Thursday, April 9, 2009

What’s up with technology at the NCTM Conference – a preview

This year's annual NCTM conference theme is Equity which certainly is well deserved not only because it's important, but also because it is one of NCTM's six foundational Principles. The other time honored ones include: teaching, learning, asssessing, and curriculum (which are always well represented at these conferences) and the “newest” principle on the block: technology. Since I've been a member of CLIME I'm always on the look out at these meetings for examples of events, activities, resources and strategies that support the spirit of NCTM's commitment to the technology principle.

The first thing I do every year (as I prep for this conference) is to try to get a sense of the technology presence from the session titles and descriptions. This year in Washington there are 828 general sessions* of which I identified 120 as technology related (14.5%**). If you search for the technology sessions using the online planner you will come up with only 56 sessions. Of course, there is always wiggle room for the actual number of these sessions since technology in many(?) cases is implied (e.g. data analysis and probability sessions) since they don't include the tag names that would give it away. (See the tag cloud*** which shows visually the frequency of the tech tag words in the 120 tech-related sessions I identified.)

Here's the list of all the technology sessions. Online version: PDF Download: PDF or Word

Sketchpad leads the way. I wasn't surprised to see that Geometer's Sketchpad was the leading software mentioned. (Key Curriculum is introducing a new version of Sketchpad at the conference.) Other software mentioned: Fathom, Excel, Geogebra, Geometry Expressions, Google Sketchup, Cabri, Stella and Maple. TI-Nspire took the calculator honors with 26 mentions. (See the rest of list by clicking on the image on the left.)

Web 2.0 is just beginning to make inroads into conference agenda with 4 sessions. I hope to get to each of them and will be sharing my thoughts via this blog during the course of the conference.

Something new at the conference this year are the 3C (Come, Connect, Communicate) sessions.
I’ll be leading the Emerging Technologies one on Thursday at 2:00-3:00 in meeting room 2 at the Rennaisance.

I will also be blogging at this site and on NCTM's new blog site throughout the conference. If you use Twitter you can follow me there as well. Hopefully I'll find a convenient place to write them. As I mentioned in the previous blog the convention center rate for Wifi is now $24.95 a day. I'm still upset about the charge going up from 8.95 to 24.95 as of April 1st. I guess they figure they will take advantage of all the rich math teachers that will be there.

More later. -Ihor

*plus 54 special exhibitor sessions.

**Last year in Salt Lake City there were also 120 technology sessions, but only out of 740 sessions for a slightly better than a 16% rate. The spike was probably due to the fact that the theme was “Becoming Certain about Uncertainty” a topic that lends itself more to using calculators and computers in the classroom or at least it should.

***What is a tag cloud? Here's a more dynamic version of the tag cloud above. I also made a tag cloud removing the dominating word "technology" to get a better perspective on the specific technologies discussed this year. You can make your own cloud at:

The entire program book is on the web in PDF form at