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## Main Question or Discussion Point

I tried searching to see if this had been discussed before, but instead I found a lot of people using Wolfram Alpha to help with homework etc. If this has been discussed before can someone link me to the thread? I am unable to find it.

http://www.ted.com/talks/conrad_wolfram_teaching_kids_real_math_with_computers.html *edit I can't post the link so I left spaces because I feel it is an important subject to discuss*

So, in the link above is a video of Conrad Wolfram talking about math education. His main point is basically that students should be taught to use the best tools available and learn how to apply math with those tools rather than spending their time learning it with pen and paper, however, he is not saying we should completely get rid of hand based calculation because it is helpful in some regards, but it should not be the prime focus of math education like it is. He gives some very good examples and asks the question why are we teaching math in this way. He also goes into the fact that with computer based math we could give harder and more realistic problems and it allows for different types of learning because the students will be able to interact and see math. He goes into a lot of detail. It is a very powerful speech and I could never do it justice, so watch it if you haven't.

I am really confused by this video because I find myself agreeing with him. I am however not a math graduate and have not had experience with really high level math courses. I sort of wanted to test his idea on myself so after watching the video I decided to do all of my math homework in java and created programs to solve all of my homework problems. I felt good about it and I was able to do it fully and it worked. I had a lot less errors too... I felt he was more right after this because we do make errors. It is really easy for us to make errors, but a computer is going to do the same process again and it is only up to us to make sure that process works the first time.

I remember one of my precalculus teachers telling me that there are problems computers can't do... But I feel that he is wrong because anything with a process can be put into steps, but perhaps at the end of that process is where the human chooses the proper output is what he was talking about. That would still be a vital part of computer based education though....

One other thing he said that I felt really hammered in his point was that with hand based calculation it is really easy to make a mistake and find that you've made a mistake and then on a test forget which way was the right. I have done this before and it is extremely frustrating because it comes down to many things like burnout, boredom, etc.

What does everyone think? It would be nice to here from those of you who have completed high level math, physics, engineering, etc... courses to respond to to this. Is/Was learning by hand the correct way to teach math?

http://www.ted.com/talks/conrad_wolfram_teaching_kids_real_math_with_computers.html *edit I can't post the link so I left spaces because I feel it is an important subject to discuss*

So, in the link above is a video of Conrad Wolfram talking about math education. His main point is basically that students should be taught to use the best tools available and learn how to apply math with those tools rather than spending their time learning it with pen and paper, however, he is not saying we should completely get rid of hand based calculation because it is helpful in some regards, but it should not be the prime focus of math education like it is. He gives some very good examples and asks the question why are we teaching math in this way. He also goes into the fact that with computer based math we could give harder and more realistic problems and it allows for different types of learning because the students will be able to interact and see math. He goes into a lot of detail. It is a very powerful speech and I could never do it justice, so watch it if you haven't.

I am really confused by this video because I find myself agreeing with him. I am however not a math graduate and have not had experience with really high level math courses. I sort of wanted to test his idea on myself so after watching the video I decided to do all of my math homework in java and created programs to solve all of my homework problems. I felt good about it and I was able to do it fully and it worked. I had a lot less errors too... I felt he was more right after this because we do make errors. It is really easy for us to make errors, but a computer is going to do the same process again and it is only up to us to make sure that process works the first time.

I remember one of my precalculus teachers telling me that there are problems computers can't do... But I feel that he is wrong because anything with a process can be put into steps, but perhaps at the end of that process is where the human chooses the proper output is what he was talking about. That would still be a vital part of computer based education though....

One other thing he said that I felt really hammered in his point was that with hand based calculation it is really easy to make a mistake and find that you've made a mistake and then on a test forget which way was the right. I have done this before and it is extremely frustrating because it comes down to many things like burnout, boredom, etc.

What does everyone think? It would be nice to here from those of you who have completed high level math, physics, engineering, etc... courses to respond to to this. Is/Was learning by hand the correct way to teach math?

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