Michael A. Dingwall, Contributor
While there can be little doubt that technology has been of immense benefit to us, it can be argued that, in some respects, it has had its downsides. One such is the intellectual laziness that some of it encourages. Consider the use of calculators in schools.
I remember when I was in high school and doing mathematics, I could not think of using a calculator. I know that we have a serious concern with the performance of our high-school students in the science subjects - especially mathematics. However, sometimes I wonder if our encouragement of students using too much technology isn't actually making things worse.
When doing mathematics, one of the primary objectives is to get students to think - especially to think logically. Finding the square root of a number, or the answer to an equation, with a calculator may be faster, but it actually encourages intellectual laziness. Gone are the days when our students used to have to work out the answers to many of these mathematics problems themselves, with no technological assistance. Nowadays, they just punch a few buttons and there is the answer - many times, without even knowing how the answer came about.
a future without problem solvers?
If we are not careful, what we will see in the near future is most of us not really knowing how to solve problems - as we will become over-reliant on machines, while a very few persons, mostly living overseas, will not only know how to solve these problems, but also know how to make the machines to solve them. What future will there be for us if the few problem solvers who remain do not live here?
In order to help the development of a culture of logical thinking and problem solving, I think the removal of calculators from our secondary schools would be helpful. This move would help to produce graduates who are more able to logically think about ways to come up with solutions to problems, and not just solely rely on calculators and other machines. This would help to arrest the intellectual laziness that we are actually helping to develop.
Furthermore, I do not think that the type of society which we want, the type in which a knowledgeable people are capable of using their brains to create a strong nation, can develop if we continue to encourage our high school students to let machines think for them. Intellectual laziness contributes nothing to nation building.
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