Dave Grochocki, a senior program manager at Microsoft, said that Microsoft is looking forward to including a graphing mode to its calculator application in the hopes of helping students in algebra. The graphing mode will allow users to enter multiple equations in the calculator and have them schemed as a graph, which is relatively similar to Matlab's Plotting Mode.
"High school algebra is the gateway to mathematics and all other disciplines of STEM. However, algebra is the single most failed course in high school, as well as the most failed course in community college," Grochocki said (via The Washington Post).
According to Grochocki, physical graphing calculators are costly, while software solutions, on the other hand, typically require licenses and configurations from school IT departments, which are not always an option for most students. He also mentioned that the idea of adding a graphing mode stemmed from the requests of open-source contributors on Github.
Grochocki argued in his proposal that graphing mode will not only help students learn linear algebra easier but will also assist them in more advanced mathematics and other science courses. Multiple research studies have shown that graphing calculators promote conceptual understanding of developmental math students.
Other than suggestions from Github users, Microsoft also took into account the user requests that were received via its Feedback Hub app. Interestingly enough, a graphing calculator was also one of the most requested features by Feedback Hub app users.
Graphing Mode To Bring A Multitude Of Benefits
Other than the said upsides, the graphing mode is also expected to support the common core math curriculum of the United States. Among those include the ability to create and interpret functions as well as comprehend quadratic, linear, and exponential models.
Howard Wolosky, a senior software design engineer of Microsoft, stated that the company plans to utilize a third-party graphing engine to help users in rendering their graphs. Wolosky added that the primary focus of the development efforts will be centered on boosting the user's experience rather than the development of the program itself.
He also mentioned that Microsoft will be releasing more information included in the documentation of the program once the feature branch is built. In addition, users can likewise choose to export graphs to make it easier for them to share it with their team members.
By the same token, the graphing mode is also capable of easily tracing plots to allow users to completely understand the relationship between variables in the equation on the graph. On top of that, the Windows graphing mode also gives the means for users to change the graph viewing window and alter the line visual options to effectively characterize multiple plots.
Graphing Mode Release Still Unknown
As of this writing, Microsoft has yet to release a timetable about the shipping of the Windows Calculator graphing mode feature. At present, the Github issue is currently marked as pre-production.