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Re:Technology in the classroom
Posted:
Mar 9, 1995 11:18 AM


Two comments: the first anecdote about the student from the University of Texas was sent to me by the faculty at the University of Texas. There is nothing fishy about the story. I made no attempt to generalize. The main point is that when teaching the use of calculators, it is essential to teach the proper use. One has to deal with it in a *balanced manner*. It is a question of getting the students into a "good working habit". Such "habit of mind" need to be constantly reinforced. The difficult task for the teachers is to find that *balance*. This may depend highly on individual students. I agree that there is no evidence that the particular students cited in the annecdotes are *overly dependent* on calculators. There is also no evidence that they are *not overly dependent* on calculators. It is not a matter of semantics. The law of excluded middle simply does not apply to situations which do not remain *constant*. One can only *guess* at the *habits* based on isolated observations in individual cases. Of course, the anecdote indicates that the particular students have an extremely poor understanding of basic mathematics. Somewhere along the line, they acquired the calculator and managed to pass whatever that was required of them to be admitted to the University of Texas. The *horror* stories simply indicates that things are not all *roses*nothing new about that. Nevertheless, it is something worth keeping in mind as we teach. Namely, as teachers, we need to keep in mind a "balanced" presentation.
Han Sah, sah@math.sunysb.edu



