My big breakthrough came last week when I watched the new GED Academy lesson on using the TI-30xs (also for use on the TASC exam). Yes, I work for the company, but I think I've seen all the other tutorial resources on this calculator and they didn't help me overcome my fears at all. Now the prospect of using the TI-30xs seems so much more reasonable after hearing the program's personal tutor introducing the calculator's most useful functions.
|A lesson from GED Academy on the TI-30xs|
The best analogy I can make would be to my smartphone. I was a flip-phone hold-out for years. The slogan, "there's an app for that" was flying around before I knew what an app was or which 'that' I should even be looking to address with an app. Eventually, I got a Blackberry phone and used only a fraction of its limited capabilities (maybe akin to the Casio calculator in this analogy). And eventually I got an iPhone, and it was like the clouds had parted. I'm off to the races embracing the mini-computer's utility in ways I never realized I would come to depend on. I'm sure I'm not alone in making that leap. It's possible that technology in adult ed is building up to a similar explosion of integration.
In education, we build systems around the tools that serve our purposes. Those tools might have previously been paper-pencil practice tests, orientation videos, and affordable workbooks. We're a couple months into this grand 2014 high school equivalency experiment, and some of those tools that will shape our new systems are emerging: adaptive programs that personalize each learner's experience, websites that consolidate resources and feedback in one place, and maybe even complicated looking calculators that actually make complicated math problems more approachable. But these transitions aren't going to go smoothly unless we're ready to cozy up to some of the ideas, practices and tools that we've always seen fit to reject.