13 votes

Big Calculator: How Texas Instruments Monopolized Math Class

3 comments

  1. [2]
    jackson
    Link
    It's really sad how expensive public education can be in the states. Some districts have even gone on to require that students have laptops–even after providing district-issued laptops for the...

    It's really sad how expensive public education can be in the states. Some districts have even gone on to require that students have laptops–even after providing district-issued laptops for the first several years of a student's career.

    Don't get me wrong, I love my TI-84. I'm certain that there are other calculators that do just as good of a job for cheaper, but the education system, as suggested in this piece, has been lobbied to make TI the ubiquitous supplier of calculators.

    One thing that does come to mind is GeoGebra, an iOS/Android app that works as a graphing calculator. It's free, and offers an "exam mode" which locks the device down to that app only and displays a report at the end you can show to your proctor to prove the phone was locked down for the entirety of the exam. I'm sure this is exploitable on rooted/jailbroken devices, but that's the risk you have to take (especially since you can bring in notes on a TI anyways). I'm curious why this hasn't seen much adoption in my personal experience, since I do happen to live in an area where 99% of high schoolers have smartphones.

    10 votes
    1. daychilde
      Link Parent
      Even more reason to allow alternatives like on a phone — and the app you mention sounds perfect. Seems like a small percentage of kids/teens would have a rooted device. Bit regarding the bit I...

      (especially since you can bring in notes on a TI anyways)

      Even more reason to allow alternatives like on a phone — and the app you mention sounds perfect. Seems like a small percentage of kids/teens would have a rooted device.

      Bit regarding the bit I quoted - when I went back to college in 2007, a couple of people in my calculus class thought I was stupid for not putting notes on my TI-83. But I just didn't want to cheat. 😐

      Also, a drive to get old phones donated that could connect via wifi and get apps from Google Play - just not make calls - would surely be easier and cheaper than even drives to buy calcs from pawn shops. (I have an old phone that was getting slow so I replaced it, but it is now in my kitchen as a sort of mini-kitchen-tablet for recipes and Messenger so I don't have to haul my phone to the kitchen).

      4 votes
  2. bloup
    Link
    I remember figuring out the TI monopoly in middle school as soon as I had to buy one for myself. The good news is you can easily buy used calculators that are just as good as new and then you...

    I remember figuring out the TI monopoly in middle school as soon as I had to buy one for myself. The good news is you can easily buy used calculators that are just as good as new and then you don't have to support the monopoly.

    5 votes