Philadelphia Freedom

If you’re around my age, you clearly remember the famous Elton John song. I can’t help but think of “Philadelphia Freedom” whenever someone mentions Philadelphia. It’s an involuntary response that shoots straight out of my unconscious. And since today is the first day of the NCSM conference in Philly, that song has been percolating in my head ever since I arrived in town a couple of days ago.

Elizabeth DeCarli at NCSM 2012

Elizabeth DeCarli tinkering with her plots at NCSM.

It turns out that since I joined Key, I’ve met many people from Philly, including Scott Steketee, who works for KCP Technologies. Scott is one of the most thoughtful, intelligent, and kind-hearted people I’ve ever met, and he’ll be one of our Ignite speakers this Wednesday. (For those of you fortunate to be here this week, Scott has a Sketchpad-based surprise waiting for you!)

Philly is also the home of Drexel University, which houses the Math Forum, the world’s largest online math community. As seems appropriate in this historic city of freedom, the Math Forum is completely free, and has been a source of support for math  students seeking help for two decades now. They are currently set up next to us in the exhibit hall, which is great because we love Annie Fetter, Steve Weimar, Max Ray, and the rest of the gang, who will also be presenting talks at the Ignite. In fact, there’s a long history between the Math Forum and Key, as the Math Forum and Sketchpad both evolved out of the Visual Geometry Project in the late 1980′s.

Anyway, teachers really seem to love free stuff, so we’ve got some free technology gifts to give away. First of all, you can download all three of our software products, Sketchpad, Fathom, and TinkerPlots, for free. Granted, they are in preview mode which prevents saving and printing, but it does allow you to play with the tools and explore the ample free sample activities that come with them. Then we have Sketchpad Explorer, which is a Sketchpad player for the iPad, which you can download for free from the Apple App Store. And finally we have our Technology User Group on Thursday evening, which includes free activities, appetizers, and drinks.

So if you’re in Philly, stop by and visit our booth or come to our Ignite on Wednesday, or join our User Group on Thursday. We’d love to see you! And if not, take a look at our technology tools, and watch some videos of previous Ignite speakers while you’re there.

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