Using Calculators
in Primary Mathematics? Why Not?
Vlasta KokolVoljc
vlasta.kokol@unimb.si
Pedagogical Faculaty
University of Maribor
Slovenia
Abstract
Computers have become an integral part of everyday life in the last
few years. Almost every child has one ?in form of microchips which
are in every day appliances such as cell phones, and even in keyrings
?How about using calculators for doing (teaching, learning) primary
mathematics? Should we forbid the use of calculators at the primary
level or should we allow their use and even explicitly make them
a teaching tool in mathematics classes? Is there a middle way? What
are the benefits and advantages  and which are the weaknesses and
disadvantages of the use of calculators in primary mathematics classes?
How to make a calculator to be a good teaching tool also at primary
level? If we allow calculators, then the question arises, how to
convince primary grade pupils (and their parents!) about the inevitability
of learning the basics about numbers and operations, despite the
fact that they could use calculators? Is it still important to learn/teach
?ead and hand calculations? Are there any criteria which make a
calculator appropriate or nonappropriate for primary grades of
mathematics teaching? How can we recognize a "good calculator" and
how should we use them for teaching mathematics at primary level?
A large number of questions arise, when we think about using calculators
in primary mathematics. These are the questions we will discuss
in the presentation in addition to looking at appropriate classroom
examples.
