May 16, 2007

Calculators tell teachers which pupils need help

USA Today reports:

Texas Instruments, whose calculators helped make the company a household name, has found a way to help teachers quickly identify students who may be failing math, Chief Executive Rich Templeton said Monday.

The so-called TI-Navigator sends wireless signals from pupils' handheld calculators to a personal-computer screen that lets instructors correct and analyze errors in real time.

"The teacher can understand who's not getting it" by assessing which functions students keyed into their calculators, Templeton said at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit in New York.

Like the "power on" button?

With TI-Navigator, even shy students get a say in the classroom as teachers can review their calculations streamed wirelessly, and quietly, to the instructor's monitor, according to the company's website.

The system lets teachers "get answers from every student, not just the vocal ones," says TI's website. Instructors also can identify and correct common mistakes as they occur and, if necessary, adjust lessons as they go along.

This sounds tone deaf on the part of TI. If a teacher doesn't understand the need to get feedback from all students, not just the vocal ones, I don't think this calculator is going to improve matters.

No comments: