This research topic will discuss whether students use or abuse calculators in the classroom. The concern over students using calculators has proven to be an extremely split and controversial subject for professional educators, parents, and other such special interests groups for several years. Since the first hand-held electronic calculators appeared on the market nearly 30 years ago, many people have voiced strong opinions on both sides of the issue in regards to the use of calculators in the classroom.
It is this writer’s hypothesis that students should not be allowed to use calculators to perform basic mathematical computations if they have not mastered the basic concepts of subtraction, addition, multiplication, and division. Based upon classroom observations of students in various classed, serious issues have arisen because of students who have no desire to learn that 2*3=6 because they know that they have the choice to use the calculator instead.
An 18 year old Frenchman by the name of Blaise Pascal, invented the first calculating machine, called the Pascaline, in 1642. His father, a tax administrator, struggled to balance his tax records because the calculators were so complex. Pascal decided to create a machine that would make his
father’s job easier and so the first calculating machine was created. Composed of series of wheels that were turned by handles at the top, it would regroup the numbers to six places-ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands. As the ones wheel reached zero, it would
cause the tens wheel to turn a notch. Compare this to the calculators of today- form cumbersome to compact. It is hard to believe where...
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...ddress the issue of how and when, in regards to calculators use in schools. These recommendations include: parents helping their own children by teaching basic math facts at home; ask that your child’s school reintroduce the concept
of memorization of math facts; teachers needing to understand how and why to use calculators in their teaching incorporating more open-ended problems or project or projects with several with several possible solutions into classroom instruction;
In conclusion, it is a continued belief that calculators impede learning, especially when used by students who do not know basic math facts. For these students the calculator becomes a crutch. Students may never have a deep understanding of how numbers work if their first exposure to math operations is simply punching buttons to get answers without knowing why the answers are what they are.
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