Does anyone know of any good sites that sell graphing calculators? I'm heading off to college this Fall and I am in need of one. Like pc components, I would like to find good deals too.

Please help...Preferrably TexasInstruments TI-83 or better

By home skillet

July 24, 2001, 02:12 AM

TI-89 is really useful for calculus work and such, it does a lot more than the the other TI's. TI-86 and 83+ are the best for games.

I dont think there are many online vendors that sell graphing calculators and the ones that do probably dont give you a deep discount. You could try www.staples.com and www.officedepot.com but i would reccomend picking one up at your local staples, office depot, or office max.

you could save money by looking out for coupons. i know staples puts out coupon deals all of the time such as $10 off 100$ or more purchase.

By Mofo

July 24, 2001, 11:53 AM

I just went to edu.com and looked at the prices for their graphing calculators:

TI83+ $100 TI86 $110 TI89 $140

You say the 83+ and the 86 were good for gaming...but I got my PC for that

Is the TI89 really worth the extra $30-40? I'm entering as a Biological Sciences major and I dunno if I ought to shell out the extra dough...I don't think i'll be taking a lot of the harder/advanced Math courses.

By Klashe

July 24, 2001, 12:26 PM

Get an HP. They are more powerful than the TI's and look cooler too.

They take some getting used to, but once you get over that, they are much more effective than the TI's

By Pinky

July 24, 2001, 02:22 PM

quote:Originally posted by Mofo: Is the TI89 really worth the extra $30-40? I'm entering as a Biological Sciences major and I dunno if I ought to shell out the extra dough...I don't think i'll be taking a lot of the harder/advanced Math courses.

The 89 does some cool cool stuff (I've got one myself, as well as an older 83). It will do symbollic integration and derivation, which is pretty dang cool. It's got quite a different "file" structure too, as you can keep things in different folders. It will also do 3D graphs. I love my TI-89.

By boob

July 24, 2001, 08:14 PM

Well, I don't really know any online sites that have good prices for them, but just as a caution, depending on your classes you may want to wait to get it until class time.

A friend of mine for my math class used a TI-89 while our teacher (and whole school mathematics) uses TI-83+, so alot of things were different.

I personally have a TI-86 and didn't have any problems with it. There were some cases where my friend was not allowed to use his TI-89 for tests because you could "cheat" with them in some ways, which is true (it does alot of work for you in some applications)

heh, I only paid 20 bucks for my TI-86, off of a friend I got Tetris, Pac-Man, Frogger, Space Invaders, and lots of other games on it too

By al bundy

July 24, 2001, 09:55 PM

Don't get anything else but a TI-89 or a TI-92 Plus. Trust me on this, it's definitely worth the extra $ and you won't find anything that can top them. Many students look at www.usedcalculators.com for good prices...

By Milz

July 24, 2001, 10:51 PM

quote:Originally posted by al bundy: Don't get anything else but a TI-89 or a TI-92 Plus. [b]Trust me on this, it's definitely worth the extra $ and you won't find anything that can top them. Many students look at www.usedcalculators.com for good prices...[/B]

Whatever you do don't buy a TI-92. The only reason I can think of to have one is if you were a math major maybe. The QWERTY style keyboard is a nice idea, but it's too small to really type, and it's illegal for most tests. You certainly don't want to have to borrow someone else's calculator that you're not familar with for finals!

By krazie662

July 25, 2001, 12:09 AM

Yup Yup, you can't use it for SAT, AP's or other tests. Go for the TI89 quote:Originally posted by Milz: Whatever you do don't buy a TI-92. The only reason I can think of to have one is if you were a math major maybe. The QWERTY style keyboard is a nice idea, but it's too small to really type, and it's illegal for most tests. You certainly don't want to have to borrow someone else's calculator that you're not familar with for finals!

By Mofo

July 25, 2001, 01:35 AM

I'm hearing from a few other people that TI-89 "might" not be allowed for some college Math classes...anyone else run into trouble w/ TI89 conflicting w/ class regulations?

By driver

July 25, 2001, 02:15 AM

I would go with an HP. Either the 48G or 49G. They use a stack based interface which, once you get used to, you will find far superior. In addition, they do just about everything that the TIs do. I have the 48GX and have found it invaluable in my college engineering courses. The only real drawback is that most people don't have them, though serious engineers do, so if your looking to get help from others, it may be a little difficult. http://www.hp.com/calculators/graphing/49g_info.html

By al bundy

July 25, 2001, 06:44 AM

Just an FYI.

The TI-92 Plus and the TI-89 are identical in their functionality. The only way in which they differ at all is physically - in that the TI-92 'Plus' (which is the current "version" of the older TI-92) simply has a separate dedicated key for each letter of the alphabet, a slightly bigger screen, and costs a bit more for those reasons (it's worth it though).

Both of these TI machines easily allow for alphabetic and numeric input - it's just that the TI-89 requires you to press an "alpha" key first, before a key will display its assigned letter of the alphabet. The additional time it takes to do this is step is negligible - unless you're typing in a small book! So it's really very silly if any institution disallows the TI-92 Plus, but allows the TI-89... LOL!

