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HP Prime too complicated
07-12-2018, 01:14 PM
Post: #21
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-11-2018 07:15 PM)Joe Horn Wrote:  
(07-11-2018 01:39 PM)JSBach Wrote:  IMO the HP Prime is a mighty but much too complicated tool.

It is marketed as a pupil's (or student's) device, who are to learn mathematics or physics.
But in the time they need to learn how to use such a calculator including CAS, graphics, programming, they better learn mathematics itself.

Prime is not a single tool, but rather a toolbox containing many tools; you only need to learn how to use those tools which you need. You don't have to learn the whole machine.

I agree with Joe. The HP Prime has a lot, don't have take it all at once. Start with the Function App, working with functions, and build as you go along.
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07-12-2018, 01:19 PM (This post was last modified: 07-12-2018 01:27 PM by JSBach.)
Post: #22
RE: HP Prime too complicated
Thank you for these very interesting informations:

(07-12-2018 01:11 PM)Tim Wessman Wrote:  On the contrary - separating HOME and CAS has some very concrete pedagogical reasons behind it and is not an example of "complexity". It is not done for a "convenience" or "technical", but rather it is trying to create mathematical thinking. In all our training materials we give to AP teachers, educators and similar, we focus heavily on how they need to constantly be asking the students "what is the type of thing you are looking at?", "what type of problem are you solving?", "are you looking at numbers? graphs? or symbolic?".

In other words, it is training you to be thinking mathematically. There is a lot of research around this which is why for 20+ years the recommend way of teaching math is to follow that method. Prime was designed from the ground up to be creating mathematical conversations and thinking.

If they can't understand the difference between "am i solving an equation" and "am i solving a number" or more fundamentally "what is a number?" then they are much less likely to be able to understand math. Black box calculators ("i put some stuff in and get my answer out") are a huge problem. Prime was designed to promote thinking about what you are doing, and more importantly WHY you are doing it, so that you will be able to understand math.

It really is simple to use once you learn a few basic rules. It also just happens to be able to scale up far past any other calculator type system on the market. It is also the EASIEST to learn and use at the same time.

But why do we need a CAS for these things?
"I am solving an equation" -> paper & pencil
"I am solving a number" -> calculator (eventually after "solving an equation")

JSBach
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07-12-2018, 01:27 PM
Post: #23
RE: HP Prime too complicated
I thought I would have been very happy if I had a CAS calculator when I was studying mathematics at school.
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07-12-2018, 01:34 PM
Post: #24
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 01:14 PM)Eddie W. Shore Wrote:  
(07-11-2018 07:15 PM)Joe Horn Wrote:  Prime is not a single tool, but rather a toolbox containing many tools; you only need to learn how to use those tools which you need. You don't have to learn the whole machine.

I agree with Joe. The HP Prime has a lot, don't have take it all at once. Start with the Function App, working with functions, and build as you go along.

But think like a pupil:

"I have a complicated Prime with many keys, many functions, many apps, Home & CAS, ...
If I press the wrong key, strange things may happen.
The manual is huuuge, I don't find the things I need."

And all that they want is to learn Mathematics or to make a calculation in Physics.

JSBach
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07-12-2018, 01:37 PM
Post: #25
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 01:19 PM)JSBach Wrote:  But why do we need a CAS for these things?
"I am solving an equation" -> paper & pencil
"I am solving a number" -> calculator (eventually after "solving an equation")

Would you be surprised to learn that (proper) use of CAS in learning and education has been shown to increase math understanding, chances of going on to higher math learning, and increased engagement?

Now if used as a black box - yeah, it is extremely harmful.

What you are describing though is EXACTLY what Prime's design encourages. Are you solving an equation? Are you calculating a number? What does the math MEAN... not just "get an answer".

TW

Although I work for the HP calculator group, the views and opinions I post here are my own.
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07-12-2018, 01:37 PM
Post: #26
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 01:19 PM)JSBach Wrote:  But why do we need a CAS for these things?
"I am solving an equation" -> paper & pencil

Answer for you: Because Prime's CAS knows more math than Joe Average does, and can do it a lot faster than Joe Average using paper and pencil.

Answer for students: Because learning math by exploring "what if?" scenarios in dozens of similar-but-slightly-different equations takes too long and is tedious when done by hand, but is fast and fun when done using a CAS. Making learning faster and more fun is a Good Thing, especially when it makes what you learned clearer in your mind and last longer, which is what creative exploration always does.

Answer for teachers: Don't present Prime's CAS to your students as a magic black box that does the students' homework for them! They'll learn nothing that way. Make sure that they are using it to explore the concepts being taught... explore creatively, coming up with their own "what if?" scenarios. The best way to understand a concept is to play with it, juggle it, look at it from all angles and FEEL it. That's what Prime's CAS is all about.

