Q&A #6284

Calculator use

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From: Jeanne (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 09, 2001 at 10:01:46
Subject: Re: Calculator use

Hi Keith, Ralph, Tim and Suzanne shared information and views on calculator use and calculator policy. I thought I'd talk about your last three questions. >Do you go as far as recommending a particular calculator for your students? As a high school teacher, I tell the students that any scientific calculator is fine. HOWEVER, THEY might prefer a calculator that has a fraction key, [a b/c]. Graphing calculators are a little different. Some teachers go so far as to specify a particular brand and model of calculator. Others give a list of acceptable calculators with a qualifying statement that is similar to "...but I am only familiar with/can help you with ..." My department is discussing the following issue: What do we do with graphing calculators that have the capability of symbolic manipulation. (For example, these calculators can solve quadratic equations and express the solutions in radical form.) They are becoming very affordable AND because they do not have a "QWERTY" keyboard, they are allowed for use on the AP Calculus and SAT exams. If we restrict them from our classrooms, might we be putting our students at a disadvantage when taking these tests? If we allow them in our classrooms, what effect will these have on our teaching? What about equity issues? >Does the school/education dept. sell calculators? My school does not sell calculators--at least not directly. We do have calculators available to check out like a text book. (We have a substantial population of students on our free lunch program.) Since our cost per calculator is less than the retail price, I know that some kids simply pay the "lost calculator" fee. >Does the school/education department have a deal with any calculator >manufacturers? Some arrangements can be set up with schools or teachers. I recently purchased 78 graphing calculators from Casio. They discontinued a particular model and offered a "close out" sale. Normally, we purchase our calculators from education distributors around the country. The price per calculator which includes shipping and handling and taxes is less than retail. Hope this helps. -Jeanne, for the T2T service

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