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Put the Calculator Away!

Posted on 19 November 1998

The following text was written by Jimi:

Consider the following example: You’re sitting in the back of your English class. It’s boring and seems like it’s never going to end. You look at the clock. There’s still 15 minutes left to the class, so you decide to pull out your TI85 and play a game of Galaxian or two, and so you quietly do so, hiding the calculator behind your book bag. You get so into the game that you fail to notice the teacher is walking down the aisle toward you, wondering why you’re not watching the board at all. You finally notice when the teacher calls on you to answer a question. In panic you stuff the TI-85 under your book bag to cover it, but your teacher takes note of your actions and realizes what you’re doing. "Put the calculator away," you’re caught. The batteries are pulled from the calculator and you may have to wait a day to get it back.

This is a common scene at many high schools around the nation, and for this reason, many teachers look down upon the Texas Instruments graphing calculators, seeing them as frequent toys and seldom academic tools. Teachers in all education departments are aware of the gaming capabilities. Texas Instruments has remained far from openly advocating implementation. They have, although, put built-in assembly language support in several of their more recent calculators, but do most Calculator Based Laboratories need assembly support? Do you need 98 kilobytes of RAM to solve linear equations? Probably not. Texas Instruments is only aiding the gamer by adding these features. There is no real need other than better graphics, faster ray-casting, faster RPG, more levels, more games, and room still to have all your Calculator Based Laboratories and data.

There are many students who get perfectly decent grades and deserve to goof off in class a little. But there are many students who are struggling and games only serve as an added distraction.

If calculator gaming is continued at this scale, teachers will take away calculator privileges and gear their class labs, assignments, and studies toward calculators without the gaming functionality. Students need to realize that there is a time to play and a time not to play. If games on calculators lose their usability they will die off. There will be no programmers popping up with the aspiration to become great if there is no need for calculator based games.

We will see new generations of calculators designed with the sole purpose of math and science applications only. Texas Instruments calculator games will be novelties and antiques if the current situation continues. Something must be done!

  Reply to this item

Re: Article: "Put the Calculator Away!"

I have first of all learne a lot from using my calculator with games. It is what inspired me to learn to program in basic assembly. I am also experimenting with hardware and am teaching myself electronic couses sience there are few at my high school.

And my grades have improved sience I started using it. I have written my own math programs to use at school for quizzes and stuff. I also distribute them freely so I can help many other students.

Garrett Kaste.

Reply to this comment    9 April 1999, 18:08 GMT

Re: Re: Article: "Put the Calculator Away!"
Memwaster  Account Info

I totally agree with you.

By the way, calculators do NOT serve as an added distration, they replace other distractions, such as talking in class and other disruptive activities.

Calculator gaming is the best way to waste time in class without disturbing others.

By the way, earlier this year, my school made it compulsory for year 11 Maths B and C students to get a graphics calculator. They officially sugested a Casio with a 1 square inch screen. At the start of the year, the teachers all suggested us to get TI83+'s.

Reply to this comment    5 October 2003, 12:24 GMT

Re: Re: Article: Put the Calculator Away!
Damien1247 Account Info

I agree with that I learned Ti-basic because i wanted to program things because i saw what these calcs could do. I want to learn asm but cant really find a place that explains it for Ti-83+. A friend of mine knows it but he lks on a level that is so far above my head that its not even funny. I need a good simple persons guide to Asm. Im not stupid its just they assume you know the basics (all the ones i've found) I dont know them so am confused I would appreciate if someone could reccomend a good site.

Ok i was off topic but I also program things for my math and science classes. I will give them to any one who asks but disagree with gaming on calcs as it distracts in class. My math teacher's exact words were "if i catch any one playing games I will erase their RAM" She did it a couple of times too. Teachers should take a more aggresive approach.