Either way, if you prefer the smaller form-factor, go with the TI-89 and save the extra bit-o-green. You don't give up any features at all (not even one) when you choose the TI-89 over the TI-92 Plus.

Add the menu-driven interface of the TI-89 and TI-92 Plus, and you have the simplest, most powerful, and most straightforward calculators ever developed for students so far... even (and maybe especially) when compared with HP machines (of which I've also owned many ). You can also upgrade the functions of these TI machines via the internet, using TI's free GraphLink software and a GraphLink cable. Plenty of free software is available for free download from the TI website for these machines.

College teachers disallowing these newer TI machines are very rapidly dying out, as the new textbooks now refer to these machines liberally and the institutions themselves are including teacher-training on these TI's as part of the required professional development programs. These TI machines are the most widely adopted calculator models by college institutions out of all the existing calculators on the market, and by next year should be the standard model for virtually all colleges and universities around the country (already they are at most universities).

Edit: No, TI-89 and TI-92 Plus machines are not only good for math majors! They are extremely useful to students in every level of math instruction, from remedial to the most advanced. Almost all students - regardless of the academic program/path they are on - will need to take some math courses, and will likely be doing some math in their non-mathematics courses as well (that's why they are required to take the math courses in the first place).

I sound like a college mathematics instructor, don't I? Hmmm...

By Milz

July 25, 2001, 03:41 PM

quote:Originally posted by Mofo: I'm hearing from a few other people that TI-89 "might" not be allowed for some college Math classes...anyone else run into trouble w/ TI89 conflicting w/ class regulations?

I've never heard of a TI-89 not being allowed where other calculators are. The only grounds I know of for restricting a calculator are a QWERTY keyboard or an IR port, and the ones with an IR are usually allowed if the port is covered with tape. AlBundy is probably right that the 92 is gaining more acceptance, but I would buy an 89 anyway, just to be safe. One huge advantage of an 89 over the 86 or 83 is that it can use mathematical symbols for just about everything, this is particularily useful for calc 1 and 2. It's nice to be able to enter everything the way you see it in the book rather than translating it to TI commands first.

After you learn to do it the long way of course

By boob

July 25, 2001, 03:56 PM

Our school doesn't ban or forbid TI-89 calculators, it just doesn't use those specific ones for classes, which could become a hassle since you would have to do alot of calculations in a different manner. The only time that our teacher would not allow TI-89's or higher was because of specific problems that we were doing, in which the TI-89 and higher would do the whole problem for you very easily, the only reason.

Everyone is right though and I agree with them, things are advancing, and TI-89 would probably last you longer in the long run. I wouldn't doubt our college will switch to those within the 3 more years of college I have left there. It's just that right now, every math course offered in our college is easily handled with the TI-83+, which could save you money, but of course it depends on your college.

By blk-sabbath-fan

July 25, 2001, 04:01 PM

try ebay.com thats where i got my ti-86 for a good deal and it was new in the package although get one soon because people will be bidding alot more in about a month when classes start up

By 311_man

July 27, 2001, 03:05 AM

I got an HP 48G in 1993, and I have been in love with it ever since. If I ever lost that calculator... I don't know what I'd do!!!

RPN is the way to go...

By mcucchiara

July 27, 2001, 03:53 AM

Don't be immature

--Klashe

By jester22c

July 27, 2001, 02:54 PM

Get yourself an 89. I have one and it is the best calc I've ever used. It has worked nicely for me from Alg 1 all the way up to AP Calc. It is definately worth the extra money. It has some impressive games too (some of which I've programmed myself).

By Rokarj

July 27, 2001, 03:05 PM

I have an 89 and love it, have gone through 2 years of college and haven't ran into the problem of not being able to use the calculator in classes yet. The only times i wasn't able to use it were in tests that no calculators whatsoever were allowed.

However some classes didn't allow the 92 because it had a keyboard, don't ask me why as I don't know.

By jubjub

July 27, 2001, 10:14 PM

I put in another vote for the HP 48G.

I consider TI's the Mac's of calculators Easy to use for the average user.

HP's are the workstations of calcs.

You'll love the reverse polish system once you get used to it. AWESOME for finance classes. I was the only one with a HP in both of my finance classes. Not a single person ever beat me when taking test. Most test I finished in less than 30 mins.

Incase you haven't used a HP. To add 2+2, you would do this 2 Enter 2 +

It will ruin you from every using a regular calc, but once you have the 48G, you'll never need another calculaltor ever.

Besides you can brag to your friends that your calc has a built in equation to calculate the escape velocity from a gravatational field.

By nkeezer

July 28, 2001, 06:20 AM

Assuming that professors at other schools are anything like those at UCLA, then make sure to consider that

1: If you aren't a math major, the amount and complexity of math you'll be doing will probably be pretty limited. After two years of college so far as a physiological sciences major, there has never been a time when my TI-86 hasn't been more than sufficient, and few times when I really needed anything more than a simple scientific calculator.

2: All my math and physics professors and two of my chem professors (6 out of 7) did not allow calculators of any sort on quizzes/test/finals. Your fancy calculator may make homework problems a cinch, but it won't teach you the concepts, and if you don't know those, then you're SOL if you ever need to work a problem without it. Professors know it, too.

