I had a great time working at our booth in St. Louis for the NCTM regional conference. Many of the math teachers I met were from Kansas or Missouri, but I also met folks who had driven for as long as seven hours to attend the conference.
As I talked with teachers about their access to technology, I was struck by the disparities among schools. In some schools, all students have laptops, while in others, teachers have no computers in their classroom, let alone a projector or an interactive whiteboard. One teacher told me that only the administrators in his school have interactive whiteboards. Crazy, I know! The saddest story I heard was from two young preservice teachers who are student teaching at a school that has an interactive whiteboard in every classroom. Several math teachers have placed their IWBs at the back of their classrooms, behind their students, so they can continue to write on their chalkboard every day. Sigh.
I had many conversations that were some variation of the following:
Me: “Are you familiar with The Geometer’s Sketchpad?”
Teacher: “Yes, my school has it, but I don’t teach geometry.”
I guess we still haven’t gotten out the message that Sketchpad can be used to explore much, much more than geometry! If you are looking for ways to enliven other math classes with dynamic mathematics, you can find great activities for Grades 3–College in the Learning Center, accessed from the Help menu in Sketchpad 5. You can also find some fun examples on Sketch Exchange:
And as my colleague Karen Greenhaus demonstrates, if you are a geometry teacher, Sketchpad can be used in unexpected ways!