Junior Grades Don't Need Calculators or Computers
The reason many junior schools don't permit even simple calculators is because they want children to learn the 'mechanics' of doing mathematics. Pushing buttons teaches little whereas lining numbers up and 'carrying' a surplus to the next column means so much more.
Likewise with writing. The WHOLE of VietNam has an almost unified handwriting style, it is a delight to watch children writing AND adding diacrytical marks on the fly. Children in the far south have the very same style as children almost 3,000 kilometres away.
And what of Chinese, Laotian and Thai children and their character-based languages?
But technology can be used for evil by children. I teach, volunteerily, in big Ho Chi Minh City as well as rural Buon Ma Thuot up in the Central Highlands. I noted the children in BMT never slacked off, they were their usual studious selves.
About a month ago, I noticed a slackening in the pace of my students in SaiGon/HCMC. As if they hadn't a care in the world.
Then I found about their use of technology. For $30 they could have an App added to either their computer or Smartphone and on the day of the TOEFL tests students could use their individual passwords to activate the App and the anwers to the TOEFL examination would be revealed!
The organisers were smart, not all answers were correct and the incorrect answers were randomised so it would be hard to detect any patterns in the answers. This week the certificates were issued. Interestingly my workaholics in BMT achieved higher marks than their Big City counterparts.
So much for computers 'helping'.