the mistake of trying to reduce the teaching of differential calculus to a series of manipulative rules, which is still unacceptable for students, because it does not contribute to the fundamental, conceptual understanding of the matter in question. Why calculus cannot be made easy? What is the role of technology in teaching and learning calculus?

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