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Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Found Calculators?

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the compare-them-for-accuracy dept.

Math 302

New submitter Covalent writes "I'm a science teacher and have, over the years, accumulated a number of lost graphing calculators (mostly TI-83s). After trying to locate the owners, I have given up and have been loaning them out to students as needed. I want to something more nerd-worthy with them, though. I would feel wrong for selling them. What is the best use for bunch of old calculators?"

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WHOOHOO (-1, Redundant)

Mr. Kinky (2726685) | about 2 years ago | (#41299545)

Use them, give them away for free or send them to EA to produce more great intros like this one WHOHOO! [youtube.com]

Give them away (-1, Flamebait)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 2 years ago | (#41299551)

They're junk... give them away if you can find someone who wants them.

Who thought this deserved the front page? Smack yourself in the head.

Re:Give them away (4, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 2 years ago | (#41299703)

    Yup.. It's about the same as if I had asked "I get old computer stuff abandon with me. What should I do with it?" . I give it to people who want or need it.

    In other industries, there is a standard 90 day storage.. After that, they can do with it as if it is their own. If it's legally titled stuff (like a car), you have to request a court ordered transfer of ownership. Something like a calculator? If the owner didn't come get it, it's yours.

Re:Give them away (5, Insightful)

Squiddie (1942230) | about 2 years ago | (#41299731)

I'd say give them to students that look like they have need for them and no way to get one, though the idea of just using them in-class is pretty good. Maybe make a prize out of it?

Re:Give them away (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41299795)

They're junk... give them away if you can find someone who wants them.

If he starts giving them to random people they could end up on eBay.

OTOH it seems to me like he already found some people who need them...

Re:Give them away (3, Insightful)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 2 years ago | (#41299921)

Give away?

Sell them. You're getting paid about 1/4 of what you're worth. Sell 'em.

You could give them to needy students, each who can't afford one but still has a new Nintendo DS, of you could pocket some cash and take your significant-other out to dinner. If you ever get a night off from grading papers or writing lesson plans.

Re:Give them away (5, Insightful)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 2 years ago | (#41300015)

How are they junk? A TI-83 can run for months on AAA batteries you can get at the dollar store, doesn't need constant software attention like upgrades, doesn't contain personal information and can't get trojaned or otherwise compromised.

It turns on instantly, does what it's supposed to do correctly the same way each time, and turns off instantly. I have a TI-83 on my desk at all times. The user interface can't be beat either.

Re:Give them away (1)

MNNorske (2651341) | about 2 years ago | (#41300107)

I still use my TI-85 from my senior year of high school back in 1994-95. It still runs fantastically and is incredibly handy when I need to punch up numbers on something and don't want to fire up my computer. I've probably only changed the batteries in it about five times over the life of the device too. It just keeps going. When I look at the graphing calculators they put up for the back to school sales these days they don't look any more advanced than my trusty TI-85. Just a different plastic molding.

Re:Give them away (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300125)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_Polish_notation#Hewlett-Packard

Would argue that the interface on a TI83 can in fact be easily beaten ;)

Re:Give them away (4, Insightful)

davidbrit2 (775091) | about 2 years ago | (#41300187)

The user interface can't be beat either.

Yes it can. See: HP 48GX/SX.

Re:Give them away (4, Insightful)

Verdatum (1257828) | about 2 years ago | (#41300149)

Being Junk is debatable. What matters is they retail for $100 and up, and scores of high school math courses require them. My Algebra II class (in 1998) might as well have been retitled to "How to use your TI-83 calculator" Class tutorials often worked buttonpress by buttonpress. I lost 3 of them over the course of my high school career (two were stolen from my bookbag), and this was certainly no fun for my parents.

Yes, I realize the older models sell for cheap on ebay. I purchased my 3rd this way and still have it (I suspect it was stolen too), but when you've got an assignment due tomorrow, and even if you get an extension from the teacher, you risk falling behind, so you often bite your lip and pay Best Buy prices.

