Why educational technologies should be more like graphing calculators and less like iPads. An Object Lesson.
PHIL NICHOLS AUG 30 2013, 11:03 AM ET
Last year, while cleaning out the basement of my childhood home, I discovered a plastic storage bin marked “Calcusoft.” Inside were piles of notebooks filled with sketches, storyboards, and lines of code, and buried beneath it all, a TI-83 Plus graphing calculator.
I bought the calculator the summer before eighth grade, when it was included on a list of required supplies for students entering algebra. At the time, owning a graphing calculator was a small but significant rite of passage for a junior high student. It was a sign of academic sophistication. It announced to younger peers that the equations you were expected to solve outpaced the primitive features of meager, four-function devices. But most importantly, graphing calculators were programmable, which meant they were equipped to play games. While possession of a traditional handheld gaming system constituted a brazen breach of school rules, playing games on a calculator maintained the appearance of genuine scholarly work. A graphing calculator was like having a school-sanctioned Game Boy.
continue reading Go Ahead, Mess With Texas Instruments – Phil Nichols – The Atlantic.