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Technology: Communication, Computers, and Calculators

Mathematics evolves according to the environment in which it lives. The changes of the past ten years are the mere infancy of the growth in technology confronting mathematics education in the next decade. Now that most elementary school children have access to computers and calculators the consequences of this technological boon must be faced.

Machines are tools. Just as a carpenter can build a cabinet faster with power tools, so can a student compute faster with a power tool (the calculator). It is easy to judge the ability of the artisan, either the cabinet is pleasing to the eye and opens correctly or not. We must create ways of seeing student understanding that are machine independent since the critical thinking and evaluative skills that come with the mastery of mathematical thinking are machine independent. Undoubtedly, computers and calculators will play a part in the development of these skills.


Shandy Hauk 2007-01-18