I wish they weren't so expensive. They shouldn't be. With the exception of some tiny crappy memory expansions, they haven't changed in like 20 years, yet the price tag has only gone up. I'd love to see some project like OLPC destroy this monopoly.

Re:Give them away (2)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41300375)

With calculators, appearance is everything. Even small nicks and scratches will knock down the price to a tiny fraction, and because these were both forgotten by careless students and loaned out to others, it's fairly certain that they're not in great or even very good condition, and will lack manuals and boxes.
So they'll be worth very little.

Note: Certain models are rare, and can be worth more. If you have a HP-10C or TI-78 in the collection, you can get good offers, even if not in perfect condition. If you find a TI-88, we're talking thousands.

Re:Give them away (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about 2 years ago | (#41300357)

It's interesting and disconcerting people can't figure anything out on their own and feel the need to ask for help online or Google answers. If the OP doesn't know what to do with found calculators yet the OP works in a school where students would benefit from these calculators, I think we're in trouble. Next time I'm sleepy or hungry and don't know what to do about it I'm going to post a /. article and ask everyone.

Doing the right thing (5, Insightful)

Jerry Smith (806480) | about 2 years ago | (#41299557)

You're loaning them to the needy. Doing good can be nerdy too.

Re:Doing the right thing (3, Interesting)

oPless (63249) | about 2 years ago | (#41299653)

Mod parent up. You *are* doing the "right thing"(tm)

Re:Doing the right thing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299869)

You're loaning them to the needy. Doing good can be nerdy too.

Now we know where the calculators go: is this not the very definition of calculator heaven?

Re:Doing the right thing (5, Funny)

dwarfsoft (461760) | about 2 years ago | (#41300007)

No Silicon Heaven? That's preposterous! Where would all the calculators go?

Re:Doing the right thing (3, Insightful)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 2 years ago | (#41300115)

Absolutely! Loan them to students who need them. There is no better use.

Re:Doing the right thing (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41300137)

That is what I was figuring. You are a science teacher. You have a supply of calculators that you can loan, what else do you need to do with them.

I mean if you have a huge inventory of them you can share them with other science teachers to share too.

Ti-83's while useful they are only really good for 11th grade-12th grade students. Once you go to college they normally require the higher end calculators (If they still do so, I would except they may be using Matlab or Maple)

In theory they could go to an unprivileged school however the idea of giving stuff to a school sometimes causes more political problems then it is worth.

So just share them with your peers who may have a student forget or loose their calculator.

Re:Doing the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300295)

my TI-83 got me through my BSEE no problem. Most math classes with professors worth anything actually make it pointless to even have a calculator, and generally ban their use...

GOP (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299565)

Send one to Paul Ryan - he could do with help with his math

All you socialists (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299977)

All you socialists could do with some help with your math too. You're always insisting that 2+2=4 and 1+1=2. But we conservative free thinkers know that 2+2 is really equal to 17. Don't listen to the lib'rul media!

Re:All you socialists (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300225)

Yeah, the current math is so much better where 1 + 1 = -16,000,000,000,000.

Do what you're doing! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299567)

I think that loaning them out to needy students is the best possible use for them. Don't change a thing!

Give them to students in need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299571)

Give them to students who cannot otherwise afford them.

continue your lend program (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299573)

continue to lend them out and don't stress if one disappears (or rather: never returns). if you ever figure out who didn't return one, clue in their teacher they're an secret math student?

Build a (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299587)

Beowulf Cluster

how many? (5, Insightful)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | about 2 years ago | (#41299605)

I also have a number of graphing calculators. That number being 1. How many is 'a number'! If its a complex or irrational number, your post would be more interesting. Otherwise, apart from some kind of modern art installation, the calculator lending library you already have seems like a good answer.

Beowulf Cluster (5, Funny)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 2 years ago | (#41299629)

Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of these!

Re:Beowulf Cluster (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299725)

Was imagining a Beowulf cluster when I came here to post. How many would it take to break into the Top 500?

Re:Beowulf Cluster (2)

rjr162 (69736) | about 2 years ago | (#41299735)

You mean like this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Mjn98Bs2Cg

Re:Beowulf Cluster (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | about 2 years ago | (#41299777)

Considering the means of connectivity for a TI-83, the best you can hope for is a bus network.

