Perhaps the most debated topic in mathematics education for the past 40 years has been the role of technology in the teaching and learning of mathematics. In my mind, 'technology' is any electronic computing device as opposed to a mechanical computing device. Some students may be aware of the abacus and/or the slide rule (some teachers may still have a working knowledge of the latter device) but such mechanical computing tools have been replaced with handheld electronic calculators. Although electronic computers first appeared in the 1950s, it was not until the mid-1970s that small electronic calculators became widely available and affordable. In 1976, Texas Instruments introduced the TI-30 (shown below) that sold for only $25 (other pocket-sized calculators at the time were far more expensive). The TI-30 was less than the cost of a professional quality slide rule. Since then the power and features of handheld computing devices has continually progressed. The easy availability of small powerful calculators has had a significant influence on the teaching of mathematics in many parts of the world. Some may argue that the effects on the teaching - and particularly the learning of mathematics - have not been all positive. There is no argument that as teachers we cannot ignore their presence and potential beneficial impact in mathematics education.

Handheld technology & maths software

This technology area for the site is organized into two basic categories: (1) handheld technology (or graphical display calculator, 'GDC', using IB terminology) and (2) maths software and apps. For most purposes, this division is fairly useful but there is some overlap - for example, handheld calculators GDCs that come bundled with computer software and smaller tablet devices (i.e. 'handheld') that run mathematics software or apps.

In the handheld technology (GDC) sub-section there is a clear bias toward Texas Instrument (TI) devices. It is a simple fact that all of the site authors are long-time TI users and have developed teaching ideas and materials that utilize TI devices - especially the TI-84 and the TI-Nspire. Many teachers who have been using the TI-83 or the TI-84 are interested in the TI-Nspire. Moving from the TI-83/84 to the TI-Nspire is not quick and easy - but it is certainly worth it. With this in mind, we have developed a wide range of helpful support for the TI-Nspire - such as: videos showing how to use the TI-Nspire to answer certain questions; lesson ideas & materials that utilize the TI-Nspire; discussion and illustration of using the TI-Nspire (both handheld device & computer software) as a powerful teaching tool; a series of TI-Nspire video tutorials; and a large set of short videos that demonstrate some practical tips in using the TI-Nspire. The TI-Nspire videos for question solutions, tutorials and tips are particulary good to share with students.

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