Learning in Lockdown: How Using the Same Calculator Model Helps Teachers AND Students

Learning in Lockdown: How Using the Same Calculator Model Helps Teachers AND Students

May 2021 Medium Read: 4 Min

Life isn’t straightforward at the moment. With everything going on, our usual schedules are out of sync, and many parts of our day-to-day lives are more complex.

While we can’t control everything happening in the world, we can take small steps to reduce some complexity.

In the classroom, and at home, this means using the right tools to help minimise issues. If everyone in the lesson uses the same calculator to learn, it reduces that ‘not on the same page feeling’ for students. They’re not left confused because the instructions don’t match with what they see in front of them – and teachers aren’t left firefighting ‘how do I use’ questions while trying to maintain the lesson flow.

But, it’s not always easy to know which calculator to buy – especially when there are so many choices. Alternative calculators can look very similar. But often they’re missing necessary functionality for GCSEs and run on outdated technology.

Making the right choice is important: the best results come with the right calculator for the job. So what should we be looking for when buying a calculator? And how does having the proper technology support learning in lockdown?

What’s wrong with students using different types of calculators?

43% of GCSE teachers surveyed in England & Wales said they experience difficulties when teaching a class using mixed calculators. But for teachers, this can be frustrating as it’s easily avoidable.

It’s inevitably going to be harder for teachers to support students if they’re not familiar with the calculator, especially if they have different buttons and menus.

What to look for when choosing a calculator for the classroom?

Ideally, each student needs to use the same calculator model to avoid a logistical nightmare. Choosing models that include all the key functionality required for exams, use modern display technology and have good build quality are important to look for, ensuring you get a failsafe product.

Why the right calculator helps your students learn better – remotely and in the classroom

Lockdown adds an extra layer of complexity to teaching. But trying to teach classes that all use different calculators doesn’t need to add to the list of challenges. Teachers can avoid the complications that come with teaching classes using mixed and deficient calculators – and enjoy the benefits of teaching students who all use the same model.

Emulators: the key to an inclusive learning environment 

Casio emulators run on your PC (or Mac), allowing teachers to demonstrate using the calculator to the whole class, no matter where they are. Emulators operate and look precisely like the actual calculator; only you’re not holding the device in your hand, it’s on a screen. Whether students are at home or school, using an emulator makes it easier for them to follow lessons. They’re especially helpful when you need to demonstrate complex functions, which can’t be explained without the visual aid.

Supporting students learning from home during lockdown is a challenge; using emulators helps tackle this by ensuring they get the full learning experience, even when working from home.

Consistency is vital (and, that counts for your calculator too)

One thing we can control is ensuring all students are using the same technology. Students using different calculators adds another level of stress on both sides. How can a teacher support each student, if they’re using a different model? It’s impossible, and a time stealer.

Each student using the same calculator reduces friction during remote learning. And, if teachers use an emulator in Maths lessons, students can follow along with ease if their calculator is the same, making lessons seamless and not stilted.

Many components help to maintain positive learning environments: having a tidy workspace, taking breaks, eating well. Using the right calculator is also part of this consistent routine that helps manage unnecessary stress.

There are already a lot of extra contributors that make life more stressful, but your calculator, of all things, shouldn’t be one of them. It’s safe to say that not all calculators are created equal, and it can be overwhelming to choose between all the options that are out there. However, using the same calculator means that you can eliminate any unnecessary stress and concentrate on the teaching.