Go Ahead, Mess With Texas Instruments

Phil Nicols, Sept 02, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I read somewhre last week or so about a classroom where it's OK to bring in a graphing calculator, but not OK to use the very same function on an iPad. The difference, of course, is the availability of internet on the latter device. But there was also commentary about the cost of the expensive calculator versus the inexpensive app. So is this rule the result of a marketing rpogram? Well I wouldn't have thought so, but then here is this article in the Atlantic touting the benefits of the calculator over the app. Phil Nicols writes, "I've now begun to see Texas Instruments graphing calculators as unique among educational technologies in that they enable learning that is couched in discovery more than formal teaching." Actually, any device that allows you to program, and not just consume, enables discovery learning (as I learned using a TI-99 in the 1980s). But many programming applications for iPad are available, including Hopscotch. So I wonder whether this article is just bad reporting or good marketing for TI.

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