Well, TI came to my AP Calculus workshop today and presented their new TI-Nspire, and we worked through a few activities using the CAS model. It definitely operates differently than their calculators and it took a bit to figure out some things such as how to enter a piecewise function (you choose a template) or where the inequality symbols were located. The lesson that we tried had too many glitches in it which didn’t create a great first impression; I’ve been told that the lessons on TI’s website work well but haven’t tried one yet.
Here are some observations from my limited session, the good (+), the bad (-) and the undecided (?):
(+) I like being able to enter the equation on the same screen where I view the graph.
(+) I liked the way that graphs can be dragged and manipulated using the cursor, BUT…
(-) The drag/manipulate feature was rather touchy and seemed a bit cumbersome on the handheld. All of these features seemed like they would work so much better using the Nspire software on my Hitachi Starboard rather than using the handheld.
(-) I don’t really care for the separate raised alphabetic keys. Maybe I just have to get used to it and I think I could live with it, but my first reaction is that it makes the keypad too busy.
(-) The non-CAS model has an interchangeable keypad which turns the Nspire into a fully functional TI-84 emulator, but the CAS model has no such option. I use the TI-89 Titanium and think the CAS model should be able to emulate the 89.
(?) I’ve been told that you can link multiple representations of a function but the lessons we tried like this didn’t work correctly. 😦 Supposedly it is possible though.
(?) I didn’t get a chance to save data and return to it later, so no comment there. Of course I can see possible uses for this feature, but I have no idea how easy or complicated this really is or how much easier cheating will become because of this feature.
I’ve been told that it can do some great things but my verdict is still out for now. It won’t be replacing my TI-89 Titanium tomorrow.