Sep 30, 2010 9:30 PM by Ariel Wesler
Math and technology are going hand in hand at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta. Using new calculators and wireless software, one math teacher is helping students see beyond the numbers.
Calculators in the classroom are nothing new, but a special piece of technology is changing the way these kids learn math.
"Instead of our teacher having to go up to each individual person and tell them ok, this is what you have to click, then you have to do this, he's able to show us on the screen," said 10th Grader Courtney Cambron.
This is Travis Bower's Algebra II class and it's the first year he's gone wireless with help from Texas Instruments and one of their newest calculators, the TI-Nspire.
"You're on Courtney. You're on Namisha and their calculator comes up on the screen," Bower said.
The software lets teachers see if too many students are falling behind and how many understand the material.
"They see where you are and how to get there because the menus cascade down," Bower said.
He says the calculator and software has helped him make math interactive. He rotates students he calls pilots to lead the class.
"When i was up there, I made a mistake and someone was like no, Go back. Go back. Go back, said 9th Grader Cole Smith.
But adding technology doesn't subtract the importance of crunching numbers the old-fashioned way.
"When the calculator can do it to reinforce what they're doing by hand, they like that, Bower said.
"I was kinda like, oh math. It's just numbers and it's just graphs, but now it's like, ok, we can put these to use," Smith said.
Working as a team Bower says is all part of the equation.
"Putting those together. Good for learning. Good for teaching. It's a no brainer here."
The calculators and wireless system are just a small part of what Dos Pueblos High School calls its "I-Learn Initiative," which pushes for more high-tech gadgets in the classroom.
Bower says he's now trying to get more teachers throughout Santa Barbara County to consider using the technology.
Still, the technology isn't cheap... with the calculators running around $140 each. The wireless system for the classroom costs another $2,000. At Dos Pueblos, it was paid for by the school's Parent Teacher Student Association.
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