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The calculator that thinks only if you think too
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Niffe Hermansson's profile photoNimesh Patel's profile photoJeremy Seifert's profile photoPhilip White's profile photo
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Yeah, my first thought was to wonder why they started by building a physical calculator. (But physical calculators are likely still important in education, which is where this would be useful.)
 
+Matt McIrvin I can imagine pupils checking their iPhones to find the right value for their QAMA calculator!
 
Problem is, I'm pretty good at math, but I often use a calculator when I'm worried that I will mess up orders of magnitude. That's very likely to make this difficult for me to use.
 
+Sarah Pagan That's a good example of what calculators should be used for, as opposed to what most students use them for. Empowering vs. Enabling, I'd say.
 
That is one brilliant idea. I used to teach maths to young people who had come to rely on calculators to work out the answers for them. They usually had no idea whether the answer the calculator gave them was likely to be correct or not.
 
Actually, +Sarah Pagan we were encouraged to do it the other way round; perform a rough order of magnitude estimate, and make sure that the units of measure balanced out before allowing a calculator or computer at to do it.
 
I actually wonder if the calculator gets to the heart of the problem. It'll only give you an answer if you can give it an estimate for the calculation you entered. But the biggest source of trouble is people entering the wrong numbers (garbage in/garbage out), in which case the calculator will expect the wrong estimate. Would it be so easy to realize that that's the problem, or will students end up getting mis-trained by the feedback?
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