Our department chair brought up this video a recent instructional faculty meeting, warning us that “it claims everything we do is wrong.”
The argument is, in essence, that requiring the “calculation” step of math problems is out of date and technology allows focus on the setting up of problems and the application of knowledge.
Other than Maria Andersen bringing it up there hasn’t been much discussion. I’m not unilaterally against the thesis, but I don’t believe the consequences have been well explored. Let me pose a thought-experiment example.
Suppose you are a scientist of the future schooled in a no-calculation-instead-computation curriculum and you must deal with the following function:
Suppose in this context only real-valued answers make sense. Dutifully you type the formula into Mathematica 24, attempt some small tests, and get an error for the x value you’d really like to know about, 3.6.
How would you diagnose the error?
For a computation-fluent reader the second term is clearly the issue, suggesting perhaps the second term of the formula is not genuinely what’s wanted, or that a different approximation formula might be required instead.
Without computational fluency it’s still possible to discuss domain holistically, but any problem diagnosis I’ve been able to think of is distant by a step; perhaps a feature that allows isolating each term and discusses the effect on the domain. In any case, being unaware the domain of the second term is findable via
seems a mental hindrance.