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April 05 2014


Striking A Balance Between Technology & Mathematics in Schools

The debate of whether or not students should be allowed to use tech gadgets such as scientific calculators, programmable graph plotters and equation solvers is getting old now. In the modern world, thanks to the invention of computer, technology has taken a massive leap. Problems that previously took days to solve are now being solved in the blink of an eye. But still some academic pundits have certain reservations about giving strong mathematical tools such as scientific calculators and software programs in the hands of immature students. Students, inherently, go for the easiest way out while solving Mathematical conundrums.

In the present age, due to the excessive use of technology in schools to solve Mathematics, there is only a bunch of students left who actually understand the underlying principles of Mathematics. Mathematics, unlike essay writing, is not the strong suit of many students. But when it comes to mathematics, most of the students just whip out their techy gadgets and solve the questions. Nowadays, software tools like MATLAB, Mathematica etc. solve almost everything from simple equations to complex problems. If the current trends continue, then in a few more decades, we will have a whole generation that will have no fundamental knowledge of Mathematics. So, at least at the elementary level the use of such tools must be discouraged. Excess of anything is bad.

On the other hand, integrating technology with Mathematics homework can be a blessing as well. It is all about striking a balance between technology and pure understanding of mathematical concepts. For instance, 3 dimensional figures are nigh impossible to understand without using tools like MATLAB to plot them. If the students already have a strong understanding of the fundamentals of Mathematics then they can go for mathematical tools to help them save their time and check their solutions. They can also create dedicated software programs to solve a unique set of problems e.g. a linear equation solver or a quadratic equation solver. The Internet is also a wide sea of knowledge that can be tapped into to understand Mathematics in a better way. Visual solutions to complex problems are hosted by many websites that help understand mathematical problems in a better way. Moreover, large chunks of numerical data can now easily be analyzed using spreadsheets in software programs like Microsoft Excel. Responsible application of modern technology in Mathematics classrooms has the potential to further revolutionize the way we think about Mathematics. We live in a world in which the only limit is our own imagination. 

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