TI-84+, a humbling experience



#9

I often get tasked to help my daughter with her calculus homework. Usually its symbolic pen and paper work. I often tease her about the 84's lack of symbolic support and frequently demonstrate the symbolic gymnastics of the 50g (it's a lazy man's way to check her work too).

Last night was different. The problem set was all about finding volumes with rotation and cross sections with equations that were somewhat unfriendly. Fortunately, the problems were to be solved numerically only with a calculator.

After discussing various approaches on how solve various problems, she went to work solving it numerically on her 84+. I was blow away and how quickly she could find intersections, input equations, integrate, etc... using it's menu driven interface (no shell). It was as if this calculator with it's interface was specifically designed for this task. And, we all know that it was.

I'm sure the 50g has some similar efficient ways to do the same (does it?). But, I have never explored them. I still use my 50g just like I used my 48GX, and I used my 48GX like I used my 15C (all from the stack). My kid frequently bests me in Stats and Calculus as we race to get the numeric answer. And for that I am happy because time is very precious when taking tests.

I've always dismissed TI's because of the weak programming support and lack of RPN/RPL, and still will, but I have new respect for TIs as a leaning and test taking tool for students.

Edited: 16 Apr 2009, 11:55 a.m.


#10

Quote:
I've always dismissed TI's because of the weak programming support and lack of RPN/RPL, and still will, but I have new respect for TIs as a learning and test taking tool for students.

And, unfortunately for HP, the "learning and test-taking tool for students" is a huge market for calculators.
#11

My experience actually working side by side with other students is completely different. They use the graphing calculators like glorified 4 bangers 99% of the time. The problem is she uses it to do exactly those functions in class while YOU have not. Put two people side by side who have been in the same class and learned how to do that specific type of problem and the hp will be quicker every time. It was the same in high school and through college.

Most of the time the teachers just sat and complained how many steps it takes to do something. Finding a root on a graph is a perfect example. On all the TIs you have to move to one side, mark, and then move to the other, and mark to specify a range to search for the root. You can't just push a button and it jumps to the closest root.

Granted the 50G isn't the friendliest of calcs, but anyone using a 39/40 will run circles due to the simple and consistent interface.

TW


#12

Quote:
Put two people side by side who have been in the same class and learned how to do that specific type of problem and the hp will be quicker every time.

Possibly, and I did consider that, however my impression of the 84+ is that it was created for specific tasks and that is where the speed comes from. Whereas the 50g is very flexible. Granted with a bit of time I could possibly complete with any 84+ user, but I've seen the speed, the difference in performance for this type of work would be negligible. The 84+ is a very capable machine for student workloads. I admire TI for adjusting to market demands.
Quote:
Granted the 50G isn't the friendliest of calcs, but anyone using a 39/40 will run circles due to the simple and consistent interface.

I completely forgot about the 40, I do not have one, but I do have an emulator. I'll see how it stacks up next time...

Edited: 16 Apr 2009, 2:24 p.m.

#13

I forgot to add in my observations that the TI keyboard is very fast compared to the 50g. There is much less effort to press a TI key. My kids fingers danced over the TI in a way that I cannot mimic on the 50g. However, I can on my iPhone.


#14

That is good she is so fast. My daughter just drools on it and talks to it like a phone.

TW


#15

.......of your daughter, and Katie that is.
You're a great guy and all but i just want to see your survey programs.

#16

Egan, regarding the TI-84's lack of symbolic support, see this. It's pretty cool.


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