The fact is that most of us - with wide variation in interest and abilities - want to learn and are happier and more excited about learning more when we feel that we are actually learning. Probably the most frustrating aspect of contextual learning, as opposed to direct instruction, is that failure to "see it" correlates so strongly with more problems and more frustration later. Instead of deepening conceptual understanding, too often, such stuff accomplishes the exact opposite, divergence from conceptual understanding. Fun, maybe, but yet another way to avoid mathematics and the self-esteem and self-confidence associated with appropriate grade-level competence. Inappropriate calculator use meets the same criticism. Instead of aiding students who are lacking necessary skills, it reinforces their deficits that they already know all too well. Perhaps have been permanently convinced that they cannot learn.