In a message dated 96-04-11 11:57:15 EDT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Ronald Goldman) writes:
> >Probably in a few decades this kind of argument will vanish as calculators >and >computers take over more and more of the compuational tasks. Teachers will >then wonder why people in the 20th century wasted so many years trying to get >kids to develop these rote computational skill, that is, teaching them to >perform like a machine instead of concentrating on learning concepts and >developing mathematical creativity.
I believe you must do both! People need to learn mental math as well as button pushing. A good mechanic has a feel for the automobile as well as the ability to use computer diagnstics. Students need to know how to multiply and divide so that they can internalize the number system. I am not sure rote learning is the key, maybe they need a more varied practice rather than 50 mindless problems to be done and forgotten.