Introducing the New ClassWiz for Students: An Improved Tool for Learning Maths
The news is out: the UK’s favourite scientific calculator range is even better! The new ClassWiz calculator provides all the functions and features you trust and now provides simple and easier navigation, faster processing and great new features.
But what does it mean for students? Should they upgrade or stick with a tried and tested calculator model? We sat down with Gerard Dummett to find out how students will benefit from the brand new features and functionality and to answer the all-important question: to upgrade or not to upgrade?
Student buying their first calculator or wanting an upgrade
What’s the benefit of the ClassWiz? The thing that’s so different about the new ClassWiz is not its mathematical functionality, which is almost identical to previous models, but the fact that it’s much easier to operate.
New navigation features enhance the usability
The new ClassWiz has two features that are very different from the older models. One is this navigation area, with the clear up, down, left, and right arrows. Then, in the centre is an OK button, which didn’t exist before. To the left is an Undo or Back button. Then to the right, there’s a rocker bar, which moves the screen up and down. In other words, it operates like any other modern device.
The older model had the cursors, but the functionality was less obvious than the new diamond pattern. There was also no OK button, and there was no Back button. The familiar layout means students picking up the calculator for the first time can start using it immediately.
The other main change is upgrading the Menu button to Home and the new button with a home symbol. If you’re using the calculator and then press Home, it takes you straight to the start
screen. It’s intuitive, meaning students can easily learn how to operate the calculator.
Once you’re using the calculator, the menus and options are navigated with the cursor and new navigation buttons. This replaces choosing options by pressing a number, and you can back one stage. It’s much more like modern devices, and immediately recognisable to students.
Clean layout without compromising functionality
The new easy-touch rounded buttons are much cleaner than the old square button layout. These new buttons press from any angle and make contact, making them easy to use. And for students with reduced mobility or awkward hand movements, how they press a button becomes less important.
Additionally, there are fewer modify options, which simplifies access and improves the design of the interface. Now, the most common functions students need are still on the main face. Everything else has moved inside the calculator to make it more intuitive. Plus, improvements to the typeface now mean it’s more legible, making it easier for students to read the screen.
For a complex calculator, the improvements help make it easier to use and access.
Enhancing the physical design
As well as functionality, there are two key improvements to the physical design. First, it has a more textured surface, so it feels much more secure in the grip, and the corners are more rounded than they used to be, meaning it’s more comfortable to hold.
The other change is upgrading from a slide-on to a clip case. When the calculator is in use, the clip case attaches to the back, reducing the chances of it being lost or misplaced.
Transitioning to the new ClassWiz for students with an existing device
Some additional considerations exist for students who are already using a previous ClassWiz calculator or are looking to upgrade from a different calculator model. Students will have some learning to get them up to speed on all the improvements.
For students lower down the school who have lost or damaged their old device, replacing it with the new ClassWiz model makes sense. Likewise, for students keen to access the latest technology and more intuitive navigation, getting an upgrade will enhance their learning experience. But, for students who like their current calculator, the only real need to change is if they also want the specific functions available on the new model.
It is also relatively easy to change because the mathematical functionality is very similar, and the menus will be recognisable to existing ClassWiz users. The new model takes what is familiar and packages it in an easier to operate device.
On the old ClassWiz, making a selection on the Home screen relied on pressing the number corresponding to the app (for instance,1 for calculate, 2 for statistics etc.). Now, students can scroll and click OK to select a command. It’s super easy to operate this. This is also true for options within an app.
Students may also like the new format button.
Suppose they need to work out two thirds multiplied by four. They can press OK or Execute to get the answer. But say they want it as a decimal; they can now use the new Format button.
It’s a big change. If students choose Format, they can get the answer as standard, which is how the calculator is set up. But they can make it into a decimal by scrolling down. Or, even, they can set it as a mixed fraction, which brings up the whole number with a fraction. All this is available from the format menu. For new students, this will make sense to them immediately. And students upgrading will get used to it quite quickly.
Exam students: consider if a change makes sense
Changing calculators is a tough call for students sitting exams this year. The benefits of the new ClassWiz still apply; however, learning how these operations could introduce an additional stressor in exam run-up.
For students eager to adopt the new tech, it’s fine. But for those who took time building confidence with their current device, changing before their exams isn’t recommended.New ClassWiz brings an intuitive and easy to access design and interface alongside great new features that encourage learning and exploration.