Advantages of CBA
It is axiomatic that you can teach anyone almost anything if you can get him/her to focus on the subject. Therein lies CBA's greatest advantage. Students in the 21st century are used to interacting with screens and keyboards and tend to see a game-like quality to challenges presented on a computer. And make no mistake about it; the TI-83 is a miniature computer, far more powerful than the first computers that we used in school.
While it would be a stretch to say that the average student considers most of CBA's programs to be fun, nevertheless, students have been overheard asking each other, have you "played" such-and-such program yet? It is not at all uncommon to see and hear a student become so frustrated with a particular problem that they are ready to throw the thing against the wall. And yet, they keep going back for more, determined to "win the game".
CBA serves as a personal tutor, giving immediate feedback to each student on class work and tests in a way that the teacher cannot. Record keeping is not the favorite aspect of teaching for most of us. I now take an average of 3 grades per day for most students, and it is a breeze, thanks to the record keeping provisions of CBA.
The aspect of CBA that I personally like the most, which would justify the approach even if there were no other advantages, is the freedom that it makes possible to work with individual students concerning their specific problems. And this applies to working with the strongest students as well as the weakest. Thanks to CBA, I have been able to deal effectively with Math for Tech II classes in which students were placed who spoke very little English and had poor arithmetic skills.
Even for average students, the flexibility made possible by CBA means that students who require more time to master a given topic have an opportunity do so without hampering the teacher's ability to continue challenging the class leaders.
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