And such an instrument I was to use

When I went to secondary school I had an electronic device. It could:

  • add
  • subtract
  • divide
  • multiply
  • square root
  • store one number (until it was turned off)

It made some of my maths and science easier to do. It cost around half the average weekly wage at the time. Despite the behaviour issues created (children writing ‘boobies’ and other random words on the screen) similar devices went on to become a compulsory requirement for all school children to have on them at all times.

Some children in todays schools are using a (slightly smaller) device that is a:

  • calculator (with all the above and many other functions)
  • camera (still and video)
  • television
  • jukebox
  • notepad
  • dictionary
  • thesaurus
  • diary
  • telephone (voice and video)
  • (n) asynchronous communications device
  • storage system to archive their work
  • world-wide, searchable, zoom-able atlas (with images from every street in many countries)
  • geo-location device
  • library
  • stop-watch
  • watch
  • language translator

It is also what John von Neumann would have called a Electronic Computing Instrument, so can be programmed to do many other things which link together many of the above capabilities. There are hundreds of thousands of simple applications available.

In real terms it costs roughly the same as my original device.

I wonder when it will become compulsory for all students to own one?

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