Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A day at the Chicago NCTM Conference

When will it ever end. NCTM continues to need to provide an Internet station because the Chicago Hyatt Regency hotel where all of the sessions were held charges $12.95 a day for Internet access. What is it about fancy money making hotels charging for Internet while the Motel 6s of this world provide it for free? This continues to be my pet peeve ad nauseum especially after I was spoiled in Philadelphia last April at the NCTM meeting where Wifi was not only ubiquitous, but also free. The way it ought to be. How did attendees handle this travesty? One way was to use their smartphones or  tablet with 3G Internet access still not all that evident as I peeked into sessions.
On the positive side the conference appeared to be  well attended. Here is a shot of the audience attending the talk "Math Blogs: Creating a Virtual Community of Problem Solvers" which focused on student blogging at the grade 3-5 level. I was hoping for more discussion about math blogging in general but the turnout was promising for more sessions in the future.

After a quick run through the exhibit hall, I joined Neil Cooperman to prepare for his session entitled The Great Green Globs Contest, and More.

We had a small, but enthusiastic group of educators who once again convinced us of how special this program is in motivating students to do advanced mathematical thinking. The program is available from the authors at Information about the contest is available here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Technology sessions in Chicago

Download program book
The final regional NCTM conference of the 2012-2013 season is at the Chicago Convention Center November 28-30th. You can find a listing of all 222 sessions here. I counted 38 technology oriented sessions (17%) which is business as usual. Except for the Philadelphia NCTM meeting which set an all time record (33%) most conferences to date have averaged about 15% which is too few in my opinion. But this is an ongoing problem. In going through a pile of old articles related to the Standards, I came across "Math Reform: No Technology, No Chance to implement the NCTM Standards, schools need access to technology - and not just calculators." (Electronic Learning, 1993) The NCTM Standards referred to here are from 1989 and though technology and society have changed dramatically in the years since, the use of dynamic technology tools has not changed very much. In the article, Judah Schwartz author of the groundbreaking program Geometric Supposer said: 
"I think computers are a necessary tool for all math curriculum starting at grade 0. A computer is so flexible, so supportive of different scenarios. What's graphing calculators, there's a lot of overhead to learning because you are driving it from an idiotic keyboard. As an interface, it's crummy. I would much rather have three kids on the computer then one each to a calculator." 
It's been 20 years since Judah was quoted as saying that.  All one has to do is look at the keyboard on any school oriented graphing calculator to see that not much has changed since then.

Since is in the business of producing high quality, dynamic software (Sketchpad, Fathom and Tinkerplots) and curriculum support, I always highlight the sessions that include these transformative environments. In Chicago I noted four such sessions (asterisked.) I listed a few others (double Asterisked) that particularly interested me for reasons I explain.

Karen M. Greenhaus

Ryan M. Robidoux, Stephen J. Hegedus and Beste Güçler

Asma Akhras

Ron Lancaster

Priya Nihalani and Michael Mayrath

Christopher S. Danielson and Karim Kai Ani

Josephine Noah

Scott Steketee and Kevin Thompson

Amy Jarrett-Clancy and Jennifer Misong Magiera

Math blogging is rarely mentioned in math conference sessions. Yet, it is the most powerful transformer in math education. I plan to attend and will blog about it.

Mark A. Augustyn and Kathryn G. Shafer

Daniel Scher and Scott Steketee

Chuck E. Emenaker

Pick out the least popular of the three terms mentioned. Tying math in with the popular ones has to be good. I'll catch the beginning of this session.

Neil D. Cooperman (with Ihor Charischak)

We'll discuss our collaboration on the Great Green Globs Contest. Something every math teacher should know about!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2008 revisted - predicting the president

This is an edited version of a blog entry I wrote on November 10, 2008 where I examined the accuracy of the predictions made by the various pollsters at that time. It turned out that "Kid Average" came in a respectable 3rd. This year I'm following Nate Silver's blog and reading his book BTW and as a result I am very confident of an Obama victory. We'll see.