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07-12-2018, 01:40 PM
Post: #27
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 01:27 PM)Voldemar Wrote:  I thought I would have been very happy if I had a CAS calculator when I was studying mathematics at school.

Me too, but we like calculators.
And I see a danger: You occupy yourself more with the amazing CAS than with the Mathematics.

JSBach

PS: I was happy with my father's old HP-67, but it absolutely was not necessary.
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07-12-2018, 01:40 PM
Post: #28
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 01:07 PM)roadrunner Wrote:  I've been an engineer since 1979 and around engineers my whole life. I can't think of one time I would have wanted to hook a device up to a calculator to log data; other than just for fun. But that's just me, I can see how that might be useful in an academic environment though.

-road

You probably were in a different kind of engineering. Civil engineers, and in particular surveyors, used calculators as data collectors for many years. Some stations had purpose-built data collectors, but then they had to also carry a calculator with them (seems trivial? try it while walking through rough terrain at 40 deg. slope, with a machete in hand to open a passage, total station, rods, prisms, extra battery packs, all hanging from different parts of your body). The HP48 was king in this type of application, many add-on cards were sold for the 48 for this purpose alone. That was the main reason that drove the price of 48's so high when they discontinued it. People needed reassurance to keep using it as data collector for their >$30000 total stations.
Despite having an SD card, the 50g never quite took that place. Perhaps it was too late in time, total stations started having enough memory to store and log large amounts of data for themselves without needing a separate data logger.
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07-12-2018, 01:45 PM (This post was last modified: 07-12-2018 01:47 PM by Tim Wessman.)
Post: #29
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 01:34 PM)JSBach Wrote:  But think like a pupil:

We are... and that is why Prime is how it is! Smile

The huge majority of students who have grown up with smartphones and able to very quickly learn and operate Prime. With the touch, the idea of "apps" to do separate tasks, and consistency through the system they really pick it up quick. Oh, and if they need to know what something does - they just click that lil old "Help" key and instantly get some useful information about what they are looking at. I've been ridiculously amazed at the number of students who've mentioned that the favorite thing in Prime is the Help button. Not one of them is likely to pull out a printed manual to search for it though. Smile

If 3rd graders can happily use it to learn about number lines, and 4th graders happily can make stat plots, and 6th graders can start to draw lines with their fingers and see some "cool math" come out, they are feeling excited and engaged with what they are learning.


I am citing what we SEE happening, and how educators are telling us they are using it. We didn't particularly plan for it to start getting used so early, but there are plenty of teachers who have seen the potential and are seeing great results. I'm not saying Prime is perfect, or that all parts of it are not difficult. For nearly all basic and intermediate stuff though, it doesn't have an equal at this time.

Used badly, something like Prime could of course be very detrimental. Used properly though, and I am firmly convinced you end up with better prepared students who like math.

Yes, we are focused on education. Focusing on the *ahem* dying segment of the market (us old fogeys) is a sure way to end things. Smile

TW

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07-12-2018, 01:51 PM
Post: #30
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 01:37 PM)Joe Horn Wrote:  
(07-12-2018 01:19 PM)JSBach Wrote:  But why do we need a CAS for these things?
"I am solving an equation" -> paper & pencil

Answer for you: Because Prime's CAS knows more math than Joe Average does, and can do it a lot faster than Joe Average using paper and pencil.

Answer for students: Because learning math by exploring "what if?" scenarios in dozens of similar-but-slightly-different equations takes too long and is tedious when done by hand, but is fast and fun when done using a CAS. Making learning faster and more fun is a Good Thing, especially when it makes what you learned clearer in your mind and last longer, which is what creative exploration always does.

Answer for teachers: Don't present Prime's CAS to your students as a magic black box that does the students' homework for them! They'll learn nothing that way. Make sure that they are using it to explore the concepts being taught... explore creatively, coming up with their own "what if?" scenarios. The best way to understand a concept is to play with it, juggle it, look at it from all angles and FEEL it. That's what Prime's CAS is all about.

1 - If needed I can use a CAS on a PC

2 & 3 - that also can be done on a PC or a tablet

JSBach
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07-12-2018, 02:12 PM
Post: #31
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 01:51 PM)JSBach Wrote:  
(07-12-2018 01:37 PM)Joe Horn Wrote:  Answer for you: Because Prime's CAS knows more math than Joe Average does, and can do it a lot faster than Joe Average using paper and pencil.

Answer for students: Because learning math by exploring "what if?" scenarios in dozens of similar-but-slightly-different equations takes too long and is tedious when done by hand, but is fast and fun when done using a CAS. Making learning faster and more fun is a Good Thing, especially when it makes what you learned clearer in your mind and last longer, which is what creative exploration always does.

