Monday, April 20, 2009

Scientists & Engineers

A wonderful article by Lynn Steen entitled Data, Shapes, Symbols:  Achieving Balance in School Mathematics in Quantitative Literacy: Why Numeracy Matters for Schools and Colleges discussed how mathematics has changed drastically and the importance of technology in the sciences and by engineers.  Dr. Steen's writes:

Computers also are changing profoundly how mathematics is practiced. The use of spreadsheets for storing, analyzing, and displaying data is ubiquitous in all trades and crafts. So too are computer tools of geometry that enable projection, rotation, inversions, and other fundamental operations to be carried out with a few keystrokes. Scientists and engineers report that, for students in these fields, facility with spreadsheets (as well as other mathematical software) is as important as conceptual understanding of mathematics and more valuable than fluency in manual computation (Barker 2000). With rare exceptions (primarily theoretical scientists and mathematicians) mathematics in practice means mathematics mediated by a computer.

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