D'Youville College (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 5328-5331
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
Calculators have entered our life and have become a necessity. We can't imagine doing even such simple things like checking out in a store without using a calculator, not to mention more complex calculations in science, engineering and mathematics. In the list of supplies we need to buy for our kids for school one can surely find a calculator among the list of colored pens, pencils, notebooks. But is it always necessary to have a calculator handy? How early is too early? Is early introduction of calculators a benefit or harmful to a young curious developing brain? Which is bigger: the benefit or the damage from the early introduction to calculators to school students?
As a mother and a college professor of mathematics I see different sides of the problem. The use of calculators makes accurate calculations faster saving time for more complex problems. On the other hand, without a fundamental understanding of the mathematical concepts, students that rely on a calculators are often unable to locate errors or anticipate answers or even determine whether the calculation is possible, i.e., having a negative distance, or size of a bacteria is measured in millions of feet/millimeters, etc.) Students that have undeveloped concepts of arithmetic, will they be able to grasp the more complex algebraic concepts and then calculus?