Calculators in the Classroom: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going
Director of Educational Technology and Secondary Education
Where We’ve Been
- Cannon Inc. introduces first hand-held electronic calculator in 1970.
- Hewlett-Packard introduces first scientific calculator in 1972.
- Last slide rule manufactured in the United States in 1975.
- Casio introduces first graphing calculator in 1986.
What is a calculator?
- A usually electronic device for performing mathematical calculations
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Online
Progression of Calculators
How have calculators changed mathematics?
- parametric representations
- paper and pencil arithmetic
How have calculators changed mathematics teaching?
- Teachers can focus on conceptual development.
- Data collection devices allow for connections between mathematics and the sciences.
- Data analysis tools allow for connections between mathematics and the social sciences.
Pedagogical Responses to Calculators
- To check pencil and paper calculations
- To substitute for pencil and paper calculations
- Simultaneous use of calculator, pencil and paper AND mental math
The Call to Use Calculators
- NCTM’s An Agenda for Action (1980) & Standards (1989,1991,1995,2000) call for the use of calculators at ALL grade levels.
- Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills call for appropriate technology use at all grade levels.
Obstacles to Calculator Use
- Debate on the nature of mathematics
- Fear of student dependence on calculators
- Lack of training on appropriate calculator use
- Lack of acceptance of calculators at the university level
More Thoughts on Assessment
- If calculators change teaching, they must change assessment as well.
- Calculators are required on Advanced Placement Calculus and Statistics Exams.
- Calculators are required on Algebra I End-of-Course Exam.
- Calculators will be required on Grade 9, Grade 10 and Exit Level TAKS.
Where are we going?
- Computer-upgradable calculators can have their functionality upgraded with the latest software.
- Application software can extend calculator use outside of the realm of mathematical computations.
- Calculators are serving many of the same purposes as computers.
Many calculators today are computers.
- a programmable electronic device that can store, retrieve and process data
Where might we be going?
- Increased acceptance and assessment with calculators at lower grade levels
- Increased use of algebraic calculators in the instruction of algebra
- Even less distinction between calculators and computers