Graphing Calculators and education Message #1 Posted by bill platt on 21 Jan 2009, 10:28 a.m.
I am an "olde skool" (or however the pseudoneohiphop generation would say it) hp calculator user and while I own two 48GX complete with cards and metakernel and once had ALG48 installed, I just don't really know or understand the graphing calculator utilization in school.
Yet pretty soon I am going to have to deal with that detail within my own household, and so I found the following statement, on the HP "Mastering the HP39GS and HP49GS" document interesting:
"The hp 39gs was released mainly in the United States and other regions, such as Australia, which do not allow a Computer Algebra System, or CAS, in their educational systems. The hp 40gs, on the other hand, was released mainly in Europe where a CAS has long been an expected ability for calculators used by high school students."
This has me even more fascinated. So in Europe, students don't need to practice algebra? Or am I missing something? What is the point of a computer algebra system in a calculator? I can see the utility in PC based programs for advanced analysis (Wolfram etc) but in a calculator for school use? How is this CAS business implementedand how/why are American and European schools different in this respect? (And isn't for instance Spain in it's own category here anyway?)
I have been a skeptic about early use of calculators in school. So far all I see them doing is reducing proficiency in arithmetic and number familiarity (like being able to see the answer to 7 X 14 rather than having to type it in...). Yet in the next few years I am going to have to support two students who will be required to own graphing calculators...
I have a feeling that this topic is probably evolving as we speak...
