This past week, we completed our third lap of using the iPad app “Desmos Test Mode” on the Math 8 STAAR test (with the option of also using a TI handheld graphing calculator). If you’d like to see what we’ve done in the past to lead up to this moment, check out this post and the included links for nuts-and-bolts. Most folks who get in touch are curious about how we’re securely using iPads. We “lock them down” using Casper Focus, which disables the camera in the iPad and keeps students only in the Desmos Test Mode app during testing.
To keep with tradition, I asked the same questions of students that I posed to my Math 8 students in 2015 and 2016 post-STAAR:
I asked three questions:
- In general, which tool do you prefer?
- Name a few math lesson topics for which you like using the TI Graphing Calculator more than Desmos.
- Name a few math lesson topics for which you like using Desmos more than the TI Graphing Calculator.
My sample size was 62 this round. Here’s a summary of their responses to the first question:
If you’d like to see which math topics were preferred for each tool, check out these anonymous responses.
Having three years of survey data now, I thought it might be interesting to see the graphs side-by-side… so here you go.
With variations in sample size (and frankly, pretty tiny sample sizes) it’s tough to say whether a shift is happening here. Still interesting to examine, no?
Finally, a graph combining the responses of all 188 students I’ve surveyed over the past three years:
I’m not surprised by these results (though I really didn’t expect these results the first time I asked in 2015). Math 8 is more of a “sampler course” curriculum-wise where a hand-held calculator has been the preferred tool each year. (A little bit of Algebra, a little bit of Geometry, a little bit of number stuff, a little bit of data, and some financial topics).
However, Algebra 1 students seem to value the beauty and ease in working with multiple representations of functions that Desmos provides. Of note, my Algebra 1 students’ results from last year can be found here… and we’ll see what my current Algebra students say in May!
Get over to desmos.com today and play around with their *ahem* new “plaid” feature.
I’m guessing this feature will only last through today…