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David Getling
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Sitting on my table are both the fx-cg50 and the TI-Nspire CX (also the non graphics Classwiz), so I can help my students regardless of what calculator they choose. And I can genuinely claim to know how to use both graphics calculators very well. Therefore, unlike most teachers, I'm well qualified to make a recommendation.

Without a shadow of a doubt the TI-Nspire CX is the better machine, and now the new TI-Nspire CX II-T does exact maths, negating even that small functionality that the fx-cg50 could previously claim over it.

What prompted this post is that one of my students was lucky enough to take my advice before his school got to him. A few days ago his school finally took delivery of the fx-cg50 calculators that they had conned their students into buying. Now all his classmates are looking enviously at his TI-Nspire, as they realise how much better it is.

The Nspire might cost you more, but it's so much better, and you will use it so much more over the next 18 months or so. Don't be taken in by the rave reviews about the fx-cg50. They are like someone who has only ever seen a black and white TV getting really excited because they have never seen a colour TV.
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Pangol
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Is this for A level? I always recommended the Claswiz, I don't see any need for a graphics calculator at all.

International Baccalaureate is a different matter, they are essential there.
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David Getling
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(Original post by Pangol)
Is this for A level? I always recommended the Claswiz, I don't see any need for a graphics calculator at all.

International Baccalaureate is a different matter, they are essential there.
It is certainly true that one can manage A level without a graphics calculator. It's also true that one can chop down trees with just an axe, but it's a lot easier with a chain saw!

I always recommend that A-level maths students get themselves a TI-Nspire CX because it gives them a significant advantage. I've seen students bugger up a graph sketch, which they would have got right if they had used a GDC. Another (one of many) great use is finding the critical region in hypothesis testing of binomial series, which all students now have to do. My experience is that teachers who don't recommend GDCs usually have very limited awareness of just how much they can do.
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Gent2324
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why is the nspire better than the cg50?
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Sir Cumference
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(Original post by David Getling)
It is certainly true that one can manage A level without a graphics calculator. It's also true that one can chop down trees with just an axe, but it's a lot easier with a chain saw!

I always recommend that A-level maths students get themselves a TI-Nspire CX because it gives them a significant advantage. I've seen students bugger up a graph sketch, which they would have got right if they had used a GDC. Another (one of many) great use is finding the critical region in hypothesis testing of binomial series, which all students now have to do. My experience is that teachers who don't recommend GDCs usually have very limited awareness of just how much they can do.
Do you have stats to back up your claim that it gives students a “significant advantage”? It may seem obvious to some that it does provide an advantage but what about the students who use their graphics calculators so much that they don’t have graph sketching abilities that other students do? A Level exams are written with the assumption that graphics calculators aren’t going to be used.

To be clear, I’m not saying there is no advantage, I’m saying that I don’t know and students shouldn’t just assume they’re useful without evidence or because your personal experience has shown that they are useful.
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David Getling
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(Original post by Sir Cumference)
Do you have stats to back up your claim that it gives students a “significant advantage”? It may seem obvious to some that it does provide an advantage but what about the students who use their graphics calculators so much that they don’t have graph sketching abilities that other students do? A Level exams are written with the assumption that graphics calculators aren’t going to be used.

To be clear, I’m not saying there is no advantage, I’m saying that I don’t know and students shouldn’t just assume they’re useful without evidence or because your personal experience has shown that they are useful.
What students certainly shouldn't do is take the advice of teachers who aren't very familiar with the use of graphics calculators, and are therefore totally unfit to offer advice on their use. And the fact is that the vast majority of UK maths teachers have very little familiarity with them. I do have extensive knowledge of them (something that can easily be verified) so sensible students should take my advice in preference to their teacher, who probably knows very little about them. In fact, I recall one A grade student coming round, after his exam results, and thanking me profusely for recommending the TI-Nspire, which he said really helped him check his answers and pull out the silly mistakes that would have cost him his A.

I have absolutely no agenda in recommending a GDC. In fact I have much more to gain in recommending the Casio Classwiz. Which, incidentally, once again, most UK maths teacher do not know how to use well!
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Pangol
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(Original post by David Getling)
What students certainly shouldn't do is take the advice of teachers who aren't very familiar with the use of graphics calculators, and are therefore totally unfit to offer advice on their use. And the fact is that the vast majority of UK maths teachers have very little familiarity with them. I do have extensive knowledge of them (something that can easily be verified) so sensible students should take my advice in preference to their teacher, who probably knows very little about them. In fact, I recall one A grade student coming round, after his exam results, and thanking me profusely for recommending the TI-Nspire, which he said really helped him check his answers and pull out the silly mistakes that would have cost him his A.