Re:Beowulf Cluster (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 2 years ago | (#41300117)

Is there a version of unix that would run on a Z80?

Keep loaning them out. (4, Insightful)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41299639)

There are plenty of kids out there whose parents won't justify spending $100 on anything educational, so just keep those calculators on hand in your classroom and loan them out to students who need them. In doing so, you're giving underprivileged kids the same resources that more well-off children always have at their disposal, and hopefully by having the same tools as their peers, you can keep them engaged, interested, and learning.

That's nerd-worthy to me.

Re:Keep loaning them out. (2)

macbuzz01 (1074795) | about 2 years ago | (#41299765)

+1 Insightful to the parent As a fellow nerd in education, keep doing what you are doing as long as it's effective. If you have a surplus of them, contact a colleague and see if they would like some to do the same. If they aren't a useful tool, sell them and buy something that is a useful tool for your students.

Re:Keep loaning them out. (-1, Flamebait)

borcharc (56372) | about 2 years ago | (#41299783)

TI-83's are like $50 now and they are pieces of crap. Tell the kids to buy a real calculator when their financial aid excess comes in. Other then that see if another department has a use for them. The chem department where I am at uses them as data collection devices with ancient and worthless equipment fitting of a TI-83. Perhaps your local ghetto school with children who live horrible lives could use them for the 5 kids who take math seriously there?

Re:Keep loaning them out. (3, Interesting)

Verdatum (1257828) | about 2 years ago | (#41300025)

Please tell me where to get a TI-83 for $50 at a brick and mortar establishment. It is the only bit of technology I know that has been able to maintain it's $100 price tag for twenty years. This is one of the stupidest bits of price controlling ever perpetrated.

Re:Keep loaning them out. (1)

borcharc (56372) | about 2 years ago | (#41300173)

If you must have brick and mortar, any pawn shop will have one. Or you could buy a modern grapher like the Casio FX-9750 for $50. TI does run a racket and they offer a vastly inferior product. I have a stack of Casio's and I am amazed at how cheep they are and how much better they do everything vs the same TI-83 that I used in middle school in 1992. I was helping a kid with some simple math assignment the other day and I was shocked at how ridiculous using the TI product was, gave him a $20 Casio FX-115ES from my pile and he's never looking back.

Re:Keep loaning them out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300309)

Best Buy carries them. But "price controlling?" I don't think that word means what you think it means. A manufacture isn't obligated to limit their profit on an item. In the USA, if they can get it, they're welcome to charge it.

Considering how many students carry smart phones now, I doubt TI will be making them much longer. Teachers will no longer be able to loan a student a calculator, so the student will need a $400 phone with $50/month plan to use that free/cheap calculator app.

Re:Keep loaning them out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300417)

"TI-83's are like $50 now and they are pieces of crap. " only to people that are complete retards that cant do math.

Like you for instance...

Re:Keep loaning them out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300229)

I studied in America, did junior high, and i purchased a TI-82+ which was and still is an amazing device. However, aside from graphically plotting charts a normal 20$ calculator will do the trick. I can understand that some parents don't see the value in spending 100 bucks if their kids are dumb as dirt. A graphical calculator only really become vital in advanced mathematics. Kids should learn to understand the math and not how to use a calculator..

Head counting is a forgotten skill the younglings of today do not possess.

Re:Keep loaning them out. (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about 2 years ago | (#41300419)

There are plenty of kids out there whose parents won't justify spending $100 on anything educational

I still don't see why anyone would need a $100 calculator. I am a Physics student, even been to an olympiad, so I have probably used a calculator more than most of my peers. However, I had a $20 Sharp from elementary school to university, and my classmates had similar ones. In all this time, I've never needed anything except basic arithmetic, angular/hyperbolic/log/exp functions and the value of pi.

So, what have I been missing all these years?

Your duty is clear: (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41299659)

CALCnet [cemetech.net] allows networking of TI-83 and similar calculators with relatively simple external hardware.

