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A teacher of the visually impaired asks: I am working with a low-vision student who needs to use a graphing calculator. He needs something portable which he can take to class. Have you heard of such a beast?

Susan replies: I have the following suggestions:

Regular TI Graphing Calculator placed on a color CCTV. My students did not like using the TI on a black and white CCTV, but some did like using it on a color CCTV.

TI Graphing Calculator ViewScreen Enlargement Solution

TI makes a ViewScreen package for the following calculators: TI-73, TI-73 Explorer, TI-80, TI-82, TI-83, TI-83 Plus, TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, TI-89, Voyage 200, TI-92 and TI-92 Plus. When I purchased the TI-82 with the following set-up, it was approximately $300. It has worked very well with my low vision students. They use a ViewScreen calculator connected to a ViewScreen LCD display panel placed on a light box.

Call TI at 1-800-TI-CARES or e-mail at . They can give you a list of vendors from whom you can make your purchase.

You'll want to order the ViewScreen package which includes a ViewScreen display panel (normally sits on top of any standard overhead projector), a ViewScreen calculator, a unit-to-unit cable, an AC adapter, a guidebook, and a carrying case. [You may already have this available as a teacher package.] Then you need a light box (instead of the overhead projector) for a light source to place the display panel on. I ordered mine from Logan Electric Specialty Mfg. Co., 1431 West Hubbard Street, Chicago, Illinois 60622 (312) 226-5888

The entire ViewScreen package (as outlined above) and the Tru-View Light Box by Logan fit into the attractive and comfortably designed carrying case, and thus makes a light-weight easily portable package, which is very important for my students.

 

TI-CARES Educational Support Programs
P.O. Box 650311, MS 3962
Dallas, TX 75265
Phone: 800-TI-CARES
E-mail:


Texas Instrument ViewScreen Graphing Calculator packages can be a screen enlargement solution for low vision students. Borrow calculators, at no charge, for you to examine before making a purchasing decision. You may also wish to look into the use of the TI-Presenter Video Adapter or the TI Connectivity Kit, both of which will allow your student to connect a hand-held to a computer.

E-mail:

Logan Electric Specialty Mfg. Co.
1431 West Hubbard Street
Chicago, IL 60622
Phone: 312-226-5888, Fax: 312-226-4217
E-mail:
Tru-View Light Box can be used to backlight TI ViewScreens providing a convenient and effective way of enlarging the TI series of graphing calculators for low vision students.

Some students using the TI ViewScreen solution still had trouble being able to see the keypad. While most memorized the keys, others found this frustrating. The following vendor has an enlarged keypad, which will accommodate the TI ViewScreen solution.

 

Turning Point Therapy & Technology, Inc.
P.O. Box 310751
New Braunfels, TX 78131-0751
Phone: 830-608-9812 or 210-710-4514
E-mail:
Custom keyguards for computers and calculators.
TI Calculator Expanded Keyboard. It is an external keyboard attachment to TI calculators having internal Flash ROM (TI-73, TI-83 Plus, and TI-89). It is an enlarged, lightweight, and independently powered replica of the calculator's keypad directly connected to the serial port of the calculator.

 

The VisAble is the only large display scientific calculator made as a one-piece portable unit. However, it does not have graphing capabilities. It is manufactured by:

Betacom Corporation
450 Matheson Blvd. E., Unit 67
Mississauga, On. L4Z 1R5 CANADA
Phone: 800-353-1107, Fax: (905) 568-9925
Email:


VisAble Large Display Scientific Calculator

For more details, see my FEATURES OF THE LARGE DISPLAY SCIENTIFIC CALCULATORS.

If none of the above meet your student's needs, I would suggest that you investigate the following software programs, which when installed on a laptop, provide a very portable device:

Professor Goldstein's TI-83 Trainer is a software program with:

  • Complete TI-83 calculator emulation
  • Separate high-resolution color text and graphics windows
  • Supports TI-GRAPH LINK
  • Cable for data transfer with TI-83 Graphing Calculator

Goldstein Educational Technologies
4 Bittersweet Drive
Doylestown, PA 18901
Phone: 215-489-4045
Fax: 215-489-4046
E-mail: Larry Goldstein
Download a free 30 day-trial version.

 

Scientific Notebook (SNB) is another software package. SNB is much more than a graphing scientific calculator. It is also a math/text processor, so your student could do all of his assignments, calculations, and graphs in one document directly on the laptop. It has onscreen magnification up to 400%, or magnification software may be used. In addition, the student can customize his own style of document up to a font size of 72, which will print at that size as well.

MacKichan Software, Inc.
600 Ericksen, Suite 300
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Phone: 1-877-SCI-NOTE
Fax: 1-206-780-2857
E-mail:
Website: http://www.mackichan.com/
With Scientific Notebook, create attractive documents with text, mathematics, and graphics, have it compute the solutions, import data from your graphing calculator, connect to the Internet and download documents, then translate to Nemeth Code and/or convert to large print. Download a free 30 day-trial version.

