Texas Instruments

Trying to get a head start this week.

The e-learning product I have chosen to explore is the Texas Instruments TI graphing calculator.

FACE 1

In Canada, graphing calculators are required or recommended for most provincial high school exams, therefore, the market focus would be K-12 and probably spill over into Higher Education as well.

FACE 2

I would say that the Texas Instruments offers services to their clients. Their website has links for applications and downloads which can be added to the calculators. There are also lesson plans, classroom activities, test preparations for both educators and students.

FACE 3

The buyer differs in each individual case. There is the option for the learner to buy a calculator for themselves; however, a parent most likely will buy the calculator for their child to use in the classroom. Additionally, some schools may purchase a large number of calculators for their students so they will all be using the same instruments. Texas Instruments now offers educator calculators that are only sold to educators and administrators in a school bus yellow color. This enables the distinction and monitoring of school property.

FACE 4

Texas Instruments offer their product and services to many global markets including wired Anglophone countries, European countries with language skills, European countries requiring translation, and Asian countries with quality internet.

FACE 5

Because Texas Instruments has so many markets, I would say that the majority of them would fall under the category of “Market supports export oriented learning technologies and substitution of imports.” There are other graphing calculators and other companies that offer similar products.

FACE 6

Texas Instruments graphing calculators will not replace traditional mathematics instruction. Therefore, it is a technology that works well with an existing, well-developed learning system.

3 comments


1 David Vogt { 09.15.08 at 1:20 pm }

Hi Melissa –

For FACE2, I think it’s closer to say that TI is offering “Content” or “Infrastructure” more than “Services”, but it’s a moot point. The thing to focus on in this question is where they make their money: the website, lesson plans, activities, etc, are all given for free as a way to convince schools to adopt the hardware (which is the point of profit). So TI’s offering is usually referred to as a “solution sale” (incorporating hardware, software, training, services, etc), but they’re really just selling calculators. You could compare this to buying a printer from HP, for example, where they lose money on the printer itself but look to make money over the life of the printer from expensive ink cartridges.

David


2 Melissa Anders { 09.15.08 at 1:38 pm }

Hi David,

I would like to add that based on the information in the “who is the customer” section of Mod 3, TI is a successful business because they are offering something that is appealing to every level of customer. By offering specific color options for educators, they are appealing to the administration who may worry about purchasing large numbers because of the loss or theft that may occur throughout the school year. The website offers resources to teachers which makes it attractive to them. And I remember being in grade 11 and admiring those students who had the TI and knew how to program games on them.
They have definitely packaged their product properly.


3 Jarrod Bell { 09.15.08 at 5:11 pm }

The TI-82 leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I think about it and mathematics instruction in western Canada. Having it as a required item for several different math classes in grade 10, 11, and 12, I believe it becomes something that should be provided by the schools due to the recent court rulings. I wish it would so that we could quickly remove it from the curriculum due to the added cost.

TI did a great job selling their product to the WNCP (http://www.wncp.ca/) and by them including it as an approved resource and having lessons and activities in the A-W textbooks it has handcuffed districts, schools, and students into purchasing these very expensive tools that are poorly used at best (as Melissa mentioned the games which aren’t usually programmed by the student in my experience).

BC has gone so far as to ban it in some classes like Chemistry 12, but requires it in math. A $20 solar powered calculator got me from grade 8 to a BSc in Physics and I have a thorough understanding of graphing unlike many of my students who are dependent on the process and a specific piece of technology. I’m concerned that they are not learning how to graph, just how to use a $130 calculator, and use up a lot of toxic AAA batteries. TI reaps the reward.

There’s my TI-82 rant. So looking back at face 3 I think the buyer in Western and Northern Canada is the WNCP, the parents, students, and schools are just footing the bill.

Jarrod 😉

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