<<How important it is for students to use Minitab or see Minitab output, since such output may appear on the exam? For most statistical tests, the TI-83 output is different in appearance from Minitab, although the important values are usually provided in both settings.>>
Others will respond about the value of computer statistics packages and how important it is for students to see computer output before the AP exam (I think it is very important - not necessarily a lot, but they need to be comfortable).
In a related subject, I expected to start my course using the TI-83 and then shift to Minitab later. However, since I am using Rossman and it works exclusively with dotplots for the first few lessons I turned to Minitab first (the TI-83 does not have dotplots hardwired). In retrospect, I am very happy I did. Even being a TI-83 expert, the significantly greater overhead of using the TI-83 (as compared to Minitab) would have weighed heavily at the start of a year.
So, I was forced to use the two technologies in the reverse order from my plan and I am glad I did. We are now switching to the TI. The extra attention it will take can be handled better now that the students know each other and have formed work groups, understand the expectations of the course, know how data is stored on our file server (for transfer to Minitab or the TI-83), and have some basic terminology under their belts.
Albert Coons Mathematics Department Buckingham Browne & Nichols School Gerry's Landing Road Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 547-6100 AlCoons@aol.com