November 10, 2008
I was recently watching a pre-election podcast of the CBS McLaughlin Group show in which John McLaughlin asked Pat Buchanan to predict the outcome of the presidential election.
He said: "The outlook is [a] probable Obama victory." I paused the podcast at that point and thought that what Pat said was not exactly a hard call to make given what the polls were saying. I wondered at that point what he would have said if he was also asked to predict the margin of victory in percentage points. (I found out the answer later in the show but I didn’t know that at this point.) Here’s a summary of the show's pollsters' predictions tha were in the video. The point spread ranges from a low of 3 to a high of 15. I've added an additional pollster "pundit" which I affectionately call "Kid" Average and include this numerical wonder as a candidate for the best estimate prize as well.

A question for you. If we could turn back the clock to before the election results were known, which polster would you have bet on to have made the best projection (i.e. came closest to the final outcome based on the polls provided by McLaughlin?) I would have bet my money on "Kid" Average who as I found out later did reasonably well. (See spreadsheet on left.) According to today's (11/10/08) CNN website Obama won by 6.6 percentage points. I used a simple average of the polls to come up with my prediction.
The pollsters not only use averages but also more sophisticated regression methods to make their projections. Here's what is written in the FAQ page at "In most cases, the numbers are not an "average" but rather regression based trendlines.

The specific methodology depends on the number of polls available.
  • If we have at least 8 public polls, we fit a trend line to the dots represented by each poll using a "Loess" iterative locally weighted least squares regression.
  • If we have between 4 and 7 polls, we fit a linear regression trend line (a straight line) to best fit the points.
  • If we have 3 polls or fewer, we calculate a simple average of the available surveys.
So it's possible for students to see real applications of these techniques as they learn about statistical methods. Plenty of math here for students to sink their teeth into where the technology is integral to the discussion. Oh, yes. What prediction did Pat make in term of points? Check it out in this next clip. It sounds like John and some of the others could use a math tuneup or two.

 If you are one of those "I can't get enough of this" folks, the drama of the election is still playing out in some corners especially the race for the Senate in Minnesota. Currently Norm Coleman leads Al Franken by 206 votes! See for the latest details.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Technology related sessions in Hartford

As you may know one of my hobbies is to keep track of the number of technology sessions at the annual meetings. In Philly last April more than 35% of the sessions made mention of the technology as a major player in the gist of their talk. Scott gave me a heads up about the drop off in the regional conferences.
"...Still, for the most powerful and popular dynamic mathematics programs to be so poorly represented raises questions about our commitment to helping our students become proficient in the technology tools that allow them to construct their own mathematics and/or conduct their own independent investigations. In today's technology-infused world, we seem to be sending a message that the top math technology tools available to our students, the ones that best encourage mathematical autonomy and creativity, are not important enough to use in math class."         
-Scott Steketee (taken from previous post)
I didn't track the sessions in Dallas earlier this month but I did for the Hartford NCTM Regional conference happening this week October 24-26, 2012.  I counted 38 tech related sessions which is only 16% of the total sessions.  I like to doing a wordle ( of the key words in the descriptions of the sessions because it gives me a perspective of what technologies are significant. (See image on left.)
Wordle of all tech related key words
Since technology covers the complete array of electronic tools it always appears the most when I do a tech key word search. TI-Nspire and the graphing calculator has the edge on competing technologies. That makes sense since graphing calculators are the least expensive, most portable pieces of electronics. As Scott noted and I now confirm very few sessions involve the use of dynamic software which allows students a more active role in creating mathematics.
Sketchpad was mentioned once and Geogebra apparently didn't make the cut. Here's a pdf listing of the tech sessions.

If you are going to Hartford please report on your experience of the conference the tech sessions you attend. We need to collectively voice our thoughts about this lack of constructionist type learning. Twitter (hashtag #nctm) is excellent way to voice your thoughts about the conference.

Here are my choices from the list of 38 that I would attend if I was there.
Listing of all sessions.
cc blog 118

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

NCTM Regionals have too few technology related sessions

Scott Steketee

Scott Steketee who is one the chief architects of Keypress's prolific source of quality support materials for Geometer's Sketchpad has been reviewing the program offerings of the upcoming regional meetings and has raised some concerns that I would like to share with the CLIME & NCTM communities.

