Sunday, December 07, 2008

Economics


A long, long time ago, when graphing calculators were first introduced to the mathematics curriculum, math teachers did not know how to use them. These calculators have long menus, hundred page manuals and and most teachers felt overwhelemed by them.

Texas Instruments was only one of the companies to introduce a graphing calculator. Theirs was not the cheapest, not the easiest to use, and it did not do the most, but it took the schools by storm. The reason for this was simple--economics. TI was the only company willing to supply the schools with the much needed technical support. They not only came to the schools to do workshops, they provided off site instruction and gave away many calculators and overheads for the schools use. The sad thing is, most teachers can still only do the very basics on those calculators.

I just found out my school will be getting Casios. I wonder who is going to teach us how to use them? Most of the teachers I know will not be able to read the manual and figure it out. The manuals are just too complicated. Will they be used to add, subtract, multiply and divide or will they really be used as they are intended to be used?

2 comments:

jd2718 said...

TI was aggressive with their marketing, offered great come ons, offered lots of support. They were clever about hiring teachers to be part-time trainers. And they cornered the market.

There really is nothing better about them then the HPs. And the Casios are only a little behind. If they had the same market share, they would be spending time jazzing theirs up to the same level.

It's really the case of one company leveraging a near monopoly.

You might enjoy this: Resisting the TI

nbosch said...

Give them to kids, they'll figure them out.