Time and Technology – Are we missing some math practice?

I’ve written before that teaching time isn’t only about telling time. And this morning I started thinking about it again.

I found my super fun circle watch from Fossil and put it on. I haven’t worn a watch in quite a while. So it’s fun wear it again.

We don’t need to wear watches anymore.

Well, except for fashion. Our mobile phones (even the “dumb” ones) keep time rather well.

If you need the time, you dig out your phone. And if it’s too deep in your purse, you ask someone.

And they tell you with words like, “It’s 8:23.”

You never have to wonder.

Do you recall this type of conversation:

Kate: What time do you have?

Wil: I show 10:15, but I’m usually about 5 minutes fast. So it’s really about ten after.

Kate: Thanks!

That phrase, do you have, is now obsolete. Everyone has the same time. It’s from Verizon, AT&T or TMobile. And they get it from the same place – the place that has the exact time.

This means a lot for math.

Nobody runs fast or slow. Also, we don’t have to add or subtract to get the real time.

The time just is.

20 years ago when your watch was six minutes fast, you had to do this to get the real time:

  1. Look at your watch.
  2. Figure out the time (the big hand’s on the …”).
  3. Subtract 6.

You got to practice addition and subtraction – often!

Which means our kids don’t get this benefit.

Is it hurting them?

What do you think? Share in the comments and don’t forget to tweet it out!

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4 Responses to Time and Technology – Are we missing some math practice?

  1. I think it does. No amount of darling drills in estimation really replaces estimation that you need and use daily. Cooking is another loss. How many kids are ever in an environment where ingredients need to be measured? If cookies need to be sliced off a bar, that’s home-cooking.

    • I never thought of the sliced cookies, Brooke! You’re so right.

      This is where homeschooling starts to be a huge benefit. Even afterschooling families do well with this kind of thing. Instead of working so much, moms and/or dads will do things “the long way” so kids can have those learning opportunities.

  2. No I don’t think it’s much of a loss to be honest.

    It’s not like the time was ever out by more than a few minutes, so getting practice at adding on or subtracting another 3 or 4 minutes to a time doesn’t really add much to the skill level.

    But I know what you’re trying to say – I’ll tell you where mobile phones have had a great impact on numbers in my opinion – memory.

    I used to be able to spit out the phone number for up to thrity friends and family – I’d be lucky to know 2 others besides my own now.

    • And yet I bet your noodle is filled with f-stops and all that swell stuff. 😀

      I still have to think, “2.8 vs. 8 means about 1/3 vs. 1/8 are the two openings.”

      Then I go on to think, “When I scrunch my eyes it makes a smaller opening. That allows me to focus better on one thing but other things are blurry.”

      With these two pieces of info, I can then figure out to which side of the f-stop spectrum I need to lean.

      It’s good math practice, but annoying when you’re trying to photograph a wiggly toddler.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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