By Tech Powered Dad | April 16, 2011
Another day has come and gone at NCTM, and frankly, I’m beat. I’ve been on my feet for the better part of two days. I’m looking forward to a little shut eye tonight. Tomorrow is a short day, so I’m planning to sleep in a little later. Today, TI talks to me about the CX, Super Mario Bros disappointments, a search for geometry books, and the Casio booth is hot.
Opening Session: TI-Nspire CX Training
I stopped by an introductory presentation on the TI-Nspire CX this morning with Margaret Bambrick and Ruth Casey. They did a good job highlighting some of the new features in Nspire 3.0 for beginners as well as the TI-Nspire Navigator system. I also was interested to see more about Publishview Documents for the Nspire and the TI-Nspire document player, which is a browser based (“cloud based”) way for students to view TI-Nspire documents.
I also stopped at this session because it gave me the chance to talk with Dale Philbrick, Marketing Segment Manager for Mathematics at Texas Instruments. Philbrick is pleased with the reception the Nspire CX is getting here from teachers at NCTM and says that their training sessions have been well attended. One of the top questions I’m getting now is the release date for the TI-Nspire CX, so I put that one to Philbrick. He said their suppliers have indicated that they should be able to have them available for TI to start shipping to retailers around April 25 or 26, and the turnaround from that point to stores should be pretty quick. I also asked about the CX’s new touchpad, which I can only describe as snappier and more responsive than the original Nspire touchpad, a big improvement. He said it’s a combination of hardware and software improvements they’ve made, and that simply installing Nspire OS 3.0 will allow users of older units to at least get most of the improved responsiveness. CX users should notice improvements to all of the buttons. I’ll let you know a few other tidbits Philbrick shared when I do my NCTM wrap-up.
Mario Dream Dies
Next, my plan was to head to a session called “Using Super Mario with Falling Objects and Quadratics,” which sounded like a really cool session about using Mario to model quadratic and linear systems of equations.
Unfortunately, it must have sounded cool to most of the thousands attendees at NCTM. Despite arriving at the hotel 10 minutes before the presentation, it was already full, so many of us were turned away.
Geometry Textbook Search
Instead, I headed to the commercial exhibits, where all the of the major textbook manufacturers are. The textbook publishers are probably the only exhibitors that have displays larger than the calculator companies. It’s not enough to just have a good book nowadays. You are expected to have good supplemental materials like internet resources for kids, test generating software, etc., and they’re all on display here at NCTM. My school will need to replace its 20 year old geometry textbooks at some point in the next couple of years, so I started checking out what out there. We have a pretty rigorous proof class now, and we’d like to maintain that while incorporating modern technology. Of the publishers I was able to check out today, McGraw Hill has the one I liked the most, so I’m looking forward to receiving their sample book to check it out in more depth.
Casio Prizm Booth Overflowing
I gave my second presentation at the Casio booth this afternoon. I spoke about how to use the statistics feature in an Algebra I setting. I brought 40 handouts for the 26 seat classroom, and there weren’t enough for everyone to have one. People were lined up two rows deep around the classroom, standing to see the presentations. It was like that at the hourly presentations almost all day.
The reception for the Prizm here has been unbelievable. You would chalk it up to the free Prizms being given out at the “Prizm Experience” sessions, except it’s been just as packed for the presentations where they’re not giving them out to everyone (like my sessions). There seems to be a positive word of mouth that’s causing the crowd to grow with each presentation. You have to understand, there are a lot of people at this convention that are just learning for the first time about these color calculators. Casio has been really clear that they’re not trying to beat the TI-Nspire at its own game, they’re trying to do something completely different. There are a lot of educators I’ve talked to here that are very receptive to that message. I think Casio is getting some traction here with the Prizm. More than generating sales, they are forming relationships. I’ll have more thoughts on Casio and Texas Instruments when I wrap up my NCTM coverage. I’ve been very impressed by the job that both companies are doing here. Tomorrow is the big travel day home, so I apologize if it’s another day or two before I get the final wrap-up done.