Saturday, September 8, 2007

Calculator: Friend or Foe?

One of my classmates in another education course made a comment that got me thinking. She said that basic math isn’t as important as it used to be because students of all ages have calculators available to them. She proceeded to say that she would much rather just give her students calculators and have time to teach them other things, than concentrate on simple math which they don’t really need to know.
I completely disagree. Even though, calculators will most likely always be available, it is still important that everyone be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide when they have to. Just like people are expected to be able to read and write, they should know simple math. Not to mention that math is a very vertical subject. If you want to do any kind of higher computation, you must know the basics. I think calculators are a great tool to make things easier AFTER you have learned the math, not in place of it.


Leah Nillas said...

I agree. Like any other technological tools calculator is only a mechanism to achieve an instructional objective. It is important for students of all ages to understand the mathematical concepts with or without technology

emc2teach said...

I completely agree Lisa. You made a great point about math being vertical. It is completely necessary to learn the basics before being able to move on to higher and harder things. Not to mention, that they might not always have a calculator with them. For example, if they go to the store and need to estimate the cost of their groceries and they don't have a calculator. What would they do then? Calculators should be used as a tool to help, not to do all the work.

Jenna Passananti said...

I, too, could not agree more with Lisa. I feel that calculators are to be used as tools only after the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills have been mastered. I know that in my elementary school, we were not even able to bring calculators to school until 6th grade, which I feel is a great way to prevent students from relying on technology as a crutch rather than a learning tool.