Date: Nov 12, 2013 2:50 PM
Author: Ken.Pledger@vuw.ac.nz
Subject: Re: What math should I learn if computers can do it all? Mathematica, etc.
In article <d6ydnaKnDM2PNBzPnZ2dnUVZ_tqdnZ2d@megapath.net>,

Hetware <hattons@speakyeasy.net> wrote:

> ....

> I'm in a conundrum twixt the use of computers to do my thinking for me,

> and learning to think for myself. Should a child learn his times

> tables, or learn to use a computer to do it for him? ....

It's a good question. I'll just mention two past experiences.

At a Faculty meeting years ago (even before computers were

widespread), a student representative had argued strongly that we

needn't memorize much because everything can be looked up. The response

of a venerable professor of history was "There is no substitute for a

well-stocked mind."

I once received a phone call from another academic (in sociology

IIRC). She had a calculator in front of her, and asked something like

"How can I express 288 as a percentage of 417?" What she needed from me

was the word "divide". She was a Ph.D., but clearly had very little

intuitive grasp of elementary arithmetic.

Ken Pledger.