Scott writes:
The Dallas NCTM Regional seems to have relatively few technology sessions. For instance, of the 231 sessions, there are only eight that explicitly support leading dynamic mathematics software such as Sketchpad, TinkerPlots, Fathom, Cabri, Core Math Tools, GeoGebra, and the like. Hartford is even worse; I can find only two sessions that support any of these tools. (I don't take much solace in the fact that both Hartford sessions use Sketchpad.) I have not yet looked through the Chicago program; I hope it is better. Both the Dallas and Hartford conferences also include sessions that refer to using graphing calculators and/or Web apps, and I recognize that it's not always clear from a session description what technology might be involved in the presentation. Still, for the most powerful and popular dynamic mathematics programs to be so poorly represented raises questions about our commitment to helping our students become proficient in the technology tools that allow them to construct their own mathematics and/or conduct their own independent investigations. In today's technology-infused world, we seem to be sending a message that the top math technology tools available to our students, the ones that best encourage mathematical autonomy and creativity, are not important enough to use in math class.          -Scott Steketee
 This is disappointing to hear. After what I thought was a very technology oriented conference in Philadelphia I just assumend that things would continue in a positive direction. I'm attending and co-speaking at the Chicago regional and will certainly have a lot more to say about it then. In the meantime I plan to follow what teachers are  saying about the regionals on Twitter (NCTM) and will report back to you.

If you are speaking on a technology topic at the regionals please let me know and I'll list it here. Also, take advantage of Twitter to promote your session. Just post your information @NCTM in Twitter.
cc blog 117

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Noon day project - September, 2012

Twice a year I give a shout out to all that can hear about my favorite collaborative project called the Noonday Project which twice a year has students from around the world recreate measuring the circumference of the earth similar to what Eratosthenes did 2200 years ago. The measurements are done at the time of the Equinoxes approximately March 21 and September 21. (That's because the sun is directly overhead at the equator at those times.) Since I was in Aruba on vacation in August, I thought I would "partner" with my location in Aruba and determine the "north-south" distance between there and my house in White Plains, NY. Here's my data. I know that on August 19th the sun in Aruba when it reached its zenith point in the day, cast no shadow. That means that the sun was directly overhead or another way to put is that the solar altitude was 90º. Last March I measured the shadow to be 40.2º here in White Plains.
The sun angle is formed by the sun's rays and the stick. Getting the shadow length just right is a fuzzy business because not only is the shadow "fuzzy" but it's constantly changing. Getting it when it is at its longest is the goal. That's when the sun is highest in the sky (reaches its zenith.) So with the data I have so far I want to determine the distance between Aruba and White Plains not as the crow flies, but rather when the sun is highest in the sky in both places i.e. north-south distance. Because the earth turns from west to east the sun will be highest in sky first in Aruba, then in White Plains. To find out the north-south distance we will need to find the measurement of the central angle.  (see figure below.)
The central angle equals the difference 
between the sun angles at city 1 and city 2.
The north-south distance is the distance of the arc between city 1 and city 2. (1º of arc is approximately 111 km since the circumference of the earth is approximately 40,000 km and there are 360º in a full circle.) So 28º is 3,108 km which is the north-south distance from my hotel in Aruba and my home in White Plains.
The central angle is the difference between the sun angles in Palm Beach, Aruba and White Plains, NY (City 2.) Why? See this description.

Not too late to join the project. Sign up your class here.
Also, Eratosthenes measurements, September 21.9.2012, Medvode, Slovenia on Youtube.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I Voted for Steve Leinwand for President-Elect. But Will he Deliver?

Steve Leinwand
In my last blog entry I highlighted Stanford professor Jeremy Bailenson and his keynote speech for the upcoming  NCTM regional conference in Hartford entitled  “The Virtual Revolution in Teaching and Learning.” I said, if ever mathematics education is to get out of this era of doldrums where the Common Core (business as usual) Standards is the major rallying cry, it will be lead by linchpins like Jeremy Baileson who are creating disruptive forces that will eventuallly change the face of math education. Which brings me to my curious endorsement of Steve Leinwand for President-Elect of NCTM. Steve's track record certainly makes him highly qualified. His talks are inspiring and he pushes for the teaching and learning of math to dramatically improve at every turn. He's laid out his arguments extremely well in his latest book “Sensible Mathematics Second Edition: A Guide for School Leaders in the Era of Common Core State Standards.”  But looking at the larger picture what he is arguing for may not be so sensible and reasonable after all.

