Teacher shares TI-Nspire experience, aims to improve understanding
In her pre-algebra and geometry classes, teacher Jane Gillespie tests the effectiveness of new Texas Instruments products. Based on her experience with the TI-Nspire calculator, she will present a session at the T-Cubed International Conference in San Antonio, TX, over Feb. 24-27.
To further her abilities as an instructor, math teacher Jane Gillespie will attend the 2011 T-Cubed International Conference in San Antonio, TX, over Feb. 24-27.
This will be the third time Gillespie has participated in the annual T-Cubed ("teachers teaching with technology") conference put on by Texas Instruments, a major producer of calculators and math-related products.
Because she is a member of the T-Cubed program, Gillespie helps to test the company's latest calculator technologies, such as the TI-Nspire, in her classroom. After she became a T-Cubed regional instructor last summer, she gained the opportunity to present a hands-on session at the upcoming conference.
Gillespie's presentation is entitled "TI's Math Forward Program: A Classroom Experience with TI-Nspire Technology." In this session, she will describe her experiences with instructing pre-algebra using TI-Nspire technology.
"Last summer, when they [Texas Instruments] were writing the Math Forward program and activities, I was on the writing team, so that's why I was asked to teach the session," Gillespie said. "I'm presenting pre-algebra-level activities from a classroom perspective, since I've taught the material in a real class."
Activities at the conference
Each day of the conference consists of specific events. On Thursday, T-Cubed instructors have the opportunity to enhance their professional development by learning about new Texas Instruments products, how they work and the best ways to use them in the classroom.
For those who are not T-Cubed instructors, the conference officially starts on Friday, when educational sessions are offered to attendees. Gillespie looks forward to this conference to improve her understanding of the calculators and her techniques for teaching junior high classes.
"I am going to try to focus all my go-to sessions on the TI Navigator system," Gillespie said. "It's the one [calculator] that we have, but right now only half of them are working. I want to go and figure out how to fix them and get them to operate better. I would also want to take a couple of sessions on intermediate math, because everything is so high school-focused that I like to try and learn more on a junior-high level."
At last year's National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics conference, held April 19-21, Gillespie presents a session entitled "Teaching Difficult Algebra and Geometry Concepts." She will give another math presentation at the upcoming T-Cubed conference.
At the end of the conference, the company will host a sit-down dinner and silent auction for the instructors, the proceeds from which will be donated to support breast cancer awareness. According to Gillespie, the fundraiser's motivation is connected to members of the program.
"As far as I know, there have been one or two TI instructors that have battled breast cancer, so they're doing it in honor of them," she said. "They do it purely to raise money and awareness."
Benefits of attending
According to Gillespie, around 300 instructors across the nation make up the TI instructor community. Members find the conferences useful to learn about recent advancements in technology.
"Anyone can go, so there will be math teachers from every level of math," Gillespie said. "Also, an administrator might come to see if the technology is worth spending money on for their schools."
Through the conference, Gillespie aims to glean perspectives and concepts from her fellow TI-Nspire instructors.
"I hope to gain a better understanding of what makes up a great teacher," Gillespie said. "At the conference, spending time with teachers across the nation and hearing how they teach makes me want to learn new ways to get better at my job."
For more information, read the May 5, 2010 article, Gillespie innovates math instruction.