T3ach3rs D3mand our D3vic3s

T3ach3rs D3mand our D3vic3s

Riana Watkins-Martin, Staff Writer

“Okay everyone, put away your devices.”

These words effortlessly slip out of the mouth of your Pre Calculus teacher as he paces around the perimeter of the room, his hands slipped in his pants pockets. This particular statement is an evident contradiction, considering FHC recently implemented a new initiative by the name of EAchieve, one that purely revolves around the utilization of technology. Yet students are still required to tuck their calculators away in their backpacks the moment a math examination is slapped on the top of their desk.

As a society, we are trapped on an infinite hamsterwheel, constantly retracing our steps and pedaling backwards into the past we have so desperately tried to leave behind.

The modernized electronic devices that we tote around on a daily basis, featuring automatic graphing functions and programs that are able to effortlessly perform the quadratic equation digitally, were first introduced to mankind in the 1980s. Yes, it is safe to say that we often unintentionally take advantage of the “intelligent robots” that we keep sitting on the corners of our desk, within reach at all times as if they are our security blankets; however, it is absurd to pretend we have not advanced as a society, it is absurd for our geometry teachers to demand we keep them out of reach during tests, ignoring the obvious improvements we have made in the mathematical field and asking us to tediously perform complicated trigonometric relationships by hand.

When teachers strip us of the calculators we have been taught to rely on since ninth grade, the ones we have be taught to constantly check our work with, I can not help but feel as if they are leading us into a dark room and forbidding us from turning on the lights until we can spit out how voltage conductors operate and the many parts of an electrical currents. In actuality, a majority of individuals do not understand the woos of a light bulb or the components of both oxygen and cellular respiration, yet we are continually turning on lamps and breathing in air. Just because high school students aren’t able to easily explicate why y comes out what it does when x is plugged into the equation does not mean they should be denied a calculator simply to prove they understand the concept. Despite the fact that not all individuals can effortlessly execute mental calculations, despite the fact that some people depend on their fingers and toes to figure out simply multiplication problems, those who excel in the subject and comprehend certain equations perfectly may find it both repetitive and unnecessary to carry out each equation manually when they are able to create a program that does it for them.

We are in the 21st century. It is time we start acting like it. Various mathematicians and dedicated engineers have dedicated a large majority of their time attempting to making individual’s lives easier; they have provided us with electronic calculators that possess the ability to be utilized both in and out of the classroom. Simply putting them in between our feet while we stumble through problems is simply an insult.

It is not like students do not have any idea of what they are doing when their fingers tap numerous buttons and hover over the enter key; they have to comprehend the mathematical concept in the slightest to be able to enter the equation correctly and have the “intellectual robot” spit out an accurate answer. Students have to be able to understand to go over to STAT to bring up a graph of plot points, EDIT to enter a variety of given x and y coordinates and QUAD Equation in order to be given the formula for a parabola. It is not as if the calculator simply does all the work for them.

Isn’t math class all about practical application? Aren’t the teachers always trying to get us to understand how we can apply what we learn to real world problems? Well, I am pretty sure that in the real world, we will not be stripped of our calculators, we will not be asked to turn off our electronic devices that bring up Google at the touch of a button, we will not be asked to obliviously pretend we are back to living in the stone age. It is crucial students understand how to appropriately utilize a calculator so that after we are done being treated like babies by our math educators, we are aware of exactly what functions to use when given a particular equation to solve. If we are being completely honest with ourselves, in the real world, we will not be asked to tuck away our TI-83s.

Being told that you can not use your calculators- the ones that were on the school shopping list at the beginning of the semester, the ones you paid $100 for simply because you were required to have them- during a math examination is, for lack of a better term, ludicrous. We are backtracking as a society as opposed to utilizing the advances we have made. Only when math teachers stop breathing air until they can perfectly explicate cellular respiration will I find it fair that we are obstructed from utilizing our devices solely to validate we know to how to manually perform the quadratic function.