In the description of Jeremy Bailenson’s talk in Hartford he writes that "virtual reality will transform curricula, assessment tools, and the very nature of student/teacher relationships." Steve argues as most endorsers of the new Common Core Standards do, that the Standards, if achieved, will go a long way to help improve the quality math teaching and learning. That's true, but what are the chances of that happening? Based on recent recent history, I would venture to say "Little to none." Why? Because it requires all teachers to become in a way super teachers. And that implies that things will only truly get better when Super-man and woman arrive on the scene. Though that would be lovely, most likely it would only happen in the movies. The grammar (Larry Cuban’s definition) of most schools will maintain the status quo by tweeking the new Standards into something that will pretty much look like the old Standards.  And, of course, we have business as usual.

The Math 2.0 vision as CLIME has been endorsing since 2009 means taking a bold, new direction outside the box. The pieces of the true 21st century "curriculum" are out there but don't as yet breathe life into learning. Yes, the Common Core can help to improve the teaching of algebra, for example. Hung Hsi Wu's ideas are well incorporated in them. His belief is that, if we just improve how we teach algebra using (his) better textbooks, then we will achieve the Standards. The answer lies not in getting the teaching of algebra done right or the books for that matter (there are plenty of traditionalist who think the texts were better in the 1950s) but rather envisioning curriculums that make algebra interesting, useful and empowering to students. The architecture for building this kind of "curriculum" has been around since John Dewey's day but is now becoming more “real” through the power of emerging technologies. Seymour Papert wrote in 1990 that the Standards at that time were a move in the right direction, but were way too conservative. Technology is changing the world around us, yet our schools stay stuck in the Standards Era where Algebra rules and is the gatekeeper to future success. Whats next when this lastest version loses its shine? A shinnier retread? Is that the best we can do?

We need to move in a direction of what of I like call the Wannado curriculum - paths of study for kids that they actually want to do. These paths can take on many diffferent forms where the math is learned from the “outside in.” In this model learning and teaching should:
  • go hand in hand. Teachers are mentors and advisors. They do not have to be subject “experts” but rather excited about the subjects they encounter and are learners themselves who model what it means to be a good learner. 
  • be student driven. Students have a much greater input into what they learn and how they learn it.
  • be project based. Students choose projects with the help of their teacher advisors where they can pursue meaningful activities.
  • offer needed feedback for both teachers and students. It should be performance based that shows competency (for both teacher and student) in the project they are working on. Bottom line: the teacher is an expert in learning. If a teacher doesn’t know something that’s pertinent to any activity she and students can research the answer. Effective Googling strategies are important 21st century skills.
Quality, genuine joint student and teacher journeys in learning should be THE core Standard for the 21 century. Emerging technologies make this more possible than ever before.

Note: I'm currently working on a book about the Wannado Curriculum. See a preview in my other blog.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Keynoter at NCTM regional in Hartford's topic "The Virtual Revolution of Teaching and Learning"

Accolades to the Hartford regional NCTM conference program committee for their choice of topic for the keynote presentation. If ever mathematics education is to get out of this era of doldrums where the Common Core (business as usual) Standards is the major rallying cry, it will be lead by linchpins like Jeremy Baileson who are creating disruptive forces that will eventuallly change the face of math education.

Blurb from regional conference preview:

Join Us in Hartford
At NCTM’s Regional Conference you’ll sharpen your skills, gain new techniques, and achieve your professional goals. Hear the latest from leading experts in math education, and learn the best strategies to help your students succeed. This is one math education event you can’t afford to miss!

Program Highlights
Opening Session
, Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Virtual Revolution of Teaching and Learning

Jeremy Bailenson, Stanford University

Jeremy explores how virtual reality will transform curricula, assessment tools, and the very nature of student/teacher relationships. Bailenson is founding director of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab and an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford.

