Message #11 Posted by John Nelson on 6 June 2007, 2:08 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by Gene
As for me, I use my 15C as my daily driver when doing computations. As someone in the IT industry, I will at times bring out my 16C to switch between decimal and binary or HEX, but most of the time I use the 15C. It does what I need, is quick to use, and is small.
I agree with what others have said too about testing. I have two graduate degrees. One in computer science and also an MBA. During both of those studies, we hardly ever had a closed book exam. They were take home exams that would take quite some time, and we knew that if we were caught cheating, the punishment could be up to expulsion from the program. The main rigor of the tests though were to test our understanding of what is behind the numbers and how you get to your final decision. Yes, it is important to understand how you figure the equation out, but, IMO it is a far greater challenge to understand what the result of that equation or expression tells you. Sure, I can tell you how to find the highest point on a profit maximization cure by using some very basic calculus, but what does that point really mean to me or my company. Same thing with finding roots and many other problems. Many people can memorize the formula to figure that out, but what does it mean.
Many of my professors stressed the understanding, and I think that gave me a far better education than some of my counterparts where I work. One co-worker attained her MBA from a good school, but all she was concerned with was getting the correct answer to the formula. Her class didn't discuss what it meant, and that boys and girls is what I thinks separates the better schools from the ones that are not as good.
Now don't get me wrong, there are many good schools out there that are not ivy league schools that teach the why, and frankly, there are some ivy league schools that don't teach the why either. I just think though that the propensity to ask "why" is greater at some of the higher schools.
I am finding it fascinating though at my children's high school they are teaching the "why" with calculus. How many of you remember sitting is calculus in H.S. and wondering why the heck are we figuring this out and what does it mean to me?? Calculus is hard when you don't understand the why. When I went to college though, one of my first classes the professor asked us if anyone knew why we were doing calculus. Besides the "we have to to graduate" answer, nobody really knew why. Thank heaves he explained the why that morning, and after that, calculus was easy, because I finally understood why we were doing it.