Image Post: Too Much Technology?

 

As a high school math teacher, far too often I find that my students are missing essential math skills.  It can be anything from being able to add to fractions to graphing an equation.  Why do they seem to have these problems?  Weren’t they taught arithmetic in elementary school?  From what I can tell, it seems that they were taught this information and then almost immediately able to use a calculator to “check” their work.  Do you really think they are checking their work?  Maybe.  I know that my daughter does the work and then checks it with a calculator, but she is definitely not the norm.  She only does this because I insist on it.   What about the students that don’t have math teachers as their mother?  They typically do their homework in their room with the aid of a calculator.  Once they get to high school, they can’t function without it.  Now, I am not saying that I am against them.  I really like the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition.  I have been using it since it came out.  I even teach with it.  I like to give my students the ability to do things with and without technology in order for their minds to wrap around different concepts.  My problem is that once students see that they can use the calculator for something, they don’t even bother to try to do it by hand first.  I attempted to solve the problem by teaching by hand, then by calculator, then have a no calculator assessment and a separate calculator assessment.  It seems to work out well except sometimes the students get caught up in it because they can’t do fractions!  I have come to the conclusion that when my high school students have some down time, I will have to start giving them fraction worksheets.  And, no, they may not use their calculator!

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18 thoughts on “Image Post: Too Much Technology?

  1. I find something similar with spelling and grammar skills. They will often figure everything is perfect is there are no green or red squiggly lines below what they write. I love what technology has done for my classroom, but I want my students to be smarter than the devices they use.

  2. I think you make a great point…and I am terrible at math! But, 15 years ago when I was in 1st grade, we had to do mad minutes and memorize all of these facts…and today, when I am grading and need to add, subtract, multiply and divide big numbers fast, I appreciate that I can do it without any trouble! I hope kids today can still do this!

  3. It does not get better for the students – I see them get to community college where they still cannot perform the simplest mathematical operations without a calculator…

  4. Your idea to do worksheets to supplement the knowledge that your students don’t have, but what they need to know, is great. I applaud your efforts. I had an English teacher who insisted that we diagram sentences and I am so grateful that I have those grammar skills from doing those exercises.

    • I haven’t done it yet. I am actually going to do it this school year. I am going to give my high school students middle school fact sheets during down time. I am really excited to see the results at the end of the year!

  5. Your post made me think of the theory of connectivism, which, as I understand it, can be used to argue, among other things, that it isn’t necessary for today’s learners to know all things because they can look up the information in their learning network as they produce learning products. Someone correct me on that statement if I’m wrong; I’m only partially familiar with connectivism. Where is the balance between knowing something intrinsically and being dependent on a network for facts? I believe that both have merits.

    • I definitely hear what you are saying! I think that knowing math facts might be something that you should know intrinsically versus The Periodic Table which could be left to depending on a network.

  6. So true! We do get pretty dependent on the technology we use. For instance, my cell phone battery died the other day and so I took my husband’s phone. I wanted to call one of my girlfriend’s while I was out shopping, but do you think I know anyone’s phone number anymore? Nope. No need to.

  7. Clever idea to give them both no calculator and calculator assessments. I agree that it is so important to learn to do math on paper before jumping to the calculator.

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