Calculators to keep an eye on pupils
Texas Instruments Inc, whose calculators helped make the company a
household name, has found a way to help teachers quickly identify students who
may be failing math.
The so-called TI-Navigator sends wireless signals
from pupils' handheld calculators to a personal-computer screen that lets
instructors correct and analyze errors in real time.
"The teacher can
understand who's not getting it" by assessing which functions students keyed
into their calculators, Templeton said at the Reuters Global Technology, Media
and Telecoms Summit in New York.
Texas Instruments' graphing calculators
and other educational devices accounted for only 2.4 percent of the Dallas,
Texas-based company's $3.2 billion of revenue in the three months ended March
31. The rest came from sales of semiconductors used in cell phones. Texas
Instruments is the world's largest maker of chips for mobile phones.
calculators, long a fixture in college mathematics and engineering classrooms,
are more profitable than semiconductors and the company sees them as a core part
of the business, Templeton said.
With TI-Navigator, even shy students get
a say in the classroom as teachers can review their calculations streamed
wirelessly, and quietly, to the instructor's monitor, according to the company's
Web site. The system lets teachers "get answers from every student, not just the
vocal ones," says TI's Web site. Instructors also can identify and correct
common mistakes as they occur and, if necessary, adjust lessons as they go
Templeton was quick to note that the system, introduced about two
years ago, is not designed to spy on students, but is meant to be used as a
learning tool.It's about how do you help teachers understand the effectiveness
of how they are teaching lessons and how they students are following along,"