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School algebra and the computer

By David Tall


How are we to use the computer in the teaching and learning of algebra? In the longterm\ud the new technology is introducing new possibilities that may radically change the\ud algebra curriculum. However, in the short-term we already have the National\ud Curriculum placing its template on the development of algebra in school. The recent\ud regrouping of topics into five attainment targets has integrated number pattern with the\ud development of algebraic symbolism. It seems natural to build from expressing patterns\ud in words to expressing them in a shorthand algebraic notation, but, although this\ud proves a sound tactic for the more able, there are subtle difficulties for the majority of\ud children. Instead I shall advocate introducing algebraic symbolism by using it as a\ud language of communication with the computer, through programming in a suitable\ud computer language. This has two distinct benefits – it develops a meaningful algebraic\ud language which can be used to describe number patterns, and it gives a foundation for\ud traditional algebra and its manipulation

Topics: LB, QA
Publisher: Association of Teachers of Mathematics
Year: 1993
OAI identifier:

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