The word computer was used before the digital revolution. A computer referred to a person, a trade, or a career. People looked up logarithms, found sines and cosines, and determined square roots. They carefully and methodically followed algorithms similar to the process of a modern digital computer. This is not what I look for from students. Mindlessly following an algorithm is not mathematics. I expect students to be able to calculate accurately and quickly, but am more concerned about how they make sense of mathematics, how they view mathematics and how they solve problems.
A calculator can determine the interest on a loan but a student of mathematics can make sense of exponential growth. After graduating, my students may never calculate a payment using the interest formula; however, I want them to understand that credit card debt grows exponentially. I do not know what jobs or hobbies my students will have throughout their life. However, I do recognize that not knowing mathematics can limit a person’s future. Most importantly, I want students to be able to approach a problem logically with the expectation of solving their problem, whether the problem involves numbers or not.