Those Things You Can’t Teach Without
I often tell other math teachers that there are a few non-negotiable tools that I need for my classroom: individual dry erase boards, graphing utilities to place in the hands of my students when and as needed that can be used anytime/anywhere (including on those long bus rides to extra-curricular events!), a document camera, an interactive whiteboard, and a graphing calculator emulator. I applied for and accepted a position at a new-to-me school this year, so trying to outfit my classroom with the tools I want was a bit of an adventure at the start of the school year. MCTM helped to make this adventure a happy one!
I used an MCTM Small Classroom Grant to purchase TI SmartView™ CE Emulator Software for the TI-84+ family of graphing calculators. A perpetual license for a single computer costs $156 and can be purchased from a dealer (look for discounts in the exhibitor hall if you’re attending NCTM in San Antonio this spring). You can also download a free, 90-day trial (visit https://education.ti.com/en/products/computer-software/ti-smartview-ce-for-84). Once you download the free trial, you have the option of purchasing a license online.
I really enjoy teaching with TI SmartView™ because it makes student-centered activities involving graphing calculators SO easy to manage. While one student (like Leah, at right) is manipulating the emulator in front of the class, I can check in with all the other student pairs or groups that might be having difficulty with their own calculators, whether it be keystroke sequences, error messages, or mode/format issues.
My absolute favorite function of TI SmartView™ is the quick, easy drag-and-drop screenshot capability with SMART Notebook software. Yes, TI Connect™ software is free, but the necessity to use more cables, get your computer to recognize the calculator cable, and then the amount of mouse clicks needed to embed the image(s) into whatever document or program that you want to use...ugh. The drag-and-drop screenshot feature allows me to quickly put a graph/window/table (see left) - any screen view that you can create on the calculator - into our class notes (via SMART Notebook) that students can then access later on our class webpage to remind themselves of the necessary steps in their calculator exploration procedures.
If you have not explored the classroom possibilities of TI SmartView™, I strongly encourage you to check out the free trial. Additionally, I found the MCTM Small Classroom Grant Application to be quite simple to fill out and submit. Thanks, MCTM! -Shari Kepner