Get a preview by watching his 2009 presentation on Youtube.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'm back from vacation to find out that I'm locked out! See you in September.

This is what I get for putting off the Mobileme demise deadline on June 30th.  They weren't kidding. Everything that begins with is now closed to me. I feel like I've been evicted. Until I get my act together those links on my resources pages that start with the above domain go nowhere. I may be up all night fixing this. To see what I mean click on this link:

7/12/12 - Starting to move all my files to It's going to take a while. Sigh. It would have been so much easier if I had done this in more timely fashion. Happy Vacation!!! See you September. -Ihor

Monday, May 7, 2012

NCTM Conference 2012 Debriefing Webinar - May 9 2012

Ellluminate Session Topic 
"What were your highlights at the NCTM conference in Philly?" 

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 
9:00pm EDT
Archived recording is now (5/10/12) available: Link
Session will be summarized in a future CLIME Connections with list of resources.

Join David Weksler and me as we host a discussion/sharing session on highlights of the recent NCTM conference in Philadelphia. Please bring with you any references to blogs or tweets that you have posted about the conference. You can enter them in in the chat window during the seminar in real time or send them here via a reply to this blog entry. You can also send them to me at or on twitter @climeguy. (Include the hashtag #nctm12)

If you can't make it on Wednesday, I have set up a Google Docs form for you to share any interesting links  to blogs, etc. that you have discovered or created yourself related to the conference. I will summarize all entries on my next blog. 

Note: Make sure you have a working microphone so you can share during this Webinar. (You can test your microphone setup before the session starts at the link above. The Math 2.0 gang will be there at 8:30pm so come early for the presession festivities.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Greetings from Philadelphia where the NCTM Web 2.0 Experience was Awesome

If you stumbled upon Booth 1211 (Pearson Photo Lounge) in the exhibit hall you too could have been on the cover of a post card! The photographer did a marvelous job of wiping out all my wrinkles so I now prominently display it in my office here in White Plains, NY where I'm furiously debriefing the conference. (I started in the previous couple of blogs, but this one continues my story.) For me everything that happened at the conference pales in comparison to the excitement I experienced to be a fully equipped Math 2.0 Educator. Since my goal was not to just learn from the experts who were presenting, but from the "wisdom of the crowd" as folks used the free Wifi to blog and tweet from pretty much anywhere in the conference. I have attended almost all of the conferences since 1986 and this is the first time I was truly excited about how technology via Web 2.0 tools enhanced the NCTM conference going experience. Along with mine I'll be sharing your thoughts, comments and stories related to how technology enhanced the experience of being at the conference. Please share your links to your stories by tweeting #nctm12 or adding a comment below.

A great website for reviewing all the tweets is Go there and enter nctm12 and relive the experience.

NCTM Conference 2012 Recap-Wifi makes a hugh difference!

What a incredible conference from a Wifi perspective. Live tweeting during the sessions added a postive dimension never seen before at an annual meeting. Unless we want to go downhill from here, Wifi is a must in Denver.

Are you sharing your take on the conference you just attended? Please tweet the info with the hashtag #nctm12 and/or in a reply below. I will be sharing them in this blog post.

Dan Meyer's tweets on Steve Leinwand's talk. Also it was a surprise to me that Steve was the kickoff presentation for the learn/reflect Strand - not Tom Dick as previously advertised.

Here's a blogpost from Mike Thayer taking advantage of the ubiquitous Wifi to post his thougths before his internal engine conks out completely:

I'm sitting in the BuzzHub at the NCTM national meeting in Philadelphia. It's Friday a bit before 5 PM, and I'm beat. I've had a few thoughts before I head out for home.... read more

Conferences as Professional Development?
By Karen Greenhaus
Last week was a crazy, hectic and tiring week at both the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM)  and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) conferences. read more

to be continued...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blogging from the conference

I attended the wrap up session for the Technology Learn/Reflect Strand yesterday at the NCTM conference. The attendees were sorted into three groups for folks interested in middle, high or elementary grades. I was in the middle school group which was led by Mike Gould a member of the Professional Develpment Services Committee of NCTM. It was great. I was sorry to leave before it ended because I had to get back to my booth. Mike masterfully constructed a fascinating conversation around the 4 questions that helped organize the technology  theme. In fact it was so good that I told the group as I was about to leave that if I was starting a middle school I would hire every single one of them with a starting salary of $100K. Needless to say I got everybody's attention.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wifi in Philly - some bad news? NO!

