Welcome to Tech Powered Math. Since 2010, I’ve written about my passions of mathematics, education, and technology. 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.
Today, I find my writing patterns beginning to shift, as I’ve been studying in the Johns Hopkins Data Science Specialization on Coursera. While I still have a passion for communicating about mathematics and technology, I’m now working towards a data/analytics position.
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 changing my major and earning a bachelor’s in mathematics, and eventually a master’s degree in mathematics 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 some web design basics, something that’s been helpful to me with this blog. I was also able to teach an engineering section of calculus in the the university math department, where I was named to the university’s list of outstanding instructors.
My “Recent” Past
After a few years in nearby Danville High School, in 2004, I moved 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 a conference where TI showcased 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 for our students on that test and others.
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 7 consecutive regional championships and been the top public school in the state of Illinois for 5 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 area, private schools, and lab schools, yet we’ve consistently beaten these schools despite their superior resources.
Shortly after winning the state title, Morton handed me the responsibility of implementing an AP Statistics course, one primarily intended for students that had never taken honors math classes. The material and the challenge of the audience were instantly appealing. When the results came in at the end of the first year, 87% of our students had achieved a 3 or better vs. 59% nationally, and we had a mean score of 3.4 vs a national mean of 2.85.
But along the way, I found myself wondering how much farther I could go with the statistics content I was using with my students. That has led me to my study of the R programming language, the Johns Hopkins Data Science Specialization, and I hope ultimately, a new career.
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. With my recent studies, my time for reviews is quite limited right now. 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.
Lucas Allen–Tech Powered Math
techpoweredmath via gmail