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Re: Calculators and computation
Posted:
May 13, 1999 7:20 PM


Perhaps Chapter 2: Guiding Principles: Technology Principle should more directly address the cause as you have so succinctly stated it. On page 42, Lines 3341, this problem is addressed in general terms. The use of the calculator to do simple calculations relates to its use as a "Black box" computation device at the primary level. This is reinforced more directly on page 43 where it is stated that "However, access to calculators does not replace the need for students to learn and become fluent with basic arithmetic facts, Â
"
The calculator use issue once again points out the need for those who are teaching mathematics at every level to be aware of the purpose of the curriculum. This generally requires a good conceptual understanding of mathematics beyond the level being taught at the moment. We must begin to offer and then require intending teachers to take quality mathematics courses which model the level of understanding expected of all students.
On 13 May 99, John Olive wrote re. Calculators and computation: > > The problem is not the use of calculators, the problem is teaching > mindless procedures (whether it be pressing calculator keys or writing > down 37  17 in vertical format to obtain an answer). When the > computation IS mindless then I would rather a mindless machine carry > it out (it is more efficient and more accurate). BUT, we do need to > address the real problem: How to get our students to construct > numerical operations as related knowledge rather than isolated facts > and procedures? Perhaps the judicious use of calculators in the early > grades to explore number patterns and relationships (rather than as a > quick way to get a simple answer) would help rather than hinder the > children's construction of numerical relations and strategic thinking? > If these explorations on the calculator were combined with encouraging > students to come up with their own ways to solve simple numerical > problems mentally (rather than with paper and pencil algorithms), we > might see some 8th graders who could reason that 2/3 of 3 must be 2 > because 1/3 of 3 is 1, therefore two of 1/3 will be 2 ones. >



