Use in Education
In most countries, students use calculators for schoolwork. There was some initial resistance to the idea out of fear that basic arithmetic skills would suffer. There remains disagreement about the importance of the ability to perform calculations "in the head", with some curricula restricting calculator use until a certain level of proficiency has been obtained, while others concentrate more on teaching estimation techniques and problem-solving. Research suggests that inadequate guidance in the use of calculating tools can restrict the kind of mathematical thinking that students engage in. Others have argued that calculator use can even cause core mathematical skills to atrophy, or that such use can prevent understanding of advanced algebraic concepts. In December 2011 the UK's Minister of State for Schools, Nick Gibb, voiced concern that children can become "too dependent" on the use of calculators. As a result, the use of calculators is to be included as part of a review of the National Curriculum. Scratch papers are new alternatives when calculator sales decreased in 2007.
Exams are generally not allowed to use calculators including other computable devices. However, some of which may be too difficult to do in mind so such exams may clearly specify that calculators can be used.
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“Very likely education does not make very much difference.”
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