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Has anyone seen what the prospective US pricing will be for the new HP 35S?
One thing I wish they would have done with the design was to spell out Hewlett * Packard on the bottom of the unit. Otherwise, it's nice to see that HP is listening. I wonder if it will come in a nice box with a printed user manual in a spiral bound format?
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My guess is that the 35s will be in the same range as the 33s, will say around 5060 US$ If the 33s is discontinued the 35s will become HPs next examapproved calculator. Already today the 33s is expensive compared to its competitors. Increasing the price would not be very smart. For most of the students the 33s (35s) is the second calculator next to the more powerful machines the usally work with. So the 35s will be an oncost for the exams only.
In Europe HP calculators are usally more expensive. You can get a 33s for around 60 Euro = 80 US$.
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Quote:
For most of the students the 33s (35s) is the second calculator next to the more powerful machines the usally work with. So the 35s will be an oncost for the exams only.
When you say more powerful above, are you referring to graphing calculators?
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Quote:
When you say more powerful above, are you referring to graphing calculators?
Yes. I think most of them uses calculators like the 49 / 50 or maybe the TI8x. More powerful means simple bigger number of functions, graphing, matrices, decent complex number handling, unlimited stack, USB, SDcard etc.
Personally I need a small scale calculator without graphing. I/O would be great. I use a 33s in my daily work, but will swap to the 35s when it becomes available (for optical reasons). As student back in the early 90´s I used a 28s which at that time really was among the best you could get. I hadn´t enough in my budget to buy a 48SX. But I think the set of functions was almost identical. The 28s was a kind of "poor mans" 48SX.
If I would be student today, I certainly wouldn´t buy a 33s/35s, except for the exams, if I can get a 50 to work with the rest of the time.
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if I am a student today the 35s seems like what I want to use for exam. The rest of the time I would use some sort of math software running on the PC.
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OK, MathCAD, Excel etc. are comfortable to work with. And if you have enough money to buy you one of these cute little microlaptops you could use this software in your courses or in the lab. Otherwise a "handheld" device like a 50 is a powerful alternative at a much lower cost.
Using a 33s (35s) in an exam? OK, in the US there are not many alternatives. But the lack of matrixfunctions would be a big disadvantage for me. Doing matrix calculations manually is errorprone and not so easy when it comes to bigger equation systems. I remember once I had a test (gearboxdesign) where I needed to solve a 7x7 system to calculate stress. I was very happy to have my 28s solving it easily. Many classmates, owning "simple" calculators w/o matrices devoloped the equations correctly, but failed when solving the system manually.
But maybe the 35s allows for more independet lables. Thus you could program a matrix routine able to solve more than 3x3 systems as on the 33s.
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Geez, in my graduate school, they didn't want to overbog the arithmetic in the exams. I seem to remember the numerical answer per se being worth a small faction of the grade. Showing the logic was more important. This was in the mid 90s in engineering school.
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Frank, your scenario raises some fascinating philosophical and educational questions regarding the use of computational devices in test settings. I am not an engineer, physicist, chemist, or the like, but I have a graduate degree in adult education have have formulated some pretty strident opinions about traditional approaches to test taking.
There is a lot of discussion here about about "approved" calculators for the professional engineer certification exams in the US. I assume that the equivalents in Canadian provinces have similar rules. The common sense and educator parts of me ask, "What is the point in making the number crunching part of problem solving so onerous? In real life, a practicing professional is going to use her ingenuity and any resources at her disposal to solve problems, isn't she?" Such an approach to candidate evaluation is outmoded, divorced from real life, and is probably poorly correlated with actual ability and competency in the field. Isn't there a better way to examine people's qualifications? Certainly! But the traditional pencil and paper timelimited examination is so ingrained in the culture of universities and professional bodies there is no way it will be abandoned any time soon in favour of evaluation procedures that are more organic and realistic and respectful of the special requirements of the adult learner. It just boggles my mind that a 25 year old professional engineering candidate is required to perform on a test under similar conditions that a 15 year old has to when taking an algebra test. It is silly.
I am glad you had your 28S in your test and were able to use the best device at your disposal to fully solve the problem. But I ask, who in their right mind would expect anyone to manually solve a 7x7 matrix problem under such bizarre and artificial conditions? Professionals in the field would have more resources, the ability to consult, and hopefully the time, to do it in a real life setting.
Les
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That's why in my career as a teacher, I tend to give open book take home tests. They must sign an honor code statement that they didn't cooperate, but they could use their book, their notes, calculators, etc.
