The report discusses the benefit of using calculators in classrooms. As the report states, calculators help students to do their computations quickly and more effectively. They make students more confident about their mathematical understanding and make mathematics more fun to work with. Because calculators help students to do their work faster, that means students can spend their time to develop their reasoning and mathematical skills. calculators help students to be more active learners and to spend more time to improve their solving problem skills. Also calculators are inexpensive so almost everyone can have them. Even though there are research which showed that calculators are effective in math education, there are still some people who believe that they are harmful and that is because of the circulation of misinformation regarding their use.
According to “Why Johnny Can’t Add Without a Calculator” article by Konstantin Kakaes, the article states that the calculators are harmful tools that discourage students’ mathematical understanding. It says that a study proved that technology do not show measurable effect on students’ test score which means, technology is not effective in teaching. The article also mentions that technology cost a lot money that better to be spend on teachers’ training specially in math and science.
I agree more with the report than the article even though I was not comfortable reading the repetitive phrase/word the report has, such as paper and pencil and tedious. Also I feel that the report is advertising calculators which make me a little skeptical about it. Even though I don’t totally agree with the article, there are some points that I agree with.
The report states “…the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and various other organizations and individuals recommend that appropriate calculators be made available for use by students at every grade level from kindergarten through college”, students should use calculators when they really need them, however, it is too early for lower grades to use them because they need to understand the basic arithmetic and computation without using calculators. When they understand how to deal with basic arithmetic then they can use calculators not to depend on them, but to save time and spend the other time to explore, sharp, and understand mathematical concepts.
The author in the article complains about the electric circuit situations where students were shown it technologically instead of making them manipulate the real batteries and wires to create the real electric circuit. In this point, I agree with him because if students manipulate real materials, they understand more and become creative. That reminds me with tangrams and pattern blocks that we are working with in my other education class where we explore many things that cannot be clear without manipulating these materials. Also, it reminds me with the physics class I took, where I feel more comfortable working in the lab because I can explore a given situation.
The article indicates that there is more money that spend on technology more than on programs to train teachers to be effective. I am not sure if there is an evidence in this point. However, I think there should be a balance between both because we need technology and we need to have well-trained teachers as well. Also, if we think about technology and kids these days, we better make our kids to use it as an educational tool instead of using it for playing games because they are using it anyway.
The second myth in the report says “Because calculators do all of the work for the student, he/she will not be stimulated or challenged enough”. Similar idea is addressed by the article where the author explains that if a student can multiply two numbers it does not mean they know how calculators work. He also explains that there cannot be a technological tool that substitute a teacher.