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Views of middle school girls on calculator use in mathematics classes Yu, Wendy

Abstract

This study examined middle school students' perceptions of calculator use in the classroom. Through autobiographies and group interviews, the students expressed what they thought about how calculators are used and how they should be used. Calculators have been a topic of interest for many years now but with the advent of the modern computer, the calculator debate has been pushed to the sidelines. However, the question of how calculators should be used is constantly disputed. Some people believe calculators prevent the learning of the basics while others feel that calculators help students probe deeper into problems. This study addresses these concerns from the eyes of eight grade 8 students in middle school and attempts to answer the question: What do middle school students say about how calculators are used and should be used? The findings were based on individual opinion and experiences of students within the study. In summary, the majority of students gave positive feedback towards the use of calculators within the math class. However, there were some concerns regarding basic skills (such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) that were voiced as well. The students favoured calculator use as a tool in the math class as long as there was already a firm grasp of basic skills. Irrefutably, more time and a greater understanding of calculators by teachers will help students make the choice to use this tool effectively.

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