Why the GTX calculator will boost your maths experience this year: useful features and updates
Visit any shop - online or on the high street - and, no doubt, you'll see a wide range of choice. Whether you're looking for a new hairdryer, phone or even a calculator, the options can feel a bit much.
And it's made even harder when you're not entirely sure what features are essential and what features are just a nice to have.
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 But often they're missing necessary functionality for GCSEs and run on outdated technology.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 because the best results come with the right calculator for the job. So, let's get into it, what should we be looking for when buying a calculator? And, how can we spot the signs that we're buying the right model?
Why is having the right calculator important?
Did you know that 43% of GCSE teachers surveyed in England & Wales experience difficulties when teaching with a class of mixed calculators? This scenario is either mainly due to missing functionality or buttons/menus working differently on other calculators.
Teachers also say that it can be harder to support students if they're not familiar with the calculator.
Key functionality missing in alternative calculators
So what should you be looking for when buying a calculator? Let's start with the key features.
Casio's GTX models include these key functionalities, which can be missing in other models: a textbook display, recurring decimal, standard to decimal transformation, prime factorisation, tables for graphs and multiple power functions. Be sure to look out for these specific attributes to make sure you're buying a safe product.
Issues to watch out for with alternative calculator brands
Not all scientific calculators are created equal, no matter how similar the various brands may look on the shelf.
Alternative calculators to the GTX don't always have the features needed to help students learn to the best of their ability. Some of the features missing in alternative calculators include poor build quality, many of the calculators you can pick up in the shops have issues such as rattling when shaken. Some brands also have an old fashioned single-line display which makes them extremely hard to interpret, especially when trying to work out complex problems.
Some people have reported scientific calculators lacking the ability to enter or display a recurring decimal and also lacking the ability to calculate tables of values for graphs and equivalent ratios. Some calculators don't support lists so students can't see all data entered at once and they don't support frequency tables often using complicated multi-key statistics operations.
So, there are quite a few important features to look out for when choosing your calculator! With these issues in mind, regardless of being able to 'get away with' using a calculator that isn't the GTX model, other calculator models can have a seriously detrimental effect on students learning. Different displays, menus and button layouts will make it harder for students to follow the class and interpret how to use the calculator.
At this point, you may be wondering whether the GTX is eligible for your teenager's specific exam board and education level.
To clear up any confusion below is a table that shows the models that are permitted in all UK, Irish and IB DP examinations.
It's important to note that permitted means the calculator is allowed in the exam. It doesn't mean that it is suitable for the exam. There may be functions that you need that are not on the calculator, but you can easily refer to your syllabus and our comparison chart for features.
So, to conclude, it's safe to say that not all calculators are created equal, and it isn't straightforward to choose between all the options that are out there. This being said, this blog post should act as a short guide to help you choose the best calculator for your needs. Remember, do your research and #buysafe.
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