Unless you really really think you need a great fancypants calculator, just get something like the 86 and save your money for something more enjoyable.

By al bundy

July 28, 2001, 07:28 AM

quote:Originally posted by nkeezer: If you aren't a math major, the amount and complexity of math you'll be doing will probably be pretty limited...

Your fancy calculator may make homework problems a cinch, but it won't teach you the concepts, and if you don't know those, then you're SOL if you ever need to work a problem without it. Professors know it, too...

Unless you really really think you need a great fancypants calculator, just get something like the 86...

Irresponsible comments like that really annoy me. This guy nkeezer is missing the basic reason for even having a good tool like the TI-89 (or TI-92 Plus) calculator. The reason that math educators are recommending these machines in all levels of math education from grade-school through college, and the reason that so many learning institutions are increasingly adopting them, are extremely important and valid ones.

It's the quality of the learning experience that matters, and not simply the raw quantity or subjective complexity.

The whole point of having a menu-driven user interface and a CAS (computer-algebra system) onboard a calculator is that it frees up the student to focus more strongly on the concepts - and less so on some of the tedious computational aspects that can tend to distract a learner from those underlying concepts.

Nobody ever claims that a calculator can singlehandedly teach or force a student to learn... the point is that it can be an extremely effective learning tool to assist in the learning process.

Further, try to invent a realistic example in a real-life scenario when a reasonably detailed mathematical problem in any of the sciences won't be handled by the professional using some kind of software. Fact is, in all but the most simple cases you're SOL without computational assistance no matter how you slice it. [Except for possibly in physiological science? I don't know enough about that field to say for certain... but neither would a student only two core-level years into an academic program]

Used to be that some more conservative-minded educators argued against ever allowing even the basic scientific calculators in the classroom, because students would no longer need to look-up trigonometric, logarithmic, square-root, etc. values with the tables in the back of the old math books. They warned everybody that it would cause students to no longer learn the concepts of those mathematical functions if they didn't have to look all those values up in those long tables. Worst of all they said: What in the world would a student ever do, if they needed something like a natural logarithm value for instance, and their calculator wasn't available?

Edit: Nowadays however, I bet you would be very hard-pressed to even find a logarithm table anymore!

It should be quite clear that nkeezer does not speak for any professors whatsoever (believe me), and should not try to take the tone of an educator in this thread.

By nkeezer

July 28, 2001, 01:24 PM

Al:

I never claimed to be an educator, nor did I take the tone of one. I'm offering my advice, based on my experiences, which, BTW, seem to be pretty similar to those of Mofo.

Since I'm pressed for time, I'll keep it short. Remember those commercials from a few months back for some tech firm about not always needing to use the power you have (things like using a SWAT team to get into your house if you forgot your keys)? That's the point I was making to Mofo. As a biology major, he probably won't be doing much math to begin with, and that math isn't likely to require much more than a scientific calculator, and a great deal of the time he may not even be allowed to use a calculator. So now why should he spend $150 on a calculator, when one that costs $75 will do? Because he can? Or just in case?

Incidentally, your point about advanced calculators freeing people up to learn is flawed at best: see the reactions on peoples' faces when they're told they aren't allowed to use one on their midterms -- they're shocked and scared not because they'll have to multiply 55 x 13 on paper, but because they have no clue what they're supposed to do to solve a problem. Yes, I do realize that in almost any real-life situation, you will be allowed to use a calculator, computer, notes, etc. etc. But this is not real life, this is school.

By richardginn

July 28, 2001, 09:27 PM

well I would check to make sure what the college rules are for the caculators you are going to buy.

You would not want to buy a caculator and then find out you can't use if the test.

By al bundy

July 28, 2001, 11:36 PM

quote:Originally posted by nkeezer: ...your point about advanced calculators freeing people up to learn is flawed at best: see the reactions on peoples' faces when they're told they aren't allowed to use one on their midterms -- they're shocked and scared not because they'll have to multiply 55 x 13 on paper, but because they have no clue what they're supposed to do to solve a problem.

Another absolutely false statement. We have literally volumes of current research data in the mathematical education field showing that current CAS calculator technology accomplishes precisely what you are saying it doesn't do: It frees up the learner, whether in grade/junior high/high school/college, to focus more on the concepts involved - and less on some of the otherwise distracting and tedious computational details. Since you say you attend university, enter your university library and pick up a current issue of virtually any reputable mathematics education journal and you will see this for yourself.

If a student has no idea of how to solve a problem on an exam, it isn't because of any calculator they were using to study! It's because they didn't study well - or perhaps not at all. Although some students are good at making excuses, the truth is there's no excuse for a student being in that position - and blaming a calculator (of any type) for such an outcome is simply ridiculous. Your professors do know this.

Further, a professor would never disallow a calculator on a test unless the pure computation involved is extremely simple. In fact, the only reason this is ever done at all is so that an instructor may better measure the depth of a student's conceptual understanding of the specific topic, rather than their algebra skills - and this is exactly what these newer calculators aid and assist the student in developing. Again, if a student cannot perform any rather simple mathematical details involved, it's clearly not the fault of any calculator... it's the fault of their previous educators, and perhaps the motivation of the actual student in question.

