Sunday, June 25, 2017

Math Sessions at ISTE Computer Conference 2017

Tech words @ math sessions
The ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference is starting today. I haven’t attended one in several years. I stopped going because there were not enough math related sessions and the ones I sat in on were not all that good. 

Back in the early days when the ISTE conference was known as NECC (National Education Computer Conference) I attended many of its conferences and presented at them as well. I always hoped that the conference would make more of an effort to highlight a math strand within the conference. The technology hype was a bit overwhelming even within the math sessions. 

NCTM had a problem with promoting technology as late as 1989. In their Standards document that year it mentioned that some math software might be useful as a tool for teaching math. Also, many math teachers became computer teachers in the 1980s and that didn’t sit well in the NCTM community. It would have been useful for more collaboration between ISTE and NCTM to find common ground. 

In their Standards document in 1989 NCTM noted that computers and graphing calculators should be available to students and the teacher should have a computer in their classroom for demonstration purposes. By the 2000 Standards it was important to note that technology (broadened from just computers and graphing calculators) should be used as a tool in the classroom but not the focus of the lessons. That was the job of the technology teachers assuming of course that the tech and math teachers were operating on the same page.

Since I haven’t paid much attention to the ISTE conference in a while I thought I would take a closer look at what was going on this year at its conference in San Antonio. From the almost 1500 sessions listed, I came up with 142 (10%) using math as a keyword in the search. Many of these had a math or STEM/STEAM theme but it also included other subject areas. 

Here’s a list of (34) math related sessions that I found useful.

Interesting. Not one mention of TI calculators. Desmos has three sessions.

Highlight sessions

Sessions I would go to if was there:

How getting rid of desks, replacing them with comfortable furniture and allowing students to work at their own pace changed student engagement and performance in the math classroom. Also included: using OneNote as a platform to allow the classroom to be completely paperless and run in a nontraditional, efficient manner.

Discover how to use technology to redesign tasks by giving students choice in selecting tools to create products that demonstrate understanding and allow them to share their creations in an interactive virtual community. We'll focus on web-based tools that support differentiated mathematics instruction with the Mathematics Practice Standards.

To prepare students for an ever-changing future, we must focus on developing skills that encourage persistence for students to pursue their passions. This panel highlights how leaders can support a vision of transformation extending beyond the classroom to develop a growth mindset, deep connection to and love for mathematics.