HP in school...

Hi all.

I have just seen the book of mathematic of my kid and it is full of references to Casio and Texas calculators, but nothing about HP. As kids are taught using those two brands, is it very unlikely that they will by an HP one anytime later. This is in France. How is it in the rest of the world?



When I was in school ('72 - '85), HPs simply were too expensive. I've seen one using a Voyager (already in High School), but that's about it. Recommended was the TI-25 and a Privileg. I went out, sold the TI and got myself the Casio fx-81p, interestingly at a similar price as the TI-25 :-).

HP missed the chance to enter this market when it was about time (the inexpensive 20S, often seen in Europe-bought one in France, obviously came too late) and never got into it afterwards. There might or might not have been a chance with the Xpander, but we won't find out. The HP brand is nothing special anymore to young people-that was significantly different back then, when no one could effort HP hardware, but everyone interested in electronics knew about them and praised the name.

Commodores and Sinclairs were even rarer. Never seen one in school.


HP is only dealed in Géant/Casino supermarkets in France. All other ones only sell TI and Casio models. Supermarket chains don't want to introduce a third branch.
It will be difficult to reverse the minds...


In my experience, graduating in '84, the first time I started seeing calculators being used in school was during my '76-'77 year. At that time, I saw both TIs and HPs. Although I don't recall seeing many Classics, I did see quite a few Woodstocks (25s/25Cs, 21s mostly). I presume the Woodstocks were in plenty because of their well-lowered price tag (as opposed to the price of a 67 or Classic).

Even though TIs and Casios were present at the school I attended back then, the HPs caught my eye.

In 77, when I started Junior High, as I was EXTREMELY intrigued and fascinated with RPN and HPs, when the school offered a calculator purchasing plan, my first instinct was to go for the 32E--my first HP calculator and ever since then I've been an RPN/RPL advocate and devoted HP user.

Edited: 7 Sept 2013, 11:27 a.m.


The situation is just the same in Hong Kong. Students are trained to use only calculators approved for use in public exams. Any calculator that can display full set of alphabets is not permitted. Calculators with a plate that shows formulae are not allowed too. Only a few Casio or Sharp calculators can fit their purpose.

Edited: 7 Sept 2013, 12:34 p.m.


In high school (73-77) in the UK, virtually no one had an HP simply because of cost. The first calculators kids got were likely to be Sinclairs and a few other off brands. Then some Commodores came in, and by '77 or so TI calculators were more common. Then when I went to college in the US (77-80) most students had TI calculators, the 57 and 58 models (a few 59s for the lucky few) could be seen hanging off their belts! HPs began to infiltrate at the end of the decade. In graduate school (80-85) the belt loops disappeared... But not my trusty TI58. By this time it was about even Steven with TI and HP, but then as the decade wore on, Casios began to come in. Once I tried HPs and their RPN entry system, around 1989 I think was when I bought my first HP48G, all others were put to the back of the closet. 24 years later, I struggle with the concept of an equals key. Coda: I have given my 11 year old my old 33S and shown him at least the principle of RPN entry, so that at least he can think that way at some level, and hopefully not be stuck in Casioworld. Sadly, in Australia where I now live, HP calculators are way more expensive than in the US...


I'm studying in a high school in P.R.China mainland. Calculators are prohibited in exams but we use them in homework. Almost every student use CASIO scientific calculators. fx-991es plus is very popular. And it's sure powerful, fast and friendly. I think I am the only student in my school using a HP except one or two foreign teachers.


I think a really great project for the user community would be to create supplements for specific textbooks that explain how to use an HP. In other words, if page 82 explained how to solve a quadratic equation on a TI and Casio, then the supplement would have a section called "page 82 - how to solve an quadratic equation" and would explain it for an HP. There might even be 2 or 3 supplements - each for a different calculator model.



David, if you look at where students buy their calculators, it is typically Target or Walmart or Best Buy, or one of the office supply stores like Office Depot, Staples, or Office Max. The only HP calculators I have seen in any of those stores, recently anyhow, are the 12c, 10bii, and I think the 30b is still being sold, at least at Office Depot. Only business models, no scientifics. So which model would you write a supplement for? I just don't think there would be much of a demand for a supplement, not that it's a bad idea.


I must concur. In my experience of frequenting Office Depot/OfficeMax, Staples among others, I always ask where the HPs are and yes, amongst the selection are only the business models and, of those, the ones that are the top sellers. Even so, I still ask and I get the same sense from their feedback that since the AOS, DFE, and EOS machines are popular with the kids and recommended by teachers, these stores haven't sold an HP scientific or graphing in at least five years.

Sadly, the Staples, Office Depot/Max genre has flushed out the Tam's, Freeway Stores, Computique and Olympic Sales shops. And then, the Targét and Walmart troops have done their share.

And, more students and parents would buy TIs, Casios and Sharps wherever the Targéts and Walmarts are. Which, once again, the populus which buys the other guys would most likely pick there anyways along with ther school clothes. So, once again, HP scientific and graphing calcs get flushed out. Yikes!!

Edited: 8 Sept 2013, 4:12 p.m.


Nice idea, i'll add that to my ToDo list (and a community wiki could be really useful).


I was the only one in my class to use a HP as I "permanently loaned" my father's HP15C after my TI-30 had died.

Otherwise HPs were too expensive for school - I never got that HP-41....

As for the current situation, even the HP35S is two or three times as expensive compared to a TI unit offering the set of functions required in high school. Back in the glorious 80s - our textbooks still had slide rule examples and log tables - nobody cared whether or how programmable your calcs were. These days the programmability might rule out the HP35 for some teachers.

As described for the US, it would be hard even for parents shopping for a calculator with a given feature set rather than "a TI-30 or Casio xxxx" shopping list to find any RPN HP calculator in the wild. As it is still fashionable to be ignorant of mathematics handing out a feature-oriented shopping list would probably leave math teachers with the risk of 25-50% of parents not even understanding what to look for.....

I have seen a 300S in a large office supply store here but the most common chains in our area carry TI only or maybe TI and Casio. I highly doubt that HP will conquer the school market. If they try, it might make sense to portray HP as what it is. An upmarket solution. Their kid having something more exclusive than the TI using hoi polloi is probably a stronger motivation for people to buy HPs than RPN being easier to use than ().

I'll be sure to discuss this with my son's math teacher before the shopping list goes out. For children leaning towards the geeky/nerdy side, you can probably show them the advantages of having a HP in school (no one ever borrows them twice, teachers don't understand what they're capable of, etc. ;-) which would at least ensure that the HP using percentage of the population stays stable (OK, those having no kids of their own need to convince other people's kids to meet that goal).


Don, the stores won't carry the calculators unless there is demand for them. A supplement may help create demand. Students will buy the calculator that their teachers require, even if it means mail ordering them.

As for which calculator to create supplements for, it depends on the textbook. If the text requires a graphing calculator, I'd do the 50g or 40gs for now. and the 39gII & Prime when they become available in the US.


And see my comment about wiki's above -- I think that would be a great addition, Pier!!

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