Texas Instruments Introduces Tool to Help Students Learn Coding

Texas Instruments has introduced a new learning tool designed to help students learn more about coding and engineering design.

The TI-Innovator Hub is a box, small enough to fit into a student's hand, that has a built-in microcontroller that integrates with and plugs into a graphing calculator that Texas Instruments also produces, the TI-84 Plus CE or the TI-Nspire CX.

The device is a spinoff of the more sophisticated TI LaunchPad Board that engineers use to design everything from smart watches to 3D printers.

With the ultimate intention of helping students develop science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, they can use it, for instance, to learn how to write a program that plays a single musical note and eventually put together sounds at different frequencies to create an entire song.

The TI-Innovator has been designed with middle and high school students in mind. Consequently, it is enclosed in a durable case to protect against wear and tear, and it can be shared and used by several students at once.

The product was part of a pilot experiment at Heritage Middle School in Deltona, FL.

"Before, I really wasn't interested in what programming was," said Heritage eighth-grader Jasmine Jones-Pas, "but after I started working with the Innovator, it was like a whole new world was opened."

TI Education Technology President Peter Balyta said, "The TI-Innovator allows students to get hands-on with technology and not ever realize they are learning important STEM principles, like coding, that they need to be successful in the classroom today, in college tomorrow and in their careers in the future."

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.