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Subject:

Re: Calculator or No Calculator

From:

Kate Jakobson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 15 Nov 2006 12:35:26 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (126 lines)

Calculators are permitted for all math classes here except for some
restrictions in the Basic Math (arithmetic) class.   (Graphing calc's. are
required once students hit Intermediate Algebra and thereafter.)

In the Basic Math class, calculators are not permitted for the first 3
chapters (whole numbers, fractions, decimals), then are allowed until near
the end of the course when integers/operations are covered and calculators
are again not permitted.

At the end of Chap. 3, there's a break from the text and a week or so is
spent on calculator usage with a test at the end of that unit before moving
on in the text.  As far as best practices go, I do like that idea.  Having
calculator usage (and its accompanying issues covered) imbedded within the
course is working out much better than just offering stand-alone calculator
workshops offered through the Tutoring Center.

The final for Basic Math is given in 2 parts:  No calculators for Chap. 1 -
3 and calculators permitted for the rest of it.

And I know, this issue has been around since calculators have.  See the
NYTimes for an article on math and basic skills just this past week
(although its focus is on the constructivist vs traditional math wars), many
of the issues are the same.  I think a solid understanding of the basic
concepts and operations should be absolutely required before calculators
should be used.  What's the point of using a calculator if one has no real
understanding of what they're doing?  An old prof of mine used to call it
'black-box mathematics'.

If you do a search on 'calculators and basic skills' or 'calculators in math
education', you'll find a (overwhelming) wealth of research and best
practices.

Kate

Kate Jakobson, Director
Tutoring and Student Success
Kirtland Community College
10775 N. St. Helen Rd
Roscommon, MI  48653
989.275.5000 x 211

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Virginia Reiner
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 10:08 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Calculator or No Calculator

Colleagues,

I know this is an age-old dilemma, but this question is again causing
controversy in our developmental math department.  

We offer 2 levels of developmental math, arithmetic and introductory
algebra.  Two out of the three instructors do NOT allow calculators to
be used in arithmetic.  The third is very much pro-calculator.  All 3
allow calculators in algebra.

What is your practice? 

Thanks as always for your help.

Ginny

Virginia Reiner
Director of the Conklin Academic Skills Center
College of Saint Elizabeth
2 Convent Road
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-290-4303
Fax: 973-290-4399

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sandeford-Lyons, Stacey
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 9:17 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: ideas for campus wide writing program

Colleagues,

 

My current challenge is to address the English and writing needs of the
underprepared students attending my university, without traditional
developmental courses. Would you kindly share any ideas or innovative
programs that you have implemented on your campus? Our needs are great.
I am meeting with my VP for Academic Affairs today!

 

Stacey Sandeford-Lyons

Johnson C. Smith University

Director--Freshman Through Senior Year Experience

Telephone:  (704) 378-1114 & Fax (704) 378-3528

E-mail:  [log in to unmask]

 


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