NCTM Day One: Mythbusters and Flatland 3D

By Tech Powered Dad | April 14, 2011

Day one at the annual NCTM meeting in Indianapolis is in the books. It was definitely challenging to get here as all roads leading to Indy are apparently ripped to shreds right now. It seemed like no matter what Google Maps tried to get me here, I ran into another closed road or on ramp. At one point, I even managed to end up at the Indianapolis airport, which is nowhere near the convention. In the end, I made it, and there was plenty of excitement in the air as I began exploring the convention. Even though Wednesday’s schedule was abbreviated, there were already a couple of exciting “Tech Powered” highlights.

VIP Reception with the Mythbusters

Mythbusters Kari Grant

Casio’s really going all out to try to win converts over to the new Casio Prizm. Tonight, they held a VIP reception to start that push with members of the Casio team as well as speakers and many others from the conference. The session was highlighted by an appearance from Discovery Channel Mythbusters Kari Byron and Grant Imahara. As you can imagine, they were very popular, so I didn’t have much of a chance to speak with them (although I did have a picture taken with them), but they seemed very much like they did on the show. Grant was cracking a few jokes, and Kari knew how to strike a pose for the cameras.

Like you’d expect, there was lots of small talk about the merits of Casio products at this reception, primarily the Prizm. Got a chance to see the Casio booth being set up today, and they really went all out. I can’t really describe it, so I’ll try to get some pictures up tomorrow.

Opening Session: Flatland the Movie 3D

Flatland Movie 3D

From the VIP reception, I raced back in time to catch most of the opening session for the conference, where the featured speaker was Flatland the Movie director Jeffrey Travis. If you’re not familiar with Flatland, it’s a story that’s over 100 years old about beings in a 2-dimensional world, and how they perceive reality, rich with geometric insights, particularly for students. Travis brought his vision of Flatland the Movie (DVD on Amazon) to reality in 2007 with big names stars like Martin Sheen, Kristin Bell, and Michael York. It’s been popular with students and teachers.

Travis shared with the audience that he’d always had a vision for Flatland to be available in 3D, and with the popularity of 3D movies like Avatar reinvigorating the genre, he jumped at the opportunity to remake Flatland the Movie in 3D IMAX format. Travis talked in depth about the geometry behind making a 3D movie and how movie makers are able to fool the eyes and brain into thinking a 2-dimensional image is actually 3D. We were all treated to the first 13 minutes of the movie in 3D format. The 3D effects are really well done, and I love the fact that it’s an educational movie that lets you forget you’re watching an educational movie.

At the end of the session, Travis took questions and comments from the audience. One person asked if he’d ever read the Number Devil (book on Amazon) and suggested it as a future project. Travis said he hadn’t but would take a look at the book. I have read the book and think it would be an excellent opportunity for his talents.

What’s up for Day 2?

My first speaking engagement is tomorrow morning. For anybody who’s here at the convention, please stop by the Casio mini-classroom they have set up in the exhibition hall at 9 a.m. to hear my talk on using Picture Plot on the Prizm. 

There are so many options for sessions in the afternoon, I’ll have to pick and choose. That’s what I’m doing as soon as I finish up with this post. I also plan to check out the exhibition hall in depth, where there are over 100 exhibitors. Just look at this partial all-star list of exhibitors:

  • Casio
  • Hewlett Packard
  • IXL Math
  • Key Curriculum Press
  • MathType
  • NASA
  • Pearson
  • SMART Technologies
  • Texas Instruments
  • Wolfram

Of course, there are many, many others. That’s all for today, but expect much more in tomorrow’s report. I’ll be doing my best to get pictures of the various displays and presentations whenever practical.

STEM careers are the future. Will you be ready?

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