HP 48S and G learning


Hi, i have, at school, the mission to try calculators in order to give my opinion to my principal (who buy calculators for students) and also to tell students which calculator to buy.

1 months ago i receive a HP-48s, a TI-92+ a HP-38G and a HP-48GX to "try" and give my opinion.

I don't have any problem with RPN or Algebraic mode so my opinion is not base on this "feature".

I begun with the HP-38G and fin that learning this calculator is easy but the capabilities are a little bit limited. Next i try the 48S and 48GX. I read the quick start guide and begun to use the calculator.

after one or two weeks of use i was amase about what it can do but learning it is very difficult for me so i think my student will find that nearly impossible! I always hear the "beep" after entering a key that seems to be the good one!!! That reapiting beep over time get me nervous and i stop using the calculator ( i know i can disable the beep).

exemple : just entering a closing parenthesis in an equation is painful and not ergonomic, changing the window range, exchanging files with computer is painful and time consuming to learn.

After that i open the TI-92 and find it easy and ergonimic to learn; i was able to draw at my taste a polar or a parametric situation withou the manual in a clic of an eye.

The problem is that i don't like basic programming and prefer keystroke : no graphing calclator i know is capable of that. Keystroke programming is ergonomic and you don'T have to learn a lot to program it basicly.

So i told my student to buy a TI-89 or a ti-92 or a voyage 200 and for lower grade i also include a hp-38G.

I like RPN, it's logic and fun to teach it to student and see and their eye they catch it in a minute BUT graphing calculator from HP are too hard to learn and time consuming. Why not do a TI-89 like calculator with RPN entry?

I think RPN can have a chance with students if someone can make a calculator that can be fun and easy to learn and ERGONOMIC like the TI-92!!!

My HP-41 is the best but don't have the graphing capabilities i need. For learning the 41, it's not so easy but very FUN and logic!

I'm lucky and open mind because when i compare what other teacher that have the same "job" in others schools, they even don't want to hear about RPN or HP! Thye miss things : RPN is ergonomic but HP-48G is not!

I'm talking about learning a tool, but not the keys, the LCD, the functions, or nothing physical here; i think HP graphinc calculator 48 series have a good quality; the problem is the OS?

Or do you have some tips for me for the 48? learning tutorial?

Is the 49G the same, i never try it yet...


Edited: 7 Oct 2003, 7:13 p.m.



You never mentioned what level your students are at. I have had a TI-85 (a predecessor of the TI-89 and 92) for many years, since 1990. I love it. It is so easy and intuitive to use.

It doesn't have the character of an HP though. I think that a student who is very serious about getting the most out of his calculator might enjoy the HP more, but for the other 98%, they just want to get the job done.

I got my 48G on ebay for about $35. I think a TI-85 would go for about the same. A TI-89 would cost considerably more, probably around $100-120. A TI-92 is a huge beast, and obsolete now that the 89 is out. Also, many big standardized tests specifically ban anything with a QWERTY keyboard, so I would steer your students clear of that one.

The TI-89 does symbolic differentiation and integration easily. The 48G doesn't. I'm not sure about the HP49 series.

So if your students are college level engineering students, the HP would be worth a thought. Otherwise, save them a lot of hassle. I know that is sacreligious to say here, but it is true that it takes more 'dedication' to learn an HP. To many of us, it is ultimately more gratifying in the end. To everyone else? Give them simplicity.


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