Your analogy comparing these calculators to some kind of SWAT team used for simple door opening jobs is shockingly incorrect. The strength of these machines, by their very design, is to allow for a more intuitive interface that also stimulates and enhances the overall learning experience. Like I said above, it is all about the quality of the learning experience that matters here - and this remains true in all levels of instruction, and in any field where mathematics is a main tool of the practice. The designers of the current TI interface included teams of professional math educators from all levels of instruction, along with other professional mathematics education researchers and consumer feedback/needs analysts. These machines are designed to facilitate mathematical calculations in any relevant setting - whether it's within a math class proper, or in a classroom of one of the client disciplines (like Biological Science, etc.)

Edit: Hey Mofo, I sincerely hope that the calculator you choose to buy and use works out extremely well for you, whatever make/model it ends up being. The points I am making here have now evolved to much larger ones, and are intended to respond to some rather unbelievably false and misleading examples of misinformation being put forward above. Of course there are still some examples of older instructors in our system that have deliberately chosen not to keep up with the times - and those instructors may then insist on continuing to use the older approaches that have caused the average mathematical competence of our current batch of students to be undeniably sub-par in the global arena. You obviously won't be able to check with every single future teacher you might possibly ever have in college, to see if these calculators will be disallowed - but I doubt that this will really matter that much anyway. Very many of those "old-guard" instructors are dying out, and still others are finally waking up and overhauling their older, lazier teaching approaches. Unlike nkeezer, I can speak as an educator when I offer you my advice - both on a particular individual purchase, and on the larger perspective and philosophy of the professional Math-Ed community.

By salehrules

July 29, 2001, 06:00 PM

i don't know what you two are arguing about, but it's off topic if you ask me. one's arguing for using a calculator and the other one against getting an expensive calculator. ??? i'm confused. mofo, just get a ti something (83/86/89, whatever) and you should do fine. since you're a bio major, you could as well get the 83 and save a buck or two. there is no need for you to get an hp... those are pretty expensive, even though they are kick ass.

By prowler

July 30, 2001, 12:04 AM

Look man... this is a very personal thing... if you are good with electronic stuff get the HP 49G... its more complicated to use but it is better, indeed... however the TI-89 and the TI-92+ are not far behind and the TI's are much easier to use and have the Preaty Print thing that helps a lot... beleive me... it has a very user friendly OS if you like to call it that.. I have the TI-92+... it is great however I saw somewhere in this post that you could have problems when you are going to have an exam or something... yes, that can happen... and with the TI-89 the worries of that are gone... but still to move in th 92+ is much more easier... dont buy a calc for the games and that stuff... buy it for the things it is going to help you with... and with the TI you can download lots of apps that make every thing even easier... you just go to www.ticalc.org and in there you can download almost anything... well hope this helps you out..

luck

By Klashe

July 30, 2001, 01:15 PM

quote:Originally posted by salehrules:

there is no need for you to get an hp... those are pretty expensive, even though they are kick ass.

I actually bought my HP 48GX for 75 bucks and that was 4 years ago. I think that price is comparable to the TI's.

By kbcr3

July 30, 2001, 02:21 PM

pick one up on www.ebay.com i got one of my ti-83plus for 60 bucks. used, but does that ever make a difference.

By hyperextreme

August 01, 2001, 12:26 AM

As an engineer, I faced an enormous decision in getting ready to study for my PE - most engineers use HP calculators. I had a trusty TI-85, but wanted more firepower, plus would want another calc for the test (you're allowed to take in a spare in case one dies on you). So, HP or TI?

The 49G and 92 Plus both looked great. In the end, I went for the TI-89. The 92, with is QWERTY keyboard, would not have been allowed. I grant that the 49G is more powerful, but the 89 can do almost as much and much more easily. So it's really personal preference, because both are great products.

Incidentally, for anyone scared of Reverse Polish Notation (RPN), don't be afraid to give the 49G a try. It can be set to accept both standard and RPN entry.

And for TI fans looking for free software, tips, tricks, and even how to overclock your TI - yes, overcloking (at the cost of a warranty?) - you can go here: http://www.ticalc.org

Just my $0.02

By foob

August 01, 2001, 09:15 PM

Nearly all high level math courses do not not ban calculators of any kind because they are pretty useless. You can't prove shit with the most powerful calculator in the word. The most powerful computer in the world can't prove fermat's last theorem can it. Use a cheap 10 dollar scientific calculator for all your calculations. Anything more and either use a computer program on your computer or sch computer lab or just use your brains.

Er... all readers should focus only on the smiley face and ignore all other words above.

THE REASON professors ban calculators in tests is because a student may be poor (like me) and not afford to buy an expensive calculator, thus disadvantaging him/her from another student who has the most powerful calculator in the world.

So...

By foob

August 01, 2001, 09:32 PM

quote:Originally posted by al bundy: Again, if a student cannot perform any rather simple mathematical details involved, it's clearly not the fault of any calculator... it's the fault of their previous educators, and perhaps the motivation of the actual student in question.

Actually, it's the fault of the student. Because when doing homework, the student should understand how to work the calculations first, before using a calculator to speed up the process. If on an exam he cannot answer a question because he does not have a calculator, it's obviously he's own fault. Why are you blaming his/her previous educator?

