The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

Topic: Re: Newsweek Editorial
Replies: 0  

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List  
Lou Talman

Posts: 876
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Newsweek Editorial
Posted: Nov 11, 1997 6:22 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Arun Gupta wrote:

> With regard to "calculators are there, and are unavoidable",
> two (imperfect) analogies come to mind :
> 1. Anabolic steroids are readily available, we should not
> discourage our student athletes from using them, and

> instead use the steroids to bring our students to new
> levels of athletic achievement.

Hmm... Definitely a flawed analogy, unless Arun suggests that
calculators stimulate growth in the mind the way steroids stimulate
muscle growth. I've heard no-one suggest that.

> 2. Machines exist to do virtually any physical activity and
> can do it better and safer and faster than humans.

> We will therefore teach our students to be couch-potatoes.

"The-mind-is-a-muscle" again. Do minds really atrophy when not used in
the ways Arun thinks they should be used?

> 3. Since our writing tools are so much better than Shakespeare's
> quill and inkpot, our students will be much better writers
> than Shakespeare.

Compare the quality of a student's word-processed and laser-printed
document with the quality of a Shakespearean folio. Our students'
"writing" *is* better than Shakespeare's in the aspects that our "so much
better" writing tools are tools to work with. But the fundamental
writing tool is the mind; minds today are in general no better--and no
worse--than they were in Shakespeare's time.

> There is an old proverb that goes something like :

> "Knowledge in a book is like money that has been lent;
> when needed, it is not available."

> To that I would add "mathematics in a calculator".

The conclusion is clear: We should prohibit books as well as

--Lou Talman

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.