I attended the Arkansas Curriculum Conference last week, and it was awesome as usual! Thanks to Lynne and all the people that put it together. There were several sessions I wanted to attend and had to choose. From all the sessions I attended and presented, I gathered a common theme: Students learn more when they create the “rules” themselves.
By “rules” I mean properties, algorithms, theorems, postulates, etc. This is why CAS should be a part of every math and science classroom. CAS can enhance any lesson and any activity to draw those conjectures from the students and motivate them to discover the “rules” for themselves. In my sessions I met the same old stereotype that the TI-Nspire CX CAS is just another calculator. I hope I enlightened some educators to the fact that CAS devices are a teaching and learning tool not just a calculator. If you are assessing the students on if they know their multiplication facts, do not give them a device. (Just to be clear I have strong opinions on this topic and am in no way advocating requiring students to memorize facts.) If you are assessing the students on how well they understand the math, having a device should not matter if you ask the questions correctly no matter what it is called. CAS devices such as the TI-Nspire series are TOOLS and should be used appropriately and strategically…Did I just quote a best practice? (MP5 for CCSS and computer algebra system is stated specifically under this practice.) Feel free to check.
In closing I enjoyed all of the sessions and appreciate the educators who attended mine. A special thanks to Linda Griffith for leading the ACTM group and Tony Timms for being my sidekick in my sessions. See everyone in Orlando!