Wednesday, October 22, 2014

This is Making Math Just a Bit Too Easy...

Okay, I'm a former teacher, and despite my obvious interest in creative writing, I'm also a math fan. I love numbers and the logic of mathematics. I'm also a fan of calculators and computers that can do the work and make life easier, but...I do think that it's still important to realize how and why things happen, so this new math app, while intriguing, has me scratching my head. It allows a person to scan a problem, get instant results, and then it shows the steps it took to arrive at the answer.

In one sense, that's awesome. A person can go back and analyze the hows and whys, but it also could easily lead to students never really bothering to learn and understand those hows and whys. That would not be good.

PhotoMath from MicroBLINK on Vimeo.

What do you think? Is this totally fantastic, merely useful, or will it make us all too dependent on computers (and lost when those computers malfunction)?

I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I love, love, love technology and think it's awesome that someone was even able to come up with this app. On the other, well, I'd hate to have fewer people motivated to learn new things.

Have a fantastic day!



Laney4 said...

I'm conflicted in the same way you are, Myrna.
Reminds me of when I asked my son's Gr 6 teacher why my son hadn't been pushed to use his handwriting skills and still printed by then. The teacher looked down at me (and I'm almost a foot taller than him, so I bet you understand what I mean) and said, "Handwriting is not important. This generation will use computers instead." I was some ... annoyed. I asked if my son was going to leave me a note on the counter printed on the computer (because that was the only example I could think up at the time). He just didn't care. He didn't commiserate with me. In fact, that teacher had the worst handwriting I had ever seen (and I have seen plenty of notes written by doctors). Priorities have changed....
The ONLY handwriting my son does (at now 29 years of age) is when he signs his name. That's it. Everything else is printed. I know it's not the end of the world, but I was and am disappointed in "the system".

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Laney4, I totally understand your concern, and I agree. I taught 3rd grade, the year handwriting is taught. It's a real loss that such a useful skill is disappearing.