Thursday, January 24, 2008

Down with Fractions!!???

I read this today. What do you think? Dream come true? or the end of life as we know it?

Professor argues against teaching fractions, long division in new book.

USA Today (1/24, 11D, Milford) reports, "A few years ago, Dennis DeTurck, an award-winning professor of mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania, stood at an outdoor podium on campus and proclaimed, 'Down with fractions!'" DeTurk, in a contribution to a 60-second lecture series, argued that fractions were "useful for by-hand calculation. But in this digital age, they're as obsolete as Roman numerals are." The speech was posted online, triggering a "firestorm" of discussion among educators. Now, DeTurk is scheduled to publish a book that argues for "the teaching of decimals over fractions to elementary school students." He also criticizes "long division, the calculation of square roots and by-hand multiplication of long numbers." DeTurk argues that "the study of fractions should be delayed until it can be understood, perhaps after a student learns calculus."

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

This is awful, in my opinion. I don't like the dependence on technology for everything - you're not always going to have something digital with you, are you? For God's sake, I don't think we should teach mathematics just to be able to make change at the grocery store. What about mathematics for mathematics sake? I mean, it's a wonderful science.

Maybe I'm just getting to be of the old world, the one that is fading out.