Graphing Calculators Still? Comparing 1990 vs 2018 Technology

When I was going into high-school back in 1990 a graphing calculator was an advanced piece of technology. Some of my friends managed to program small games into it, and the ability to produce graphs in something “so small” was impressive. The calculator that I had for high-school and into university was the Texas Instruments TI-81.

That was 28-years ago, now that I have a son going into high-school I was expecting things to have changed. My son is required to take a laptop to school for all of his school-work, and even my daughter, beginning in grade 4, had to bring a iPad to school. Both of them have an immense amount of computational power in those machines, far more than could even be shoved into a graphing calculator, but you know what?

High School Students, in 2018, still are required to spend over $200 on a single usage graphing calculator!

I previously wrote about a free¬†alternative for graphing calculators in “Why Are There Still Graphing Calculators?“, but when we received my son’s calculator with the rest of his stationary last week I was again incensed with the ridiculousness of it!

Just for fun I decided to compare a few technologies from 1990 and 2018. The 1990 version is on the top or left, and the 2018 version is on the bottom or right:

Mobile Cell PhonesGame Consoles

Laptop Computers

Windows Operating System

And the Venerable Graphing Calculator

There have been massive advances in all of those, except the graphing calculator.

Thankfully there are glimmers of hope that by the time my grade 1 kid enters high-school we won’t be forced to purchase a $229.00 calculator…

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