National conferences advocate technology-integrated learning
Math teacher Jane Gillespie directs a session at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference in San Diego, April 21-24. She provided hands-on lessons about how to incorporate technology, namely the TI-Nspire program, in the classroom.
In an effort to improve the math department, teachers Jane Gillespie and Mike Fenton attended and presented at two math conferences in San Diego, April 19-24.
The participation in these events underscores an ongoing relationship between Gillespie and Texas Instruments (TI).
At the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) conference, held April 19-21, Gillespie presented a session entitled "Teaching Difficult Algebra and Geometry Concepts."
This seminar focused on "how to improve student learning using technology," she said, with special emphasis on TI-Nspire technology.
"These are the resources that I have been using in my pilot programs here," Gillespie said. "The participants got hands-on experience using the Nspired Web site, as well as the handhelds (i.e., calculators). The feedback from the math leaders and supervisors there was positive."
For another event, from April 21-24, Gillespie participated in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) conference. She manned a TI booth in the exhibit hall and provided 40-minute sessions on Nspire technology.
"I had a shorter amount of time to present, so the sessions were fast and to the point; very hands-on," Gillespie said. "I talked to many teachers throughout the three-day period who were very interested in math Nspired and excited about using the resources in their classrooms."
In addition to presenting at both events, Gillespie attended various sessions to learn about teaching strategies and technology integration.
"When I wasn't presenting, I was able to attend the conference as a participant," she said. "I sat in on some really great sessions about teaching your students to think smarter mathematically, using different forms of assessment, and how to incorporate the use of SMART Boards and other technologies like it."
Calculator technology promotes learning
Since engaging in a pilot program last year to test calculators, Gillespie has spearheaded the integration of new technology in the classroom.
"The sessions were fast and to the point; very hands-on. The feedback from the math leaders and supervisors there was positive." --Jane Gillespie, math teacher
She and her students have experimented with the TI-Nspire calculators, which are now required for all high school-bound students. These devices provide activities to enhance the learning process, she said.
"It's like taking a computer program that's interactive and putting it on a calculator," Gillespie said. "There have been certain activities - for example, finding the area of different shapes - that get them [students] to see how the formulas were created. They can take a figure, rotate it and change the angles, and see what happens to it."
Since applying this new technology, Gillespie has noticed improved performance from her students, she said.
While at the conference, Gillespie trains visitors on how to use the TI-Nspire calculators and resources in order to improve student understanding of math. She has represented the school at various events over the course of her tenure and will soon become a T-cubed instructor for Texas Instruments.
"The majority of my students pick that [material] up much faster and remember it more than they have in the past," Gillespie said. "Not every student responds that way, but I think that, for the majority of students, it definitely increases their learning."
While this technology largely has been applied to high school math, Gillespie hopes to implement programs for her junior high classes next year.
"All of my resources have been used for the high school classes, so I'm definitely excited about getting the junior high to use them [programs]," Gillespie said. "This summer I'm planning to go through and get the programs ready and synced with the SMART Boards."
Gillespie plans continued involvement
In order to further her role in math education, Gillespie will attend leadership training this summer in Dallas to become a Teachers Teaching with Technology (T-cubed) instructor.
The T-cubed program aims "to provide quality professional development that enables the mathematics and science educator to be successful in the classroom through the appropriate use of technology," according to its Web site.
After completing the training, Gillespie will act as a representative for TI throughout the Valley.
"This [training] will allow me to lead professional developments around the Valley for Texas Instruments," she said. "But I'll probably continue to speak at national conferences as an instructor."
For more information on the math department, read the April 22 article, FC conquers Math Field Day. For more information on innovate teaching, read the Feb. 26 article, Fenton leads math trail-blazing.