The increased application of computers in math has influenced mathematical thinking and reasoning. In the 1960s, people started realizing the potential of integrating computers into education. The implementation of computers seems to be seen more in math as compared to all other subjects.8 Today, computers find applications in teaching math to students right from primary to senior grades. Dive into this article to explore how computers have altered the course of math teaching and learning.
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Is There an Early Relationship Between Computers and Math?
Earlier, computer education used to be a part of math. Gradually, it became a separate discipline. In 1938, Alan Turing, the famous mathematician and later computer scientist, published a thesis called “On Computable Numbers.”1 The learnings in the thesis laid the foundation for modern-day computers. Math played a significant role in determining the computers’ engineering design and logic. Today, computer designers don’t need to know the mathematical principles that led to computer design. But computers are influencing the way math is taught and studied.
The Role Reversal: How Computing Plays a Part in Math Problem-Solving
Computers have affected math education in a big way. Nowadays, you can do any calculation with the help of a simple calculator, one of the earliest forms of a computer. Math teachers today must know computer basics to make their lessons more interactive. Interactive tutorials, games, and simulations make math learning fun and engaging.
Applications of Computers in Math Education
The increased use of technology in education has forced educators to acknowledge the significance of computers.2,7 They must stay updated with the latest technological trends to ensure a seamless process. When it comes to math education, the three broad categories where computers find applications are:
- Computer-Assisted Learning
The harder-to-understand concepts in math are illustrated more effectively through sound, animation, and demonstration. Learning is age-specific. This mode explains the procedures to students via visualization but leaves them to do the computing and calculating.
- Educational Programming
Mathematical models in educational programming help students solve decision-making and real-world problems. Using graphs and spreadsheets lets students assess and analyze the concepts and develop a better understanding. You can learn algorithms through this mode and apply them in coding.
- Educational Tools
Teachers can make use of a variety of technological tools to ensure a stimulating teaching-learning experience. These include mathematical simulations, geometry and algebra software, games, and tutorials.7
What is the Relationship Between Coding and Math?
Algorithms are the basis of computer science. Many students find it hard to understand the concept of formulas and equations. Their interest in these concepts tends to fizzle out soon. The knowledge of computers and an early introduction to coding can make learning difficult mathematical concepts simpler.
How does coding help students love math? Coding helps students understand that math is a practical tool put to everyday use. Coding is another term for computer programming where you deliver a set of instructions to get the computer to do specific tasks. Children quickly grasp complex mathematical concepts while learning to code. The lessons in coding help the students enhance their mathematical skills without being aware of it.6
Pros of Computers Influencing Math
Math can give us only theoretical information. However, combining computers in the process leads to a better understanding of the concepts. Here are the advantages of using computers to make math learning more effective:
- It saves instructional time.
- It helps students develop a conceptual understanding of math through visuals.
- It assists in correlating real-world problems on a conceptual level and verifying using computers.
- It lets students have multiple views of the same problem.
- Students can use computers to formulate questions and sub-questions, and translate them into real-world applications.
- Students can focus on asking relevant questions and trying to correlate them with real-life problems instead of spending time computing.
- It paves the way for customized learning.2,3
Cons of Computers Influencing Math
A school of thought believes computers should be used as an educational aid and should not replace learning mathematical core concepts the traditional way.5 The reasons are:
- Increased dependence on technology is not good.
- Students lose the ability to solve math problems manually.
- Not all students have the same degree of computer literacy.
- Increased distractions and less social interaction are unwarranted.
- The absence of sensory experience may decrease creativity.
- The sense of immediate gratification with no sustained mental effort can be harmful.4,5
Do We Still Need Math When We Have Computers?
Remember that math is the foundation of computer programming and algorithms. Without a basic knowledge of math, your analytical skills will not develop.9 Computers may speed up mathematical calculations and steps, but they can only do so when a programmer with a good understanding of math designs software, data structures, and algorithms. Math is essential for critical assessment and insight, and computers aid in accelerating this process.
To know more about how math influences cognitive reasoning, visit BYJU’S FutureSchool Blog and read related articles.
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