Exploring the experinces of secondary students in using the scientific calculator as a tool for learning mathematics: a case of a secondary school in Rachuonyo south sub-County, Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Peter Kajoro

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Veronica Sarungi


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Mathematics is central in the technological development of any country. It is for this reason therefore that educational technology has been recognised as an essential component in the process of preparing students for technological and industrial advancement. Thus in the year 2002 the Kenya Ministry of Education recommended the use of scientific calculators to be used in the teaching and learning of mathematics and also during exams in secondary schools in Kenya. The intention of this move was to ensure that time was not wasted in solving mathematical problems and also improve students’ performance (Ochanda & Indoshi, 2011). However the experiences of students in using the scientific calculators have not been fully established. The purpose of this study therefore was to examine the experiences of secondary school students in using the scientific calculator as a tool for learning mathematics in Rachuonyo south sub-county. Case study research design was used and data were collected using multiple data collection methods that included observations, interviews and focus group discussions. The participants of the study were from a form three class in the selected school. The majority of the students were from low income families and had issues of accessing the new technology. The findings of the study indicated that the students have positive attitudes towards the use of calculators for mathematics learning. In addition the majority of students agreed that calculator use is beneficial in mathematics instruction since it allows those students who easily give up because of the long and boring manipulations to have access to real mathematics consequently making them gain higher levels of mathematical understanding. The use of calculators also enabled the students to develop personal procedures for mathematical operations. However they are faced by challenges such as affordability of the calculators, lack of skills, competence and confidence in using the calculators due to improper guidance on how to use the calculators. The findings of this study are helpful to mathematics teachers, the ministry of education and curriculum developers.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library