Answer for teachers: Don't present Prime's CAS to your students as a magic black box that does the students' homework for them! They'll learn nothing that way. Make sure that they are using it to explore the concepts being taught... explore creatively, coming up with their own "what if?" scenarios. The best way to understand a concept is to play with it, juggle it, look at it from all angles and FEEL it. That's what Prime's CAS is all about.

1 - If needed I can use a CAS on a PC

2 & 3 - that also can be done on a PC or a tablet

JSBach

Many things can be done on a PC. Do you think handheld alternatives should not exist at all?

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07-12-2018, 02:28 PM (This post was last modified: 07-12-2018 02:29 PM by JSBach.)
Post: #32
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 02:12 PM)chromos Wrote:  
(07-12-2018 01:51 PM)JSBach Wrote:  1 - If needed I can use a CAS on a PC

2 & 3 - that also can be done on a PC or a tablet

JSBach

Many things can be done on a PC. Do you think handheld alternatives should not exist at all?

At work and at home I prefer powerful devices with big screens and keyboards (=> PC/notebook).
On the move I prefer easy to use and small devices (nowadays my smart phone with appropriate software). I do not execute big tasks on the move.

So yes: handheld alternatives are good

JSBach
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07-12-2018, 02:39 PM (This post was last modified: 07-12-2018 02:42 PM by sasa.)
Post: #33
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 01:37 PM)Joe Horn Wrote:  Answer for you: Because Prime's CAS knows more math than Joe Average does, and can do it a lot faster than Joe Average using paper and pencil.

One particular part where CAS may choose longer path may be following:

Find determinant of:
Code:

1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9

While student may have idea to transform by simply subtracting it to:
Code:

1 2 3
3 3 3
3 3 3

... and then easily apply rule that determinant is zero if two columns or rows are equal (or proportional), CAS may run into LU decomposition complexity or standardized path of elimination, which certainly would not be a benefit for a Joe which should learn some shortcuts/tricks (which actually comes from basic rules) in order to perform the task with pencil and paper better and faster than calculator, especially with any larger similar singular matrix, actually making it to develop affection to math, not to blindly use calculator and use to its abilities or flaws.

I do not have any CAS capable calculator to claim upper, however I would be supprised that any calculator can calculate upper determinant with only one described step.

The beauty behind solving some problems is that solution is easy and fast accomplished by spark of an idea, avoiding all complexity standardize approaches may involve.
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07-12-2018, 03:15 PM
Post: #34
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 02:39 PM)sasa Wrote:  
(07-12-2018 01:37 PM)Joe Horn Wrote:  Answer for you: Because Prime's CAS knows more math than Joe Average does, and can do it a lot faster than Joe Average using paper and pencil.

One particular part where CAS may choose longer path may be following:

Find determinant of:
Code:

1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9

While student may have idea to transform by simply subtracting it to:
Code:

1 2 3
3 3 3
3 3 3

... and then easily apply rule that determinant is zero if two columns or rows are equal (or proportional), CAS may run into LU decomposition complexity or standardized path of elimination, which certainly would not be a benefit for a Joe which should learn some shortcuts/tricks (which actually comes from basic rules) in order to perform the task with pencil and paper better and faster than calculator, especially with any larger similar singular matrix, actually making it to develop affection to math, not to blindly use calculator and use to its abilities or flaws.

I do not have any CAS capable calculator to claim upper, however I would be supprised that any calculator can calculate upper determinant with only one described step.

The beauty behind solving some problems is that solution is easy and fast accomplished by spark of an idea, avoiding all complexity standardize approaches may involve.

Prime virtual calc found this:
DET([[1,2,3],[4,5,6],[7,8,9]]); // ==> 0

In this much time:
TEVAL(det([[1,2,3],[4,5,6],[7,8,9]])); // ==> 0_s

Student is still waiting for spark of an idea ...
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07-12-2018, 03:25 PM
Post: #35
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 02:39 PM)sasa Wrote:  One particular part where CAS may choose longer path may be following:

Find determinant of:
Code:

1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9

While student may have idea to transform by simply subtracting it to:
Code:

1 2 3
3 3 3
3 3 3

... and then easily apply rule that determinant is zero if two columns or rows are equal (or proportional), CAS may run into LU decomposition complexity or standardized path of elimination, which certainly would not be a benefit for a Joe which should learn some shortcuts/tricks (which actually comes from basic rules) in order to perform the task with pencil and paper better and faster than calculator, especially with any larger similar singular matrix, actually making it to develop affection to math, not to blindly use calculator and use to its abilities or flaws.

I do not have any CAS capable calculator to claim upper, however I would be supprised that any calculator can calculate upper determinant with only one described step.

