Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2013
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RealCalc Scientific Calculator

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Fantastic, free math tool just as good as the real deal

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Grades
8-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Having a scientific calculator right on a student's Android device is convenient and affordable (free!).

Cons: As with any scientific calculator, there's a learning curve to be able to use it properly.

Bottom Line: RealCalc is a handy, affordable scientific calculator for students and adults.

Classrooms already equipped with Android devices can save the hassle of keeping up with scientific calculators and the expense of separate purchases and use RealCalc. At no cost, it's a fantastic bargain, as is the very reasonable paid version, RealCalc+ -- which is needed if students work with fractions, for example.

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RealCalc is a fully featured scientific calculator app that can serve as a replacement for a stand-alone scientific calculator for many kids. Features include traditional algebraic or RPN operations, unit conversions, percentages, various display modes, trig functions in degrees, radians, or grads, and more. The paid upgrade adds features including fractions, degrees/minutes/seconds, and customizable unit conversions and constants. A calculator help section gives written instructions on how to use each of the 10 modes, and the calculator holds a results history in its memory.

The settings menu allows students to customize a few specifics to make their calculation entries more efficient based on their preferences (like swapping the % and 1/x functions or using a long click instead of the shift key). The help function, which explains how to use each operation of the calculator, is especially helpful when students need a reminder of how to use the tool properly.

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RealCalc is a real scientific calculator, just like the name states, and students will find it useful in advanced math and science courses. It can be a good substitute for kids to use in place of a stand-alone scientific calculator, as it has all the same features. Kids can use it on the go instead of carrying around a bulky calculator, and it's as easy to use as the real deal.

Its usefulness also hinges upon whether kids already know how to use a scientific calculator; they may want to practice a bit on the real thing at first.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Teens who enjoy higher math will find RealCalc fascinating. For others, it will just be a useful tool for completing schoolwork.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Although RealCalc is meant to be used as a tool more so than for instruction, teens can learn how to use technology to find answers. Advanced math learning is baked into calculator use, as kids experiment and explore features.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

The calculator holds results history in memory for the past 10 functions. Instructions for how to use and enter equations are available in the help section.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

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Featured review by
Maria H. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
3
Nice free basic scientific calculator

It's a nice for a free app. It's a basic calculator app with the appearance and style of a traditional hardware calculator. There are some settings to customize which mode needed for the math you are doing; however, it's features are limited to that of what a general calculator can do. If you are needing just a basic scientific calculator, RealCalc should suffice.

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