TI-30 Launched Electronic Calculating in the Math Classroom #makereducation

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As a part of its This Old Tech series, EdTech Magazine takes a look at how the TI-30 model made calculators a staple in math classrooms across the country.

From the abacus to the slide rule, tools for calculating have been around since ancient times.

But it wasn’t until the 1970s — when many companies began introducing handheld calculators — that K–12 schools started using electronic tools in the instruction of arithmetic.

In 1975, when a Science News article estimated that there was one calculator for every nine Americans, the National Advisory Committee on Mathematical Education suggested that students in eighth grade and above should have access to calculators for classwork and exams. By 1980, they extended that suggestion to all K–12 students; just six years later, Connecticut was the first state to require calculators on standardized testing, reports Hack Education.

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