The emerging changes in electronic media have changed almost everything. Technology has influenced every area of the human life. Electronic media is everywhere from the classroom environment, home to the workplace. The dawn of the internet has changed the world to a small place because it has overcome geographical barriers. Information is now easily available because of the internet. Electronic media has shaped the learning environment from the traditional one to a digital one. Technology has brought different types of media to the learning environment. The media in the classroom environment include the mobile phone, instant messaging, television, video games, computers, social networks and calculators (Winn, pg. 24). The students today have computers and cell phones that perform so many things ranging from downloading applications from the internet to performing simple math in class. The students are able to monitor their bank accounts using their mobile phones.
30 years ago, technological devices were not common things inside a learning environment or even in the workplaces and homes. Students used manual typewriters because there were no things like word processors. Abacus was the first instrument used to perform calculations. The abacus consisted of counting rods. The transport of rods was easy and made it accessible to many students. The abacus could perform simple mathematical calculations like addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.
A calculator is electronic media that allows performance of arithmetic calculations and operations automatically. Since its launch some years back, many people have voiced their opinion towards the use of this gadget in the classroom. The debate continues today and some believe that students should not use calculators in the classroom while others say that they should continue using them. The use of electronic calculator comes with advantages and disadvantages.
The incorporation of calculator use has a positive impact in learning. The students do not need to have a worry performing complex arithmetic problems. Calculators help students focus their efforts to reasoning and solving problems associated with the lessons. Calculators allow teachers to show students how to check patterns and estimates against real life situations. The introduction of calculators to children when they are young helps them develop cognitive skills that are important in everyday life. It helps students to learn mathematically complex material. It makes students focus on the results rather than computation techniques. It helps the student to perform well in subjects that involve complex calculations. Research shows that children who use calculators on exams get higher scores in class compared to those that do not use calculators. Calculator use improves the pencil and paper skills of the students. Calculator use helps in improving the attitude of the students towards mathematics. It empowers and motivates the teachers and students into engaging in important activities. If properly incorporated into learning, calculators allow students to have a better understanding of arithmetic problems and real life problems. It is important to keep up with technology and a calculator is one of the important technologies. Special type of calculators has applications that allow students to perform specific tasks that enhance learning of mathematics and statistics.
The use of the electronic media in the classroom also has negative effects to the students. Electronic calculators have made the students lazy. The students today cannot even perform simple math because of high dependence on the calculator. The students have lost analytical skills because the calculators perform all the calculations for the students. They do not know the formula and the procedure of doing the arithmetic but instead, they only focus on results.
The electronic calculator has robed students of skills to solve problems. The distribution of calculator in the society is not even leaving other students disadvantaged. Calculator use just like any other technology media leads to addiction. The change that students attain by using calculator is irreversible and very unpredictable. The students today cannot think for themselves but have left it to this electronic media (Postman, pg.4). This leads to lack of development in some parts of the brain. This is very damaging to the life of the students because when these gadgets are not there, it makes them helpless. The students waste much time using the other forms of media instead of reading because they know they have the calculators that will help them perform the computations within a short time. It leads to bad habits of learning.
The use of this media in class should happen well to ensure that students attain the required level of literacy. Lecturers and parents should work together to ensure that this happens effectively. Teachers should let the learners know that a calculator is just a tool to assist but it should not take the thinking process of the individual. The teacher should mix problems that are difficult to solve that require the calculator with simple sums that students can solve without using the calculator. The teachers should teach subjects that contain calculations as one discipline and not as different subjects. This helps students to think before they do the calculations using calculators.
Postman, Neil. "Five things we need to know about technological change." Retrieved December 1 (1998): 2003.
Winn, Marie. The Plug-in Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life. New York: Penguin Books, 2002. Print.