This work aims to analyze the responses of a group of engineering students related to problems about tangents in a teaching learning process of derivative in a differential calculus course. The methodological design, oriented to a group of 161 students from two Chilean universities, considers different onto-semiotic configurations in problem-situations about tangents. The methodology implemented integrates information and communication technologies in differentiated activities, favoring the use of languages and progressive approach to the meaning of the derivative. The exploratory-type analysis was carried out applying some tools of the onto-semiotic Approach of mathematical knowledge and instruction. Difficulties were found in the concept of function and the Euclidean conception of the tangent line, which brings with it a weak interpretation of the derivative function and its geometric representation. It is concluded that the implementation of the geometric interpretation through information and communication technologies makes it possible to improve the teaching of the derivative.