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Topic: TI83 Graphing Calculator Online

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Subject:   RE: TI83 Graphing Calculator Online
Author: Mathman
Date: Aug 21 2005
On Aug 20 2005, MrsHawK wrote:
> It depends on the grade, but in higher levels there are many real
> life applications that having a calculator (or a computer) can
> really help with.

I find theTI-83 really helpful in cacluting
> lines of best fit, something that is brutally tedious by hand.
> Just my 2 cents.

The following is only personal opinion gained from personal experience, so
please don't take offense.  It is not in any way meant to be argumentative.

I find the idea that there should be "real life" applications in high school a
bit dangerous, especially in the lower grades.  That is, at least to the extent
that it is a "real life" situation to design and build a television set or a
space shuttle.  However, what I am referring to is the teaching and learning of
basic, fundamental concepts more appropriate to the grade / level.  The concept
of linear regression can be taught without a ton of data.  I can teach all of
geometry and trigonometry with a simple geometry set, or without.  Yes, indeed,
the calculator and computer are tremendously useful tools.  I use them
constantly.  But I'm not learning fundamental concepts, and they are.  Back to
the original question:  The students better spend time on the subject matter at
hand than have to learn two topics simultaneously.  They seem to learn, and
indeed do to a certain depth of knowledge.  However, there are only so many
hours in a day, and time spent on one is lost on the other.

I tutored one graduating student who had already over 90%, and what stood out
was not what she knew, but what she did not know.  There is knowledge of the
subject, but no time to "study" [look at in various ways and conditions], no
time for mastery.  Sometimes "tedium" is greatly to one's advantage.  I play
classical piano.  There is tedium in doing scales and other exercises.  It is
greatly to one's advantage to do so.  There's Chopin and Lizt at the end of the
day, as cetain tasks take absolutely no thought whatsoever, having already been
mastered.  It does no harm to graph by hand once in a while, while the mind
absorbs what is being done.


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