Students may soon be able to retire ancient graphing calculators

The sheer idea that graphing calculators are still a thing in 2017 is a bit absurd when you consider that nearly every student is toting ar...

The sheer idea that graphing calculators are still a thing in 2017 is a bit absurd when you consider that nearly every student is toting around a far more powerful device in their pockets in the form of a smartphone.

Fortunately, the burden of purchasing and lugging around the technological dinosaur will soon be lifted in favor of a modern option.

Students in 15 states will soon have access to the Desmos online calculator for use in the classroom courtesy of a new partnership with testing consortium Smarter Balanced.

Desmos isn’t some fly-by-night operation. Launched in 2011, the San Francisco-based company already has users across 146 countries collectively logging more than 300,000 hours each day. Its platform affords users a colorful interface, live graphing capabilities, accessibility features for those with disabilities and connectivity using a computer or mobile device – all free of charge.

The deal will likely be welcomed news for both students and parents as they’ll no longer need to purchase a standalone calculator that typically retails for north of $100.

Market leader Texas Instruments, which has sold more than 75 million graphing calculators since 1990, likely isn’t thrilled with the development. Peter Balyta, the company’s head of education technology, defended the high price of TI’s calculators as a “one-time investment in a student’s future” in a message to Quartz.

Desmos CEO Eli Luberoff, on the other hand, described pricey graphing calculators as a huge source of inequity and “not the best way to learn.”


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