I have absolutely no agenda in recommending a GDC. In fact I have much more to gain in recommending the Casio Classwiz. Which, incidentally, once again, most UK maths teacher do not know how to use well!
Perhaps - just perhaps - you should consider the possibility that some teachers who don't recommend graphic calculators do know how they work and have their own sound reasons for deciding they are not a good idea.

Dialling down the superiority complex might help as well.
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David Getling
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(Original post by Pangol)
Perhaps - just perhaps - you should consider the possibility that some teachers who don't recommend graphic calculators do know how they work and have their own sound reasons for deciding they are not a good idea.

Dialling down the superiority complex might help as well.
Or, perhaps, I've seen a great many teachers who haven't a clue about GDCs putting students off them, instead of having the honesty and decency to simply say that they don't know enough about them. Until only a year or two ago I regularly had to threaten schools with being reported, or legal action, because they were lying to their students and trying to prevent them using GDCs. If a GDC can get a student a few more marks then there is no sound reason for putting students off them, just plain ignorance or prejudice.
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Sir Cumference
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(Original post by David Getling)
Or, perhaps, I've seen a great many teachers who haven't a clue about GDCs putting students off them, instead of having the honesty and decency to simply say that they don't know enough about them. Until only a year or two ago I regularly had to threaten schools with being reported, or legal action, because they were lying to their students and trying to prevent them using GDCs. If a GDC can get a student a few more marks then there is no sound reason for putting students off them, just plain ignorance or prejudice.
But where's your evidence that a graphics calculator would give the average level student more marks in an A Level maths exam? You would lose any legal case without this evidence.
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Pangol
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(Original post by David Getling)
Or, perhaps, I've seen a great many teachers who haven't a clue about GDCs putting students off them, instead of having the honesty and decency to simply say that they don't know enough about them. Until only a year or two ago I regularly had to threaten schools with being reported, or legal action, because they were lying to their students and trying to prevent them using GDCs. If a GDC can get a student a few more marks then there is no sound reason for putting students off them, just plain ignorance or prejudice.
It depends on what you think the most important thing is when teaching students.

If you think that the most important thing is to get the most marks you can at any cost, then I would agree, it would be silly not to get such a calculator. They can sketch graphs which you can then copy.

If you think that the most important thing is to give students a deep understanding of the subject, to enable them to have a careful and systematic approach to problems, and to learn things they can then apply in unfamiliar contexts, then I am not so convinced. I worry about a graphic calculator doing too much of the "thinking" for students, and that they would have a tendancy not to appreciate the methods required to sketch graphs or to understand the theory behind it.

I have to say, your recent post on this thread suggests that your advice is "put it in the calculator and copy the answer" rather than to have any understanding of why the sketch that the calculator gives which agrees with the picture in the question is the right one.
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David Getling
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(Original post by Pangol)
It depends on what you think the most important thing is when teaching students.

If you think that the most important thing is to get the most marks you can at any cost, then I would agree, it would be silly not to get such a calculator. They can sketch graphs which you can then copy.

If you think that the most important thing is to give students a deep understanding of the subject, to enable them to have a careful and systematic approach to problems, and to learn things they can then apply in unfamiliar contexts, then I am not so convinced. I worry about a graphic calculator doing too much of the "thinking" for students, and that they would have a tendancy not to appreciate the methods required to sketch graphs or to understand the theory behind it.

