HP calculators in K-12


I've had 'em all. The 35, 45, 21 (my all time favorite), 41 (with ALL the attachments which died a few years ago...but I wasn't using much anymore), the workhorse 9825's (which always ended up on my desk) and the two 32S's which roam around my domicile now in my retirement. The one thing I have never been able to understand is why HP refused to challenge TI in secondary education. My wife is a teacher of mathematics and so I am familiar with all the recent iniatives in the teaching of high school math. Almost all the recent textbooks are geared to the use of the TI calculators (graphing or not) and frequently include a tutorial TI operation appendix. I cannot believe that the secondary school mathematics teachers have so completely embraced the algebraic paradigm of the TI calculator. I can only conclude that the mathematics curricula are prepared by non-mathematicians. Sure, if HP had tried, they too could have assisted/funded textbook writers to prepare better written tomes based on the HP calculators than the ones which are now almost de riguer in high school systems. I would love to hear comments on this.


I think that HP has lost the race for school kids. TI is so firmly entrenched from the sounds of it, HP could never make a dent. Some other people here have suggested HP is losing sight of what made their calculators great in the first place, reliability, good customer service among others mentioned. I agree with that. I am not a number cruncher or engineer by trade but I love my HP calcs, 9 at last count! Well, maybe I don't love the 38g! I have trouble doing chain calculations with an algebraic anymore. RPN logic is so much easier to use, only a few minutes to learn. Also, TI's are easily found, even in drugstores and grocery stores. This has led to the TI calc dominance in school. Unless HP makes their machines more accessible to the masses they will never make inroads into math books or into schools in general. I was 1 of only 5 people to have an HP in my high school 15 years ago (11C). There were nearly 1200 students. Staples and other office superstores didn't exist at the time, got mine from Service Merchandise! I don't think that has changed much at all since. Just some ramblings. Randy


I work at a college electronics store, and our manager has been at her position longer than even HP calcs, and she delved into this subject one day. She said that what TI basically did in the early 1980s was to completely go after the K-12 market. They had a big celebrity spokesman (Bill Cosby), and ran promotions like giving away free calculators to teachers. With a generation of kids growing up on TIs, and educators using TIs for 15+ years, it's not surprising that TI holds a very big part of that market. It seems that HP stuck to it's professional (engineers, scientists, etc.) market for too long, and there's no way to topple TI from the throne of primary/secondary education. Being a TI kid myself, I'm a good example of their influence throughout the 1980s. I've been getting into HPs a lot recently, since I respect not only their history, but their engineering and power as well (even through you'd have to pry my TI-89 from my cold dead fingers). RPN was a completely alien concept to me at first, but now it's almost second nature. I can't imagine using a scientific calculator without it.


I spent 20-some years as a loyal TI customer (57, 58, 85, 86), and I agree their texts and the books written by outside agents are superior to most that are available for HP products.

Grad-school gave me a chance to re-think my loyalties, and I made the jump to RPN/RPL with a HP-49G. I can't imagine working with another calculator! It's top-of-the-line.

I couldn't have gotten over my TI habit-pattern without the help of an outstanding pair of manuals from an engineering/science instructor with a penchant for HP calculators (the 48 series in particular). If this type of documentation was available with the high-end calculators from HP "out of the box", I think they'd have many more converts and satisified customers!

For those who care:

The manuals are written by Gilberto E Urroz, PhD, PE (this guy is my hero!) -- and can be obtained on the net at greatunpublished.com. Titles are "Science and Engineering Mathematics with the HP-49G", ISBN 1-58898-043X for volume 1 and -044-8 for Volume 2.

Caution: The manuals are RPN/RPL focused, so if you're planning to use the '49 in algebraic mode (I don't recommend it!), these probably aren't for you.

They run about $25 each for hard-copy and $20 in electronic format (which they'll e-mail to you). If you buy hard copy, you may also request electronic format for no additional charge.



bryan; several people here will be glad for that info you gave on the manuals. not me - i don't want a 49. but if the books are as good as you say; you and dr. urroz are going to be getting lots of thank you letters.



They're awesome! I should've had them as prep-guides before starting grad-school work -- they're a fantastic review of math and science applications in addition to being great operator's manuals for the calculator!

Note: He's a die-hard 48SX and 48GX fan. He compiled notes he'd passed out over the years in class to help students become more proficient with their calculators. In fact, I think his original versions were tailored for the HP-48G series (there's still some text in my books that references 48 keystrokes - many are the same on the 49). The 48 texts may be avail also.....


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