I had been putting off writing about this until I found this post. I have yet to read it, and will do so after finishing my post, to compare the differences.
The Ministry of Education in Singapore will be introducing graphing calculators into the new A level syllabus. This is bad. Let me stress that I’m not a stick-in-the-mud techno-phobe. In fact, I make heavy use of Maple for my work, and believe in using computers for computations. But I certaintly feel that unleashing high powered calculators to students do more harm than good. I have seen students who can’t add two-digit numbers without calculators. Giving them calculators that can graph and do algebra would be akin to giving a chain-saw to kids who still can’t hold a knife. Simmons share similar views and wrote in the preface of his book of seeing students who instead of factoring [tex]x^2 + 2x +1[/tex], or some other similar quadratic, use calculators to graph and solve the equation.
The biggest benefactors are not the students but Texas Instruments. Do you know that they fly teachers and no doubt MOE officials, to conferences in Australia and other places, so that they can see and hear other people rave about TI calculators? The seed money has paid off handsomely, since TI can now ship 20,000 units of calculators every year to Singapore.