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Topic: Data?and Dr. Zhang
Replies: 7   Last Post: Mar 20, 2001 1:16 PM

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Fathers' Manifesto

Posts: 8
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Data?and Dr. Zhang
Posted: Mar 14, 2001 5:30 AM
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Please note that the original point was not to build a case against using
computers to learn math, but only to be careful about the sequence. The
NAEP data could very well be telling us that children who learn math early
on don't develop their math skills as well as those who don't. Computer
science is definitely very instructive for those who already have proven
algebra, calculus, and probability and statistics skills, so you have to
question why it is that students who use computers score so much lower than
those who don't.

If it took us 20 years to figure out that calculators "had a negative effect
on students' learning of math", then we need to be careful about what stage
of math education computer science instruction begins, or we will never
figure out that computers have the same effect on learning as calculators

With regard to improved math skills in the US, could you provide some


John Knight

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Cc: <>; <>
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2001 6:35 AM
Subject: Re: Data?and Dr. Zhang

> Thank you for your prompt reply. I'm afraid I disagree with your
> How can you imply that "computers hurt students in math" without
> it with what you included in your answer to me. That
> "This particular difference could be due to self selection rather than an
> adverse influence of taking computer science in school, but there is no

> to know from NAEP which it is."
> The NAEP study also states, which you also neglected to include, that

> students use computers in mathematics now, and that the mathematics scores
> are slowly but steadily increasing.
> I have been experimenting with many computer sites and software programs

> my math classes, ( beginning on an 8 -k apple). I believe that while there
> are many programs that do not appear to influence a student's learning,

> are many that significantly improve both short and long term results.
> ( problems of the week, and Quarter Mile software to name two
> that work best for me.)
> Computers are still in their early childhood. Compare this to the use of
> calculators to do one digit multiplication. It has definitely had a

> effect on students' learning of math. (It only took us 20 years to
> that!) Does that mean calculators don't help teach other aspects of math
> better than without them? Of course not.
> It will take time to discover what works with computers too. We are

> past the pioneering stage. What we really need is large group feedback on
> the internet for each program and site that is started. Maybe mathforum

> be willing to sponsor that.
> Alice Elstien
> Indio High School ,CA
> <There are several sources which have reported this phenomenon, but the

> that can be located immediately are the NAEP scores, which you can
> from:
> It shows on page 6 that students who have taken computer programming score

> points lower than those who have not. This is a large difference, almost
> big as the difference between the scores of Hispanics and blacks.
> This particular difference could be due to self selection rather than an
> adverse influence of taking computer science in school, but there is no

> to know from NAEP which it is.
> Hope this helps.>
> John Knight
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Sunday, March 11, 2001 7:13 AM
> Subject: Data?

> > Hi,
> > I'd be interested in what data you quoted when you said
> >
> > <A third =
> > reason for not doing it is the disturbing data which shows that students

> > who have access to computers score lower in math than those who don't.
> >
> > in your reply to Dr. Zhang on the math forum discussion page.
> >
> > Thank you
> > Alice Elstien
> > Indio High School CA
> >
> > \

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