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Educalc 29C GD - any information for me?
04-27-2014, 09:35 AM
Post: #8
RE: Educalc 29C GD - any information for me?
(04-26-2014 08:28 PM)walter b Wrote:  
(04-25-2014 08:53 AM)Joe Horn Wrote:  The EduCALC was mostly used by math teachers, with the large display facing the students ...

Can you tell me more about it? How should a number of students learn something about math from staring at a row of digits?? TIA for enlightenment.

Three values of an EduCALC in the classroom spring to mind:

(1) It facilitated one of the bottlenecks that happens when teaching with calculators. In the Bad Old Days, after the teacher had the class perform a calculation on their individual calculators, there were only two options: (a) hope that absolutely everybody pressed all the right keys and got the right answer, which of course never happens, or (b) let the teaching and learning grind to a halt as the teacher slowly reads out loud all the digits of the result (and then repeats them all a few more times as the slower students finally get an answer). Although this was a waste of time, that wasn't nearly as aggravating as the fact that it happened over and over, many times every day. When you're teaching well, and when you're learning well, you get into a kind of clockwork rhythm, and anything that interrupts that rhythm is maddening. The "calculator answer" bottleneck was (and still can be) very maddening. But with an EduCALC displaying the correct answer, the students could check their result visually (far faster and more accurate than verbally), and they didn't all have to finish at exactly the same time (as the verbal method requires). It didn't eliminate the nuisance, but it greatly reduced it. Many teachers found that reduction justified the huge expense of an EduCALC.

Of course, nowadays teachers use projections of the entire calculator, not just the final answer, but the teacher still has to teach, and needs to know how to use the tools at hand to best facilitate the learning process.

(2) Don't forget that we are all data-saturated now. Digital readouts are everywhere; they don't hold the eye-catching fascination that they did back in the Bad Old Days. For example, notice these sentences in the EduCALC advertisement linked above: "Its big, bright neon digits have that same twinkling fascination for the viewer that has attracted him to his own calculator. ... The EduCALC gives us a way to really hold an audience, a way to give our calculations 'sex appeal' ... it captures the attention of students all the way to the rear of a large, well-lit lecture theater." Sounds downright ludicrous today, but that really was accurate back then. And since capturing and holding attention is a large part of the ed biz, teachers loved it.

(3) Many teachers bought it for the bragging rights. "So, you got a new chalkboard? I'm happy for you. I have a EduCALC in MY classroom. Eat your heart out!" That might not improve education, but a happy teacher is usually a better teacher than a grumpy one.

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RE: Educalc 29C GD - any information for me? - Joe Horn - 04-27-2014 09:35 AM

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