calculator ravings


Okay, I have a bone to pick with math teachers who allow students to use graphing calculators on tests. More specifically, those who even teach how to use the calculator. Point A- Most standardized tests do not allow calculator usage. You may have relied on it since your sophmore year in high school but your trusty TI/HP isn't getting you into college/ grad school. Point B- Most students learn how to use the calculator, plug and chug, instead of learning the properties of math, like where a sine curve hits.

I'm severely guilty of both points, which is why it's kinda pathetic that I think students should be taught math instead of how to rely on $100 gizmos (that's another sad point we won't get into- me and my unslakeable techlust). Yes, it's extremely handy when you're in college and calculating complex equations. However, I went to OfficeMax today and noticed that the TI-83 actually made "More pre-loaded Apps for subjects from Algebra and Chemistry to Language Arts and History" a advertiseable feature. Okay, given that my lazy butt thinks more algebra equations by just kinda picking a type of problem and plugging in a few numbers is good, I wouldn't have a single idea of the actual equation.

Right after the more pre-loaded apps is "10 times more memory and a faster processor, so you can play more games (outside the classroom, of course)". Uh-huh. Can you feel the waves of cynicism rolling off me?

As for my own lamentable calculator addiction, it was a TI-82 in high school and a HP 49G through college. The HP is awesome but complex; there are days when I need the manual for just about everything. However, I'm seeing that as a good thing. It means I'm doing math instead of having the calculator do it for me.