Thu 11am 117A (CC)
Flash News! Wifi is available at Convention Center - Day 1!

Previously - At the moment I'm working on my presentation and as is my usual practice I'm creating a related website which contains links to all my relevant references during my presentation. Since there is never any guarantee that Wifi will be available in the conference room that I'm speaking in (or any conference room for that matter) I checked in with NCTM and got this reply:
At this time, the Pennsylvania Convention Center does not offer daily internet rates or allow for individual connections throughout the conference. There is complimentary wireless in the concourses, overlook area, and BuzzHub.  The only way to obtain internet in a meeting room is to order it for each room. Ihor, the rates for room 107 A/B are:Wired 1.5 mb/s: $,1050 Wired 784 kn/s: $735 Wireless: $,1000
A grand for wireless! How nice for the convention center to be so considerate. Last June when I spoke at the ISTE conference in the same convention center free Wifi was available in all the conference rooms. To be fair, I don't expect NCTM to shell out the kind of money that ISTE (a tech organization) does. Some day it will be as common in rooms as electricity but more convenient. So much for my having a Twitter backchannel* for my talk. You can use your smart phone to tweet, but it's not the same as with a larger device. You can if you have an iPad with 3G or you can always run out to the concourse to tweet. For those in the know,

Colin Graham will host his weekly #mathchat Twitter session next Thursday 4/26/12 at 8pm EDT in the topic of using Twitter at math conferences. I hope to "see" you there.

Math bloggers 
Since math blogging is pretty much invisible at this conference (no session even mentions it), I'm going out of my way to promote it at the CLIME booth, during my talk and at the BuzzHub. Please spread the word that you are an active participant in the online math world. Please let me know if and when you have posted about the conference. You can keep track of the tweeting following #nctm12. If you miss a blog you can always check out and enter nctm12. I will be posting links to your blogs as soon as I get them.

Things to do
Visit the BuzzHub 
We want to give NCTM some feedback on how well it works for you as a Web 2.0 math conference participant.

Participate in the conference with Twitter 
Make your voice heard! Just type a message in Twitter and end it with the hashtag #nctm12. (Check out current tweets or go to to see all the tweets posted so far with the nctm12 moniker.) We're spreading the message that Twitter can be a powerful tool in professional development especially at conferences like this one.

Other technology sessions at conference
As usual CLIME is posting all the technology related sessions. If you are a speaker you can have yours updated. Give me a yell. or @climeguy
  • Techology Strand Sessions (Thursday) - link
  • All tech sessions  - link
  • Highlighted tech sessions - link
  • CLIME friendly vendors, too - link
It's never too late to update your speaker information. Just let me know.

*"A Twitter backchannel at a conference can provide participants a way to share ideas and resources from the sessions they attend, connect people who might not have connected otherwise, and broaden the conference discussion to include those not physically present."
Source: Encouraging a Conference Backchannel on Twitter - Derek Bruff

CLIME Connections 106

Friday, April 20, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012
9:00pm EDT 
Guest Host: Gary Stager

Gary will be describing a new workshop he has created that is most appropriate for the new vision of the Core Curriculum Standards in Math. It's not business as usual; its a paradigm shift in how we learn math.
Read more about Dr. Stager here

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

CLIME Friendly Vendors @ NCTM Conference & Beyond

Vendor Area in Philly - a Dynamic View
Click on image to visit the area

CLIME will once again be parked in the Exhbit Hall's NCTM Affiliate Row (1300) and will be sharing about Technology's role in creating the Math 2.0 vision for math education. You can see a complete view of the exhibit hall by clicking on the image (to the left.)

Also you can download the NCTM App that has all the sessions and vendors listed. (Info here.)

Right around the corner from CLIME is the new NCTM BuzzHub.

