Monday, August 31, 2009
My son is in the 8th grade this year, and every year for the past couple of years, he always need a fancy graphing calculator. So, when I was given an opportunity to review the TI-Nspire, I knew it would be a huge help to him for the rest of his school years, as well as his younger sister.
What I wasn't expecting is the complexity of this machine. I'm not complaining, but seriously - we were also sent a TI-Nspire for Dummies book. When I saw this, I thought, "Oh my gosh, how serious is this?!" In all honesty, it's not sooo complex that you can't figure it out or that your child can't figure it out, but this thing can do Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, Trigonometry, Statistics, College Math, Pre-Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Business, and Finance. Wow!
The TI-Nspire also comes with an additional keypad and the calculator can now function as a T1-84 Plus, which is totally awesome.
More about the TI-Nspire, from the Texas Instruments site:
The latest TI math and science learning technology features the TI-Nspire family of products and services. This technology goes beyond graphing to help students see math and science in new and different ways.
TI-Nspire and TI-Nspire CAS technology was developed hand-in-hand with educators worldwide and built on proven graphing technology which research* shows has a positive impact on student achievement. This exciting learning technology offers both handhelds and computer software for the flexibility to meet different classroom needs.
Permitted on SAT, ACT, AP, PSAT/NSMQT, IB and Praxis exams, as well as many state tests.
Some unique features of TI-Nspire technology let you:
* View multiple representations of a problem on a single screen
* Grab a graphed function and move it to see the effect
* "Link" representations: Manipulate the properties of one and observe instant updates to others without switching screens
* Create, save and review work in electronic documents, like a computer
* Activate the handheld's Press-to-Test feature to block access to certain geometry features not allowed on state exams
* Experience identical functions on the handheld and TI-Nspire Computer Software (Windows© or Mac©). Your students can use the software independently or in tandem with the handheld for work in and out of class
* Project a full interactive handheld alongside a large handheld screen to demonstrate concepts to your class usingTI-Nspire Computer Software - Teacher Edition.
TI supports the passion that educators possess for teaching with technology designed to help students succeed in math and science. TI’s research-based* technology for instruction and assessment, curricular materials and professional development combine to provide essential elements for greater student achievement.
Learn more about the TI-Nspire family of products
* For more information, see education.ti.com/research
TI-83 and TI-84 family compatibility - only the TI-Nspire handheld comes with an innovative snap-in TI-84 Plus Keypad that provides the same keystrokes and functionality as TI-83 Plus, TI-84 Plus and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition graphing calculators.
Technical specifications using the TI-Nspire Keypad:
•Screen size: 320 x 240 pixels (3.5" diagonal) - two times the size of TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus models
•Screen resolution: ~115 DPI; 16-level gray-scale - five times the resolution of TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus models
•Dimensions: 1.13"H x 3.94"W x 7.81"L
•Weight: 0.64 pounds
•Powered by (4) AAA batteries.
•Memory: 20 MB storage memory / 16MB operating memory
•USB port for computer connectivity, unit-to-unit communication with other TI-Nspire handhelds, and more.
Windows® system requirements:
•Windows Vista® (Home Premium/Ultimate/Business) with SP1, Windows XP (Home/Professional) with SP2 or SP3;
•Processor speed: 900 MHz
•Screen resolution: 1024 X 768
•RAM: 512 MB RAM recommended
•500 MB free HD space on a single boot configuration (An additional 200MB is required for TI-Nspire™ Computer Link Software)
•350MB free space on a single boot configuration. TI-Nspire Computer Link software requires an additional 200MB free space.
•CD-ROM drive or active internet connection for installation
•Minimum browser requirements: Works with Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 6.0, Netscape® 5.0, Mozilla® Firefox® 1.0,
•Safari® 2.0 and AOL® Browser 1.0.
Mac® system requirements:
•Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5
•PowerPC, G4, or G5 and Intel processors
•At least 200 MB of hard-disk space needed for installation.
We love this calculator and are still learning about it (and I'm sure it will take us quite a while to learn it all!). I like how, as soon as you turn it on, you are guided through a set up to learn more about how to use this device. It comes with it's own book, plus with the Dummies book, we should be set for a long time!
My son hasn't started diving into too much learning in math right now since we just started school on the 27th, but I know that this calculator will come in handy, for many more years to come. I, for one, am excited to see what it teaches me that I never learned before! More importantly, I'm excited to see a grade higher than a C in all math classes from now on!