T3 Stream of Consciousness

By Tech Powered Dad | March 15, 2013

T3 Conference Swag

In honor of one of my favorite sports bloggers, Robert of alioneye.com, I’m doing a “stream of conciousness” post to wrap up my thoughts on last weekend’s T3 conference. There’s no method or plan to this. I’ve just had a lot of random thoughts about my time in Philadelphia, none of which would make a satisfying post in and of itself. Here goes nothing.

–As tough as Philadelphia sports fans can be, I was expecting the locals in Philly to be a little rough around the edges. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, check out this video of Eagles fans welcoming 49’er fans to town. Fortunately, where I was, nothing could have been further from the truth. They were the most helpful and friendly bunch I’ve come across at one of these conventions. My brief time at the Reading Terminal Market was also made all the more memorable by the people I encountered there.

–Kudos to TI for making the conference program available in app form. I referred to the iPad version of the program dozens of times, and to the paper version once, to see what vendors were at the conference. I know more conference programs are going this direction, and that’s a good thing. It’s great to be able to search for sessions by time or technology used as well as have an easy to use planner right in the app.

–I am really ready for the next generation of batteries for smart devices that I occasionally read stories about. I felt like my Galaxy S2 and iPad 2 were on life support by the end of each afternoon. I know I was pushing them a lot with constant use of social media, texting, the conference program, and the Nspire app, but it still feels like I ought to be able to make it a solid 12 hours before I start to worry about my batteries, and I didn’t. I haven’t had a chance to read up on the Galaxy S4 event yet, but I’m hoping one of the enhancements is battery life.

–While there was definitely serious interest at the conference in both the TI-Nspire iPad app and the TI-84+C, the TI-Nspire iPad sessions definitely seemed a lot more “juiced.” I’m sure TI is going to sell a significant number of TI-84+C’s. Even without color, the TI-84+ is still very popular, but it only takes a little time time at one of these conferences to realize that the leaders in math education have gone “all in” on the Nspire platform. The platform can do so much more, and it’s much more versatile (handheld, computer software, iPad app, document player), so it’s not hard to see why. Even with a renewed focus on the TI-84+ platform at T3 this year, there were more than three times as many Nspire sessions than all other technologies combined. Here’s the breakdown on sessions at Tthat specified a technology.

  • TI-15, 2 sessions (I actually had to look up what a TI-15 was)
  • TI-34 Multiview, 1 session
  • TI-73 Explorer, 8 sessions
  • TI-83+, 1 session
  • TI-84+ and TI-84+C, 64 sessions
  • TI-89 Titanium, 2 sessions
  • TI-Nspire (all versions including iPad app), 286 sessions

–That said, the TI-84+C is a significant upgrade to the TI-84+ line, much more than I was expecting when it was announced. For the first time in a long time, I can hold a TI-84 family calculator in my hand and not feel like I’m being transported back to a time when I listened to Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots (and yeah, there may have been some Hootie and the Blowfish mixed in there). Look for my review on the 84+C sometime early next week. In the meantime, check out what Adrien Bertrand of tiplanet.org has to say about it. Adrien’s post is part French, part English.

–Moving from where the TI-84+C sessions were held (the Marriott)  to where the TI-Nspire sessions were held (the far end of the convention center) required a nearly one mile walk through a part of the building that was hosting a gigantic flower show. You can say what you want about math people, but know this:  flower people walk s o  m u c h  s l o w e r than math people.

–So rumor has it that Casio is on the verge of getting College Board approval for their new touchscreen color Classpad. That would mean the calculator would be allowed on the SAT and AP exams. If true, and my source has been right in the past, this won’t just revolutionize Casio and the Classpad, it will open the door for Texas Instruments to create their own touchscreen devices. What would we see next, a touch screen Nspire? Perhaps a new 7-inch tablet from TI, the hypothetical device my students have long asked for and nicknamed, the “TI Tablet”? Is there a chance that TI’s been anticipating this and the Nspire iPad app is the warm-up to such a device, a way to see what works for the Nspire OS and what doesn’t in a touch screen environment? It’s not the first time I’ve daydreamed about a test-friendly tablet.

–If there’s anything that the developments of the last 6 months have taught me, it’s that I’m not very good at predicting what comes next. We are really in a time of amazing innovations. I am only willing to predict that what comes next will be fun.

STEM careers are the future. Will you be ready?

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