Thursday, March 09, 2006

How Much is Too Much?

Being the math geek that I am, I recently attended a CALCULATOR CONFERENCE! How exciting huh? The conference was held in Denver this year, so it was a great opportunity to be able to attend T cubed.
These sessions gave me an understanding of how to teach using a constuctivist approach and a calculator. One particular session brought up the relentless question of how much "technology" use is too much technology use?
unfortunately, in some of my classes I ask the students to add 19 and 12 and the first thing they do is grab their calculator. I don't know how many times students have come to me and said, "Ms. Korn my calculator doesn't have a fraction button so I cannot do this problem. Or, well my calculator said that that was the answer, it MUST be right!"
I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I want to utilize the thought provoking technology lessons and live in the 21st century, but I don't want to give my students the understanding that they don't have to think for themselves. Do any of you have any suggestions as to how much is too much?

9 Comments:

Blogger Jared Robinson said...

In our technology class in college, we were asked to develop our rules for when we thought technology was appropriate. Here are the two that I came up with.

1. Any technology used should not obscure the learning that technology was introduced to promote.

2. Technology should not be used to isolate students from each other or to preempt meaningful interaction with other students.

Now that I am actually teaching, I still find that these maxims are good in directing my use of technology.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Scotty W said...

Mrs. Korn--
That is a great question. Our society has become used to doing everything the easy way. For example, I went to a convenient store the other day and the clerk (who looked like he was in high school) said he couldn't ring me up because the "cash back" button wasn't working. After some questioning, I found out that he had no idea that he could give me back change by counting it back manually!! I tried to explain the rather easy (or so I thought) process of counting back change. He seemed uninterested and went to look for a calculator instead. Thank god I only gave him a $10 bill instead of an odd amount, or he really would have been confused!! So, What I guess I am saying is I really don't know how to answer your question. Have a nice day!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Ms. Fine said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Ms. Fine said...

I think with the uprise in technology I believe that we have no choice but to stay current with the trends. Like Scott said it is almost impossible to find a place where you don't find a machine and or calculator doing the work. Understanding that I think it is necessary to utilize the tools that are in trend with society. To be perfectly guilty myself, I always use a calculator. This isn't because I don't know how to add but more of the fact of accuracy and convenience. I think it is important to make sure students have the ability to know how to add and subtract in there head because there might be times where access to a calculator isn't possible. On the other end I think it is important to equip students and keep with the current trends in technology. Calculators are becoming so advance within themselves that sooner or later we will need them for virtually everything. So with that, I think utilizing both methods is necessary and maybe a tip for you Korn…….require at times doing simple addition and subtraction tests without using a calculator. hahahaha

11:27 AM  
Blogger lgaffney said...

In my classroom, I try to align my objectives with what I think will give my students the tools to be successful in their future, whether that future is college or a career. As a non-math person, I spent my life counting on my fingers and adding on my calculator. (I still do both of those things by the way.) Although I think it's extremely important that students are able to think for themselves, reality is that calculators are a tool that are constantly at their disposal, whether it is on their iPods or in their cell phones. Why not teach them how to do math using their resources? This seems like what will serve them best in the long haul. I would be lying if I said I didn't wish I was one of those people who could do higher math without a calculator at my side, but I don't feel like using a calculator has ever hidered my success or understanding in school or in life.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Kimber said...

This year I am teaching/collaborating in all math classes and struggle at times with this same problem. Even in Algebra classes I have students who say "I don't know what to do with this fraction" if they don't have their calculator on their desk.

What I tell my students is "you have ten fingers, use them. If you happen to lose a finger, you'll know and count differently." Makes them laugh, but also lets them know that math isn't a stength of every person on the planet. Use the tools you have - whether this is a calcular or your fingers.

Keep in mind though Korn that I don't have students in upper level math courses. Maybe you should start up "mad minutes" again with them and have races.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Melissa Mindell said...

This is a huge issue and controversy with the content math. Realistically students should be able to do things in their heads as well as use the technology. However, you are correct about the usage of them in our classrooms. The same things happens with my advanced algebra students. I ask them a basic algebraic question and the first thing they do is grab their math comfort blanket!! I believe that the point is to teach our students the process of mathematics by hand and to then use technology to enhance their learning. I also believe that the way we (Ms. Korn and I) have been testing (part calc. usage and part no calc usage) teaches them a lesson that not all the time are they going to have access to technology and they need to be able to know themselves how to problem solve. This is a constant debate because of the way our society is incorporating so much technology which is great...but it does effect the way we should teach.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Melissa Mindell said...

This is a huge issue and controversy with the content math. Realistically students should be able to do things in their heads as well as use the technology. However, you are correct about the usage of them in our classrooms. The same things happens with my advanced algebra students. I ask them a basic algebraic question and the first thing they do is grab their math comfort blanket!! I believe that the point is to teach our students the process of mathematics by hand and to then use technology to enhance their learning. I also believe that the way we (Ms. Korn and I) have been testing (part calc. usage and part no calc usage) teaches them a lesson that not all the time are they going to have access to technology and they need to be able to know themselves how to problem solve. This is a constant debate because of the way our society is incorporating so much technology which is great...but it does effect the way we should teach.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Caroline S said...

Our society want it now and not reason why not that get it now attitiude. I beleive that we need to still have them know the reson of how things are done.

11:28 AM  

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