Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 18th Mar 2006 00:20 UTC
General Development "I've been working for the past 15 months on repairing my rusty math skills, ever since I read a biography of Johnny von Neumann. I've read a huge stack of math books, and I have an even bigger stack of unread math books. And it's starting to come together. Let me tell you about it," writes programmer Steve Yegge.
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Using Calculators
by Yamin on Sat 18th Mar 2006 17:23 UTC
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Well, I just had to comment on this as I'm doing some education courses and have been teaching in schools.

Now, I know as the author does that long division may be 'useless'. But removing that 'tedium' by giving kids calculators hasn't helped anything, I'll tell you that. They have no more applicable knowledge. They can't solve problems any better. They can't estimate any better. In fact, the only difference I've seen with the increased use in calculators is a grade 8 student answers 6x3 with 14. Oh, they're trying all sorts of ways to teach kids math: manipulatives, overviews, computer programs... and yet the kids with the most insight still tend to be the old school kids who CAN do math by hand.

Perhaps there is something to doing math by hand that gives you insight into numbers. Now don't get me wrong, you won't catch me doing complex problems by hand anymore: mathcad, excel, matlab all the way ;) , but somehow I think doing math by hand gives a certain insight into numbers that kids aren't getting today. Maybe they just need to be taught the calculator better?

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