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Classroom Connectivity:
Engaging Students’ Minds Enabling Teachers’ Practice

Principal Investigator
Stephen Hegedus, UMass Dartmouth

University of Massachusetts President’s Office
Professional Development Grant

Our project utilizes the latest wireless technology from Texas instruments, TI Navigator, a system that connects students’ work on hand-held devices (primarily the TI-83/84 graphing calculator) to a host computer so that whole-class contributions can be displayed. Students can instantly see how their work compares with contributions of their peers, a feature that enhances cooperative teamwork and acquisition of skills, so critical to student learning in mathematics, engineering and science. The system supports a very flexible use of different contributions to class presentations and discussions by both students and teachers. The mathematical representations that can be utilized in the system allow activities in a broad cross-section of curriculum, including algebra, geometry, pre-calculus and Calculus, to be introduced in different, and more powerful ways. Teachers can see quickly, what their whole class is thinking, diagnose common errors and support active participation and discussion. We will build new curriculum that utilizes this technology and integrate it into core mathematics courses across campus, investigating the impact on student learning and engagement as well as faculty professional development. Initially we will begin with Impulse Calculus I, where teamwork and student interaction is already a central part of the undergraduate program.

This project builds on prior successful work in local High schools and a strong relationship with Texas Instruments. We will work in classrooms of various Faculty then host a 1-day workshop on Campus in partnership with the Center for Teaching Excellence to instruct more faculty how to use such technology. We will work with other Campuses throughout the year, demonstrating the use of such technology in relevant classrooms.

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