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FSX wrote:
[rant]


I don't know about the students at your school, but at mine, ever since graphing calculators were added to the curriculum, everyone I know has been enamored with the idea of putting Mario on their calculators. Just because the majority of TI users don't care to learn how to program, it doesn't mean they don't directly benefit from the large hacker community surrounding their calculators. While it wouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker for students who need one for a few courses or a job, it's definitely a selling point to students who have access to in-class calculators. If they bring in their own, it can have Tetris on it!
Sorry, I wrote that too cynically. In my experience, I have known two or three people who took interest in their calculators beyond what they could do as interactive calculators. One wanted to sell math helpers; the other started writing a game and abandoned it 4 years ago. I'm not sure about other places, but creative or gaming-related calculator uses are rare here, and so this sort of thing would have almost no influence.
It's typical for each school to only have 1 calculator programmer that is really into it. At mine, nobody ever released anything in the years I've been there. The closest I ever saw was an Illusiat 6 mod that I only heard about for a few weeks before it stopped showing any sign of life.

However, many people liked to play calculator games during their 2nd year of hi-school. By the 2nd half of their final year, however, only girls seemed to play them and all they were playing was Tetris.

It is made even worse now that many schools no longer require parents to buy calcs but rather lend calcs to them. In most cases, the calcs do not come with a link cable and the only way to buy a link cable without having to buy a calc is online.

By the way those are the calcs that I have seen in hi school and college from 2001 to 2004:

1st: TI-83 Plus (the majority of people had those)
2nd: TI-80 (even in classes where the minimum requirement was TI-82)
3rd: TI-82 (mostly original model)
4th (far behind): TI-83 (only ever saw 1 person with it)

Note that the 84+ and 89 Titanium weren't sold here until 2006 and the Nspire 2008. I never saw anyone owning a TI-86 nor 89, and in recent years where I saw students do homework, I mostly saw TI-83 Plus calcs. The TI-73 was never sold here.
I blame the largest drop-off in calculator programming to the availability of smartphones. Once, to entertain themselves in class, many students turned to calculator games, and a decent percentage of them got curious enough to explore what made them tick. Now, smartphones are so ubiquitous among young people that they rarely have the opportunity to play games on their calculators and subsequently learn to program them. It's quite a shame. Sad
Smartphones are one cause, continued lack of encouragement towards technical careers (as a result of wages of lower than finance and marketing jobs, even if neither can exist out of the blue without technical grounds) is another cause.
Lionel Debroux wrote:
Smartphones are one cause, continued lack of encouragement towards technical careers (as a result of wages of lower than finance and marketing jobs, even if neither can exist out of the blue without technical grounds) is another cause.

I second both of those. While you can program smartphones, you can't program them on the smartphones very well at all, not to mention that you have to go through a bureaucracy or do a little digging to even start in some cases. And a friend of mine only quit Computer Science because business people make more - a real shame, because it shows that he's willing to sell his soul, more or less. I know I have to pay the bills, but I just want to have fun doing it.
  
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