Week 7 Reflection

What is the appropriateness of SAS University Edition to your students, your classroom and your unit?

My classmates seemed to have chosen such cool programs to use in their classroom!  I commented to Josie that I am such a nerd, and so boring to choose such a dry, non-exciting program to use just to do statistics.  I was glad to hear that she has used it in the past, and she commended me for having my students use it.  That made me feel a little better.  I began thinking about the plethora of programs, applications, software and hardware that are out there in the workplace, specifically outside of the education realm, and I think I have chosen a great program.  What better way to prepare students than to have them use tools they could use in the workplace.  As I stated in my blog, graphing calculators are good for what they are intended for (classroom use), but in order to fully immerse in statistical analysis, it won’t get you far, and maybe will get you a few chuckles from real statisticians.

Graphing calculators are awesome, but they are just a simple tool.  Too simple in my opinion.  My math teacher colleagues scoff at me for wanting to use more technology in the class.  I think it would be awesome to eliminate the hand-held graphing calculator in math class and replace it with more applicable programs like spreadsheets and Mathematica.  Even the use of Desmos would be better than using a graphing calculator, and better than this would be to regularly use Wolfram Alpha.  It is much more than a math calculating tool, but a research tool where you can research almost anything.

We are supposed to prepare students for the real world, but don’t allow them to use the real tools mathematicians use.  I doubt real mathematicians use a graphing calculator.  We allow students to use band saws, planers, sanders, routers, lathes, and power tools of all sorts in wood shop, but don’t teach to use the applicable “tools” in math class.  I vowed to try to use spreadsheets in math class in the past, but have not done my homework in this area.  I was lucky to have my instructor Tweet me about Alice Keeler finishing a book on how to use Google Apps for math.  That is another tool that students can use after high school.  I don’t know the far-reaching effects Google has in the office workplace, but I know that it is not just for school.  Businesses can utilize their apps to communicate, boost productivity, and many other benefits.  Rachelle talked about one of Google’s app in her blog.  I commented that Google is awesome in this respect.

These are the kinds of things we need to teach students in school.  Introduce students to use tools to make it a life altering, not a once in a lifetime tool.

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