And lastly, I must admit, the so high and mighty attitude you display in your posts is the only reason I write this.

By JDenis_007

August 01, 2001, 11:22 PM

I have a TI-86 and I must say I am fully satisfied with it. It does everything I could possibly need. So unless you have very specific needs, I would reccomend getting one. Plus, there are a whole lot of softwares available for it, both educationnals and games(great for boring philosophy classes ) so I would definitely reccomend getting a link cable.

By al bundy

August 02, 2001, 07:56 AM

quote:Originally posted by foob: Nearly all high level math courses do not not ban calculators of any kind because they are pretty useless. You can't prove shit with the most powerful calculator in the word. (sic)

LOL - Now that's funny! Of course you can prove many results using the CAS of a modern powerful calculator, just not things such as Fermat's Last Theorem (yet). You really should reflect a bit foob before saying silly stuff like that!

quote:Originally posted by foob:

THE REASON professors ban calculators in tests is because a student may be poor (like me) and not afford to buy an expensive calculator, thus disadvantaging him/her from another student who has the most powerful calculator in the world.

Totally absurd! The reason it's done is as I said in my above posts. Are you a mathematics professor foob? Then don't pretend you know these reasons, you are embarassingly incorrect.

quote:Originally posted by foob:

Actually, it's the fault of the student. Because when doing homework, the student should understand how to work the calculations first, before using a calculator to speed up the process. If on an exam he cannot answer a question because he does not have a calculator, it's obviously he's own fault. Why are you blaming his/her previous educator?

Math courses build upon one another, and if a student's prior courses were improperly taught - or worse, if a previous math instructor provided contradictory and/or false mathematical info - then clearly a student will be ill-prepared to take on the content of the subsequent math course. So, sometimes it is the fault of the previous educator. This is considered obvious to most students, as well as to the current mathematics teaching community... why isn't it obvious to you foob?

quote:Originally posted by foob:

And lastly, I must admit, the so high and mighty attitude you display in your posts is the only reason I write this.

As opposed to you actually having something accurate to say, right?

Edit: In the future foob you should try harder not to confuse a high and mighty attitude with the attitude of somebody who actually knows what they're talking about. It just makes you appear more ignorant!

By foob

August 02, 2001, 11:38 AM

I rest my case *falls down laughing*

"Yes Mr. Shoe salesman.. all my base belong to you"

By al bundy

August 02, 2001, 05:23 PM

quote:Originally posted by foob: I rest my case *falls down laughing*

"Yes Mr. Shoe salesman.. all my base belong to you"

As well you should. Did I mention I played highschool football, and once scored four touchdowns in a single game? Now, off to the Jiggly Room I go...

By Klashe

August 03, 2001, 12:08 PM

LOL! Debates over graphing calculators! Too FUNNY!

By Jr916

August 04, 2001, 08:36 PM

i would reccomend a Ti 92 plus it is the best one out there and sells for around 150, it can do very complex constructions and has a full keyboard wich is nice. It links to the computer and has a good deal of memory.

I personally ha an 83 plus and it is great but the next one i want something that can allow me to do 3d graphing

By Superbob

August 04, 2001, 11:52 PM

Yeah, the HP's are good for engineers who do a lot of math at work, but they probably aren't the best choice for college students.

Most of the professors teach with TI calculators, and most text books only show how to solve problems with TI calcs as well. If you get an HP, you might have trouble figuring out to use it, and no one will be able to help you figure it out.

So, my advice would be to ask the professor what calculators they teach with and allow in class. Many professors have a grudge against the TI-89's and 92's, because they do much of the work for you. Just put in numbers, and they'll give you the answers. Good idea in theory, but professors get worried when students use the calculator as a crutch, instead of learning the theory behind the formulas.

I personally used a TI-85 to get though high school AND college, and it worked great in every class. It's a dinosaur now, so you'll probably end up with a TI-83 Plus or something better.

quote:Originally posted by driver: I would go with an HP. Either the 48G or 49G. They use a stack based interface which, once you get used to, you will find far superior. In addition, they do just about everything that the TIs do. I have the 48GX and have found it invaluable in my college engineering courses. The only real drawback is that most people don't have them, though serious engineers do, so if your looking to get help from others, it may be a little difficult. http://www.hp.com/calculators/graphing/49g_info.html

By Superbob

August 05, 2001, 12:04 AM

Wow, I'm dumbfounded. There must be hundreds of cheap TI,HP, and Casio calculators on EBay! These people must hate doing math even more than I do!

quote:Originally posted by kbcr3: pick one up on www.ebay.com i got one of my ti-83plus for 60 bucks. used, but does that ever make a difference.

By al bundy

August 08, 2001, 04:21 AM

quote:Originally posted by Superbob: Many professors have a grudge against the TI-89's and 92's, because they do much of the work for you. Just put in numbers, and they'll give you the answers. Good idea in theory, but professors get worried when students use the calculator as a crutch, instead of learning the theory behind the formulas.

Actually, the real primary reason those professors have a problem with these great new machines is a bit different than the "crutch" argument, although that is often the case some teachers will make.

