Thursday, June 5, 2014

10 Reasons Why I think the TI-84 is on the way OUT!

Yesterday a colleague told me she overheard some students talking about how they never used their TI-84 at home.  She pursued the discussion and they said that they use DESMOS the online calculator all the time at home.   I think the use of it will go away slowly.  But it will happen.

The TI-84 (or TI-83) has been a fixture in my classes for many many years.  It has been a requirement on my syllabus.  It is something that I would daily ask my students to take out and work with.  I can't count the number of tutorials I've made to help use the TI-84.  It has been a go-to device for CONCEPTUAL learning.  But things are changing.

My Prediction.  Our school will not be requiring the TI-84 in the school year 2015-2016.  I have no authority to make that call.  I'm just making a prediction.  Our school goes 1 to 1 that year.  In my opinion, the days of every student having a TI-84 are going away.  Why?  Because other things are passing it up. And the thing that is passing it up is NOT another Graphing Calculator.  It is the Internet with web based interactions and  apps.


10 Reasons why I think the  TI-84 will NOT be required at our school in 15-16 
1.  Touch Screen
Students are getting frustrated with the TI-84 because it doesn't offer a touch screen.  The touch screen on a SMART-Phone or a tablet helps with finding the right window, editing data, sliders, and a bunch of other cool things. Also, the mouse is even better than the awkward navigation system of the TI-84.   I have tried to physically touch the TI-84 screen many times.  That's embarrassing.

2.   Ease of Use
As technology gets easier and easier to use.  The TI-84 seems to be more and more confusing to use.

3.  Size of Screen
A computer screen is a lot bigger than a TI-84 screen.  And a SMART-Phone screen is equivalent to a TI-84 screen.

Why should we ask our students to pay $100 if our students will have constant access to a district owned device?  (i.e. tablet, Surface or Chrome book)  EVERYTHING that a TI-84 can do, a district owned device can do.

5.  1 to 1
Our district will likely go 1 to 1 in the 2015-16 school year. Every student will have a district owned device like a tablet at that time.  It doesn't make sense to have both devices.

6.  Data Exchange
The TI-84 system of exchanging data is old and outdated.  Basically it is useless.  For me to get something onto my student's calculator is nightmarish.  (It used to be really cool)  But, because the transfer of data is so easy with phones, and computers, and  tablets, that the technology of the TI-84 is really getting in the way of collaboration.  Remember, it used to be so cool to give your students a program or some data via the cord that goes between the calculators.  There is way too much teaching time wasted on account of this.  The students know a lot of ways to get information to each other that does not require a cord.

7.  Finding the Right Window
I have forever said that finding the right window is a great math skill on the TI-84.  However, I think I have been bypassed with the love of this skill.  The ease of a computer or tablet to get the right screen is far superior to the TI-84.

8.  Animations/Sliders
Sliders offer a hands on approach to math.  It encourages participation with the activity, with low risk high reward outcomes.

9.  Apps and Programs
The Internet math based apps are gaining momentum.  It's getting easier and easier to use math notation on the Internet.

10. Internet Based Math 
Desmos, Geogebra, LaTeX, online calculators etc.  This is just the beginning.  

Standardized Tests are the problem. I don't know what will happen with these.  The TI-84 has been a fixture for an acceptable device on the standardized tests for a long time.  With the PARCC online testing, this might be changing too.

TI-84 may you Rest In Peace.  It is time to move on.


JFairbanks said...

Our school is 1-1 and we still require TI 84. My students and I love desmos. We use it in the classroom and they use it for homework, but I still teach them with the calculator too because I won't let them use their computer/desmos on assessments. How might you get around that?

Dave Sladkey said...

Great point. Assessments are a challenge.However, I think that just means we need to change our assessments to ask higher level questions. PARCC. What do you think? We are breaking into new territory.

Linsey said...

I have often wondered about this. Our district went 1:1 this year and I began using Desmos more with them. Similar to JFairbanks, I teach them the graphing calculator as well due to assessments in the classroom. The main reason I don't think they will become extinct, however, is due to the numerous college entrance exams we are now seeing; ACT, SAT, Compass, ALEKS, etc. I don't for see those allowing the use of the Internet to access Desmos/Geogebra/etc. Do you think they will?

Lisa said...

On the PARCC Field Tests, the online calculator was an online TI-84. We are now recommending all high school students get the TI-84 so they are familiar with it before the online test.

Dave Sladkey said...

I agree that the ACT and other standardized tests probably won't let students use the internet access. I don't know what will happen. Like Lisa's comment, I wonder if ACT will go online and then offer specific online simulators. ???

Dave Sladkey said...

That is very interesting. I'm really shocked. Thanks for the news.

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R Blanch said...

As I'm just beginning the journey of teaching algebra II and getting used to the idea of graphing calculators in the classroom I stumbled onto your blog. We are having difficulties getting class sets of calculators for our classrooms, and cannot make students get one. So we've explored the internet and found desmos. It's early but seems very practical. Standards testing is now computer based, but it I don't think graphing calculators are still very useful, especially for the high level courses.