# Why use a Calculator?

Calculators became compulsory aids for general mathematics and for teaching economics/administration. At that time graphing calculators could perform only numerical calculations. New graphing calculator now can be able to perform symbolic operations, affording the opportunity for exact calculations. Students in upper secondary school can now use graphing calculators for their examination. Here are some calculators in Mathematics Education: Advantages and Disadvantages:

Advantages

- Students can see the need for a basic knowledge of mathematics - in part to be able to assess the reliability of answers given by the calculator.
- After a short introduction to basic mathematical methods, principles can be applied to relatively complicated problems.
- The principles of mathematical formulas can be studied through applications that make simple variations when data are entered.
- Work can be focused on understanding mathematical principles rather than on time-consuming calculations.
- The calculator can rapidly and accurately do 'heavy' mathematical calculations.
- Students will discover the need for control routines and for alternative calculations.
- Applications of theories will be more interesting.
- The calculator has a great capacity for work because the default menu can be supplemented by program modules from the Internet with corresponding menus.
- Calculator activity can be altered by downloadable (Aplets) from the Internet. Accurate solutions to relatively complex mathematical problems, e.g. differential equations of first and second order, can be obtained.
- The geometry programme Cabri offers many possibilities for descriptive proofs of theorems.

Disadvantages

- Students have little motivation for drill and repetition of analytical calculations, which the calculator can do faster and more accurately.
- Students can simply become dependent on the calculator, even for relatively simple calculations.
- Insufficient input can have dramatic consequences for the answer.
- Calculator settings are crucial to the accuracy of answers obtained.
- The calculator may give the answer in a form that is unfamiliar to the student.
- The use of the calculator in upper secondary school can lead to an insufficient basic knowledge of mathematics, resulting in later difficulties in higher education if students cannot continue to use calculators.
- Some students may not have sufficient knowledge to use a calculator effectively.

Updated On: 15.02.14