Reply to this comment    22 June 2004, 02:59 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Article: Put the Calculator Away!
KhAiMeLioN  Account Info

Hey! I read your post and I was interested in getting some of those programs you created for math/science. I would appreciate it if you could send them to me. My AIM handle = ZaRisThX and my Yahoo handle = KhAiMeLioN69 Also, my email address is khaimelion@inorbit.com Thanks very much..hope to hear from you!

Reply to this comment    11 February 2005, 21:13 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Article: Put the Calculator Away!
tiboy88  Account Info
(Web Page)

See link.

Reply to this comment    26 September 2005, 15:03 GMT

Re: Re: Article: Put the Calculator Away!
kevin roosa Account Info
(Web Page)

I agree that you should be able to play games on a TI-83 plus, but have a certain set limit of time to do it in. This would cause less distraction, while letting students have some fun.

Reply to this comment    27 October 2005, 20:45 GMT

Personally, I Don''t Give A Damn

You know, things being what they are, and people not able to change other people's minds, let it be. You can not, even through all this discussion, change what other people are going to do, so go your own way, and do what you will, but do we have to get mad at other people for their different opinions? <rhetorical question>

Reply to this comment    25 April 1999, 05:33 GMT

Re: Personally, I Don''t Give A Damn
damemorder  Account Info
(Web Page)

rather pesimistic?

Reply to this comment    12 May 2001, 01:26 GMT

Re: Put the Calculator Away!
Boohoo Account Info

I have a TI 84+SE and one day I was walking through the hallway while playing Pong (That takes SKILL!) and someone said "Heh heh he playin' hi' Ne'ti'do!" and I was kinda... umm... well... I live near Detroit and the intelligence level there is about none. Oh well. Anyway, the only smart people there are those who watch anime. I have no idea how that association works, but it does.

Reply to this comment    17 September 2004, 00:48 GMT

Re: Re: Put the Calculator Away!
Jaeil  Account Info

I know how you feel. My classmates are mostly barely smarter than a hamster and only my friends have very much intelligence. We almost all have 84+'s and are quite good at programming, but nobody really cares and some of them mock us for it.

Reply to this comment    15 April 2009, 04:02 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Put the Calculator Away!
anchoviesfishies Account Info

Thats horrible. I'm incredibly smart, every school I have ever gone too, I have been respected for it. I have been programming in BASIC and now C and people are amazed by it (even though I am still only just starting in it), I really would hate to live in a place where people hate intelligence.

Reply to this comment    21 October 2010, 05:33 GMT

Re: Put the Calculator Away!
m4v3rik  Account Info

Although I understand your frustration I have to disagree thoroughly with your accusations that Texas Instruments is encouraging game playing during school. Let me introduce myself, I'm a high school student and I use my TI-83+ for math and science, along with game programming. However, I only program my games and play them during study hall(after finishing all my homework) and during breaks. The RAM of the 83 is tiny by modern standards but its far from overkill for any advanced math class. As for assembly programming, TI is providing a means for people to create applications for their calculators. These can obviously be used for good or evil. Like many of my peers, I am constantly using the Periodic Table application, along with others that are extremely useful in doing my schoolwork. If I were to propose that all schools put holes half of an inch in diameter all over each piece of paper in a school to prevent people from making paper airplanes or paper footballs I doubt you would agree with me. Of course, I'm wondering how you propose to weaken the TI but somehow make it more powerful. You say you want a calculator that's designed for math only, but you want it to have horrible graphics. Obviously, this is hypocritical because the reason why its called a graphing calculator is because it graphs equations. If TI wanted to sell a pathetic product, they would've been replaced by their competitors years ago, instead they were sucessful so learn to discipline your students or get a new job.

Reply to this comment    18 September 2004, 02:04 GMT

Re: Re: Put the Calculator Away!
google000 Account Info

Hey texas instruments didnt encourage games
real idiots that want something to do when class is @#$!ing boring decided to use the calc programing language to make games
okay you can only blame your self
you have the choice to play the calc
its not like you are forced to
also it is not my @#$!ing problem that you get caught

Reply to this comment    21 September 2004, 00:43 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Put the Calculator Away!
Anidn Ménoscwicz  Account Info
(Web Page)

calm down..

