Since September 1999, the TI-92 Plus or TI-89
symbolic calculator has been a compulsory purchase for new students
entering our engineering school and the Voyage 200 is now being used
since September 2002. Looking back at these ten years of working with a
computer algebra system on every student’s desk, one could ask: did the
introduction of this hand-held technology really forced teachers to
re-assess their goals in teaching mathematics? For some teachers – in
fact, less than we could have expected -, the answer is “yes”. But what
really has changed? Some exam questions have changed because students at
ETS have access to their calculator when writing tests, almost all the
time. But the curriculum did not really change: many professors still
continue to ignore the power of computer algebra as if computer algebra
serves only as a substitute for pencil and paper techniques or only to
illustrate concepts. Many are reluctant to really integrate CAS as a
working tool for students. Different parts of the curriculum or
different mathematics courses are still connected in a very poor manner.
The talk will give examples of what a daily use of computer algebra in
the classroom should have produced: a better appropriation of (many)
mathematical concepts. Perhaps mathematics teachers should start to
question their role. Computer algebra systems are here to stay. Not
using them won’t make them disappear! |