The real reason is this: These new machines require the professor to come up with new teaching strategies - ones that focus more on the concepts themselves, and less on the mechanical algebraic steps involved in the solution processes. Coming up with, as well as implementing, these new teaching strategies takes work, creativity, and the patience to evolve these strategies to a level most beneficial to the students. Along with the high work demand already made on teachers, the additional work involved in creating and executing these new teaching approaches and techniques is often not welcomed by those in the teaching community.

This is changing though, as technology can't be simply "run away from" in today's society. Professors, as well as teaching approaches, will change - although sometimes reluctantly.

By Milz

August 12, 2001, 01:33 AM

Al- I very much agree with most of what you say, calculators can free the students from tedious calculations, and allow them to focus on concepts, however I also believe there is some validity to the point that some students become dependent on them, and helpless without them. If you give a student a TI-89 for calculus I it's like giving an third grader a 4-function calculator to teach him multiplication. You can't do that, you need to show him that his lego block is 2x4 dots and let him count 8 total. As you stated before, mathmatics bulids on itself. In the same way that the learning of basic arithmatic operations in elementary school can't be circumvented, neither can the basic caclulus operations like derivation and integration. Students need to study for and be tested on this material without their calculators. Hoverver, once the student's skills are firmly established then the calculator is, I agree, an invaluable tool. It is a waste of time for a student in calc III to have to search for a pattern that will allow him to perform a simple integration by parts, when his calculator can do it. At that point it allows the student to avoid the redundancy of working a problem that is conceptually simple for him. He must know though, what integration by parts is, and not simply that his calculator can integrate the function. To sum up my rambling: If the functions the calculator can perform are more advanced than the student's conceptual knowledge, it will not help the student to learn those concepts. If the student's conceptual knowledge is on a level with the calculator's capabilities then it will save him time and help him to build his next level of skills faster.

BTW I am not an educator, nor do I hold any pretensions of being one. Perhaps you are, you sound like it, and if I've missed something feel free to enlighten me, it's more interesting when I'm wrong.

By al bundy

August 14, 2001, 05:42 AM

quote:Originally posted by Milz: If you give a student a TI-89 for calculus I it's like giving an third grader a 4-function calculator to teach him multiplication... In the same way that the learning of basic arithmatic operations in elementary school can't be circumvented, neither can the basic caclulus operations like derivation and integration.

It is a waste of time for a student in calc III to have to search for a pattern that will allow him to perform a simple integration by parts, when his calculator can do it... He must know though, what integration by parts is, and not simply that his calculator can integrate the function.

If the functions the calculator can perform are more advanced than the student's conceptual knowledge, it will not help the student to learn those concepts.

Hi Milz - I will respond to your good points in the manner of a current mathematics education reform believer, using calculus for the platform as you did in your above post. The opening discussion usually begins with some careful questions...

Why should limit-based operations such as differentiation and integration be considered and treated in the same spirit as are the basic arithmetic operations? Many learning-theory specialists today argue that the learning of foundation level 'finger-counting' math concepts in no way resembles the learning of the concepts of higher-order mathematics branches, either in the concept assimilation stage or in workplace practice.

Why specifically should a lower-division calculus student be made to learn a manual technique such as 'integration by parts' or 'trigonometric substitution'? That is, what purpose exactly does that serve for a student at that level, either toward their learning-development or toward their possible future professional practice?

Why shouldn't a modern tool, such as a computer-algebra-system on a TI-89, be used effectively to provide a student with better access to the concepts of calculus? After all, isn't it precisely the concepts underlying the techniques - rather than the techniques themselves - that should be the point of the mathematical education at that level?

Edit: At this point, a mathematics education reformer will most often take a moment to hear the replies to these questions, before continuing...

By Milz

August 15, 2001, 12:49 AM

quote:Originally posted by al bundy:

Why should limit-based operations such as differentiation and integration be considered and treated in the same spirit as are the basic arithmetic operations? Many learning-theory specialists today argue that the learning of foundation level 'finger-counting' math concepts in no way resembles the learning of the concepts of higher-order mathematics branches, either in the concept assimilation stage or in workplace practic In this sense they should be treated the same simply because they are unfamiliar operations, and the learner will not come to understand the operation's mechanism simply by seeing an input and an output. A monkey, could be taught to push the buttons of a calculator and communicate it's output, but that doesn't let him understand what multiplication is. The same thing happens when you teach a student to hit the integrate key on his calculator and write down the answer in a test blank. He needs to focus on the concept of what integration is, we agree on that, but I think he also needs to do it by hand at least a few times, so that he knows where his calculator got the number.

quote:Originally posted by al bundy:

Why specifically should a lower-division calculus student be made to learn a manual technique such as 'integration by parts' or 'trigonometric substitution'? That is, what purpose exactly does that serve for a student at that level, either toward their learning-development or toward their possible future professional practice?