Reply to this comment    11 August 2005, 16:18 GMT

Re: Put the Calculator Away!
ZeroTheDragon  Account Info

:-) Maybe this is off topic, but this topic did catch my eye, and I would like to add my comment to it. If it weren't for a graphing calculator (that only had 32 kb of memory on it), I would not be a Computer Science Major. In my senior year of high school during the first few weeks, I saw a problem in my Advanced Math book and decided to solve it. The problem was never even brought up or mentioned by my teacher. There was nothing it in for me if I solved the problem. For some reason, I just took interest in it. The problem wanted me to write a program that could solve an equation. I wrote the program and was introduced into the world of programming by having to read on how to program my calculator and by creating the program. I wrote dozens of programs after that just for fun. Some of them had study related purposes; but some of them included screen savers, puzzles, games, and even special utilities for special purposes not related to school. I do dislike people's wasting their time playing games in class as that is not right. However, these powerful calculators have their purposes. Please do not look down upon that power. It is not a calculator's fault that it is being used in the wrong way at the wrong time. It is the fault of those people who are using their calculators in this situation. This party is the only party that is responsible for this, and this party must accept the full responsibility of its actions. It is not the parents' fault. It is not TI's fault. It is not the schools' fault. However, the three parties just mentioned may take actions that correct the problem. In closing, people who do wrong are the people who are wrong and should be held accountable for their actions.

Reply to this comment    28 September 2004, 00:20 GMT

Re: Article: "Put the Calculator Away!"
P DooM
(Web Page)

check this out if you're looking for a REAL


Reply to this comment    27 May 1999, 18:23 GMT

Re: Put the Calculator Away!
Michael Marley Account Info

I think that teachers should erase the RAM of anyone's calculator that they are gaming on. But hey, put your games in the archive!

Reply to this comment    14 January 2005, 22:31 GMT

Re: Re: Put the Calculator Away!
Nick Taylor Account Info

I agree with this, but also, if u have Mirage v1.12 or higher, archive everything, then just block the memory from access in the menu ;-) But dont play if u dont want 2 get caught, or if u dont want your grades 2 suffer. Your choice if u do.

Reply to this comment    3 September 2006, 22:54 GMT

Re: Put the Calculator Away!
Nathan Thomas  Account Info
(Web Page)

I dont know i played wolf83 and prroggramed stick figure porn (dont ask i was bored) on my calc all of 1st semester and made b's and c's in algebra because i didnt pay attettion to my teacher and really regret it now that my semester grade is a c at the least. I wish i would have payed attettion to my teacher.

Reply to this comment    15 December 2005, 16:36 GMT

Re: Put the Calculator Away!
SarahCaseyThr-  Account Info
(Web Page)

This entire school year ALL that I have done in Algebra is play calc games!
And I have a 99.7% in that class...(I missed two stupid questions on one test...ugh...)
When I'm not playing games I'm doing Su Doku puzzles...my teacher (she's awesome) doesn't care what i do as long as I do well...
I wish all teachers were like that...
Calc games are no worse, or better, than reading, making origami, just outright not listening, etc...in class...
I mean at least we're not TALKING!
Adios mis amigos!

Reply to this comment    23 January 2006, 03:10 GMT

The last laugh.....

it seems people are making a very big deal about this subject. I just want to say one thing, that i think, sums up everything said here....
You go to school to learn. If you don't want to learn, it's your choice, just don't get in the way of people who actually want to learn.
You won't realise how important knowledge is until you really need it, believe me.

Hahaha. (that's the laugh)

Reply to this comment    29 July 1999, 16:58 GMT

Re: The last laugh.....
Marshall Roch  Account Info
(Web Page)

It seems to me that playing calculator games is perhaps the best way to not pay attention while not disrupting others.

Take away the calculators and the people who do not wish to learn will find a more disruptive way to "get in the way".

Reply to this comment    29 October 2001, 05:38 GMT

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