Maybe Google is ok?

I have posted about the fact that my daughter, a freshman in high school, isn’t allowed to use the graphing calculator on her iPhone. We paid $1.99 for this app, and as you would imagine, she has it with her all the time.

Instead, she has to tote around a second $100 device. I had to buy this device last year. If I had had to buy it this year, when she had an iPhone, I would have refused. This is crazy.

Just saw an article about Google working as a graphing calculator. I wonder what the math teachers would say about using Google!!!  HAHA!  I can only imagine!

Seriously, though, should kids pay for and carry around a device that has one function: a graphing calculator. (OK, I realize that has many functions!!) Or, would it be better to teach kids to use the tools they already know and have? Teach them how to use Google to their advantage.

However, this won’t happen. I just found out that they reuse the tests. My daughter didn’t do very well on a quiz, so she had the chance to fix her mistakes (this is something I do like.) She couldn’t take the test out of the classroom  — because they use these same tests in all the geometry classes every year!! So, what did she do? She took a picture of a problem so she could work on it at home. While I commend her for her resourcefulness, this is NOT a good idea in the current culture. (Picture was deleted.)

While I understand that this provides consistency because all kids are tested on the same material and it saves the teacher time, is it really the best option? Does it teach the kids how to solve problems using the tools at hand? Does it teach thinking and problem solving? Are the problems related to the real world, or do they come straight from the textbook??

No wonder she struggles with geometry homework. It has absolutely no relation to her day-to-day life. I know many kids do find motivation in the academic exercise (I did, but only to keep my straight-A average), I doubt most kids do. Go check out Dan Meyer’s blog and TED talk. Then tell me if it’s a good thing that the tests are repeated every year and she’s can’t use her iPhone app.

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