### Abstract:

Microcomputers are being used in teaching and learning
mathematics. This paper examines ways that computers can be used
to enhance teaching in precalculus mathematics. The advantages of
computers discussed are: 1) instant access to graphs, 2) examples
that are not oversimplified to make computations manageable, 3)
encouragement of hypothesizing and testing, 4) reinforcement of
problem-solving techniques, 5) increasing students' confidence in
using mathematics, and 6) changing classroom dynamics to make
teachers more like guides.
A literature review reveals two particularly noteworthy
studies. The first one looks at the positive effects that computer
use had on a beginning calculus class. The second one follows one
student and shows how computer use did not enhance her progress
in mathematics. Comparison of these two studies indicates some
characteristics of both effective and ineffective uses of computers
in mathematics.
Specific examples covering five topics are discussed to show
how computers can be used advantageously in mathematics classes.
The topics covered are 1) local extrema and roots of polynomials, 2)
simple word problems, 3) Gaussian elimination, 4) linear
programming, and 5) polar graphs. The paper concludes with a
discussion of how computers should be used in teaching and learning
mathematics, along with some suggestions for additional research
directions.