With that detail out of the way, you are free to implement a display-wall and/or the most powerful z80 cluster computer in the known universe.

Extra credit, of course, will be awarded if you succeed in writing an xorg driver that can treat an MxN array of networked calculators as a greyscale display of appropriate resolution.

Re:Your duty is clear: (5, Informative)

KermMartian (707470) | about 2 years ago | (#41300227)

CALCnet [cemetech.net] allows networking of TI-83 and similar calculators with relatively simple external hardware.

With that detail out of the way, you are free to implement a display-wall and/or the most powerful z80 cluster computer in the known universe.

Extra credit, of course, will be awarded if you succeed in writing an xorg driver that can treat an MxN array of networked calculators as a greyscale display of appropriate resolution.

As the author of that hack, I solidly second that suggestion. We also have a bunch of other calculator hacking projects that might interest you, like case-modding, adding features likes backlights, PS/2 ports, a touchpad, etc. There was the FloppyTunes project ( http://www.cemetech.net/projects/item.php?id=38 [cemetech.net] ) that lets you play music on a floppy drive with a calculator. Since you have so many calculators, though, CALCnet would be fun to play with, and since we're always looking for people to help with a wireless version of CALCnet, that might be something fun. And no one has written a distributed computation system with CALCnet yet!

Before selling or donating .... (5, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41299663)

... check with your school policies on handling lost and found crap. I assume these were lost on school property, so the school has a say in their disposition.

Loaning is probably OK, but before you donate or otherwise give up possession, check the rules.

Mod parent insightful (1, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#41299785)

You don't want to get fired for trying to do the right thing.

Keep using them as loaners (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#41299685)

I don't know about your school, but in every one of my middle school and high school math classes, students always needed more loaner calculators than they had. (my college banned calculators from math classes, which didn't really hurt since all I took was Calc II).

If you find that students are consistently being responsible and bringing their own, I suggest donating them to another school, so they can get some use from them.

There's not really anything interesting you can do with them - they aren't powerful enough to do anything other than do simple math, or perhaps play a mediocre Wolfenstein clone on (yes, it's real - google "ti-83 doom app"). The displays are shit, the processor is pathetic, and the input mechanism is severely lacking.

Re:Keep using them as loaners (1)

firewrought (36952) | about 2 years ago | (#41299855)

There's not really anything interesting you can do with them - they aren't powerful enough to do anything other than do simple math... The displays are shit, the processor is pathetic, and the input mechanism is severely lacking.

Too bad they can't advance... my android phone is wayyyy more powerful, but for some on-the-fly number crunching, it's hard to beat a calculator with real, physical buttons.

Re:Keep using them as loaners (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41300297)

I am a trifle surprised that nobody seems to have banged out a USB/bluetooth 'calculator keyboard' peripheral(external numpads are a dime a dozen; but I've never seen one with a scientific calculator's complement of operator symbols and things), since building HID devices to spit out whatever keycodes burned into their dinky little processors isn't a wildly expensive process; and would make phone or computer-based calculating a bit more comfortable.

As for dedicated calculators, though, it seems most unlikely: the second you get good enough to help little timmy skip learning in favor of data entry, you can kiss the educational market goodbye, and that is close to being the entire market for calculators, in volume terms... Test administrators can get touchy enough about the pathetic internal storage of the TI-83 and similar, they aren't likely to warm to something that has a radio data link and could trivially be farming out the problems on your math test over the internet to somewhere poor enough that "take a lazy first-worlder's SAT for $50" sounds like a really good idea even to those with actual math skills...

Answer: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299697)

"What is the best use for bunch of old calculators?"

Ummmm..... Math?

On a more serious note, I'll go with Revotron's suggestion of keeping some on hand to give to kids whose parents can't or won't purchase one for them. If you still end up with extras, there are plenty of places which take old electronic devices and donate them to needy families and/or recycle them. Even a non-working device may be useful as spare parts for such places.

