New graphing calculator lets students plot on top of real-world images

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Texas Instruments (TI) graphing calculators are king in the math classroom. I have no statistics – no hard evidence to prove that beyond experience and anecdotal evidence. Indeed I cannot think of any math teacher or math classroom I’ve ever known to promote the use of anything but TI.

However, Casio has taken a huge jump in the real-world connection between math instruction and the world we live in with their PRIZM graphing calculators and their Picture Plot technology. The expectation is that students using this device under proper guidance and facilitation by an instructor would gain a greater appreciation for the engineering behind structures, both natural and man-made. This product seems as though it would be a real benefit to good math students on the fence regarding their possible futures in mathematics-related fields.

A side note here is the proper education of the principles of photographic arts – framing, squaring, lighting, etc. A bad picture that is poorly aligned is not going to provide the results desired. For instance, the graphic included in this post, taken from the source article (eclassroomnews.com) shows a steel trestle (bridge) spanning a gorge. The photo shows the plots of the parabolic structure, but the photo used was not squared up, therefore skewing the perceived intention of the technology as it relates to math. There are lessons there, but I wonder about the impact of sloppy photography on good math.

I wonder how the math tech giant TI will respond to this device. I would hope to see an iPad TI graphing calculator app with these capabilities…

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