In a message dated 97-06-09 09:32:06 EDT, Martha Schwartz wrote
<< Algebra (let alone calculus!) is one of the great and useful inventions of the human mind and is worthy of some protection. If I take calculus, and all I get from it is cracker-jack algebra skills, I haven't wasted my time. But please convince me, that if all I learn is to let a calculator make graphs for me, that I've gotten anything even half as good as algebra? >>
Sentence 1: I agree
Sentence 2: Yes you have.
Sentence 3: If all you do is use the calculator to get your answers for you then I agree "that [you've not gotten anything even half as good as algebra." But if you do that, you are not using your calculator correctly (or shall I say to its fullest potential). You should have gotten hundreds of graphs and been able to investigate all sorts of things resulting from the changes in the parameters. You should have been using the calculator to compare the graph with the numerical features, and both with the equations. (Yep, thats the reform approach.) The calculator should be used not as a tool for getting the "answer" but as a tool for learning the mathematics.