Calculator policy is simply absurd

Restricting technology deters learning process.

For any student that has ever taken a math class at the university, you know that the handy dandy TI-84 we were able to use in high school is no longer allowed on test days in most UND math classes.

I have a major problem with that.

The use of less-advanced technology over newer, more functional devices is just absurd. Using an advanced calculator doesn’t show that you know the material, it shows that you know how to use the calculator.

Unless I’m mistaken, in most professions, the use of the most advanced technology available is heavily encouraged. When was the last time you’ve seen a typewriter in a newsroom? Or a steam-powered train at Amtrak? These were both very functional effective pieces of technology for their time, but we now have smart phones and ultrabook computers, rendering the old technology obsolete.

Using cheap technology in a calculus class is like building a modern house with only hand tools. Yes, it can be done, and it shows a very high level of craftsmanship, but in the end, if the houses look exactly the same, and one takes a month to build versus two and a half years, which house would you pay for?

I understand that some classes are meant to “weed out” some of the less motivated and less deserving students, however when one of those classes is the only math class needed to graduate, it seems ridiculous. I am not an engineer or an aviation student; I am an international studies major, and I have to take Applied Calculus to prove that I can take a derivative. I don’t get it.

I understand that college calculus classes are meant to be difficult, and that’s part of life. It just seems stupid that even though we have relatively common and affordable technology, we aren’t allowed to use it.

There are a few directions to go with this. Keep the policy in place and get some better teachers, or remove it so that those of us who don’t have a math focus in our major can get in and get out.

The one thing I would like to clarify to all readers is that I think the professors teaching these math classes are very intelligent, and they really know the material they are talking about, but many times, the teaching part is lacking.

Sometimes a policy seems great in theory but works out horribly in actuality. I believe the calculator policy is one of them.

Micah Dewey is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at