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Different people have different inferences about the effects of using calculators in teaching mathematics at lower grades. Some people are of the opinion that the use of calculators at lower classes helps learners to understand mathematics concepts better. They argue that using calculators help learners in lower grades to develop a sense of numbers as well as making them become more confident with their mathematics abilities.
According to Starr (2012), The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics recommends the use of calculators to all mathematics learners at all levels. It argues that long divisions as well as pencil and paper calculations are tedious and are associated with decreased attention of mathematics learners. Conversely, some scholars are against the use of calculators in lower grades.
They argue that introducing calculators to learners in lower grades makes it difficulty for the learners to master basic mathematics concepts.
Anderson (2005) claims that the use of calculators at lower grades makes the learners to keep on trying different operations to arrive at the required solutions without understanding the underlying principals. Moreover, Williamson (2000) posits that the use of calculators in lower grades makes mathematics learners not to conceptualize logical reasoning that is imperative in disciplining the mind.
The use or not use of calculators at lower grades is a contentious issue for many scholars. Some Scholars are for the use of calculators at lower grades, while others are against it. Nonetheless, the most important aspect is not whether lower grade mathematics learners should use or not use calculators, but identifying the most appropriate stage at which mathematics learners should be allowed to use calculators (Williamson, 2000).
It is from this perspective that this research tries to unearth the underlying effects of introducing calculators to mathematics learners at lower grades in order to recommend appropriate solutions.
Significance of the Study
This study will be very instrumental in helping appropriate education stakeholders such as the ministry of education to identify whether mathematics learners at lower grades will be allowed to use calculators or not. In addition, the results of this study will act as guidance to mathematics teachers on whether the use of calculators at lower grades is helpful or detrimental to the mathematics learners understanding of mathematics concepts.
Aims and Objectives
The chief aim of this study will be to find out whether introducing calculators to mathematics learners at lower grades promotes or hinders learners’ conceptualization of mathematics concepts.
- To find out whether introducing mathematics to learners at grade lower grades boost their understanding of mathematics concepts
- To find out whether introducing calculators to mathematics learners at lower grades hinders their understanding of the underlying mathematics concepts.
- To recommend appropriate stage to introduce calculators to mathematics learners
In order to realize the above objectives, this study will try to answer the following questions.
- Does introducing calculators to mathematics learners at lower grades boost their understanding of mathematics principals?
- Does introducing mathematics at lower grades hinder mathematics learner’s ability to understand underlying mathematics principals?
- Which is the most appropriate stage to introduce calculators to mathematics learners?
How I selected the topic and Challenges I faced
I selected the topic after reviewing relevant literature about the use of technology in mathematics. I experienced a lot of problem in narrowing down my topic to the impacts of the use of calculators at lower grades. Nevertheless, I finally managed to come up with this topic that I consider very appropriate for the study.
I came up with this topic after discovering that most of the topics that have been researched on about the subject mainly focused on the impacts of the use of technology in mathematics. Therefore, when I identified the existing gap between the use of calculators and its effects at lower grades, I decided to base my research topic on it in order to establish the existing relationship.
Moreover, I experience a lot of problem in coming up with appropriate research questions that were needed to guide the discussion. After doing a bit of research on how to formulate research questions and consultation from my colleagues, I was able to identify three research questions that I will use for this study.
Anderson, P. (2005).Education Battle Over the use of Calculators. New York: Prentice Hall.
Star, L. (2012). The Role of Long Division in Mathematics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
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Williamson, K. (2000).Calculators in Classroom for Improvement of Mathematics. New York: Prentice Hall