|Qama calculator, quick review|
Message #1 Posted by Don Shepherd on 5 May 2012, 10:02 p.m.
A few months ago Pauli posted about a new calculator that makes you provide a reasonable estimate of the answer to a problem before it actually gives you the answer. I thought that was an interesting concept too, so I wrote the guy who invented it and he sent me one (for $25).
This is what it looks like, front side and rear side.
Interestingly, the space required for the two AAA batteries provides a little stand for viewing the calculator an an angle.
The good: it does what it says. If your estimate is too far away from the actual answer, you'll have to try another estimate. I tried a few simple examples and it seemed to work OK. You can also set it so that an estimate is not required, but then it flashes little LED lights in the keyboard area (maybe to alert teachers that the student is cheating).
The bad: Two things. The LCD display is not easy to see unless you have a very strong light source. But the biggest problem is that if you press the keys too quickly, they won't register. I know, we've heard that before, right? But it's a killer here. In a couple hours of testing it missed keystrokes on almost every problem I entered. If you press the keys slowly it will work, but this is a huge problem I'd say.
It's an interesting concept but I don't know that I would use it in my middle school math classroom.