Although this goes for CAS and nonCAS, I thought it worth sharing and she says it so much better than me.
I was asked a few weeks ago why I use TI Technology in my classroom. I have never felt articulate when it comes to extemporaneous speaking, but I agreed to talk with the reporter because my experience has been that it’s good for me to have to justify what I’m doing in the classroom. Why do I continue to use TI Technology in my classroom when other free technologies are available for teachers and students to use?
A Google search of “technology speeds up life” results in about 142 million results in less than half of a second. What I find in my classroom, however, is that using technology actually slows down the pace.
In the midst of my usual rush to cover all of the required standards, when we use TI-Nspire Technology to explore a difficult concept, the questions that students ask slow us down. The platform that we…
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Wanted to share the good news. One of our science teachers received a grant today for some TI-Nspire CX CAS’s. She plans to use them for data analysis and with the activities from the TI Education website. Hopefully this will catch on in our school and her PLN. This is one small victory for CAS. We can change the educational world one teacher at a time.
We are 6 1/2 weeks into school and it seems we just started. I have convinced one science and one math teacher to Use More CAS. Now the issue is training. With all the webinars, conferences, and of course a regional instructor in the building one would think this an easy task. I have found that is not the case. Finding time during the school year for PD seems to be impossible especially if administration prefers it to be only during off hours. Now I have the dilemma of how to make it easy for teachers to learn more CAS. I go back to my thought from this Summer: Don’t do it all at once, but do it bit by bit. I plan to work on this in the upcoming months. I also need to start thinking about how Use More CAS can be offered in the standard Summer PD. How do I be proactive without being pushy? How do I convince other schools this is worth a day of your time? Only time will tell.
After returning from the USACAS 9 conference, I reflected on the barriers to incorporating CAS into education. The most common thing I heard was the technology was not available. I did not have an answer more than if you get a chance to request technology put it on the list. I was not satisfied with my answer, so I started thinking. Where is the CAS? There is a TI-Nspire CAS app for iPads, TI-Nspire software for computers, and of course the handheld. Easy right? Not if you have only $500 or less to spend for everything in your classroom. If you had to choose between a new computer or CAS, what would you choose? If your school finally were getting wireless slates/iPads with Doceri, would you decline for CAS? There are no easy answers to these questions, but maybe there is a compromise. What if we didn’t push for classroom sets but school sets? What if we asked for the TI-Nspire CAS app to be placed on the school iPad lab? What if the one iPad with Doceri we got for our classroom had the CAS app on it? I think we could still change the classroom environment and open doors. All administrators look at one thing: prove the students are learning. All we have to do is prove the students are learning with CAS, and I believe doors will open. I plan to start by sharing my original TI-Nspire CAS set with fellow teachers. I have upgraded but refused to let the old ones go. Now I hope to give new meaning to recycling.
This blog post is a story that made me appreciate being a teacher after a long, exasperating month. This is the story of a student discovering a CAS device for the first time.
Background: This student is a 9th grader who had me for a class other than his Algebra I class which he took from another teacher. I have my TI-Nspire CAS handhelds at the back on the room on the chargers. All students know them as “calculators” and tend to ignore them unless they are closer than the computer or their phone to calculate.
Story: One day a student was waiting for a group member at the back of the classroom to make a phone call pertaining to a project. He noticed the CAS handhelds and said, “I always wondered what these were. Can I play with one?”
Me: “Of course you can but make sure you do not neglect your project.”
The student turns the handheld on and exclaims, “Cool! I wish I had one of these.”
He continues to investigate the functions of the handheld his other project forgotten. I think to myself, “This is a teachable moment.”
Me: “Do you know those calculators are special?”
Student: “What do mean?”
Me: “Type 1 apple + 2 apple and press enter.”
Student: “Oh my gosh it says 3 apple! What if I add something else?”
Me: “Try whatever object you want.”
Student investigates a little more then says, “I need one of these for my math class. Can I please, please, please do homework?”
Me: “This is not study hall. What about your project?”
Student: “I promise to work harder tomorrow on my project if you will let me do math homework today! please, please, please.”
Me: “I guess.” (I really wouldn’t have passed up a chance to teach a student some math but I didn’t want to give in too easy)
Student gets out math and finds his assignment.
Me: “What are you working on?”
Student: “Quadratics with that equation thingy.”
Me: “Well this particular calculator will allow you to enter your expression and receive and answer in radical form.”
Student: “Really? I want to try.” Student works a few problems and is amazed by the results. The student even uses it to teach another student who was absent the lesson. This went on for a while and I was loving just watching the learning. The student eventually investigated what the graph looked like and why it isn’t always 2 solutions. Then the student made me feel wonderful. He said, “I wish I had you as my math teacher, Mrs. Bonds.” He probably just wanted the handhelds but it blessed me and made my heart swell. I need days like that to remind me why I became a teacher.
This was a precal class but I think would be an awesome activity with Middle Schoolers.
I got to teach one of my favorite lessons in a Precalculus class this week, which I developed several years ago from a paper by Thomas Osler, Fun with 0.999…
We started with a Quick Poll. Students could select as many or as few choices as they wanted.
I shared their responses separated
and grouped together.
In the first class, one student selected all three choices.
In the second class, 5 students selected all three choices.
I set the timer for a few minutes and asked students to think individually about how they could argue their selection(s).
Then I asked them to talk together about their ideas.
I walked around and listened. These are the conversations I heard:
A: 1/3 is 0.3 repeating. 2/3 is 0.6 repeating. If we add 1/3 and 2/3, we get 1. If we add 0.3 repeating and 0.6 repeating, we get 0.9 repeating.
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