Re: 33s  ALG is default? OR My history of Calculators Message #6 Posted by Ben Salinas on 6 Oct 2003, 6:36 p.m., in response to message #2 by Ed Look
Okay, here is the view of a high school student.
When I was a freshman in high school, a senior asked me if i wanted to check out a calculator (the 32sii). I originally said no, as I had my TI30xa which I ALMOST knew how to use blind, and I thought i was pretty fast with it. Well, he insisted on giving me the HP (and I am glad he did). I did a few simple math problems with it and tossed it into my backpack. A few days later I tried doing some more complex problems, and fell in love with it. I was originally so amazed by the fact that I could press "*", "", "+" with no numbers in between. A week later, I could not do anything with my TI30xa. And a year and a half later, I could use the 32sii blind, and knew how to use every feature of it.
I used the 32sii for my Algebra II and my PreCalculus class soley. Every week my Algebra teacher would tell the class that we should go out and buy a TI83+, becuase pretty soon the class would be getting really hard, and we would need it. I refused to buy one, and just kept using my little scientific calculator. The funny thing is that most of my classmates wanted my teacher to ban the 32sii because it was too powerful. In PreCal, I kept using my 32sii, and over the two years I became excellent at graphing in my head. Where other students had their crutch of a graphing calculator, I simply drew the graph.
This year I am taking Calculus. At the begining of the year I checked out a TI89 from my teacher (I was not about to buy a TI89). I used it a bit, and mainly when I was lazy. I would use it to graph, and for the "factor" function. All other math (such as solving equations) would be done by hand or on my 32sii. Then, I got the 49g+. I messed around with it a bit, and it has replaced my TI89, even though I still know how to do very few features on it. I use it to graph, and simplify equations. On occasion I will use it do simple arithmetic, but I try to restrain myself from using it for that (mainly because the I am used to the + being at the bototm right of the keyboard, and on the 49g+ the enter key is there)
All of my friends who use RPN (about 1015 of them) love it also. Although none of them are as diehard as I, they use graphing calculators less than the average student. Consequently, they also do the best on the "no calculator" parts of our exams.
So what is all this saying? I am extremely addicted to scientific calculators, due to their speed of entry, but it will be hard to wean students (at least Americans) off of graphing calculators. However, the best way to do this is to force them to use a better scientific calculator (such as the 32sii, or the 33s hopefully).
I plan on buying a 33s for two reasons. One, I will have to give my school back their 32sii in a bit less than 2 years. But more importantly, I have a sister in 6th grade, and they now use calculators (for what, don't ask me), but I want to get her addicted to RPN, and I figure I will lend her the $50 33s, rather than the $250 32sii, or the $175 49g+.
Ben
