Showing posts with label calculators. Show all posts
Showing posts with label calculators. Show all posts

Monday, October 13, 2008

CAS Calculators Casio Classpad 330

Sat with the CAS casio classpad 330 calculator today. OMG.. what a learning curve, to face 3AB MAS MAT and learning how to use this new bit of tech.

We tried to use it to assist in solving an investigation. Took 3 mins on paper. 5 mins to setup on the calculator and 1/2 hour to find out why it wasn't working.

I think I'll need to post a few things on here about it as I learn more.

My advice to all - get the stupid thing out and start playing with it tonight if you haven't started already.

The first bit of useful content for learning the tool I've been given is The videos are a bit of a help and look quite good. They may assist if you can take the students to a lab after introduction of a new topic.

The consensus is to get proficient to at least the level of graphics calculators and then the rest will follow as everyone gets more aware of their capabilities. I certainly miss not having certain buttons at easy range that I am familiar with such as trig functions and sqrt keys. I do like fiddling with technology though so I don't see it as too much of an issue for me.

oh.. and Rom Cirillo from the Curriculum Council (who has been a rather nice bloke throughout the NCOS fiasco).... of course if you ask us to vote whether we want CAS calculators now we are going to say yes... WE HAVE ALREADY TOLD PARENTS THAT THEY HAVE TO GET THEM FOR NEXT YEAR BECAUSE YOU/CC SAID THEY WERE REQUIRED, YOU DILL! Great idea to shift blame to teachers for any costs to date by shifting responsibility for calculator selection in 2AB back to schools. What happened to the equity issue for 2CD students next year (not to mention the need to buy a $175+calculator for use in 3 terms year 12)? When CC people (at the PD) were questioning the need for these calculators at all, I wonder how much thought has gone into the need for this planned, staged, implementation by CC (it seems another opportunity to ditch teachers into a hole and see what comes out). Is there any actual measurable improvement in maths by students expected by using these tools (especially as complex calculators are rarely used out of school)? Does anyone know where the broom is?

Click here for an index of CAS calculator posts.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Impost of Mathematics NCOS in our schools

Let's look at the impost on schools and students for the introduction of NCOS in mathematics.

Firstly handmedowns instantly become useless to families. Old textbooks cannot be passed on as new courses are semesterised and the curriculum has changed. Students are at a significant disadvantage if using hand-me-down graphics calculators next year and old calculators cannot be resold relegating $147 calculators to $20 adding machines.

Next comes the impost of new texts. Each course (two per year) requires a book at $22 each (thank goodness Saddler books are reasonably priced) - $88 over two years or $8800. In year 11, students need to purchase a new CAS calculator at $187 - adding to another $18,700. In a school that supports 100 senior school maths students, this means that parents of senior school students as a group need to find $27,500 to cover costs just for mathematics.

Now knowing how hard it is to get $6 out of students for an excursion in difficult times, we should not discount the impost this is causing families. Suggesting to students that working and buying calculators rather than MP3's and PSP's may be the only way that some of these kids will be able to do mathematics. Perhaps this needs to be the christmas present for a number of students.

That it has come to students picking other subjects because they are cheaper says poor things about our schooling system. I know that some families have to make great sacrifices to find that $187 on top of requirements for other subjects, stationery and uniforms.

Then we look at the cost of implementation - PD, adjusting to new texts and calculators, course redesign, lack of available TEE materials, adjustments in subject selection, timetabling issues, preparation of new tests/ assignments/ worksheets/ homework /investigations, adjustment to non-calculator sections, the unpreparedness of 10 new courses all implemented at once. The time available for senior teachers to mentor junior teachers over the next couple of years may be severely limited. There will be very few knowledgable in the intricacies of these courses for some time. For confirmation of the limits of knowledge ask a mathematics teacher how the level 2/3 courses are treated in calculating TER scores. Good luck understanding the answer (it's here).

Course change is not something to be taken lightly- nor something that should be done in a rush.

I hate to think what will happen as books and calculators go missing or courses go awry next year - there are going to be some very sad parents, teachers and students.