Should kids be allowed to use calculators in school?

United States
January 28, 2007 9:43pm CST
Do you think students should be allowed to use calculators? I have real mixed feelings about this. It is sad how many kids to do not know simple addition/subtraction/multiplication/division. But, I also understand that it is important to know how to use a calculator. I believe once a student shows that they know how to do the math on their own, they can use the calculator for harder computations. What do you think?
24 people like this
143 responses
• Canada
29 Jan 07
My daughter is older than the level you're referring to, I think, but I do have a problem with calculators. Last year, Grade 10 Advanced Math, she was required to purchase a graphing calculator (well over $100) that she will use straight through college. They use it for everything -- including for solving equations that I used to solve in school without the benefit of this calculator. In some cases, when she's gotten frustrated, I've worked the same problem by hand that she is trying to solve "electronically" and I come out with the correct answer and she doesn't. This concerns me. I think, too, that they should be taught the basics of correct computations manually and then, once they truly understand it, then they can use the calculator.
6 people like this
• United States
29 Jan 07
Well, I guess I was just referring to any age. I see what you mean. Those graphing calculators can be confusing. when a student uses a calculator they may not fully understand what is going on and why the graphs are formed the way they are.
5 people like this
• Canada
29 Jan 07
Exactly! Not to mention, too, that the graphing ones can be purchased with cables that allow you to connect two together or connect one to a computer and they can download programs, notes, all kinds of stuff. She tells me that a lot of students use the calculators as a way to store info that the teacher doesn't really know they have. They're allowed a "memory aid" (handwritten on paper) for exams... but no one checks what they've got stored in the calculator memory. Technology! I swear LOL
5 people like this
• United States
29 Jan 07
I know... I have to admit... when I was in high school I would store stuff and games on my graphing calculator and the teacher never knew.
3 people like this
@greengal (4286)
• United States
29 Jan 07
I don't like the idea of kids being allowed to use calculators at such a young age. They should be encouraged to think ont heir own instead of depending on an instrument. That's one thing which disturbs me about the education system here in the US. I hail from India and back there children aren't allowed to use calculators till they reach the 9th or 10th grade. Back when I was studying I rememvber the firs ttime I was allowed to use a calculator was only when in college. I think that really helped us put those brains to use instead of letting them rust. I'm in the US now but don't want my kids to study here, atleast not junior and high school! I'd rather they learn math the hard way.
6 people like this
• United States
29 Jan 07
I agree, but I think it depends on the school or the teacher. Not all schools / teachers allow kids to use calculators.
3 people like this
@Eskimo (2317)
29 Jan 07
When I was at school, calculators did not exist, and had to learn to count the hard way, and it was hard for some people. I don't think anyone should only use a calculator for subtraction, multiplication or division, these should all be taught by first principles and then use of calculators should be allowed later. how many of us have been in shops where the tills are not working and the assistant can't even add thing like 23 and 12, simple addition like that is too much for them. This has the added benefit of teaching the children to use their brains instead of letting it be done for them.
@vicat506 (132)
• United States
29 Jan 07
When I was a student in high school, we were required to work out the equations on paper, then use a calculator only to check the answer. However, I can see where this may confuse students even more. What if the answer is right, but you misentered it on the calculator? I believe students should be taught the "old fashioned way" and not on calculators. Calculators should be a back up, or for accounting purposes.
• United States
29 Jan 07
Easy methods to caluculate should only be given after completing the school.When students start using calculator at a very small age ability to do simple arthematic will decrease ...
3 people like this
@nw1911guy (1134)
• United States
29 Jan 07
I think it really depends on the math they are doing. I know I wouldn't expect someone to try and do a Calculus problem with a pencil. That would just be ludicrous, but I don't think they should be using calculators for simple math either.
5 people like this
• Nepal
29 Jan 07
ya why not coz every child in not born genius and they are einstein....
5 people like this
• United States
29 Jan 07
I think kids should learn basic math without using a calculator. I think by the time they reach high school, it would be okay to use the claculator. Yes, I know how to do math by hand but it sucks.
@rahulmig (1031)
• India
29 Jan 07
no student should be allowed..calculators should be allowed after the high School
4 people like this
@ashumit02 (819)
• United States
29 Jan 07
these day kids are using computers.what is important is creativity as i think for the development of society.mathematics is a skill which can also be developed with active computing.
