Day 86: Student Response

Yesterday I wrote about how one period set down their cellphones for calculators. After thinking about the reasons for this, it is pretty clear that they had a lot more practice with calculators and were more comfortable with that device (I introduced calculators first).

Regardless, we still talked in each period about which method they preferred. Here is a quick list of their perspectives on why they picked up a calculator instead.

  • Didn’t know we could use Desmos
  • Didn’t want to get the app then delete it later 😦
  • More precise instructions with calculator
  • Steep learning curve on Desmos (not sure if there are tutorials on iOS?)
  • Phone (Not app) is too slow
  • Can’t use phones on exams

I am biased and hands down prefer Desmos over any other device/method. Across all my classes, Desmos was the preferred method by students as well.

That last point on the list is a tough one for me, there have been issues in the past with students (not this group) sending out pictures of their tests. I allow full cellphone use in my classroom (calculators and apps) with the exception of concept tests, and most students do not abuse those privileges. My biggest concern however, is that there are other teachers in the building who expect students to be quick on graphing calculators and only that method, no exceptions.

It feel like I am torn between making math easier for my students and setting them up for success in future classes. A little bit of both is probably the answer here.


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