I always thought a closedbook test didn't approximate the "real world" (of which I'm a part as an adjunct instructor for 15+ years who had a "real job").
People often spent 15+ hours working on the tests, but it was more real world than others.
Did cheating occurred? Well, my students certainly weren't making 100 on the tests. I always reserved the right to go to closed book tests if scores all started being 100, 99 or 98 on a take home test. :)
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In my son's Algebra III & Statistics class this past semester the students each had to do a project (worth 300 points). They were given a large number of word problems and each student had to choose 15 problems. For each problem they had to derive the correct equation (or system of equations) and solve it. They also had to list and define all variables in the context of the problem, list all steps used in solving the equations, explain each step (in complete sentences), illustrate with appropriate charts, diagrams and/or graphs, and write a concluding statement explaining the solution in terms of the original problem.
The problems were graded on several different characteristics, with a correct answer being the least significant factor in the grade. It was far more important for the students to understand the problem, find the right equation, find and follow the best approach, and explain clearly what they were doing (and how and why they were doing it) at every step from start to finish.
Andrew ended up getting a perfect score, but he could have gotten every answer wrong and still gotten a high score if he did everything else correctly.
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As for me, I use my 15C as my daily driver when doing computations. As someone in the IT industry, I will at times bring out my 16C to switch between decimal and binary or HEX, but most of the time I use the 15C. It does what I need, is quick to use, and is small.
I agree with what others have said too about testing. I have two graduate degrees. One in computer science and also an MBA. During both of those studies, we hardly ever had a closed book exam. They were take home exams that would take quite some time, and we knew that if we were caught cheating, the punishment could be up to expulsion from the program. The main rigor of the tests though were to test our understanding of what is behind the numbers and how you get to your final decision. Yes, it is important to understand how you figure the equation out, but, IMO it is a far greater challenge to understand what the result of that equation or expression tells you. Sure, I can tell you how to find the highest point on a profit maximization cure by using some very basic calculus, but what does that point really mean to me or my company. Same thing with finding roots and many other problems. Many people can memorize the formula to figure that out, but what does it mean.
Many of my professors stressed the understanding, and I think that gave me a far better education than some of my counterparts where I work. One coworker attained her MBA from a good school, but all she was concerned with was getting the correct answer to the formula. Her class didn't discuss what it meant, and that boys and girls is what I thinks separates the better schools from the ones that are not as good.
Now don't get me wrong, there are many good schools out there that are not ivy league schools that teach the why, and frankly, there are some ivy league schools that don't teach the why either. I just think though that the propensity to ask "why" is greater at some of the higher schools.
I am finding it fascinating though at my children's high school they are teaching the "why" with calculus. How many of you remember sitting is calculus in H.S. and wondering why the heck are we figuring this out and what does it mean to me?? Calculus is hard when you don't understand the why. When I went to college though, one of my first classes the professor asked us if anyone knew why we were doing calculus. Besides the "we have to to graduate" answer, nobody really knew why. Thank heaves he explained the why that morning, and after that, calculus was easy, because I finally understood why we were doing it.
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The classes I taught were business math (TVM stuff), business statistics (inferential stuff), then principles of finance and managerial accounting.
In the business math class, I always wanted the students to know how to evaluate an answer returned by their TI BAII plus calculators (or sometimes, the HP10B or HP12c, but that's another story).
They would punch things in the 5 TVM keys, but when they got an answer, "Is it reasonable or nuts?" was my first reply.
Often, if you're wrong on something, it will be WAY off if something were input wrongly.
That's the approach I took when writing my business math textbook (on amazon but I only have 1 left...and not sure if I'm doing a reprint). :)
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I remember in 2004, Valentin posted a great little didactic problem that looked at compounding interest and a great gold disc growing in size. I think these are the types of questions professors should be using to quiz their students. It is a perfect example teaching a concept with a problem. Does anyone remember this post? I thought it was great!
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You wrote in part:
Quote:
... I am finding it fascinating though at my children's high school they are teaching the "why" with calculus. How many of you remember sitting is calculus in H.S. and wondering why the heck are we figuring this out and what does it mean to me?? Calculus is hard when you don't understand the why. When I went to college though, one of my first classes the professor asked us if anyone knew why we were doing calculus. Besides the "we have to to graduate" answer, nobody really knew why. Thank heaves he explained the why that morning, and after that, calculus was easy, because I finally understood why we were doing it.
