I hate the TI calculator virtual monopoly in education. We got a Casio graphing calculator for our daughter. During a test, it started throwing errors. Confirmed not user error not only by the teacher but also by my wife, a math PhD. Even a hard reset didn’t clear it. The only thing that made it go away was clearing all device memory. Google search auto-completed the error, so it’s relatively common. No firmware updates appear to be available from Casio.

I begin to understand the TI calculator virtual monopoly.

Darren Hart March 17, 2018 13:15

Is this there we resurrect the HP 48G RPN argument? I’m such a dork I have an emulator of the 48G on my phone which I still use regularly 😁

Preston Bannister March 17, 2018 13:19

Why carry a calculator, when a phone or tablet (or laptop) could function as same?

I would be amused if schools allow calculators but not other devices. When I first started college classes (late 1970s) there was for a time discussion of whether use of calculators should be allowed. :)

Michael K Johnson March 17, 2018 13:29

They require calculators and forbid general purpose computing devices. Tests…

Eugene Crosser March 18, 2018 14:04

Market for a locked down device running a software reimplementation? All patents should have expired by now, no?

Michael K Johnson March 18, 2018 14:17

It’s not a patent problem. UI differentiation, teacher familiarity, established rules for what is allowed on tests, and I’m sad to learn also firmware quality… When a (required) tool fails when you really need it, you lose trust pretty quickly, and trust is hard to earn and way harder to earn back.

My daughter came home from school saying, “I got a bad grade on a test because you don’t want to support TI’s monopoly.” :P

Eugene Crosser March 18, 2018 14:30

Can a software emulator copy TI interface faithfully enough to look familiar, and be locked sufficiently to win school authority’s permission to use it in the tests?

Michael K Johnson March 18, 2018 14:34

Not really. Would you want a third party to be able to lock down your phone anyway?

Eugene Crosser March 18, 2018 15:38

Not phone. Specialized device, provided you can make it cheaper than the original.

Michael K Johnson March 18, 2018 16:00

NumWorks Graphing Calculator

Stephen John Smoogen March 20, 2018 18:04

So to get any device accepted, it would be required to get accepted by the big three state educational systems: Texas, California, and New York. Those states do most of the testing and then other states use those recommendations. There also needs to be approval from the groups which run the ACT, and the SAT. Things they will test are hardiness, layout, similarity to existing documentation, replacement policy and supply chain management.

The devices also have to show that they can’t be upgraded, tampered with or changed from original usage unless via some sort of locked down process. Some devices have been changed to have answers stored or wifi added to ‘google’. All of this makes it an expensive device to make with a small margin unless it has a near monopoly. So TI gets the lion share and Casio gets the “see it isn’t a monopoly we have competition” role.

[Edited: I forgot to time that data. A couple of coworkers looked at this in the early 2000’s which made me realize it now 15+ years out of date. The wifi was an article on a student caught cheating a couple of years ago. Also karma had me working with my son’s TI last night where I saw it had a USB and other port for uploading programs. I asked him about it and he said that the proctors can clear out the calculators before exams so I guess that is how they check to see if they are tampered with.]

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