Technology and hand calculation in the new e-math generation: how do they learn? How should we teach?

Cretchley, P. (2001) Technology and hand calculation in the new e-math generation: how do they learn? How should we teach? Quaestiones Mathematicae (Supple). pp. 159-167. ISSN 1607-3606


This paper reflects on the impact of technology for learning, especially at the undergraduate level, and considers the educational implications of some of the findings of a case study which explored the attitudes to the roles of technology and hand calculation in the learning and doing of mathematics. Data and views were gathered from a group of 34 undergraduate mathematics students in a progressive Australian university that promotes electronic delivery very strongly. The students had considerable experience of a range of different mathematics subjects, and had been well supported in the use of powerful scientific software. A major finding was that while almost all the students rated technology very highly as an aid for class demonstrations, for computation and graphing, and for the delivery of learning materials, the majority remained strongly positive about the value of hand exercises. Roughly three-quarters liked to do hand exercises before using the computer, about two-thirds felt more confident if they could perform tasks by hand too, and a similar number rejected the notion of technology replacing the need to know mathematics. It is not yet clear how much these attitudes are affected by different or escalating use of technology, but the findings confirm the ongoing value of hand exercises in the early stages of concept development, and present an important and reassuring signal for those educators who are concerned that use of technology will erode students’ commitment to understanding the principles behind processes that computers can perform.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 1769
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Maths and Computing
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:51
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:40
Uncontrolled Keywords: mathematics; computers; undergraduates; technology; confidence; learning; preferences; hand exercises; calculation
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130208 Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930203 Teaching and Instruction Technologies

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only