Technology is changing at a fast pace and students at all grade levels are taking advantage of ongoing technology to gain a better understanding of many topics. A tool that has undergone many changes in recent years is a calculator. While some students and parents may argue that the use of a calculator is not necessary, a quality graphing calculator from Texas Instruments (TI) is a valuable learning tool. Investing in a quality calculator is as important to your continuing education as having access to a computer and internet for homework and research studies. Graphing calculators are an investment in your education and can help tremendously in visualizing and gaining a better grasp of mathematics and science. A calculator is not meant to substitute for learning and understanding basic math concepts and problem solving. After building your basic understanding of math throughout your primary and middle grade classes, a calculator from TI can help in your grasp of real world connections and assist you in advancing in math and science from middle grades through college.
Among the advantages of using calculators in the classroom is the time it will save in working out problem-solving using graphs and formulas. The visuals with graphing calculators are especially helpful in gaining a grasp on the concepts needed to solve complex problems. While there has been a long-held argument that a calculator simply gives you the answers, the truth is that you must have a clear understanding of basic math concepts to use a calculator effectively. With the right calculator and the proper understanding of its use, you can take an active role in learning complex problem solving skills. How effective the use of a calculator is in the classroom will depend upon the problems presented, your understanding of the class materials, and the specific calculator you have to work with. With a good calculator in a classroom, you can readily see formulas, graphs, and mathematical expressions on the screen allowing you to develop a deeper understanding of a variety of mathematic and scientific concepts that you can continue to explore throughout high school and beyond. Some schools may provide graphing calculators for classroom use, however owning your own calculator will allow you to continue working on homework problems, study for tests, and explore additional math concepts and problems on your own. Numerous studies confirm that students using calculators in the classroom advance more quickly with a better understanding of concepts they can then apply to everyday situations.
A quality calculator is an investment that you can continue to use from middle school all the way through college as long as you make a wise initial investment. Most Texas Instrument graphing calculators are upgradable and feature extra memory. You can also download many applications from the TI website to use in a variety of situations and problem solving. Compared to the cost of other technical products, a TI calculator is often less expensive than iPads, computers, smart phones or other hand-held technical devises. Comparison shopping will reveal TI calculators ranging below $100 and upward. An average price range you can expect for a TI graphing calculator with upgradable features suitable for most classroom applications is around $70-$100. Many teachers recommend a specific calculator or offer several recommendations.
While you can purchase IT calculators in many retail locations including office supply stores, online pricing is often a better option. You might consider comparison shopping at a retail store where you can look at various features and price ranges. When you find a calculator, you are considering buying, make a note of the model number and retail price, and then look for that model online. Remember, online pricing usually does not include shipping so factor in the addition of shipping and handling fees before determining any possible savings. You can often find great savings by taking a little time to do some online research. EBay and Amazon often offer special promotions or deals in like-new calculators but investigate the seller’s reviews and ask about return policies before ordering used electronics. For basic math, an inexpensive calculator will suffice. However, for use in algebra, calculus, and advanced math classes a graphing calculator with upgradeable features is highly recommended.