Click above
The NCTM BuzzHub
is an open Wifi area and much more. There is no Wifi available in the conference rooms so the 'Hub is a good place to take advantage of it. Only other places where Wifi is available is in the concourses and the overlook area. While in the 'Hub you can take advantage of other NCTM offerings described here.

The Math Forum
is hosting the Math Pop Forums in Booth 220 in the Exhibit Hall. Feel free to stop by, pick up some popcorn, listen to the short presentations and engage in conversations!

Click on image to visit the area
Key Curriculum Press is now Key Curriculum
Visit us at booth #902 in the Exhibitor Hall to check in with us and see what's new! You can play with Sketchpad, Fathom, TinkerPlots, browse activities, and ask questions in the booth, or we can direct you to excellent presentations on Sketchpad, Fathom, and TinkerPlots.
Don't miss our annual Technology User Group meeting on Thursday evening! Join us in Salon H at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown for drinks, snacks, and eye-opening presentations from your peers. Finally, you can learn more about the Dynamic Number project and KCP Technologies’ other NSF-funded project, Data Games.

Mind Institute - Booth 728
Keith Devlin writes: "The designers at MIND put symbolic representations to one side and develop new, native representations of basic math skills so their young learners can "play" with the mathematical concepts themselves. Only after a child has demonstrated mastery of working with the concept is she or he presented with the symbolic representation for the same operation." Video tour of ST Math

Booth 448

For more about their participation at NCSM and NCTM click here.
Booth #1217
Audrey Weeks, author of Calculus In MotionTM and Algebra In MotionTM will be exhibiting in #1217

Exhibit Booth # 1228

Get the “Good Stuff!”  Drop by and say hi and let us show you around! Visit our booth and get a personal tour of Mathlanding. Come with curiosity and questions, and leave with experience and answers.
Though Karim Ani will not have a tent set up in the exhibit hall you will find him speaking/participating at these venues: 
NCSM Sessions
213: Real-World Mathematics with Mathalicious (Tue 8:45 107)
345: Math Learning 2.0: New Opportunities for Collaborative Teaching and Learning with Internet-Based Tools (Wed 2:45 113C)
364: Ignite! Speakers (10) Enlighten the Room with Fresh Ideas in Mathematics (Wed 4:00 105)
NCTM Session
582: Real-World Mathematics with Mathalicious (Fri 3:00 108B)

Booth 1206
Wowzers combines adaptive math instruction with engaging, game-based collaboration using the Cloud. As a free trial user, you have full access to all content for grades 3, 4, and 5 until May 10, 2012. This includes lessons, practices, games, quests, quizzes, homework, and other printable materials. Come visit at our booth #1206

More to be added. Let me know if I leave you out. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thoughts about Alternatives to the "Royal Road" to Calculus

Continued from previous blog: Math Awareness month begins... what I would like to focus on is the third point NCTM made in the quote above: Technology as a tool should [..] influence what mathematics is taught. What mathematics should be taught in the 21st century? Should some of our sacred cows topics take a back seat? My take is that the math topics don't matter as much as long as they are embedded in interesting contexts that engage students in learning; mostly through well crafted projects. This will prepare students to effectively deal with the challenges of 21st century life. Can we collaboratively build towards this vision? cc blog 96

The NCTM president Michael Schaughnessy wrote this message to lead off this month's NCTM Summing Up newsletter:

