Welcome to Tech Powered Math. My goal is to help students, parents, and teachers make informed decisions about math technologies, and hopefully you’ll learn something interesting along the way. I started this site because I realized a lot of my students and their parents felt hopelessly lost when trying to make buying decisions about graphing calculators, online resources, and other educational technologies.
Let’s face it, for a lot of students math is hard. You don’t need it to be even tougher because you can’t figure out the difference between a TI-Nspire and TI-84 or can’t find the right study materials online to prepare for the SAT, ACT, or GRE. The tools are out there; this site can help you find what you need for success.
My “Distant” Past
I’m a guy who started off in engineering at the University of Illinois as a freshman in the fall of 1995. Even though I really enjoyed my engineering classes, calculus in particular, I wanted to do something that connected with young people. After a lot of soul-searching and prayer, I ended up switching my major to mathematics, and eventually earning a masters degree in education.
While at the University of Illinois, I worked at the Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education. There, I had the opportunity to learn about Texas Instruments graphing calculators and their capabilities, and I picked up a some web design basics, something that’s been helpful to me with TPM. I was also able to teach an engineering section of calculus in the math department, where I was named to the university’s list of outstanding instructors.
After graduation, I taught at Danville High School, a school district that features a great deal of socioeconomic diversity. It was there that it became really obvious what a mathematical advantage it is for students to be proficient on their calculators, and what a disadvantage is was to not have access to one. This was especially true in standardized test settings such as the SAT and ACT.
My “Recent” Past
In 2004, I moved on to Morton High School, where I have been ever since. In early 2007, I attended a Texas Instruments “T3″ conference, which moved my proficiency with the TI-84 plus and TI-Voyage to a whole new level. This was also the conference where TI finally unveiled the TI-Nspire, which was quite amazing to all of the conference attendees.
As one cog in an amazing math department at Morton, I have become the “calculator guy,” a somewhat dorky yet endearing title. We’ve made sure our students know all the ins and outs of their calculators prior to taking the ACT (the Midwest version of the SAT), and it’s paid off. Morton students have among the highest math scores in the state of Illinois.
I’ve also served as the math team coach at MHS since 2007, along with my amazing assistant coach Joel Zehr. With the job, we inherited a closet full of TI-92′s collecting dust and set to work training the team with them. It wasn’t long before we realized the power of the TI-Nspire CAS and made the change to the Nspire CAS for the entire the team. Our efforts have been rewarded. When I took over the team, Morton hadn’t won a regional in 14 years and had never placed at state. Our little public school has now won 5 consecutive regional championships and been the top public school in the state of Illinois for 4 consecutive years, including one year (2012) when we were the Illinois state champions. During our time near the top of the rankings, our stiffest competition has primarily been much more affluent school districts from the Chicago suburbs, private schools, and lab schools.
Business Owners, Product Designers, and Advertisers
As this blog has grown in prominence, I’ve been receiving an increasing number of requests for product reviews, sponsored posts, etc. Before contacting me about such requests, please take a minute to read this page I’ve set up that may answer some of your questions.
Tech Powered Math
When I launched this site in the summer of 2010, I was pretty much starting from nothing. In less than a year, I’d been the first to cover the release of the TI-Nspire CX, reviewed countless calculators, apps, and software packages, and covered the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. It’s been a thrilling ride to watch the readership grow.
I hope you will enjoy your time browsing Tech Powered Math as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it. If you are here, you’re probably trying to get your questions answered about what graphing calculator to buy, what test review programs to use, what websites are the best resources, etc. I understand that it’s no small investment, and I’m doing my best to add more information all the time. You can subscribe to keep up to date as new resources are released. The tools and techniques that have worked with my students can work for you too.
Lucas Allen–Tech Powered Math
techpoweredmath via gmail