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Calculators in the Math Classroom: In Memory of a Friend and Obstinate Student

§ June 13th, 2011 § 1 Comment- Add yours§ Filed under Standards § Tagged , , ,

photograph by Shaun Wood

Today I found out I lost a contemporary, a friend.  This friend, who once was a highly successful investment banker with a lucrative business, left an affluent lifestyle to pursue a degree in middle level education.  He wanted to make a difference.  He wanted to make an impact on kids’ lives.   He wanted to teach math and science, but to do that he had to go through me.   Even though we were friends, I became the teacher.  He became the student who drew battles lines  — but the battle really began a few years earlier.

I first met this friend by telephone when my college dean referred his question about using calculators in the classroom to me.  He was looking for support in his protest to his son using the tool in his middle school math and science classes.   He shared his objections with me and asked me to share my position, so I did.  In fact, I backed it up with research and personal experiences.  But all of that fell on deaf ears.  I didn’t make a dent in his armored belief that calculators were crutches that were making our students weak in math by causing them to rely on it instead of building mental math skills.   Oh, well.  I tried. § Read the rest of this entry…