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Am I cheating if I use my calculator?

By Murray Bourne, 29 May 2006

I've always enjoyed John Dvorak's articles in PC Magazine.

A recent one, Knowing What to Know - The Cheating Debate, questions schools and their views on cheating.

In this day and age, shouldn't we reward the student (and worker) who uses the most appropriate tool to get the job done quickest and most accurately?

I often had this debate with (conservative) mathematics teachers who grumbled when I suggested we should use math software more and encourage students to understand what they are doing, rather than just churn through algebra. The lecturers would always retort "What about the steps in the middle? The students must know how to do that."

On writing, Dvorak says:

In some schools the profs are so out of touch and freaky about "cheating" that they are making kids write out their essays and tests by hand in a classroom. This makes no sense in today's world.

Hear, hear.

See the 8 Comments below.

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HTML: You can use simple tags like <b>, <a href="...">, etc.

To enter math, you can can either:

  1. Use simple calculator-like input in the following format (surround your math in backticks, or qq on tablet or phone):
    `a^2 = sqrt(b^2 + c^2)`
    (See more on ASCIIMath syntax); or
  2. Use simple LaTeX in the following format. Surround your math with \( and \).
    \( \int g dx = \sqrt{\frac{a}{b}} \)
    (This is standard simple LaTeX.)

NOTE: You can mix both types of math entry in your comment.


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