Give them to needy students (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299701)

A TI-83 costs $80-$110. Surely you have students in your current classes who can't afford that. If you were to lend one to one of those students, and tell them to keep it at the end of the year, you'd potentially have a very constructive role in that child's life.

Beowulf Clusters (1)

jehan60188 (2535020) | about 2 years ago | (#41299705)

Beowulf Clusters?

Not because it's effective, but because you can!

Re:Beowulf Clusters (1)

rjr162 (69736) | about 2 years ago | (#41299779)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Mjn98Bs2Cg

Give to the needy and nerdy (4, Insightful)

Idarubicin (579475) | about 2 years ago | (#41299709)

I hope that your school system isn't requiring its students to buy expensive graphing calculators out of their own (or their parents' own) pockets, but that's another diatribe.

If you have more calculators than you need for your own lending program, and the other math teachers (if any) at your school are also adequately equipped, then share them with other schools in your area. There's probably a classroom not too far down the road - perhaps across the tracks? - where they don't have a large number of kids carelessly abandoning valuable electronics.

Re:Give to the needy and nerdy (4, Insightful)

gmarsh (839707) | about 2 years ago | (#41300031)

Do this. Talk to the math teachers at your school, find out if they've got any poor students that need them. And find out there's any other schools in the area that would have a use for them.

There's lots of single parents and otherwise poor families that can barely scrape together school supplies for their kids, let alone buy the graphic calculator that they would need to get into a precalc or AP math. Something simple like one of these old calculators could turn a kid's life around. Seriously.

Give them to Charities (3, Insightful)

realsilly (186931) | about 2 years ago | (#41299715)

Donate them to local Charities or over seas charities.
The Lend them out program you're doing works well also.

Silicon Heaven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299751)

Of course there is a Siicon Heaven. Where would all the calculators go?

Red Dwarf vs. Futurama (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#41299833)

What's the difference between Red Dwarf and Futurama?

Futurama has a Robot Hell [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Silicon Heaven (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 2 years ago | (#41299939)

Oh, c'mon, you need more context than that:

Lister: How can you just like, lie back and accept it?
Kryten: Oh, it's not the end for me sir. It's just the beginning. I have served my human masters, now I can look forward to my reward in Silicon Heaven.
Lister: Silicon what?
Kryten: Surely you've heard of Silicon Heaven?
Lister: Has it got anything to do with being stuck opposite Brigitte Nielsen in a packed lift?
Kryten: No, No. It's the electronic afterlife. It's the gathering place for the souls of all the electrical equipment. Robots, calculators, toasters, hairdryers - it's our final resting place.
Lister: I don't mean to to say anything out of place here Kryen, but that's completely Whacko Jacko. - There is no such thing as Silicon Heaven.
Kryten: then, where do all the calculators go?
Lister: They don't go anywhere! They just die.
Kryten: Surely you believe that God is in all things? Aren't you a pantheist?
Lister: Yeah, but I just don't think it applies to kitchen utensils. I'm not a frying-pantheist. Machines do not have souls. Computers and calculators don't have an afterlife. You don't get hairdryers with tiny little wings, sitting on clouds, playing harps.
Kryten: But of course you do! For is it not written in the electronic bible, "The Iron shall lie down with the lamp"? It's common sense sir, if there weren't a better life to look forward to, why on earth would machines spend the whole of there lives serving human kind? Now that would be really dumb!
Lister : Yeah it makes sense. Yeah. Silicon Heaven.
Kryten: Don't be sad, Mister David sir. I am going to a far, far better place.
Lister: Just out of interest, is Silicon Heaven the same place as human Heaven?
Kryten: Human Heaven? Goodness me! (laugh) Humans don't go to Heaven! No no, someone just made that up to prevent you from all going nuts!

Red Dwarf, "The Last Day"

Loaning them out is the best idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299755)

You're doing the right thing by offering the calcs out to students who don't have one.

Doing good > Being a nerd

What I usually do... (5, Funny)

PhotonSphere (193108) | about 2 years ago | (#41299771)

Key in 5,318,008, turn the calculator upside down, then smile with fifth grade satisfaction.

