16 May Mathematics and Technology
Before the boom in technological advances, mathematical principles and applications were very much present in society. Perhaps the onlystark difference with the modern world would be the formalised nature in which mathematics is now taught and presented. Mathematics tutoring was pretty subliminal and indirect. For instance, a child would be taught to be able to identify the size of his or her herd. Tabulations were even done on stone and the voyagers used geometrical navigation with stars and migrating birds as their references. The mathematical landscape has however drastically evolved. Primitive methods and approaches are being cast aside in favour of modern concepts, equipment and gadgets.
A basic yet significant shift in mathematics education is the use of electronic aides during the learning process. Calculators for instance have rendered a lot of mathematical apparel absolute. Problems that used to occupy a significant amount of time to solve can now be efficiently and swiftly executed with a few keystrokes. The question is; is this really advantageous to the student? Substituting thought provoking approaches to problem solving with automated gadgets surely has its downfalls. The average student, regardless of intellectual or education levels, struggles with basic mathematical operations. Faced with a mathematical problem, most students are quick to grab a calculator.
Indeed this trend produces better results considering the efficiency of the gadgets but does it develop a mathematical thinking skill in students? Reliance on these learning aides definitely dampens any innovative thinking in students. Predictably, students from less privileged backgrounds with no access to the modern technology gadgets tend to develop better skills. It is therefore important to strike a balance between modern and medieval approaches to learning. The greatest scientists and inventers thrived in eras that were void of all the modern fancy aides. They had to do the dirty work manually. Their resulting discoveries are living proof of their skills which many still struggle to decipher up to this day.