Every student is unique, so I have my students try everything. Then, they list their preferences in order beginning with their #1 choice. Next, we consult with the math teacher. Even though the student may perhaps LOVE Scientific Notebook, if their teacher is using a TI-83 in the classroom, they will probably choose one of the TI-83 solutions, perhaps their #2 choice. If the student has to have a stand-alone, the software programs are perhaps not a choice. However, they are so reasonably priced that it might be possible for the student to have both a stand-alone and a software program.

FEATURES OF THE LARGE DISPLAY SCIENTIFIC CALCULATORS
CategoriesVisAble Scientific Calculator

Physical Description

  • 41 keys
  • 9" by 6.2" by 1.5" height
  • weighs 14 ounces
  • enlarged keys (0.7 inch) with high visibility imprinting
  • high contrast white or yellow print on black or dark blue (operations) keys except 2nd function key is black print on yellow
  • keys require positive activation, eliminating faulty entries by users with diminished manipulation skills

Visual Display

  • high contrast LCD display (8 digits)
  • enlarged proportional numerals (0.9 x 0.6 inches)
  • display shows the following indicators when in use:
    • negative value (-)
    • 2nd function key (2nd)
    • degrees (D)
    • radians (R)
    • grads (G)
    • one or more parentheses ( )
    • statistics mode (STAT)
    • number and operation stored as a constant (K)
    • number in memory (M)
    • error (E)

Voice response for all keys of the keyboard

No

Graphing Capabilities

No

On/Off

  • To switch ON, press the AC/ON key
  • To turn OFF, press the OFF button
  • After six minutes without a keystroke, the calculator will turn off automatically
  • After an automatic power down, the calculator can be turned back on without clearing memory by pressing the CE/C key

Distinctly marked keys for easy identification

5

Most/all keys have _____ functions

Two (However, some have one.)

Memory Positions

One
(Uses memory store, recall, exchange, and sum functions and fully implements order of operations: Parentheses, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction)

Accessories

  • 3Vdc (CR2450) battery (projected life of over five years of continuous use)
  • large print owner's manual (16 point) spiral bound for flat opening (Spanish translation coming soon)
  • 1-yr warranty

Basic Keys: decimal, =, 0-9

Yes

Basic Function Keys: +, -, ×, ÷

Yes

Parentheses ( )

Yes  (Three levels)

Backspace Key

No

Clear last entry Key

Yes

+/Key

Yes

Scientific Notation

Yes

Engineering Notation

No

Fix Display Decimal Key

No

Square Root Key

Yes

Cube Root Key

No

x2 Key

Yes

1/x Key

Yes

% Key

Yes

Degrees Key

Yes

Radians Key

Yes

Grads Key

Yes

Sin Key

Yes

Cos Key

Yes

Tan Key

Yes

Sin-1 (arc sin) Key

Yes

Cos-1 (arc cos) Key

Yes

Tan-1 (arc tan) Key

Yes

π Key

Yes

e Key

No

Ln Key

Yes

Log Key

Yes

ex Key

Yes

10x Key

Yes

yx Key

Yes

xÖ y Key

Yes

x! Key

Yes

Hyperbolic Sin Key

No

Hyperbolic Cos Key

No

Hyperbolic Tan Key

No

Hyperbolic Sin-1 Key

No

Hyperbolic Cos-1 Key

No

Hyperbolic Tan-1 Key

No

Fraction entry, operation and conversion to decimal keys

No

Constant key (K) stores a number and its associated operation for repeated use

Yes

Fahrenheit/Celsius conversion keys

No

Degree, minute, second/decimal degree conversion keys

Yes

Polar/Rectangular conversion keys

Yes

Special Functions for Mortgage, Real Estate and Business

No

Special Functions for Statistics

Yes
(Date entry and removal, mean, population standard deviation, sample standard deviation, variance, sum of data values, and clear keys)

Calculations and conversions in hexadecimal, octal, and binary number bases

No

Boolean logic operations, computer math keys

No

Time, Alarm, and Chronometer Functions

No

Print on/off Key

No

Manufacturer

Betacom Corporation
2999 King Street West Inglewood, Ontario Canada, LON 1KO
Phone: 800-353-1107, Fax: 905-838-1487
Email:

Website: http://www.betacom.com

$295.00 + $5.00 shipping

Possible Vendors:

  • Telesensory Corporation
    520 Almanor Avenue
    Sunnyvale, CA 94086
    Phone: 800-804-8004
    Direct: (408) 616-8700
    Fax: (408) 616-8720 
    Email:
    Website: http://www.telesensory.com/
  • Associated Resources
    St. Louis, MO
    Phone: 314-940-2397
  • Christal Vision Texas
    210-666-0700
  • Visual Tech of New York
    914-735-7907
  • Adaptive Technology Consulting
    Boston, MA
    Phone: 978-462-3817
  • Vision Aid Systems
    200 N Emerson Ave # B.
    Greenwood, IN 46143
    Phone: 317-888-0323