4 people like this
@BittyBiddy (2903)
• Ireland
29 Jan 07
Well, I don't think younger kids should use calculators, otherwise they'll never learn their maths tables. They're not allowed to use calculators here until they go into secondary school when they're about 12/13 years old.
@rhowie (3)
• Philippines
29 Jan 07
Base on my own experience, it is better to let students compute for a mathematical problem without the use of calculator as it enhances and sharpen a person's mind power and memory, and most importantly they will not depend on the said device when math problems arise outside the school; because most likely no one brings a calculator everywhere everytime.
@maryannemax (12170)
• Sweden
29 Jan 07
when i was still in elementary, we weren't allowed to use calculator. we calculate simple math on our own. we do have lots of scratch papers to work on before placing our final answer on the quiz pad or test papers. it's better that way. we were able to study harder and remember procedures more. it was in highschool when i started getting algebra classes when we were allowed to use calculators. and i think that's just fair. as of now, i still believe that kids in elementary should learn the basics of math. this is better than jumping into the simple method of using calculators. it's good so kids won't be too dependent on calculators themselves.
2 people like this
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
29 Jan 07
I agree they shouldn't be allowed to use them. I know around here they are using them as early as third grade. Yes it can make doign the math quicker but most of the time they aren't learning the basics that they need to. They aren't learning how to do the math themselves and then when they get into higher grades they don't have those basics to draw upon and it's even harder for them to learn. They use the calculator for just about everything. I know when I was a kid we weren't allowed to use a calculator at school. Home if we did they couldn't say much but on a test? We were on our own. We had to know how to do it or else we failed.
@wavelander (1529)
• Portugal
30 Jan 07
I think it's wrong! As a teacher and a future father, i think using the calculator kids will stop using their minds and become more and more like robots! I hardly use the calculator, just use it for very dificult operations!
1 person likes this
@msqtech (15226)
• United States
6 Feb 07
thanks for your good works I agree with you. We need to keep up with technology as teachers though because we need to recognize the good and the bad in it.
@innechen (1321)
• Indonesia
30 Jan 07
calculator - blue calculator
why not, depent on what grade they are thought.child lesson in school now is much harder then in my school time.so i think calculator is really a good tool to help.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Jan 07
really? you think lessons now are hard than when you were in school? Most people say the opposite and that we are dumbing down the curriculum.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 07
You're right. The basics should be established first because Math is part of everyday life (so everyone should at least know how to do basic operations). The reason for higher math to require calculators is to arrive at a solution faster. Honestly, I would still prefer the old way of trying to figure out the formulas by understanding them because this encourages logical thinking, even if the child may not major in Mathematics later on. I mean look at the standard of education these days. A lot are getting less proficient in math!
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 07
I know... it's really sad how kids are getting worse and worse in math. I used to be a math teacher and I couldn't believe the things I saw kids use a calculator for. I mean, these were easy things you could do in your head!
@blueskies (1186)
• United States
29 Jan 07
In may daughter's case, calculators are taught as part of the curriculum. They are used in such a way that the kids will be able to use them in daily life. She's a normal kid and wasn't allowed to use calculators in class until high school (except when they were teaching them how to use them). This is the same way I was taught in school. My son, on the other hand, has some learning difficulties that make it impossible for him to remember math processes. For this reason, his whole special-ed class is taught to use the calculator for daily use, based on their separate abilities. For example, my son can multiply in his head quite well, but can't do it on paper. He also cannot remember all the steps in division, even though he has been taught numerous times. I think there are a lot of kids like him out there who just can't remember all the steps. Calculators are a lifesaver for them that allow them to move on to more complex math without getting bogged down in basic math details.
• United States
29 Jan 07
I see your point. I agree. Kids with learning disabilities in that situation should be able to use them.
• Italy
30 Jan 07
I think they should be allowed after the high School only.
1 person likes this
@hadees (88)
• India
30 Jan 07
they should not be allowed to use calculators.
1 person likes this
@rurita (212)
• Indonesia
30 Jan 07
when i was in kindergarten and junior high school, i learn mathematic without using calculator. so i know simple additon/subtraction/multiplication/division without using calculator. we use calculator in senior high school, for calculate a complicated calculation like physic, chemistry and mathematic expert.
1 person likes this
@_hope_ (3906)
• Australia
30 Jan 07
I as a parent of five almost adults two still at school feel the school would do a lot better without them .Just look in a checkout if the till breaks down the assistants cannot work out how much change to even give us back i think they need to get the kids using their brains again
1 person likes this