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» World Maker Faire 2014 Starts Today
» Beyond Graphing: Teach Students Programming with Calculators
» Super Smash Bros. Open Promoted to Member Feature
» Spirographing, More TI-84+CSE Educational Programming
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World Maker Faire 2014 Starts Today
Published by KermMartian on September 20, 2014 at 9:02:07 AM CST | Discuss this article (16)
Cemetech is participating in its third World Maker Faire this weekend in New York City. Five Cemetech staff members and users will be showing off graphing calculators as programming tools, DIY electronics platforms, and pocket computers that can be made to run a staggering array of applications. In previous years, we have spoken with teachers interested in teaching calculator programming in the classroom, students who learned to program playing with TI-BASIC on their calculators, and old-school hackers impressed with the versatility of z80- and ARM-based TI calculators. We hope to bring you excellent stories and many more excited programmers by the end of the weekend.
World Maker Faire 2014 is being held at the Hall of Science in Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, New York. It is open this Saturday and Sunday from 10am. You can find us in the middle of the Faire, near the Disney tent and the rockets. Come say hello if you visit the Faire!
Beyond Graphing: Teach Students Programming with Calculators
Published by KermMartian on September 12, 2014 at 5:57:05 PM CST | Discuss this article (1)
[Editorial] Beyond Graphing: TI Calculators Teach Students Valuable Computer Programming Skills
If you've spent any amount of time here at Cemetech, you've probably heard me on my soapbox for the importance of introducing students to coding, programming, and electronics as early as possible. Among the general public, the growing interest in learning to code has been particularly focused on job and career opportunities. It is easy to understand why: the number of jobs for programmers and computer scientists is rapidly increasing, with demand far outpacing supply.
But there are broader reasons for learning to code. By learning to code, people learn many other valuable life skills. In addition to learning mathematical and computational ideas, they also learn strategies for logical reasoning, solving problems and sharing ideas. I know from personal experience that graphing calculators, especially TI calculators, are a powerful tool to expose students to the exciting world of computer programming. From the moment you turn on a graphing calculator, students have all the tools at their fingertips to learn, write, test and debug programs. Not to mention, they can share their masterpieces with their friends to spark rich discussion about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Most frequently, we introduce students to programming with the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition or TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition graphing calculators, and it's also possible to learn with the TI-Nspire CX. Here's why TI graphing calculators are a valuable teaching tool for introducing students to the basics of programming:
Every Cemetech staff member now knows many programming languages, as most of us are professional computer scientists or electrical engineers or are in graduate school. Without graphing calculators, though, most of us would not have been exposed to programming as an exciting learning platform, hobby or career path. Almost invariably, my colleagues tell me their careers and interests were born on a TI graphing calculator in a high school classroom. The story is often that experimenting with programming commands or exploring existing programs on a graphing calculator sparked a general curiosity in programming. As students, they challenged themselves to create bigger and more elaborate programs, then discovered the larger online graphing calculator programming community and learned even more while showing off their projects. In a recent Cemetech topic, scores of current calculator programmers and students told the same tale.
We will be demonstrating TI and other graphing calculators as a programming platform at World Maker Faire 2014 in New York City on September 20 and 21. I am excited to once again expose thousands of kids and adults to the value of learning to program on a graphing calculator. I strongly encourage you to stop by and post your tale or questions here if you have any experiences of your own with programming calculators or are curious to learn more.
Let's get more kids coding!
Programming the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus: Learn TI-BASIC for the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus/TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition.
Using the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus: Learn to use your TI-83+/TI-84+/TI-84+CSE for math and science.
Cemetech Forum: A resource for asking programming questions, sharing projects, and more.
SourceCoder 3: Work on TI-BASIC programming projects online, import existing programs, and export programs for your calculator.
jsTIfied Calculator Emulator: Emulate a graphing calculator in your browser (requires a legal ROM image from your physical calculator).
Classroom Activities: Downloads and material from Texas Instruments.
Cemetech Archives and ticalc.org Archives: Educational programs, games, shells, and more for TI, HP, and Casio graphing calculators.
Spreading the word about graphing calculator programming at World Maker Faire 2013
Super Smash Bros. Open Promoted to Member Feature
Published by Hayleia on August 25, 2014 at 2:10:53 AM CST | Discuss this article (33)
Good news everyone! Hayleia's Super Smash Bros. Melee clone, Super Smash Bros. Open has been promoted to a Member Feature, a feature Cemetech has been neglecting a bit lately. For those who don't know, Member Features are those projects that have been judged by the administrators and moderators of Cemetech as projects that show great promise, good planning, and have been undertaken by experienced, reliable programmers/modders/community members. Super Smash Bros. Open has everyone excited, so check it out in the discussion link, and congrats to Hayleia--keep up the good work!
Spirographing, More TI-84+CSE Educational Programming
Published by KermMartian on September 7, 2014 at 2:08:18 PM CST | Discuss this article (18)
I was inspired to write a program to simulate the classic Spirograph toy after an email exchange with a parent who just bought a TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition. He wanted to help his daughter get inspired about math and graphing, and asked me if I knew of any program to draw Spirograph-like graphs. Unfortunately, I did not, so over the past week I whipped up a program that lets students explore hypocycloids and epicycloids, the types of parametric curves generated by a Spirograph. In fact, even in writing Spirographing v1.0, I learned a lot about these types of curves, and I hope that some intrepid students will explore my code and see how it works. I know that many teachers will give their students specific sets of equations to graph to see the cool curves that are generated, but with TI-BASIC programming, it's easier for students to experiment with parameters and see how the resulting graphs change.
Which brings me to the larger point of this news item: it's important to Cemetech and its staff that students continue to be exposed to the excitement of programming, logical thinking, and other STEM subjects at an early age, and we continue to think that graphing calculators are one of the best ways to do this. From a practical standpoint, from the moment you turn your graphing calculator on, you have all the tools at your fingertips to write programs of your own from scratch, test them, debug them, learn from your mistakes, and share your masterpieces with your friends. We feel that a number of the entries in Cemetech's twelfth programming contest embody this spirit of fun yet educational calculator programs, and Spirographing and the upcoming Graph3DC represent two more ways graphing calculator programs can take math even further. I urge you, my fellow calculator programmers, to continue to explore some educational calculator programs alongside your usual excellent games and utilities, so we can raise awareness in math and science classrooms about how valuable of a teaching tool graphing calculator programming can be.
Now, my challenge to you: Post your calculator programming success story in this thread. Long or short, I want to hear how you got into calculator programming, and how it helped you later, as a student, as a professional, or as a person.
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