In my high school days back in the 1940's very few high school students were exposed to calculus. In college I was introduced to calculus in parallel with mechanics during physics class. That made it easy to understand why I needed to learn calculus. Leonardo da Vinci was right when he wrote:
Quote:
Mechanics is the paradise of the mathematical sciences because by the means of it one comes to the fruits of mathematics.
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There were no limitations during our tests regarding calculators, only the use of laptops was prohibited. But at that time not even many of our professors owned such a piece of hardware as far as i recall. But there existed several rules what kind of books and notes/compendium one was allowed to take to the test room. For most of the tests we could use a formulary written by ourselfs plus some standard literature.
Half of the class used to work with HPs. One guy had a 42s, I was the only one with a 28s and the rest were proud owners of a brandnew 48SX. I never figured out how they could afford them. There were also many really bigsized grey SHARP calculators which could be programed in BASIC. Can´t remember the exact modell. And a minority of students used simple scientifics w/o programs. So I guess it was not very fair against these guys.
A typical test lasted 4 to 5 hours, and mostly we had to solve real world problems. Like dimension a gearboxshaft, the gears, certain parts of a pump, choosing the right bearings, making thermodynamic caculations etc.
The professors then gave us points for A) the right approach B) the right results. Depending on the amount of computation needed to get the result, you often could get more points for the approach which I thing was fair.
After each test I felt like after a longdistance run. Really tired and exhausted, but not able to get calm since we students immediately started discussions about how everybody solved the problems and what the right results were. But the hardest part of it was that the tests were always concentrated in the last week before the summer break, and the first week after. So sometimes one had to wait for ten long weeks until you knew if you passed or not. That could make your summer somtimes hard to enjoy.
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Quote: There is a lot of discussion here about about "approved" calculators for the professional engineer certification exams in the US...The common sense and educator parts of me ask, "What is the point in making the number crunching part of problem solving so onerous? In real life, a practicing professional is going to use her ingenuity and any resources at her disposal to solve problems, isn't she?"
You misunderstand the reasons for the calculator restrictions on these exams.
Highend calculators weren't banned because of their numbercrunching capabilities. They were banned because NCEES perceived them (rightly or wrongly) as threats to exam security. Their concerns are that calculators with alphanumeric keyboards and text editing capabilities could be used to copy and store actual exam questions, and that calculators with wireless I/O capabilities could be used to communicate within the exam room.
NCEES doesn't care at all if you exploit the numbercrunching capabilities of your calculator. The 33S, for example, is legal for NCEES exams, and it can be packed with as many programs or equations as you can fit in. Several vendors openly advertise and sell commercial 33S exam software for exactly this purpose.
The reality is that NCEES exams don't require a great deal of onerous number crunching. For most questions, the hard part is to make the correct assumptions and select the correct equations; actually crunching the numbers is relatively easy. The exams are designed so that you can pass them with $15 nonprogrammable scientifics, and people regularly do so. A preprogrammed 33S can facilitate solving certain problems, but it's only a convenience, not a necessity.
Edited: 6 June 2007, 5:47 p.m.
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Hi, Frank 
Quote:
But the lack of matrixfunctions would be a big disadvantage for me. Doing matrix calculations manually is errorprone and not so easy when it comes to bigger equation systems. I remember once I had a test (gearboxdesign) where I needed to solve a 7x7 system to calculate stress. I was very happy to have my 28s solving it easily. Many classmates, owning "simple" calculators w/o matrices devoloped the equations correctly, but failed when solving the system manually.
In 1991, I was taking an exam in a juniorlevel EE circuits course. One problem on the exam was to solve numerically for various quantities in a threeloop AC ladder circuit. Of course, this can be approached by "collapsing the ladder" from the outside toward the voltage source to obtain the equivalent circuit impedance and current, then reexpanding the circuit to obtain the other values. However, this was rather tedious.
Instead, I solved the problem on my HP15C as described in the Owner's Handbook  namely, writing three loop equations and entering those as a 3x3 complexvalued matrix (which is represented on the HP15C as a 6x6 realvalued matrix after using builtin transformation functions). I made short (and correct) work of that problem, and felt that I had an advantage over students whose calculators did not have that capability, or who didn't know how to use it.
Numerically solving a 7x7 realvalued system seems beyond what ought to be considered reasonable in an inclass exam, unless all students had adequate tools to calculate the result.
BTW, the HP15C  a pure calculator from 1982  has just enough memory to solve a 7x7 realvalued system Ax = b, while retaining the vector "b". If the solution "x" is allowed to overwrite "b", then eight allocatable registers will be available for other uses.
 KS
