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Q&A #1737

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Using the recent technologies in teaching mathematics

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From: Loyd

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2001111722:10:31
Subject: Re: History of Calulators in the Classroom

On 2001111720:13:22, Sylvia wrote: > >I am doing a report and would like to start it by discussing when >calculators actual started to appear in the classroom. When I went to >school they had slide rules but no calculators. I have gone back to >school and that is why I am working on a report. > >Thank you for your help. > >Sylvia > Other people may be better at this than I as far as schools go. In 1966-1968 I never saw a calculator in classrooms. In about 1969, I attended a workshop at a major university, and one of the attending engineers had just purchased a HP reverse polish calculator. It cost almost $400.00, as I remember. Not long after that I purchased a TI calculator for about $100.00 and it was not as capable as the current models of Sharp, Texas Instrument and Hewlett Packard calculators that now sell for less than $10.00. My first exposure to calculators was the Monroe mechanical calculator. A professor where I was taking courses purchased 4 machines at about $1000 each for use in his statistic courses. This was somewhere between 1964 and 1966. These machines were marvelous, but not as capable as the current models that sell for less than $10.00. They sounded beautiful when pounding out the sqares, sum of squares and other statistic measures. I went to work in 1968 and we had access to an IBM mainframe that one never saw, but prepared decks of punched cards and sent them by courier to the computer location. A couple of days later, the program came back for the first debugging cycle. After two or more attempts, the completed run came back. In about 1970 or so, our office bought a Wang calculator (several thousand dollars) which could be programed with assembly language and was often called a minicomputer. It was the size of a big typewriter and printed out on 3 inch wide (more or less) roll of paper. Great machine, but not much more capable than the current TI-83 graphing calculator. Soon, after, engineers begin buying calculators of all types. Many of the early companies went out of business. By 1985 there were some great calculators for about $20.00 such as a sharps that would fit in a shirt pocket and would solve 3 equations with three unknowns as well as all the functions necessary for statistics, polar and rectangular coordinates, trig etc. As far as the 4 function calculators are concerned they started showing up after the scientific calculators, but I have never used them much to teach students since they don't follow the order of operations whereas scientific calculators do. My last purchased calculator is a HP-6s which is small and very capable. I paid 5.99 for it but notice that it is now selling for 7.99 now in the same store. In 1990, I begin teaching again and used scientific calculators for students to check their work. I also taught GED classes and didn't use calculators there except for checking. Now, calculators are permitted on GED Tests. All algebra I and II students and above are allowed to use graphing calculators on the Standards of Learning (SOLs) tests. They don't have to, however, unless they want to.

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