I suppose that depends on what the student's future career is, and their personal level of curiosity. Many people can obviously get by without theese skills. I believe, however, that there is more to math than reaching an answer. Learning different ways to approach a problem, and seeing the innovation of those who have come before us, without a TI, helps to foster problem solving skillsadn a way of thinking which I believe are necesary for anyone who wishes to innovate themselves.

quote:Originally posted by al bundy:

Why shouldn't a modern tool, such as a computer-algebra-system on a TI-89, be used effectively to provide a student with better access to the concepts of calculus? After all, isn't it precisely the concepts underlying the techniques - rather than the techniques themselves - that should be the point of the mathematical education at that level?

My whole point is that calculators don't teach concepts, they give answers. If those answers help someone learn a more complex issue faster that's great, but I have seen many students learn which button to push so that they can pass the test, and then they completely ignore the concepts. How do you design a test that allows a TI89 and that will accuratly guage a student's knowledge of concepts? The only questions like that I've seen have been ones where the calculator isn't necesary anyway. Where calculators are important is when numbers don't come out nice and neat, like all real world data, but when you give a student a real world problem he can push buttons and give you a real world answer without the teacher knowing whether he really understands what's going on.

quote:Originally posted by al bundy:

Edit: At this point, a mathematics education reformer will most often take a moment to hear the replies to these questions, before continuing...

Is 'Mathematics Education Reformer' a political party or something? It sounds like you're saying anyone who wants to reform mathematics has the same opinions you do. I'm certainly not a member of a conservative old guard or anything. I just don't believe a student should give a teacher an answer he obtained by pushing a key, when he doesn't know what the key really means.

By Milz

August 15, 2001, 01:42 AM

BTW, Trigonometric substitution may be one thing that can be skipped over. If the student understands basic trigonometric functions and algebraic substitution there's really no new concepts. Their only purpose is to make things fit cookie-cutter formulas in a book.

By al bundy

August 15, 2001, 04:50 AM

quote:Originally posted by Milz: ...A monkey, could be taught to push the buttons of a calculator and communicate it's output, but that doesn't let him understand what multiplication is. The same thing happens when you teach a student to hit the integrate key on his calculator and write down the answer in a test blank. He needs to focus on the concept of what integration is, we agree on that, but I think he also needs to do it by hand at least a few times, so that he knows where his calculator got the number.

With current technology, examinations that would only require a student to "punch and write" would certainly be poor examinations indeed. Don't you know and agree that very good examination questions can be written which measure the degree of a student's concept comprehension, and are far removed from the style you describe above? Writing good examinations is considered an art-form in itself by educators, and the current technology forces us to rethink the "whats and hows" of good examination questions and formats. Focusing on this new style of examination writing is still a bit new to the math ed community, but is highly effective when it is done properly and with good professional insight.

Also, BTW: You certainly don't believe that a calculator uses the same process to find derivatives, integrals, or even logarithms, etc. that the human being does... do you? Few people are ever really aware of exactly "how their calculator got the number". For instance, do you personally know the specific algorithms your calculator implements to calculate such things as trig function values? These are numerical algorithms, which don't generally resemble the computational steps that the human being uses to calculate - and this example actually further illustrates and reiterates my above points about concept focus.

quote:Originally posted by Milz: ...I suppose that depends on what the student's future career is... Many people can obviously get by without theese skills... I believe, however, that there is more to math than reaching an answer. Learning different ways to approach a problem...

These are some of the specific points that math ed reformers themselves make, but in support of the opposite point from yours. The usual goal of a college education is not merely to satisfy somebody's personal curiosity... in fact, most people in college today are there for a very different reason, viz. to get a good resume item and to hopefully land a 'good job' afterward. It's quite an understatement to say that most people can 'get by' without knowing how to, say, integrate by parts - in fact they never need to know how to do a technique like that, even if their profession requires calculus skills (which is itself quite rare).

And also, why is it so hard to conceive of technology being effectively utilized in academia as a main way to approach a problem? The technological approach is by far the most common one taken in professional practice, in fact it is even now by working mathematicians!

quote:Originally posted by Milz: ...My whole point is that calculators don't teach concepts, they give answers...I have seen many students learn which button to push so that they can pass the test, and then they completely ignore the concepts. How do you design a test that allows a TI89 and that will accuratly guage a student's knowledge of concepts? The only questions like that I've seen have been ones where the calculator isn't necesary anyway. Where calculators are important is when numbers don't come out nice and neat, like all real world data, but when you give a student a real world problem he can push buttons and give you a real world answer without the teacher knowing whether he really understands what's going on...

The point here is not to ask the calculator to teach. The point is utilizing the calculator as a powerful tool to aid the teaching and learning process, by providing students with better access to the important concepts themselves. Calculators don't anymore just 'give answers'. And if you haven't seen good tests that measure a students concept comprehension when a modern calculator is available, you've probably either been out of school for a while or have witnessed the fault of teachers that still need lots of work bringing their curriculum and teaching up to speed to effectively incorporate technology. It is a changing need of the times, and makes for a better and more relevant course when this is done. Good exam questions require the student to demonstrate recognition of the important concepts, and also to demonstrate their skill in properly setting up a problem prior to attacking it with technology (real world data or not). This has always been the reality in the workplace, so why shouldn't it be a reality in the classroom as well?

quote:Originally posted by Milz: ...Is 'Mathematics Education Reformer' a political party or something? It sounds like you're saying anyone who wants to reform mathematics has the same opinions you do. I'm certainly not a member of a conservative old guard or anything. I just don't believe a student should give a teacher an answer he obtained by pushing a key, when he doesn't know what the key really means... BTW, Trigonometric substitution may be one thing that can be skipped over. If the student understands basic trigonometric functions and algebraic substitution there's really no new concepts. Their only purpose is to make things fit cookie-cutter formulas in a book.

