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Topic: Homework and TI-83 (fwd)
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Bob Hayden

Posts: 2,384
Registered: 12/6/04
Homework and TI-83 (fwd)
Posted: Jun 27, 1996 10:04 PM
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The discussion below is a good illustration of why statisticians do
not take graphing calculators too seriously as tools for statistics.
I don't mean to sound unsypathetic to the problems involved. I know
that high schools do not have the computer facilities that colleges
do, and that students at most high schools do not have round-the-clock
access to the computing facilities that are available. But I do think
it is important to know what you are giving up if you use calculators
rather than computers. Where I am (not exactly a state where money
flows freely!) I have essentially ALL the data sets in the textbook
and many more of my own online and acessible to students throughout
the semester. They can use them (and Minitab) essentially anywhere
they can find a computer or terminal -- in the Math. Dept., library,
dorms, etc., whenever these buildings are open. One thing that this
makes possible is to return to old data sets with a more sophisticated
analysis. Indeed, I return to many data sets many times throughout
the semester. It is also possible for students to delete outliers or
transform data and save the new datasets to disk, and to save an
entire analysis or print it out to turn in. I say this not to make
high school teachers feel bad, but to encourage people to try to
improve computer access for students and to think about work-arounds
if you are using calculators. Most of the high school teachers I've
talked with have not yet realized the kinds of problems and
compromises Al has discovered are forced upon one by using calculators
instead of computers.

I'm not anti-calculator. The TI-83 is really amazing! (I just bought
one -- with my own money.) But I've taught statistics with a computer
for 15 years, and calculators have a long way to go even to reach the
power I had available when I started, or the power of free programs
available today. The catch: enough computers and enough access.
The TI-83 is a great stopgap but you need to know its limitations to
get the most out of it.

> I have been converting Rossman's Workshop Statistics data to TI-83 and
> Minitab formats. This has brought up some interesting questions:
> If students are going to work through data at home using the TI-82 or TI-83
> we will want them to load the data sets in memory before they go home. Of
> course the TI-82 is limited to six lists L1->L6. Thus students will not be
> able to take home much data and it may be overwritten in another class such
> as mathematics or science.
> However, the TI-83 allows lists to be stored with names in addition to
> L1->L6. For instance you can call a list YEAR and another INCOME. (In fact
> residuals are stored automatically in a list call RESID). As a result
> students can store many lists of data in their TI-83 and take the data home
> to do homework.
> However, there is a trade off. There is a learning curve for how to handle
> lists other than L1->L6. While it took me a while to pick up all the tricks
> that this involves, I think once you understands how it works you can teach
> your students without too much pain or extra time.
> I can see some other questions such as making sure that extraneous lists are
> deleted as the year progresses so that there is room for more data. In
> addition, there is no way to "group" lists in the a result,
> students will have to know which lists belong to which data set. Also, two
> different homework problems with data representing, for instance, the year,
> will have to have different variable names to both reside in the calculator
> at the same time.
> So the question is...what are you going to do? Use only L1->L6 or include
> variable names? Anyone have any experience with this?
> Questions for me: Did I really want to spend the summer dealing with
> this???????
> Al
> Albert Coons
> Mathematics Department
> Buckingham Browne & Nichols School
> Cambridge, MA 02138
> (617) 547-6100 x 264


| | Robert W. Hayden
| | Department of Mathematics
/ | Plymouth State College
| | Plymouth, New Hampshire 03264 USA
| * | Rural Route 1, Box 10
/ | Ashland, NH 03217-9702
| ) (603) 968-9914 (home)
fax (603) 535-2943 (work)

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