Living with a new mathematical species. (English) Zbl 0592.00045

This paper is written in response to a discussion paper issued by the International Commission on Mathematical Education on the Influence of Computers and Informatics on Mathematics and Mathematics Education. In it the author argues that the ecology of mathematics has been profoundly altered by the impact of computers, as if a new mathematics-speaking species is new sharing our intellectual niche. He discusses the impact of computers on mathematics, emphasizing their role in focusing on finite methods, in providing crucial links in proofs, and in simulating physical processes. Then he covers their impact on the curriculum in both mathematics and in computer science, criticizing computer literacy courses for overemphasis on ephemeral detail. Finally, he recommends for optimal use in mathematics instruction that computers be used primarily as an aid in discovery, quoting George Polya in his dictum ”Let us teach guessing”.


00A99 General and miscellaneous specific topics
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