As technology advances, students cling to the
resources they can use in the classroom.
In high school, I rarely used a computer and filled countless notebooks
for my classes. Nowadays, students use
laptops, iPads, and Chrome books for school related activities. This week’s discussion was primarily focused
on the use of graphing calculators in math classes. Should students be allowed to use their
graphing calculators whenever they desire or restrict their usage to ensure
quality education?

In
the first article, “Why the graphing calculator still matters in an iPad
world?” was written in 2011 and discussed the use of graphing calculators
compared to iPads. Lucas Allen provides
strong evidence that graphing calculators are better for students and
teachers. The main producers of graphing
calculators, Texas Instruments, provide workshops for teachers so they know how
to use them. Also, graphing calculators
are half the cost of iPads. The apps may
be cheap but you still have to pay for the device and you can save more money
with the graphing calculator. For
testing, especially for the ACT and SAT, graphing calculators will be preferred
because you can’t browse in a window like the iPad. However, standardized testing has their own
restrictions on what types of graphing calculators they allow.

The
second article, “Graphing calculators face new competition”, discusses other
options instead of the graphing calculator.
Graphing calculators can be outdated and a tad expensive. Now, teachers are letting students pull out
their smartphones and use apps instead of the calculator. This requires companies to come up with more
effective calculators to compete with other technology. However, allowing students to use their
phones in a classroom creates problems for supervision.

The
last article, “Go Ahead, Mess with Texas Instruments”, argues that the graphing
calculator has more benefits for education than an iPad. It provides strong points for the graphing
calculator and how it helps students learn about graphing and programming. However, graphing calculators are abused by
some students. The students who are
technologically savvy use their calculators to play games. Most technology has the flaw of not being
used for the purpose it was created for.
iPads can be used in multiple different classes where a graphing
calculator is restricted to math. iPads
are worth the cost because they are versatile so companies need to understand
the consumer’s needs.

A large part of the discussion was how
calculators are becoming a crutch for students in the classroom. Students no longer have the basic arithmetic
skills that they once possessed. With
the simple ease of grabbing a calculator and inputting the numbers, they lose
the knowledge adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. This past weekend, I observed this problem
first hand. While helping my younger
brother with his Algebra homework, he used his calculator for basic
arithmetic. I found the answer faster
mentally than he did using technology.
Granted, some students excel with technology and like using it. However, all students should master basic
arithmetic without the use of a calculator.
Calculators damage the math skills that a student absorbs throughout the
school years. Calculators are becoming
the crutch students use to get by without have a solid understanding in their
education. Teachers need to focus
students more on their own skills and using calculators as an aid instead of
allowing calculators to do the work for the students. by Meghan Pommer