15 May 2013

DEWALT Mobile Pro iPad Calculator - Demon or Delight?

Note: I have no affiliation with DeWalt - I just love calculators!

This is either the best thing to ever happen to tech school, shop/engineering courses, and applied mathematics, and maker spaces or it will go largely ignored in education.

You have to choose sides with the DEWALT Mobile Pro Calculator - do you think its necessary and helpful for your students to memorize formulas, conversions, and common reference measurements and values, or would you rather take the memorization time and errors away so you can spend more time doing real (ugly, scary, student-centered) stuff? [I know, like I really gave you a choice, eh?]

There is so much loaded in this app! It opens right to the main content screen and you find a scrolling menu on the lefthand side that seems to have all of the calculating options.

"Hmm. Pretty extensive," you think. "Wonder when I'll get to the in-app purchases."

And then you keep scrolling. And keep scrolling. I wasn't going to list all of the functions you get for FREE in the app because it's a long list, but look at this!

  • Loan Compare
  • Notches/Holes, Joists
  • Notches/Holes, Studs
  • Wall Opening
  • Rough Opening
  • Studs
  • Volumes, Various Shapes
  • Areas, Various Shapes
  • Perimeters, Various Shapes
  • Pythagorean Theorem
  • Gross Profit Margin
  • Cost of Acquisition
  • Marketing ROI
  • Trim, Casing
  • Trim, Crown Molding
  • Trim, Running
  • Odd Shape, L
  • Odd Shape, U
  • Odd Shape, Multiple
The calc has templates AND overviews built in -
Your students can pick up the concepts behind the templates
along the way

[Still there? Keep scrolling!]

  • Roof Gable
  • Stairs Landing Height
  • Baluster Spacing
  • Common Differences, Rafter
  • Rake Wall
  • Roof Underlayment
  • Rafter, Common and Jack
  • Roof Hip/Valley
  • Deck Footing Size
  • Roof Conversions
  • Deck Boards
  • Deck Load
  • Roof Shingles/Square
  • Roof Dormer Ridge Board
  • Stairs
  • Ohm's Law
  • Floor Joist Span
  • Total Gross Wages
  • Deck Post
  • Calculator
  • Concrete Slab
  • Drywall, Total LF
  • Paint
  • Area Conversion
  • Auto Lease
  • Auto Loan
  • Concrete Bags
  • Date Conversion
  • Discount
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Gravel/Stone
  • Length Conversion
  • Mass Conversion
  • Mileage Reimbursement
  • Mortgage
  • Compound Annual Growth
  • Percent Change
  • Sales Tax
  • Savings

[You can do it! Almost there!]

  • Seller's Net
  • Temperature Conversion
  • Volume Conversion
  • Energy Conversion
  • Force Conversion
  • Power Conversion
  • Pressure Conversion
  • Velocity Conversion

This list does not even include the more specialized electrical, business, concrete, carpentry, landscaping, etc packs that you can add on.

Much like when students still need to know what to put into formulas on exams when they have formula sheets (statistics, geometry), whoever uses this calculator must still have a brain and know what they're entering into the template and why.

If your goal is to assess students' memorization of facts and figures and hand calculations, then this app isn't for you. I were teaching engineering, electronics, or technical courses, I without a doubt would want my students to download this calculator to their favorite devices. If you are a math or science teacher that wants to explore more project-based learning, this app would answer a ton of your "what do we need to know" questions. If you aim to get your students solving real problems and applying real principals to their problem-solving toolbox, you should give this a try.

At the very least, download it for yourself! (or your favorite tradesman, handyman, or do-it-yourselfer)

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Thanks for sharing!