Angel C de Dios on the Philippine Basic Education blog, describes recent thunderstorms that resulted in people manually adding their purchases up in grocery stores without calculators. He reflects back on his experiences with calculators and his son’s with computer, wondering about the use of technology and understanding
on one hand, it may seem that introduction of technology into classrooms is a sure winner. Back when I was in high school, scientific calculators were not yet widely available and I could not afford to have one. So in trigonometry, we were using tables. That was quite tedious so it paid to commit into memory the sine values of special angles like 0, 30, 45, 60 and 90 degrees. And knowing the sine values at these angles, one can derive the cosine, tangent, cotangent, secant and cosecant values. Having to work with these functions manually, one did have a greater opportunity to appreciate what they represent. Thus, the downside of technology is that the use of scientific calculators can take the entire picture into a black box.