Are we too dependent on calculators?

Going into my Precalculus class, it is almost natural to take out the handy Ti-84 graphing calculator. The question that sparked from my mind is that are we too dependent on calculators?

There are plenty of articles on this topic of calculators. Once students get to a higher math level or science level in high school, a calculator is essential to one’s learning. However, calculators, in my opinion, are double edged swords. They can help you tremendously for solving long problems, but your overall quickness is shunned by using the calculator too much. For example, one time in my Chemistry class a simple problem can be easily solved by doing it without the calculator. Instead of solving the problem with a paper and pencil, I whipped out the calculator and punched some numbers in.

This situation is bad in some cases. First off all, problems can be solved faster without a calculator and it is actually encouraged to solve it without a calculator. Even on the SAT there is a no calculator and a calculator portion. Despite the titles of calculator and no calculator, the calculator portion can be solved even without a calculator. The same goes for math and science. Everything can be solved by hand and mind, but it just takes a lot longer.

In reality, I think we are a little dependent on calculators. I find that doing simple math takes a little longer before and I always have the mentality of “Oh, I’ll just use a calculator to solve it.” Unfortunately, we can’t just simply eliminate calculators and force everyone to solve long problems by hand and mind. However, what we can do is to figure out problems by hand and mind then let the calculator do the final calculations instead of jumping to the calculator in the first step.


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