1. #Problem: Some math topics require calculators and some don’t. How do we know?
#Solution: Basic topic – no calculator. Advanced topics – allow calculator.
2. Problem: Some exams require calculators, while some do not allow calculators.
Solution: Know your students’ upcoming exams and research if they need calculator or not. IGCSE, SAT’s, ACT, statistics and Checkpoint P2 require calculators. Checkpoint P1, UPCAT, ACET, DLSUCET, NSAT, most college entrance exams, and most high school exams do not allow calculators.
3. Problem: Teachers are under pressure to be good judges whether a calculator is needed in class or not.
Solution: Accept the fact. It will always be that way. It’s always a privilege to be a good judge.
4. Problem: Students don’t know when to use and when not to use calculators.
Solution: In your classroom, set the default rule: NO CALCULATOR. Let the students exhaust all methods first. Students will then automatically develop their own educated judgements when to use and when not to use calculators.
5. Problem: Calculators are faster. How do we “market” the manual methods?
Solution: Teach shortcuts. If students can be somehow better than calculators, they will appreciate manual methods and scrap calculators.
6. Problem: Some poor students don’t have calculators.
Solution: Forget the calculator debate and focus on being a better teacher to more students – with or without a calculator.
7. Problem: Calculators are more accurate. How do we “market” the manual methods?
Solution: Show your students the weakness of calculators. Show that most calculators can’t graph. Some calculators don’t know MDAS. 10-digit calculators can’t figure out the 11th digit. Calculators don’t show remainders in division, and so on. Man is still smarter in many ways. Many times calculators say: ERROR.
Verdict: Calculators work only if used together with manual methods, and with a good teacher.
(My forum thoughts on EDMT 201: #UPOpenUniversity)