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HP Prime - Possibilities at school

HP Prime - possibilities at school.

There are several possibilities opened to the schools when it comes to technology in the science class.

On one side, you have the ubiquitous tablet. It is excellent for everything, and it can substitute all books. It can also act as a technical/graphical calculator, with the suitable software available in the web.

On the other hand, its own openness and capabilities make it unable to be used in class. There are no possible settings in a tablet that can impede its full use for someone that knows a little bit about the system. Tablets cannot be used in exams - period. Or you need to design the exams around the tablet. I remember that we had an algebra professor in my engineering school that made tests that lasted 2 days, with just 4 exercises, one for each morning and afternoon. This professor allowed all calculators, books, and class notes that the alumni would like to take with them; and yet, in the june tests, 9 out of 417 alumni passed - so it can be done.

Also, the tablet is the ultimate game machine. I would not allow my kids to take an iPad to school, lest they use their whole free time (and most of the not free) gaming. (This is a reason to make me think twice when opening a page about HP Prime games. The main difference here is that it may encourage boys to program their own)

Lastly, the tablets are quite limited when interfacing with other things, like sensors, etc. (Calculators too, with some exceptions)

The HP Prime offers an integrated educational environment:

  • It is a self-contained math machine
  • It is programmable - what a tablet is not. A student can understand the logic of programming.
  • The programming language is easy to learn. While most of us would agree that RPL is more elegant, it is also much more difficult to learn.
  • It has an exam mode, whereas the features of the calculator can be adapted to the specific exam requirements. You can sent what the calculator can do and cannot, and you can do it centrally.
  • The teacher can see what happens in each and every calculator screen of his pupils, with standard HP software.
  • The machine can be connected (with the Streamsmart 410) to a list of Fourier probes, which make it a mobile lab, if you will.
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