The beauty behind solving some problems is that solution is easy and fast accomplished by spark of an idea, avoiding all complexity standardize approaches may involve.

I think it all depends on context. If that matrix was given to a student that is learning matrices and determinants, you are 100% correct: they are better off learning "old-fashioned" way.
However, in more advanced courses, that matrix might come as part of a system of equations to solve a physics problem. In that case, I much rather prefer the student's mind focused on the physics than on row-reduction, and it helps to be able to get that determinant with a single keystroke. The student does need to know that getting a zero determinant means his formulation of the physics problem was either incorrect or simply has infinite solutions, and his mind needs to go back at the physics model and equations that gave origin to the matrix to see what went wrong (bad model, or if you are designing something, perhaps an accurate model of a bad design). In this context, the procedure to get that determinant is a mere "distraction" from the actual problem.
In the end, you need to have a calculator that is capable of doing it all, it's up to the user to use that power wisely in each context.
That context will change dramatically over the life of that student, so it's important to keep an open mind, people can't expect to limit the capabilities of a product based on the limited scope of its own context at one point in time.
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07-12-2018, 03:52 PM (This post was last modified: 07-12-2018 04:34 PM by sasa.)
Post: #36
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 03:15 PM)DrD Wrote:  Student is still waiting for spark of an idea ...

Entering the matrix and command in the calculator is even in this simple example much larger than 0s. Especially if negative numbers are entered.

And the complexity of entering data is one of the main problems when using any higher functionality with calculators. I would point that as one of the main reasons why I personally never bought a CAS capable calculator and why personally prefer simple scientific calculator (10-15x cheaper). It seems to me much more reasonable to use a laptop, tablet or a desktop computer with a proper software in a company for more complex calculations.

For a student, during exams higher functionality is most certainly deactivated or CAS capable calculator forbidden, according to "Calculator policy", thus it is certainly not a benefit to rely on it (if not explicitly requested).
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07-12-2018, 05:06 PM (This post was last modified: 07-12-2018 05:12 PM by Marcelo Vanti.)
Post: #37
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-11-2018 02:37 PM)JSBach Wrote:  
(07-11-2018 02:14 PM)Voldemar Wrote:  I do not think so. HP Prime is easy to master. I think HP 50g is more complicated.
P.S. I also have a daughter. She is 13 years old. And she has Casio fx-991. Smile

Yes, it is simpler than the 50g.
But the 50g isn't a pupil's calculator - it is an engineer's calculator.

JSBach

:-)
I still do not understand when it is said that the 50 G is for engineers, as if prime is inferior. The prime is, in every aspect that I could analyze, superior in capacity the previous generations of HP calculators (I have and used all from 48 on). What it does not yet exist is a wide range of libraries .developed for it.

Marcelo
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07-12-2018, 06:31 PM
Post: #38
RE: HP Prime too complicated
I agree with Claudio L. and Joe Horn about CAS.
When you meet a new math concept, I think it is important to do some *simple* computations by hand because that helps understanding. But why spend a lot of time on more complicated computations or if you want to explore? Then it's better to run the computation with a CAS (on a PC or on a calculator or on a tablet or even on a smartphone, that does not really matter for the maths, it's just easier to do it on a calc in a school because you have it with you, it is instant ON and it has a physical adapted keyboard). And if you are using the concept in a more complex context, using the CAS you can concentrate on the new concept.
For me, once you can not solve a problem with your brain, using paper+pencil is a form of technology (think of the times where paper was not available!), using a CAS, you just replace one form with a more efficient one. That does not mean you should use a CAS when you can solve a problem with your brain, because it's important to exercise your brain.
And by the way, CAS calculators are not necessarily forbidden or CAS-de-activated during exams: in France for example they are not.
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07-12-2018, 07:05 PM
Post: #39
RE: HP Prime too complicated
(07-12-2018 01:07 PM)roadrunner Wrote:  I've been an engineer since 1979 and around engineers my whole life. I can't think of one time I would have wanted to hook a device up to a calculator to log data; other than just for fun.

Using an HP-41 as an equipment controller / data logger made more sense back when computers were still expensive. For many people, a high-end calculator was simply the most powerful tool they could afford.

I always thought that the cheap PC clones that started to appear in the mid-'80s killed most of the market for high-end calculators, leaving only those market segments where easy portability is essential. (And smartphones are probably going to kill those, too, but that's another story...)
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07-13-2018, 12:24 AM
Post: #40
RE: HP Prime too complicated
Just to stir the pot a little: the Casio Algebra FX has separate "home" and CAS modes. Wink

I don't see a problem with separating the operating modes, but I find the way the Prime does it a little bit confusing (different rules regarding capitalization, some subtleties of syntax, etc.). Some of that might be a result of grafting xcas onto the system.
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