Some Thoughts on Calculus and a Thank You!
Calculus is often viewed as the entry path to college mathematics. However, a high school calculus course should not be the be-all and end-all of mathematics, nor should it be the only transition path from high school to college mathematics. High school mathematics should prepare students not just for further, specialized study in mathematics but also for the variety of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers and other professions that will be open to them in the future. Recently NCTM and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) crafted a new joint position statement on the role of calculus in the transition from high school to postsecondary mathematics. 
Both NCTM and the MAA have found evidence that there are a number of strong mathematics students who successfully finish calculus before or in college and then happily announce that they “never have to take another math course!” As a result, we are losing large numbers of highly qualified mathematics students very early in their college careers. Many of these students are strong candidates for possible STEM careers—some of our best students, in fact. Also, we may be turning a number of potential mathematics students off by pushing them through years of a repetitive and overly narrow, algebra-focused mathematics curriculum, which doesn’t give students sufficient opportunities to broaden their horizons in other areas of mathematics, such as in various geometries, discrete mathematics, statistics, or linear algebra (February 2011 President’s Message, “Endless Algebra,” also discussed this pitfall). Read the entire message.
From "Endless Algebra" (Michael Schaughnessy, 2011):
[...]The Common Core State Standards provide us with an opportunity to rethink the sequence of school mathematics, as well as a challenge to provide exciting new pathways and transitions from high school to college mathematics. We need to offer students alternative pathways as they make their transition from secondary school and into colleges. The mathematics paths that we provide for our students need to prepare them for existing fields that are changing rapidly, as well as for emerging fields—and for fields that don’t yet exist. In my view, the current deadly sequence of ever-repetitive and out-of- touch experiences in algebra—the sequence intended to lead students to a single variable calculus course—will not accomplish this goal. It is time that we replace the eternal algebra transition from high school to college with some viable and exciting 21st century mathematics alternatives.[...] 
For me this change is long overdue. What are your thoughts?
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Celebrating Math Awareness Month - NCTM's technology themed annual conference

CLIME Connections continues to chronicle the road to the Final Four days of the 2011-2012 NCTM's Technology themed conferences culminating in Philadelphia this month. It all started last fall with the regional conference in Atlantic City where CLIME exhibited, followed by events in St. Louis and Albuquerque where attendees participated in a one day Learn/Reflect strand of technology themed sessionsFour guiding questions were posted and were used as talking points at a debriefing session held later that same afternoon. This will be repeated in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 26th starting at 9:30am with a kickoff presentation given by Thomas Dick and followed by 24 sessions from which you can choose to attend. Though it's only possible to participate in few of these sessions, collectively we hope to gain from the "wisdom of the crowd" as folks will meet up later in the day for the debriefing session at 3:30. I hope you attend and let us know how it went. (See list of all 26 sessions.) If you are one of the speakers (of any technology themed sessions) and would like to update the listing let me know and I'll update it immediately.

Dan Meyer heads up a list of highlighted speakers in Philadelphia
There are plenty of other technology related sessions. Some of them were highlighted by NCTM. Here's CLIME's list of technology Linchpins who will be speaking out about effective ways to use technology that are changing the teaching and learning of mathematics.
Recent talk
Dan Meyer shared with me that "it would be great to recruit bloggers to attend each of those talks, write a review, take a photo, grab supplemental resources, etc. Something that will add value after the conference." I hope you can help with this. Let me know if you will be blogging about the conference sessions in Philly.
For those of you who haven't seen Dan in action, here's a recent presentation. His NCTM talk #474 on Friday is "Why Students Hate Word Problems."

My biggest disappointment about the upcoming NCTM conference is that there are no sessions (including mine which I just corrected on the CLIME listing) on how math blogging is changing the landscape of math teacher's professional collaboration. I definitely will bring it up at my session. Mike Thayer (session 153) has posted his thoughts about the upcoming conference here.

Conference highlights rewind from previous blog entries
  • See Conference online Program book. Unfortunately, the final physical program book won't be available until the conference starts. But you can get a listing of all the sessions from NCTM search page or if it's technology sessions you are interested in here's the full list
  • Speakers can upload handouts on the NCTM speaker site. Instructions are here. As of today only 9 speakers have posted. I hope NCTM will contact the speakers again about this before the conference begins.
  • What kind of technologies are showcased at the conference. Check out the stats at Blog 100.
  • Technology theme discussion blog 96.
Here's the comment/reply I just posted at blog 96:
Math Awareness month begins... what I would like to focus on is the third point NCTM made: Technology as a tool should [..] influence what mathematics is taught. So what mathematics should be taught in the 21st century? Should some of our "sacred cow" topics take a back seat? My take is that the math topics don't matter as much as long as they are embedded in interesting contexts that engage students in learning; mostly through well crafted projects. This will prepare students to effectively deal with the challenges of 21st century living. Can we collaboratively build towards this vision? Other opinions? Please reply.
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