Upper School Teacher Speaks at Nspire Mathematics Conference
Dan Wilkie, Upper School Math
In September, I was asked to participate in a once in a lifetime opportunity. Texas Instruments informed me that their team in Australia was in need of an instructor that could lead three presentations at a conference combining their knowledge of the TI-Nspire CX II calculator with their ability to use this handheld to make using it in their IB Mathematics classes easier. The conference, Inspiring IB Mathematics, was to take place in Sydney over the Thanksgiving holiday. With the full support of Wes Clarke and CCES, I accepted and was incredibly excited.
The three presentations centered around the IB Mathematics courses Applications and Interpretations SL and HL. The first session, entitled MAI: Number and Algebra, allowed me to show the participants how to incorporate the TI-Nspire to aid in Topic 1 of the IB curriculum. The second session, entitled MAI SL and HL: Further Probability and Statistics, allowed me to share with the participants the difference in the difficulty of the questions asked by IB and how to use their handhelds. The final session, entitled MAI HL: Paper 3, was eye opening to all as we discussed how little the calculator was used for this portion of the final exam and it led to great discussions.
This opportunity opened my eyes to how mathematics is taught around the world and it was amazing to see just how passionate these teachers were in Sydney. Each of the three sessions that I led was more than me just leading a group of teachers. It was such a communal experience where each participant in each session contributed to the conference. They brought their knowledge, their questions and their experiences to share. I loved their perspectives and I loved their “all in” attitudes to do the best they can for their students, even though they were about to enter Australia’s summer break. Their welcoming nature made me feel at ease and it put a smile on my face to know that there were teachers like this in the farthest reaches of global mathematics.
In addition to the conference, I was able to experience the culture and city of Sydney and I honestly had to keep pinching myself to make sure I was really there. From the Sydney Opera House, to the Harbor Bridge, to the ferry ride to Manly Beach, to hiking in the state nature preserves, and all the history in between that was shared with me, I got a quick taste of some of what Australia has to offer. Even though I had to fly on one of the longest flights in the world to get there and I was in the air for over 37 hours, this is an experience I will never forget and I cannot wait to return.
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