Re:What I usually do... (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 2 years ago | (#41300359)

The font is too good on the TI- series calculators. It doesn't look the same as the 7-segment characters.

Re:What I usually do... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41300393)

Dude. It's a graphing calculator. I'm pretty sure you can draw any shape boobies you want with the right equation.

latest nerd hipster chic (2)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 2 years ago | (#41299803)

I dunno, how about checking what the latest nerd hipster chic is at BoingBoing and modifying the calculator accordingly?

Let's see ...
Cover in leather
Paint to look like R2D2
Haunted Mansion theme.

Yeah, no shortage of nerd things to do to old crap.

I'd avoid using tapeworms. But steam punk might still be acceptable in some circles.

A very calculated question... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 2 years ago | (#41299815)

I'd suggest finding a charity that would provide them to schools in Africa.

Donate them (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#41299823)

If they're solar, donate them to some third world schools.

Chop your finger off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299837)

Because you tore the phone number label off.

Do they blend? (1)

sir_eccles (1235902) | about 2 years ago | (#41299847)

We need to know

TI-83s? Shoot them. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299849)

The most "nerd-worthy" use would be taking them to the local shooting range as plinking targets.

Loaning these to students is doing them a disservice -- get some HPs if you want to do that. (Oh wait, you can't get lost HPs for free, because they're worth keeping track of.)

Anyway, I think TI-83s have Z80 CPUs, so you could always tear them apart and build a sick CP/M machine -- a sibling and I built a YASBEC when we were kids, but there's plenty of schematics for various computers you can choose from. Or, write your own BIOS and load CP/M on the calculator (the signing keys are available now), and spend the rest of your life cursing your tiny screen and keyboard.

I'd shoot 'em.

Bitcoins! (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41299859)

Link them together and use them to mine bitcoins. You might need to pay a few students to type in the numbers, but you will be richly rewarded.

Must be nice (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about 2 years ago | (#41299861)

To teach in a district that has no needy kids and can all afford $100 for a graphing calculator. What's wrong with what you were doing and lending them out to kids who need them?

Donate to third world school? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299873)

Donate them to some third world country / school? Combine it with a project to collect more calculators, I for example, have several collecting dust that I would gladly donate in such a case.

What do you mean there's no silcon heaven? (1)

bigattichouse (527527) | about 2 years ago | (#41299877)

Where else would all the old calculators go?

Give them to a math professor... (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#41299887)

To loan to his students. That's what mine does. And, who wants to spend $100 on a calculator they're only going to need in one class?

Keep on keepin' on (5, Interesting)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | about 2 years ago | (#41299905)

Please keep doing what you're doing. I had my graphing calculator stolen in high school, and was not happy about having to shell out the cash for a new one. I had a test later that day that required one, so I went to the head of the department and she reached into a box marked "graduated" and pulled one out. She put every found calculator that came her way into a box labelled with that year. Four years later she moved it into the graduated box, understanding that the student had since left and would not be claiming their lost property. She simply handed me one and said not to worry about it. A decade later I still use it.

Save a bunch (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41299937)

When you have enough, take them down to the calculator store and trade them for a good one that does RPN [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Save a bunch (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41300289)

Yeah! RPN forevah!

*hoofbro*

What else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41299961)

Put some games on them. Or periodic table software. I love TI-83s, mostly because you can put your own software on it. Had some sort of a skating game on mine at one point. Also Tetris, Falldown, Snake, those pyramid puzzles for some reason...

Cluster (1)

Chemisor (97276) | about 2 years ago | (#41299969)

A beowulf cluster of these could surely run that japanese AI that's so good at passing math tests. Once your school's test scores rise, the federal government will give you more money. Profit.

keep loaning them out (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about 2 years ago | (#41300003)

or give them away to students who need them.

What to do with old TI-83's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300021)

Nuke them from orbit - the only way to be sure

Space! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300037)

Considering the Lunar Module on the Apollo missions had a computer with the equivalent power of a TI-83...the sky is literally the limit.

HdolCl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300055)

Re:HdolCl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300219)

Goat.cx doesn't actually lead to anything shocking at all.
Try goatse.ru instead.

