Lucas Allen of TechPoweredMath, whom we got to meet this weekend at T3, posted an article on his blog speculating about whether the CollegeBoard will soon allow touchscreen/pen-based calculators on the SATs. The CollegeBoard has long banned calculators with any of these features:
A QWERTY keyboard (presumably so people can't type out the exam questions to bring out of the exam with them)
Displayed digits taller than 1 inch or having a tilted display (so people behind you can't read what you're doing)
Has a pen or touch input (also so you can't copy out problems and diagrams?)
Needs a power outlet, uses paper/tape, or makes noise
From those requirements, you can see a lot of the reasons why our favorite calculators from Casio and TI look and feel the way they do, why the TI-Nspire has an ABCDEF (not QWERTY) keypad, why our calculators have never had speakers, and why they all lack touchscreens. You can read the CollegeBoard's full calculator policy for the SAT here, if you're curious about the full requirements and the list of acceptable calculators.
A representative of the Bach Company at T3 2013 told Mr. Allen that with Casio's new color, touchscreen ClassPad fx-CP400 calculator, which Cemetech revealed shortly after the first TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition revelations, the CollegeBoard may well remove the restriction on touchscreen calculators. If this turns out to be true, then the ClassPad fx-CP400 might turn out to be a more popular calculator indeed. In addition, this raises questions about whether the TI-Nspire might soon get a touchscreen, and if the rumored "TI-Nspire CX Premium" will be a touchscreen TI-Nspire calculator. Tom Reardon, a teacher who spoke to Cemetech about the TI-Nspire Apps for iPad on TI's behest, mentioned that many students who use the TI-Nspire CX for the first time see the color screen and immediately try to touch the screen. Perhaps this is where the future of handheld calculators is headed next?
Be sure to weigh in in the attached topic; what do you think? Is the CollegeBoard likely to allow touchscreen calculators any time soon, and if they do, will TI and Casio respond with more touchscreen devices? Do you think TI already has prototypes waiting in the wings?