I have to say, your recent post on this thread suggests that your advice is "put it in the calculator and copy the answer" rather than to have any understanding of why the sketch that the calculator gives which agrees with the picture in the question is the right one.
No! I would most certainly always encourage my students to engage their brain before reaching for a calculator. Having said this, A-level (or IB Diploma) exams are very high stakes. So I want to see my students go in armed to the teeth. If a GDC can help them pick out silly mistakes (which we all make, including me) or answer a question more quickly then it's important that they have one and do so. To give but one example, the list function on a GDC can allow one to do a trapezium or Simpson's rule question in about a 10th of the time, more accurately and with less chance of a slip up. This can mean a saving of between 5 and 10 minutes, which is a lot of valuable time.
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Pangol
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(Original post by David Getling)
To give but one example, the list function on a GDC can allow one to do a trapezium or Simpson's rule question in about a 10th of the time, more accurately and with less chance of a slip up. This can mean a saving of between 5 and 10 minutes, which is a lot of valuable time.
I don't see how this is any quicker than using table mode on the Classwiz.
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David Getling
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(Original post by Pangol)
I don't see how this is any quicker than using table mode on the Classwiz.
Which shows that you know nothing about list functions on GDCs, and probably very little (if anything) about GDCs. Therefore, you should not be offering advice on them, and certainly shouldn't be trying to put students off using them; it's highly unethical.
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Pangol
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(Original post by David Getling)
Which shows that you know nothing about list functions on GDCs, and probably very little (if anything) about GDCs. Therefore, you should not be offering advice on them, and certainly shouldn't be trying to put students off using them; it's highly unethical.
I'm not saying it is the same thing. I am saying that I can't see how it's necessarily any quicker.

There really is no need to be so confrontational.
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Sir Cumference
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(Original post by David Getling)
Which shows that you know nothing about list functions on GDCs, and probably very little (if anything) about GDCs. Therefore, you should not be offering advice on them, and certainly shouldn't be trying to put students off using them; it's highly unethical.
Please explain why using a graphics calculator to do the trapezium rule would give a student a saving of “between 5 and 10 minutes”. I have both a graphics calculator and a Classwiz and have tried applying the trapezium rule using both and I can’t work why you think there is such a big time save.

Also please calm down and try to have a civil conversation.
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David Getling
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Pangol and Sir Cumference, it is now very clear that neither of you have much, if any familiarity with GDCs. No, I'm not going to waste my time explaining to you. Do your own research, and then you will be in a position to offer unprejudiced advice on these devices to students, instead of cheating them out of the chance of extra marks.

I've offered advice based on vast experience, but it really doesn't matter to me if students are foolish enough to take the advice of ignorant teachers.
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Sir Cumference
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(Original post by David Getling)
Pangol and Sir Cumference, it is now very clear that neither of you have much, if any familiarity with GDCs. No, I'm not going to waste my time explaining to you. Do your own research, and then you will be in a position to offer unprejudiced advice on these devices to students, instead of cheating them out of the chance of extra marks.

I've offered advice based on vast experience, but it really doesn't matter to me if students are foolish enough to take the advice of ignorant teachers.
Just explain why a graphics calculator makes the trapezium rule 5-10 minutes faster and then we can get on with your lives. Or if you were exaggerating/lying then let us know.

I use both a graphics calculator and Classwiz with students so I do know how they both work. I am not part of the teacher stereotype that you love to throw about :rolleyes:
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Sir Cumference
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(Original post by David Getling)
Pangol and Sir Cumference, it is now very clear that neither of you have much, if any familiarity with GDCs. No, I'm not going to waste my time explaining to you. Do your own research, and then you will be in a position to offer unprejudiced advice on these devices to students, instead of cheating them out of the chance of extra marks.

I've offered advice based on vast experience, but it really doesn't matter to me if students are foolish enough to take the advice of ignorant teachers.
Also this thread is not just being read by us. Don't you want students to understand how amazing graphics calculators are? Why not explain to these students why a graphics calculator makes the trapezium rule process 5-10 minutes faster?
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Pangol
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(Original post by David Getling)
Pangol and Sir Cumference, it is now very clear that neither of you have much, if any familiarity with GDCs. No, I'm not going to waste my time explaining to you. Do your own research, and then you will be in a position to offer unprejudiced advice on these devices to students, instead of cheating them out of the chance of extra marks.

I've offered advice based on vast experience, but it really doesn't matter to me if students are foolish enough to take the advice of ignorant teachers.
I'm going to pass on the completely unecessary (and, as it happens, unfounded) insults - I come here to try and help students, not engage in petty arguments. Have to say that I'm confused as to how any calculator can save a student ten minutes on a trapezium rule question, since this suggests that doing it without one would take around fifteen minutes - anyone who spends that long doing such a question is doing the wrong A Level.

Amazing though it may seem to you, two fully-informed people can come to different conclusions about the best approach to this issue for their own sound reasons.
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David Getling
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Pangol and Sir Cumference, go away and LEARN how to manipulate lists in GDCs. Pay particular attention to the seq and sum functions. Then you may understand how it probably takes less than a minute to do the trapezium rule.
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