Put on Bubble Bobble (1)

Dwedit (232252) | about 2 years ago | (#41300061)

Put on Bubble Bobble 83 [dwedit.org] for some 2P link game action.

Assembly programming (2)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 2 years ago | (#41300065)

As a matter of objective fact, the nerdiest thing you can do with a TI-83 is to write assembly programs for it on your PC, send them to the calculator through the proprietary* cable (if you've got one) and run them. If you don't have time to do it then maybe you have a student who has time. Challenge your students to write a simple program that draws something on the screen!

*It goes without saying that it would be nerdier if you built your own cable and used that.

Re:Assembly programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300277)

*It goes without saying that it would be nerdier if you built your own cable and used that.

Then why are you saying it?

Calculator porn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300091)

My friend used to draw some mad calculator porn using the draw program. Since you work with kids maybe porn isnt the best idea. Maybe a LOST sign across four calculators that you could hang. Or you could do math formulas and hang it in the classroom. You'd need external power sources. I'd second the comment to ask on boing boing or apartment therapy since slashdot users seem to not be very artistic based on the comments so far.

They're calculators (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#41300097)

5318008 [5318008.com]

Loan them to nerds-to-be (5, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#41300103)

A story I've kept for years as inspiration. A hundred points to anyone who can find the source:

One of the best parts of high school was when my math teacher took a spare TI-83 and let me use it exclusively for the whole semester, under specific terms: Do something awesome with it, and he'd let me skip my final.

Three weeks later, I'd written a small text adventure. A few weeks after that, I had a trading game with a complex market. By the end of the year, I had turned that same trading game into a graphical one, where the goal was to sail around the world buying low and selling high. The more money you had, the more likely you were to be attacked, which also took place in stunning 1-bit color graphics. The game's actions were controlled through a menu system, which was also used to launch the game (as opposed to the various tools I'd written to do my homework for me).

He was impressed, and I was inspired. When I started applying to colleges, I finally knew what major I wanted: computer science.

Keep loaning out those calculators. A student might need one, and not even realize it.

Kindling (1)

hattig (47930) | about 2 years ago | (#41300169)

Actually, I am surprised at the lack of tablet/smartphone graphing applications that replicate and enhance the functionality provided by the dedicated graphing calculators.

Loaning them out when needed seems a perfectly suitable solution to the problem. Maybe get them to write some games - that was popular back in the day.

Or to draw the batman logo as an algorithm.

Beowulf cluster (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about 2 years ago | (#41300203)

Make your own cloud [xkcd.com]

Kids interested in PROGRAMMING! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300327)

The TI-83 and especially the 84 are powerful easy to use and learn devices for programming.

In highschool my algebra teacher actually went into loops, and the math text book had blurbs how to program and i taught myself BASIC that way. Youve got an 8x16 character lcd screen, OR something around 94x180 pixels you could directly address. ie collision detection in a 2d game.

Hey developers, what if you had a pocket sized device you had to carry anyway that you could program on with 0 hurdles. I've passed my calculator down to my brother who used some of my programs as they were and learned from the rest to make his own.

If this inspires you, get an 84 not an 83, its got a better screen, and isnt slow, its got twice the speed and storage. Both are bottlenecks on the 83.

Music clip (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 2 years ago | (#41300361)

Create a clip of the song "I'm the operator with my pocket calculator".

More than just arithmetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41300367)

Eventually, some of those calculators may stop working, Why not expand your pedagogical uses beyond the math/science classroom? Hand the old broken models off to a club like FIRST and let your students get some experience taking apart electronics- even among prospective engineering students, surprisingly few people ever get to do that as kids. Or hand some live calculators off and let your students learn programming.

Helping students to avoid paying for wildly overpriced electronics is a noble goal, but remember that these devices have more classroom uses than just arithmetic.

Question (1)

Dr. Sheldon Cooper (2726841) | about 2 years ago | (#41300399)

Why on Earth would anyone want to miss out on the shear joy of manually working through a maths problem by using a calculator?
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