>I very much agree that programmable graphing calculators are >fine educational tools that need to be available to students, >and I have posted a number of messages to this list defending >their use in the classroom. However, we need to consider how >some of our students who cannot afford them will have access to >them, for if we require them without giving thought to this >issue then we can further disadvantage some of our already >disadvantaged students. > >Bob Megginson >Department of Mathematics >University of Michigan
Three years ago, when the Math Faculty at Grossmont College decided to require graphing calculators in some of our courses, the question about affordability was addressed. We decided to make calculators available for students with hardships in two ways.
A student who was hesitant to spend $90 for a calculator can enter a lease agreement with our bookstore. They deposit $25 and sign a lease agreement to receive a calculator which is theirs to use for one semester. At the end of the lease, they can choose to keep the calculator (as most do) and all of the deposit is applied to the purchase price of the same calculator. Or they can turn in the calculator and end the agreement with no refund.
The Associated Students organization purchased a set of calculators and placed them in the Learning Resource Center on limited loan. That way a student can check out a calculator for a few hours to complete a project or assignment. Having a calculator available at all times is the ideal but this is a answer to the problem if a student just absolutely cannot afford one.
Dave Lunsford Whereever I go, there I am. Grossmont College - Johnson's Principle El Cajon, CA 92020 (619)465-1700x328 firstname.lastname@example.org