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Over the thirteen years I have been programming graphing calculators, I have heard endless variations on my own tale of success. Members from around the world have told me how they too picked up their calculators, started teaching themselves programming, and learned a skill that is now their job, a beloved hobby, or frequently both. I was therefore thrilled when the editor of McGill University's Technophilic magazine asked me to write about my experiences as a graphing calculator programmer and a programming teacher.

As I discussed in the popular Cemetech op-ed, "Casio Prizm: Why TI Calc Coders Should Abandon the Nspire CX", I believe that graphing calculator companies, Texas Instruments and Casio included, have a duty to promote their devices as platforms for learning programming. They are relatively cheap, ubiquitous, and superlatively portable. Though the TI-Nspire has since gained the Lua programming language, my point remains: a huge number of students gain their first exposure to programming by way of their trusty graphing calculator. Just this Christmas, I started talking to a new acquaintance, a photographer, who had his own story of programming solver programs on his calculator to check his work in class.

In my article for Technophilic, "Self-Teaching a Love of STEM: A Personal Tale", I talk about how I first got into calculator programming, how it led me to be an engineer, a computer scientist, and a passionate teacher. I discuss Cemetech and my recently-released Programming the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus, and the importance of instilling a passion for programming in future generations. Give it a read, and I'd love to hear your opinions and your own thoughts on the responsibilities of graphing calculator companies in the attached thread.

Read the Article
Read "Self-Teaching a Love of STEM: A Personal Tale" [On Cemetech]
Read "Self-Teaching a Love of STEM: A Personal Tale" [On issuu.com]
Technophilic Magazine Fall 2012 Issue

Wait, McGill uni in Montreal??? Shock

Nice stuff Kerm, although if it's the Montreal university, it's even better because calc-related stuff gets no attention in Canada normally (especially Quebec).

I have skimmed through it and it seems like a very interesting article you wrote, but I'll read it more thoroughly later. Smile
DJ_O wrote:
Wait, McGill uni in Montreal??? Shock

Nice stuff Kerm, although if it's the Montreal university, it's even better because calc-related stuff gets no attention in Canada normally (especially Quebec).
The very same McGill. Turns out the editor in question is a one-time Cemetech member, no less.

Quote:
I have skimmed through it and it seems like a very interesting article you wrote, but I'll read it more thoroughly later. Smile
Thanks, I look forward to your feedback and your own thoughts.
Nice one, Kerm. That was a brilliant read, I found it really inspiring. In some ways, I could relate it to my own personal experiences. I agree with you about TI's stupid (for want of a better word) attitude towards the NSpire. If they condone the teaching of STEM, then why are they removing programming functionality? They just contradict themselves. If you own an NSpire, its a powerful piece of kit, lots of RAM and storage space, and the killer feature, a colour screen. To me, that makes a perfect vessel for learning to program with. Let's hope that TI actually make the 84+CSE a STEM friendly device, and actually give it decent programming functionality (like the 83/84+ family) rather than locking it down like the NSpire.

On a completely different note, I think you should write a follow-up to "Programming The TI-83/84+". Rather than focusing on BASIC it should focus on ASM.
Thanks for the kind words; I'm glad your experience matches my own. Regarding a follow-up book, I wish I had the time (and audience) for that, but sadly, I think it wouldn't be worth any publisher's investment. I am planning on overhauling the TI-83+ ASM in 28 Days tutorial at some point, though/
That would be cool. When do you plan to do so?
Relevant (thread). A concerted group effort to overhaul the thing would be great.
Tari wrote:
Relevant (thread). A concerted group effort to overhaul the thing would be great.


My ASM knowledge is limited, but I can try to be of some assistance if you like.
Back in the olden years of '06, I joined Cemetech. Before then I was pretty set on becoming an architect (and there is nothing wrong with architecture). But here I am, many years later, a CS student, presenting my CS research at a conferences and what have you this coming year. Largely the fault of elfprince13, kermmartian, and calc84maniac.
Pseudoprogrammer wrote:
Back in the olden years of '06, I joined Cemetech. Before then I was pretty set on becoming an architect (and there is nothing wrong with architecture). But here I am, many years later, a CS student, presenting my CS research at a conferences and what have you this coming year.
Congratulations on the progress, and good luck at the conferences.
Quote:
Largely the fault of elfprince13, kermmartian, and calc84maniac.
Happy to be of service. Smile I hope we have expanded your horizons technically and socially.
That was a great read, it really does relate to hundreds of similar stories, mine included. (I went from calculator games to arduino uno!)

Overall, very inspiring. 10/10 would be inspired again.
I'd love to read it, unfortunately the site's blocked in China for whatever reason.
chickendude wrote:
I'd love to read it, unfortunately the site's blocked in China for whatever reason.
How frustrating! I can't think why it would be blocked. Maybe I can get them to give me a PDF of the two-page spread I could re-host here.
That would be great. A lot of times image/document hosting sites are blocked. It's the entire site (issuu.com) that's blocked, not the article itself.
chickendude wrote:
That would be great. A lot of times image/document hosting sites are blocked. It's the entire site (issuu.com) that's blocked, not the article itself.
Interesting. I've emailed the editor of Technophilic; I will post an update if I'm able to grab that PDF.
*bump* Chickendude (and others), I just wanted to mention that I was able to get a PDF from the editor, shrink it down from 1.5MB to 181KB, and host it here on Cemetech:

Read "Self-Teaching a Love of STEM: A Personal Tale" [On Cemetech]
I found this to be a great read, minus the anti-Apple FUD which I complained about on Facebook. It's cool to see Cemetech's influence extending beyond the Internet.
elfprince13 wrote:
I found this to be a great read, minus the anti-Apple FUD which I complained about on Facebook. It's cool to see Cemetech's influence extending beyond the Internet.
Thanks, I agree how cool it is. Also, I don't want to start a big think about it, but I'm not sure I'd call the following FUD slash unjustified:
I wrote:
A year and a half ago, I wrote an editorial criticizing Texas Instruments, who had taken a nearly Apple-esque position in locking down their new TI-Nspire graphing calculator.
I don't want to start a big thing either, since this is the wrong thread to talk about Apple, but I thought it was FUDy to compare a company that sues hardware owners for developing 3rd party OSes as a hobby to a company that allows owners of their hardware products to run OSes developed by direct competitors. Sony would have been a better villain to compare them too. Look at my follow-up comment on your Facebook post for a more in depth conversation so as not to distract too much here.
  
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