A Computer for All Students--Revisited

An Article Review by Lari Garrison

lari@iconnect.net

Warren Township High School

Bert K. Waits and Franklin Demana are well-known for their support of the use of graphing technology in the mathematics classroom. In this article they are commenting on an article they wrote in 1992, in which they were actually opposed to integrating computer algebra systems into high school mathematics. With the development of new technology, such as the TI-92, Demana and Waits feel that many of the barriers to successful integration of CAS are gone. Reasons, such as cost, made using CAS impractical, especially when graphing calculators were so cheap in comparison. As the price of CAS goes down the likelihood that all students will have access to it is increased, so their reservations are gone. They address some of the potential problems that teachers will have to face as the use of CAS becomes more prevalent. Teachers will have to decide how to convince the public that students are actually learning better mathematics through the use of CAS, and they must decide what in the curriculum should be "reemphasized." They point out that another need is for textbooks and other materials which are designed to take advantage of the technology. Certainly many exercises in older, traditional textbooks will become trivial when CAS is used in the classroom. When one thinks about the advantages and benefits of using CAS in the classroom the hurdles teachers face seem insignificant. Students will spend less time learning tedious mechanical algorithms, which CAS can do for them, and more time learning richer higher-level mathematics.

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