kitchen table math, the sequel: a purchase I am reconsidering

Friday, August 20, 2010

a purchase I am reconsidering


xkcd

thanks to Daniel Ethier
Independent George asks why

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Independent George asks why"

Well, will they sell any *more* if they drop the price? My guess is, "probably not many more. The people who want/need one won't be deterred by the current price." Will they lose sales to someone else if they keep the price high? Well, probably not any direct competitors, but my guess is that iPhone/iPodTouch calculator applications are going to make these devices obsolete pretty quickly. In this case, why not milk the current market for as much as you can before your product is obsoleted entirely?

-Mark Roulo

Catherine Johnson said...

The price is artificially high because public school students are required to buy graphing calculators, right?

This seems like a regular-ed version of the price gouging we see in SPED, where the tackiest, creakiest, **most** ancient, **most** out-of-date stuff is sold to parents for thousands and thousands of dollars.

Last year our district wanted to purchase an assistive communication device for Andrew that was going to cost thousands & was big & bulky. We asked them to wait 'til the 2nd generation iTouch came out & then buy it along with $200 communication app, which is what they did.

I can't WAIT for an iTouch graphing calculator app.

Catherine Johnson said...

oh wait!

graphing calculator apps already exist!

Anonymous said...

http://www.iphone-calc.com/wp/

-Mark R.

Catherine Johnson said...

Now you've got me cruising apps.

Catherine Johnson said...

next question: do directions come with?

Catherine Johnson said...

This is funny.

One of the FAQs is "How do I graph stuff?"

in so many words

Anonymous said...

I remember having a free graphing calculator on my Mac at least 15 years ago. I never really used it, but it was there.

SteveH said...

Can anyone recommend something that is not as expensive as Maple or Mathematica? I haven't looked into this for years. It seems that graphing is over-emphasized.

Allison said...

A student edition of Maple is $115, I think.

If you want something less expensive, what do you want it for?

There are lots of freeware calculators in unixland. One is GraphCalc. It works under some version of Windows too.

OrangeMath said...

Texas Instruments provides substantial teacher professional development for FREE. Calculators need to be "standardized" for years to enter textbooks etc. As a result of these two issues: graphing calcs are old. The NSpire is trying to reset expectations. It is superior from many perspectives. If it weren't for the need for these (no QWERTY) on SAT II's, graphing calcs would disappear. While many online calcs exist, www.wolframalpha.com has the power.

On the other hand, natural display calculators (Sharp and Casio lead the way) are the best for school use. Teachers need to standardize on one in the classroom to make them useful.

SteveH said...

My son's Algebra II book has a couple of labs showing a TI-NSpire application. I assume that this functionality doesn't come on a TI-84+. How is Nspire superior? Is it allowed on the SAT II test?

V.R. said...

SteveH wrote, "Can anyone recommend something that is not as expensive as Maple or Mathematica? I haven't looked into this for years. It seems that graphing is over-emphasized."

Gnuplot is a free graphing program that is available on many platforms, including Windows.

To plot f(x) = (x-3)^2 - 5, one just types at the Gnuplot prompt

p (x-3)**2

It's use of the Fortran ** operator for an exponent is proof of its quality, since Fortran is the One True Programming Language :).

Anonymous said...

nothing will make these calcs obsolete for one reason: they are the only ones you are allowed to use on standardized exams. Students can cheat with smartphones/pocket computers.

ari-free

concernedCTparent said...

T-Nspire is specifically listed as an approved calculator on AP exams.

When it comes to SAT the College Board defines acceptable calculators:

The following are not allowed:

* Calculators with QWERTY (typewriter-like) keypads
* Calculators that contain electronic dictionaries
* Calculators with paper tape or printers
* Calculators that "talk" or make noise
* Calculators that require an electrical outlet
* Cell-phone calculators
* Pocket organizers or personal digital assistants
* Handheld minicomputers, PowerBooks, or laptop computers
* Electronic writing pads or pen-input and stylus-driven devices (the Sharp 9600-EL can be used without the stylus)

Instead of listing the acceptable calculators by brand it seems they simply state, "Scientific or graphing calculators are recommended.

concernedCTparent said...

BTW, you can load a free 30-day trial of the T-Nspire for your computer here.

concernedCTparent said...

P.S.- I haven't gone over to the "dark side"-- I was just trying to address Steve's question about the T-Nspire. The fact that there's a free trial was just a fun find along the way.

lgm said...

TI made a TI84plus keypad for the nspire. If an nspire buyer requests, this keypad will be mailed to them for free.

concernedCTparent said...

lgm- Thanks for that! I've read that the nspire keyboard can take some getting used to. How great that you can switch to a keyboard you're already familiar with. In a crunch test situation that can be a big deal. Good stuff!

lgm said...

Welcome!

Another advantage is that your youngest can switch to the Nspire keypad when the district switches to Nspire, which beats buying a new calculator.

lgm said...

P.S. You'll want to google for more details; it's more than a keypad switch, it's an emulator. There are some decent reviews up on the web as it's been about 4 years since Nspire came out.