LOL - Sometimes it does feel alot like a political party! Neither do I think that simply "pushing a key" is an appropriate demonstration to a teacher that learning has taken place. This was never the point being made, don't you see? The point is about concept comprehension, and this can be measured effectively simply by designing examinations which focus more on the 'recognition and setup' stages of solution rather than merely on the 'final execution' stage of computation. To take any of this in a different way would be to miss the important points being made here entirely. Please don't do that!

And your point about eliminating trig substitution could equally be made about things like 'integration by parts' for instance too, as well as a host of other things in lower-division math curriculum that are totally irrelevant to the students involved and their future career experiences.

These topics, i.e. about math reform of both curriculum and pedagogy, currently form a lively and heated debate involving math educators from all levels and from all around the world. I have personally participated in professional discussions on a national level regarding these issues. A general concensus among educators is emerging, but not everyone agrees with one another of course - and it is an extremely time-consuming and tedious process to overcome old traditions and boilerplate teaching practices, even when they are no longer relevant or meaningful to the learners involved. We need to assist our college students to be better prepared for the actual realities of the society (and world) they will face outside of academia, and help them to become more effective and productive citizens without also wasting time in school on ideas which don't pertain to these important goals. Now if one is going to be a mathematician, such things as we're discussing above will in fact be much more important, and will better fit into the upper-division curriculum - although along with a healthy dose of tech as well!

By Klashe

August 16, 2001, 03:01 PM

quote:Originally posted by al bundy: LOL - Sometimes it does feel alot like a political party! Neither do I think that simply "pushing a key" is an appropriate demonstration to a teacher that learning has taken place. This was never the point being made, don't you see? The point is about concept comprehension, and this can be measured effectively simply by designing examinations which focus more on the 'recognition and setup' stages of solution rather than merely on the 'final execution' stage of computation. To take any of this in a different way would be to miss the important points being made here entirely. Please don't do that!

And your point about eliminating trig substitution could equally be made about things like 'integration by parts' for instance too, as well as a host of other things in lower-division math curriculum that are totally irrelevant to the students involved and their future career experiences.

These topics, i.e. about math reform of both curriculum and pedagogy, currently form a lively and heated debate involving math educators from all levels and from all around the world. I have personally participated in professional discussions on a national level regarding these issues. A general concensus among educators is emerging, but not everyone agrees with one another of course - and it is an extremely time-consuming and tedious process to overcome old traditions and boilerplate teaching practices, even when they are no longer relevant or meaningful to the learners involved. We need to assist our college students to be better prepared for the actual realities of the society (and world) they will face outside of academia, and help them to become more effective and productive citizens without also wasting time in school on ideas which don't pertain to these important goals. Now if one is going to be a mathematician, such things as we're discussing above will in fact be much more important, and will better fit into the upper-division curriculum - although along with a healthy dose of tech as well!

I think he should get an HP.

By foob

August 16, 2001, 06:10 PM

By making a student learn how to integrate by parts without using a calculator, he/she is forced to think.. that is one of the reasons universities make students take math courses... because mathematics help develop people's minds.. It doesn't matter whether the question is conceptual or not. Because the end result that the low level course is suppose to produce is a more thinking person. Learning how to press a calculator obviously does not aid in the development of one's mind. But, I would have to agree that a calculator is useful, to let's say, an engineer who wants to integrate a math problem to solve a real life problem. (and that comes in engineering courses not pure math courses which do not deal with application). And that will validate why students should learn how to use the calculator.. but that is totally separate from the point of developing one's mind through the solving of math problems by hand, which is what low level math courses require.

Edit: And can you please write shorter replies, my eyes hurt.

By al bundy

August 16, 2001, 07:03 PM

quote:Originally posted by foob: By making a student learn how to integrate by parts without using a calculator, he/she is forced to think.. It doesn't matter whether the question is conceptual or not... Learning how to press a calculator obviously does not aid in the development of one's mind... pure math courses do not deal with application... the point of developing one's mind through the solving of math problems by hand... Edit: And can you please write shorter replies, my eyes hurt.

Holy Jeebus foob, I strongly disagree with every single thing you just said! I'm still having trouble believing you actually said those things. Most (if not all) professional math educators would strongly disagree with every single one of your above comments too. Oh well, to each his (or her) own... a variety of opinions makes a thread more interesting.

Hope the length of this reply didn't hurt your peepers!

By Hateslife

August 16, 2001, 07:50 PM

While most people will scream at me, TI-89's and 92's are banned for virtually all standardized tests, such as the ACT and SAT's, since they have symbolic representation and whatnot... Damn are they sweet calculators though.

And of course, like the Ti-83 and 86, there are sweet games

By jxo

August 16, 2001, 10:22 PM

Here's a good test for everyone to take: If you need a calculator to do this, then you are overly dependant on technology, or very rusty.