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Technology in Mathematics Classrooms

Satisfactory Essays
Technology Views

NCTM summarizes the technology principle by saying, “technology is essential

in teaching and learning mathematics; it influences the mathematics that is taught and

enhances students’ learning.” I’m not sure that I agree with the entirety of this statement.

Technology is important; it allows students to quickly make connections that would be

lost without the speed and precision of computers. Technology also allows for

thoughtless reproduction of facts already known. Imagine how long it would take to

solve a college level mathematics problem without the aid of calculators for division,

multiplication, exponents, and logarithms. Although I feel that technology is an

important tool for enhancing mathematics, I feel that technology is replacing the

foundation required for understanding mathematics.

I am a firm believer that mathematics is more of an ability to solve problems than

it is a solution to a given problem. Students must be required to think mathematically for

themselves if they are to be successful at mathematics. All too often, math is reduced to

formulas and specific ways of solving problems. I believe that meaning and reason are

the two most important qualities of mathematics. Without these tools, mathematics may

as well be left out of schools.

I feel that it is vital for students to learn the “why” before they learn shortcuts.

Imagine a test without calculators in a high school class. Most students would experience

great difficulty in working with simple operations such as division. (Fractions may in

fact be the work of Satan in the minds of some students). It is of the utmost importance

for students to learn how to approach problems without the aid of technology. The great

minds of the past did not have computers, calculators, or even chalk boards; yet, they

were able to develop a world of reason that we call mathematics. If past scholars could

do complex proofs without the aid of today’s technological advancements, I do not think

it is nonsensical to expect a student of algebra to be able to graph a function with pencil

and paper.

Although many may feel I have focused on what is wrong with technology, they

are mistaken. Technology itself is a good thing; it is only through poor instruction that

technology becomes a vice. The most important word that NCTM uses to summarize its

technology principle is “enhance.” Technology is meaningless without proper

instruction, but with an excellent guide, the mathematical possibilities are endless.

According to NCTM, “Students can learn more mathematics more deeply with the

appropriate and responsible use of technology.” It is necessary for technology to be used

appropriately and responsibly. Teachers cannot just give a student a calculator and
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