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Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by smillsj, Jan 10, 2012.
Can anyone recommend a calculator or software that they use?
Virtually all the graphing calculators (except possibly the latest CASIO ones) are "clunky" compared to ordinary calculators, so I don't see a lot of point in spending shed loads of money on them as the kids aren't that likely to put the effort in to become expert with them.
At a school where I used to teach, we lent out TI-81s to our A level students and those were good enough. They can be bought for next to nothing on ebay.
More up to date ones like the TI-82 & TI-84 are a bit nicer to look at but I'm not convinced they're really worth the money unless your students are very keen.
(There's a heck of a lot that can be done on the £6 CASIO FX-83GT+. It can do function tables, two-variable statistics and loads of stuff the kids almost never find out. About all it can't do is to draw graphs!)
1) Texas TI84 - used by all years at my school
2) Casio FX9750 - not as nice as Texas but easy to program
3) Texas TI-nspire - pricey but does lots more
1) Geogebra - free
2) Autograph or Omnigraph
3) Geometer's Sketchpad
Not used the Casio graphical calculators, but the TI-84 is good. The TI-nspire is really good, and does some very cool things, though I am finding it hard to learn how to use. I'm not sure about the A-Level, but on IB I know that you need to make sure you get the correct TI-inpsire models.
To address the issue of the usefulness of graphical calculators: they can be VERY useful. I rarely used them when I was teaching A-Level, but IB requires that students know how to use the calculators. Now I see why they are so useful: some things that would take forever to do can now be done in seconds. And it tends to be the non-graphical aspects that are the most useful.