In the past few years, Texas Instruments has been aggressive in developing and marketing its Nspire product line. I recall the first time I shared the (now) old blue click pad product, and the oohs and aahs from my students when I showed them how you could trick out the keyboard with an 84 keypad. This was soon followed by the touchpad, and now we have the CX, with its thin design and color screen.
Along with the improved hardware, TI has also improved its software options, providing an opportunity for teachers to create their own lessons and demonstrations on the software. Files can be easily traded and shared with students, or used on a whiteboard as a classroom manipulative. Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a free morning of professional development on the TI Publish View feature. This feature of the Nspire software allows teachers to embed some of the interactive features of Nspire CX files into documents. The TI-Nspire document player then allows students to open these files and navigate the lesson.
In the short example I created below, the coefficients of a polynomial can be adjust using “elevator buttons”, which are sliders used to change the values. Students can then observe the value of the discriminant and look for patterns in the values. Click the link to join in the discriminant insanity!
Additional files to try can be found at the TI Activity Exchange. What an interesting way to have students explore on their own. Thanks to Mike Darden from TI for the great session, and Doyt Jones for his continued hard work in bringing these sessions to the Philly area.