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A brand new tool for students

Dear Editor:I recently received a grant from the Aspen Education Foundation to purchase a set of graphing calculators and a TI Smartview, which is a smartboard-compatible, interactive display for graphing calculators. As soon as the software arrived, it was being used in the classrooms for investigation and instruction.When it comes to instructional innovations, it is important to avoid embracing technology for the sake of embracing technology. Does this innovation add value? (If all this accomplishes is increased calculator usage that isn’t really a success.) The point of this innovation is two-fold: to enhance students’ understanding of key concepts, and to increase students’ awareness of the applications of technology in the real world.So far, the combination of TI Smartview and graphing calculators has allowed students to experiment with random variables in order to gain a better understanding of the laws of probability. It has also given students a tool for modeling phenomena such as population growth and the correlation between absences and grades (which is negative, by the way).It is apparent that this is a powerful tool for addressing the needs of students with varying levels of fluency with technology and mathematics. The format of the new software allows a student to move at his/her own pace through activities, while receiving instruction from the teacher. Thank you to the Aspen Education Foundation for helping us to add something powerful and meaningful to our classrooms.Jamie Hozackmath teacherAspen High School


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