As I await the beginning of my ninth year of teaching, I feel probably the fewest nerves that I ever have despite also feeling the least prepared as I ever have for the first day of school. To a certain extent, I’m sure that this is natural, though it also does feel a bit unsettling.
I anticipate this year being an exciting one. One big change within the teaching culture at my school is a shift away from the use of TI calculators to Desmos. We certainly have teachers who have used Desmos Activity Builder or who used the graphing capabilities in focused ways, but we are working toward a more continuous and comprehensive use of Desmos. I think that this transition would have happened eventually, but we are being propelled by changes in Virginia state testing. As I understand it, for the current school year, students will have the option of a handheld calculator or the onscreen Desmos calculator, but next school year, a Desmos onscreen calculator will be the only calculator option for state testing.
We did have a district staff development last week (thank you Nolan Doyle), which I think got many people excited about the possibilities; however, the reality of implementing things throughout the school year that are exciting in August is a whole other challenge. I had used Activity Builder in the past, but was excited to learn more about the possibilities for Geometry. Since I teach only Geometry, I will certainly be focused on ways to incorporate Desmos Geometry both as a teaching tool and a tool for student exploration.
In addition to the challenges of what does it mean to plan and incorporate new technology in genuine ways, I think that many teachers are wondering about logistical questions:
- What if a student doesn’t bring their Chromebook to class? How can we provide supports for them without setting a precedent that we’ll always have extras?
- What does it look like to give a test with students using Desmos? How can we use technology to help students demonstrate academic integrity?
- How does using Desmos change classroom management practices? How can we encourage students to demonstrate appropriate use of technology?
I look forward to having these discussions with colleagues in my building as well as trying to engage with others on Twitter to see what resources might be of use to us. Desmos isn’t the only item on my radar for this upcoming year, but I think that’s probably a good enough start for the night before school.
This post is part of a blogging challenge called Blaugust. Click here to check out the other blogs that are participating.