Teachers and students share their views on new ClassWiz calculators - Casio Calculators

Teachers and students share their views on new ClassWiz calculators

May 2024 Medium Read: 5 Min

The Casio ClassWiz scientific calculator range has recently received an upgrade, with a number of significant updates in design, new features and other changes being introduced.

It’s important to us to stay up to date with how developments in our devices are being received by the people who use them every day. That’s why we grabbed the recent opportunity to speak to students and teachers at Brakenhale School in Bracknell.

Here’s what Rhiannon Rainbow, School Improvement Lead for Maths at the Greenshaw Learning Trust, and year 10 student Isabella had to say.

The new look

One of the most obvious differences you’re likely to notice when you pick up any calculator in the new ClassWiz range – whether it’s the fx-83GT CW, fx-85GT CW or fx-991CW – is the updated interface, rounded key design and new layout.

These changes have been implemented to improve accessibility and usability, with a focus on making the calculator as simple and intuitive to operate as possible.

From a purely visual perspective, Isabella noted that, as well as looking impressive, the new design also makes the handsets easier to use.

“The numbers stand out a lot more than on the older calculators and you can see all of the functions a lot better,” she said.

Rhiannon echoed this when referring to the rounded keys. She pointed out that they have a nice aesthetic appearance, but also offer usability benefits such as reducing the risk of making input errors by accidentally pressing adjacent keys, which could be particularly important when students need to work quickly in exams.

“It might seem small, but actually if you’re using a tool a lot of the time, then making sure you’re pressing the right keys at the right time is obviously important,” Rhiannon said.

Fresh functionality

As far as the main operations of the ClassWiz range are concerned, one of the most noticeable changes is the repurposing of the functionality previously accessed via the S↔D key, which is now available by pressing the Format key.

In the Format menu, you have options including converting calculation results from standard to decimal and from improper fractions to mixed numbers, as well as the ability to display values in terms of hours, minutes and seconds.

ClassWiz recurring decimal

“The Format menu really opens up the ability to calculate in terms of time or degrees, for example, rather than that being a separate button on the calculator,” Rhiannon pointed out. “It just opens up those conversations more.”

ClassWiz sexagesimal

The ClassWiz range has also been enhanced with a new overarching menu structure, which lets teachers and students scroll through all of the options and functions available on their handset in a clear and intuitive way.

“With a couple of presses they’ve got access to a menu of functions that they may not have been sure of before, and now it’s spelled out for them what each of the options is,” Rhiannon said.

Furthermore, the ClassWiz upgrade means our scientific calculators now feature new functionality, including the ability to display graphs through QR codes – which is an entirely new addition to the fx-83/85GT CW handsets – and the tools included in the Mathbox app.

Isabella told us that she particularly enjoyed using the coin toss and dice roll simulations in Mathbox to calculate simple probabilities.

Another notable change is the new Function key, which can help with quicker and less error-prone working. On the fx-991CW, for example, you can input f(x) to recall saved equation data, rather than having to enter it in full, thereby saving time and reducing the risk of manual input errors.

Managing the transition

We know how valuable our ClassWiz scientific calculators are as an educational tool for countless teachers and students, so we understand that changing how they look and operate could raise some eyebrows.

However, we’re also confident that the reasonable investment in time needed to get used to the adjustments will absolutely prove worthwhile, especially when you have the natural enthusiasm of your students to spur you on.

Sharing her own experiences, Rhiannon spoke to us shortly after introducing the new ClassWiz range to a class, and having had very little experience with the new models herself.

“[The students] were absolutely brilliant,” she said. “Anything that I might have been slightly tentative about, they had already worked out or they were happy to have a go.

“They were really looking forward to discovering new things, because it’s not just the previous calculators repackaged. The actual functionality and what it’s able to do is better, and that’s what students are really interested in.”

Rhiannon also spoke about how positive and enjoyable it was to be able to explore the calculator together with students, and to convey a positive message around discovering and embracing new learning opportunities.

As far as the student view is concerned, Isabella reiterated Rhiannon’s point that, after just a small amount of time using a new ClassWiz model and getting used to the changes, the benefits become clear.

“As soon as you get to know how the calculator works it’s actually a lot easier to use,” she said.

Isabella also noted that having a single menu showing the various things the calculator can do makes it easier to access its full functionality. 

We offer a range of resources to help you make the transition to the updated ClassWiz range, including short videos detailing key changes to the fx-83/85GT CW and the fx-991CW models.

You can also contact us at any time, with an option to leave a message online if you need an answer to a specific question about one of our calculators.