# Do you think calculators in math classes is reducing math skills?

I'm teaching a class in college algebra, and no problem so far in this class has a need for a calculator. There are some calculators that would spit out an answer, and some will do the steps too. I'd say about 50% of the class is whining that they want to be able to use a calculator on the class work and...
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I'm teaching a class in college algebra, and no problem so far in this class has a need for a calculator. There are some calculators that would spit out an answer, and some will do the steps too. I'd say about 50% of the class is whining that they want to be able to use a calculator on the class work and tests. I don't care if they use a calculator to check their homework answers, as long as they do the work. I know there's some math classes where a calculator is practical. What I don't get is half my class tells me that every math teacher before me allowed them to punch in the numbers and let the calculator spit out the answer. I've also noticed that a lot of them have to think about what 5*9 or 7*6 is. What do you think of this?

Update:
To those who are asking that "math skills" be defined, I think I already have. I've said that nothing I'm teaching in a college algebra course needs a calculator. Yet about 50% of the class is whining that they need to use a calculator on the tests. I've already stated that I don't mind them using it to check their...
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To those who are asking that "math skills" be defined, I think I already have. I've said that nothing I'm teaching in a college algebra course needs a calculator. Yet about 50% of the class is whining that they need to use a calculator on the tests. I've already stated that I don't mind them using it to check their homework answers. They are telling me that their previous teachers let the copy problems step for step from their calculators. Many of them have trouble remembering multiplication tables. This is an intermediate algebra class in a well known college.

I came from a country that doesn't readily use calculators in classes. I went to college in the US, and I didn't feel a need to use a calculator most of the time, whether it was homework or tests. Please go back and read my original question. The trigonometry instructor here says that most of her students are rebelling against using exact angles instead of approximate calculator answers, because their previous teachers told th

I came from a country that doesn't readily use calculators in classes. I went to college in the US, and I didn't feel a need to use a calculator most of the time, whether it was homework or tests. Please go back and read my original question. The trigonometry instructor here says that most of her students are rebelling against using exact angles instead of approximate calculator answers, because their previous teachers told th

Update 2:
Sorry, Y!A gave an error message and didn't let me finish. "Math skills" as I'm discussing in this question would be the ability to readily use multiplication tables, be able to rationalize denominators, and to simplify exponents problems by using their brain. When we do word problems, the ones wanting to use...
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Sorry, Y!A gave an error message and didn't let me finish. "Math skills" as I'm discussing in this question would be the ability to readily use multiplication tables, be able to rationalize denominators, and to simplify exponents problems by using their brain. When we do word problems, the ones wanting to use calculators somehow think that the calculator should be able to set up the problem for them. One day, a student asked me what keys to use to set up the steps. I told him that he had to reason that out, and then use basic math and algebra skills to solve the answer. I would like to think teachers did not let them use calculators to such an extent, but again how did these students manage to get accepted into an intermediate algebra class in a well known college? How did they get accepted into the trigonometry class taught by the other instructor when they can't grasp putting an answer in exact value form?

Aren't you seeing some evidence of this problem on the Y!A questions?

Aren't you seeing some evidence of this problem on the Y!A questions?

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