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Re: [CALCREFORM:2874] Calculator$ versus computer$
Posted:
Oct 10, 1995 1:24 PM


On Tue, 10 Oct 1995, Jerry Uhl wrote:
> A fact to consider: > If one could get $100 per student (roughly the price of a calculator), then > this money could be used to equip and run a superb computer lab for all > students. > > For instance here at Illinois, we have 500 students in > Calculus&Mathematica. At $100 per student, this would generate $50,000 > plenty of money for a great lab.
I'm going to jump in on this one in the "been there  done that " position. $50,000 produces approxiately a 1:20 studentcomputer ratio. Add in software and other goodies, maybe a 1:25 ratio. Working back over a three year rolling replacement, let's say a 1:8 ratio.
So far so good  each student gets two hours of computer time a day. But wait: most of my students spend an hour in class and two out of class doing homework. You run into critical time shortages.
Don't forget the cost of human lab monitors. 80 hours a week times two bodies times minimum wage times 32 weeks and there goes your 50,000 dollars.
Startup costs for labs include furniture, networking if you are so inclined, and even rewiring rooms for sufficient electrical outlets. Maybe new air conditioning.
Don't get me wrong: I like computers and use them all the time in class. It is definitely cheaper to buy calculators.
> > And this lab could be used by ALL students  not just the rich kids. >
That is all of the students who can afford to spend two extra hours a day on campus, which is not true of many commuting students. Those with computers at home can buy software  those without are out of luck.
Well, this thing sounded negative, but it is a cautionary tale. I want to use both tools every day and want my students to also, but computers are even farther beyond the reach of my students than calculators. Computers are certainly beyond the reach of my school.
Ed
 Edward S. Miller edmiller@lcsc.edu
Division of Natural Sciences VOICE 2087992810 LewisClark State College FAX 2087992064 500 8th Avenue Lewiston ID 835012698 USA 



