Thursday, April 16, 2015

Solving apps

When I say solving apps, I am referring to those where you put in the numbers and the app provides the answer.  I have been rereading the new state standards and many of the standards require the student to actually learn to complete the process.  One example is that students are expected to factor simple quadratics.  This means that if I have them use a solving app, I can have them check their work with it.  I must still teach the process.  The same applies for filling out a table, graphing etc. 
I understand the logic behind this is for students to understand the whole mathematical process involved. 
I am up against the idea that many jobs require the person to use a program where they plug in the values and get an answer out.  They are not always expected to know the whole concept behind the process.  I agree that if they are familiar with the process and the concept behind the process, it is much easier to determine if the answer is reasonable. 
This is something I have struggled with for the past 20 years and I am still struggling with.  Every time I think I've come to peace with my choice, something happens to make me rethink and question my choice. 
Which do I think is better, I am still not sure.  What I've decided on is simply, I will teach the process and have the students use the solving apps to determine if they have the correct answer.