Why students are forced to buy this expensive and obsolete Texas Instruments calculator

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is there not an app that emulates it? (I’d google it but I’m lazy) Seems like that would be an inexpensive solution… you still learn to use it without the extra hardware or price…

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There are apps, yes.
But when you get sent into whatever standardized testing (SAT, ACT, PARCC, whatever…) those apps aren’t allowed. So…
It’s totally bullshit.


You may not bring your cellphone into a testing environment.


heck 8th graders even if they are taking algebra at least the kid is good now for the future.
i manged to snag a used one for $70 which is still more money than a knock off 7" android tablet which can with right app do a whole bunch more.


I just had to buy one of these (despite the fact I’m certain we had one in a box somewhere). Even though my daughter’s high school gives every student a laptop. AND, some of the teachers tell the kids to download other apps on their phones for lessons.

But not for the calculator! Nope gotta buy that separate!


We were specifically not allowed to have any kind graphing or programmable calculator, but other than that we could pick what we wanted.


I’m morbidly happy about one tiny (tiny!) thing here:
I just found my TI-83 from high school. And my daughter’s 6 (and in first grade), so…
I’ll just keep that around for a bit. Saved myself $100! (in a few years).


Yeah testing I think is the big driver. Harder to store crib notes on the TI, but I am willing to bet it isn’t that much harder.


I work at a university, and every exam season I get a flurry of frantic students looking to borrow a calculator for exams, because its apparently shocking every year that no, you may not take your cellphone into your final exam with you.


When I was in high school, the TI-30 (with the battery draining LED display) was the calculator of choice. And I don’t think that we were allowed to use it during tests. Had to know how to look up trig functions in a table…they even taught us how to milk an extra decimal point out of the tables by linear interpolation…


No, not hard. At all.
I spent much of high school math playing games programmed into my TI-83.
Heck, if I stuff batteries in mine (see above) they might even be in there still.
Speaking of… brb.


And just to be clear it is a very good thing that kids don’t have to waste time doing this, or using common logs to make multiplication of large numbers easier…


In just a few short years, my kids will be able to use mine and my wife’s old TI-83s from high school. They’ve been taking up space in our desk drawer for the past twenty years, at least they’ll get used again!


First off: Calculator thread? Count me the fuck in.

Second: I have already established what I think is the only calculator I need for most purposes.

Third: I work at an electronics store in a university town. Whenever someone asks me for one, I ask them two questions. 1.) Are you taking calculus? If yes, you don’t really need it, and most likely calculators aren’t allowed unless you’re taking the kid-version. 2.) Don’t get the one with color unless you’ve got the money to burn. It will make you angry that software and hardware in a $30 flip-phone outclasses this calculator that costs 5 times as much.

Yes, you can totally hide information in the calculator. No, clearing the memory doesn’t always solve this problem if you’re clever enough, the class is big enough, or the people doing the memory purges don’t care enough. Finally there is absolutely no necessity to this calculator. If anything it’s a nice supplement to a class where graphing is necessary and time-consuming process. It’s still never as fast as learning the graphs and sketching them by hand. But by the time you’re in calc III, when it would be helpful to have something that can automatically process vector-valued functions and show you a graph: this calculator can’t do that.



Yeah I am just old enough that these were not a thing for me and you so so so do not need them at all. They are good for actual number crunching in engineering classes but then you only need a decent scientific calculator for that.


Because TI gives kickbacks to the people in charge of specifying what calculators are allowed?


Yea, I remember doing the crib notes thing on TI calculators; there is an included function to wipe these calculators which is now well known.
I like the TI calculators, a known interface, hardware keys, and a good enough display; they should be $20-30 at this point mostly for the durable plastic case.
I still have mine but have not needed it in years since I started using an emulator on my phone, familiar interface same functionality.


My go to in college was a HP 48G. It was great for graphing data from the chem lab. It also stopped people mid-sentence when they were asking to borrow my calculator. (Not a lot of love for reverse polish logic in the classes I was in.)

These days I’d use a laptop, but that was a luxury I couldn’t afford in 1990.


It’s not just students that need this. It’s teachers, too.

In NJ, if you want to be hired to teach math without an education degree, you can take the Praxis math exam and be entered into a special program. The Praxis exam (at least the one I took 10 years ago) is made up of 60 mutliple-choice questions. You have 150 minutes to take the exam. Thus, you need to be able to answer each question, on average, in 2.5 minutes.

The questions basically range the topic you’d cover in first- and second-year math at university level. Calc, probability, statistics, discrete math, etc. However, to solve the problems. you need to be able to calculate the answers quickly. The questions aren’t based on math theory; they’re applied math problems.

When I took the test 10 years ago, you needed to be fast on the calculator. I just looked at the current test, and they provide an on-screen graphic calculator to use. But at a glance, the interface isn’t more advanced than that of the TI this article mentioned.

Thus, to teach math in NJ, you really need to be proficient with an obsolete TI. (Granted, since the students are stuck with it too, that’s probably reasonable, but still…)