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Topic: It has to be right: I used my calculator!
Replies: 30   Last Post: Nov 29, 2004 3:37 PM

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 Domenico Rosa Posts: 939 Registered: 12/6/04
It has to be right: I used my calculator!
Posted: Nov 24, 2004 12:44 PM

The continuing pseudo-education of American students is demonstrated
clearly by the mushrooming college enrolments in remedial mathematics
courses. A key component of this pseudo-education is the widespread,
deliberate over reliance on calculators--with no expectation that
students understand elementary concepts--whereby students punch
numbers into their calculators and are required to simply write down
the last display.

At the beginning of this semester, in one of my remedial courses, I
reviewed how to perform manual operations with simple fractions. The
following operations were to be done manually, with all the steps
written down. One student, among many, used his graphing calculator to
obtain the following three correct answers. When I asked him to do
them manually, he wrote the fractions in brackets.

(5/6)(9/10) = 3/4 [45/16]

(3/4):(7/8) = 6/7 [28/32] (: indicates division symbol)

(7/6)-(3/8) = 19/24 [(7-3)/48 = 5/48]

When I pointed out that the following answer was wrong,

(3/4)+(5/12) = 14/15

he immediately snapped: "It has to be right: I used my calculator!"

The majority of the students in this class had graphing calculators. I
would not be surprised if their pseudo-education was promoted with the
bogus slogans and empty boasts of pseudo-educators: "using technology
to solve real-world problems," "twenty-first century mathematics,"
"world-class education," "calculators free the mind to solve more
difficult problems."

Dom Rosa

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Date Subject Author
11/24/04 Domenico Rosa
11/24/04 Sky Rookie
11/24/04 Brett
11/24/04 Chergarj
11/24/04 Nat Silver
11/25/04 Brett
11/25/04 Nat Silver
11/25/04 Brett
11/26/04 Nat Silver
11/26/04 Brett
11/26/04 Nat Silver
11/26/04 Brett
11/27/04 Darrell
11/26/04 Guess who
11/27/04 Brett
11/27/04 Darrell
11/27/04 Brett
11/27/04 Brett
11/28/04 Nat Silver
11/26/04 Darrell
11/25/04 Brett
11/26/04 Darrell
11/26/04 Kevin Karplus
11/27/04 Darrell
11/25/04 Guess who
11/25/04 Nat Silver
11/26/04 Domenico Rosa
11/26/04 Domenico Rosa
11/26/04 Nat Silver
11/29/04 Domenico Rosa
11/24/04 Ginny J