Technology and hand calculation in the new e-math generation: how do they learn? How should we teach?

Article


Cretchley, P.. 2001. "Technology and hand calculation in the new e-math generation: how do they learn? How should we teach?" Quaestiones Mathematicae. 24 (Supplement), pp. 159-167.
Article Title

Technology and hand calculation in the new e-math generation: how do they learn? How should we teach?

ERA Journal ID365
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorCretchley, P.
Journal TitleQuaestiones Mathematicae
Journal Citation24 (Supplement), pp. 159-167
Number of Pages9
Year2001
Place of PublicationGrahamstown, South Africa
ISSN1607-3606
1727-933X
Abstract

This paper reflects on the impact of technology for learning, especially at the undergraduate level, and considers the educational implications of some of the findings of a case study which explored the attitudes to the roles of technology and hand calculation in the learning and doing of mathematics. Data and views were gathered from a group of 34 undergraduate mathematics students in a progressive Australian university that promotes electronic delivery very strongly. The students had considerable experience of a range of different mathematics subjects, and had been well supported in the use of powerful scientific software. A major finding was that while almost all the students rated technology very highly as an aid for class demonstrations, for computation and graphing, and for the delivery of learning materials, the majority remained strongly positive about the value of hand exercises. Roughly three-quarters liked to do hand exercises before using the computer, about two-thirds felt more confident if they could perform tasks by hand too, and a similar number rejected the notion of technology replacing the need to know mathematics. It is not yet clear how much these attitudes are affected by different or escalating use of technology, but the findings confirm the ongoing value of hand exercises in the early stages of concept development, and present an important and reassuring signal for those educators who are concerned that use of technology will erode students’ commitment to understanding the principles behind processes that computers can perform.

Keywordsmathematics; computers; undergraduates; technology; confidence; learning; preferences; hand exercises; calculation
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390405. Educational technology and computing
390109. Mathematics and numeracy curriculum and pedagogy
390409. Learning sciences
Byline AffiliationsDepartment of Mathematics and Computing
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