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Topic: Boston impressions
Replies: 4   Last Post: Apr 12, 1995 8:57 PM

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Ed Dickey

Posts: 9
Registered: 12/6/04
Boston impressions
Posted: Apr 9, 1995 4:45 PM
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I'll accept the invitation to comment on the Boston meeting. I hope others
will too. In general it was cold and crowded - 20,000 attendees and cooler
weather than I'm used to. It's nice to be back home in 80 degree weather
among the blooming azaleas and dogwoods. Despite the large numbers I did not
"feel" crowded (less so than Nashville or New Orleans).

I attended a number of good sessions. Two of the more enlightening were by
1) Millie Johnson and 2) John Bransford and Linda Zech. Johnson spoke on
spirals, meander, and explosion. I learned about J.B.S. Haldane who wrote an
essay "On Being the Right Size." Lots of combinatorics and connections to
biology -- one of the more impressive aspects was doing all this in a manner
that appealed to and did not lose the general K-16 audience in attendance.
I got a lot of good ideas for things to do with classes I teach and I need
to get a copy of Haldanes essay. I also learned about Horton analyses
of branchings -- Millie made Mr Horton come to life for me and I want to
explore some of the things she described.

Bransford did an overview of technology and mathematics education. A copy
of the handout is available at
techrsc2.html (hope I copied that correctly).
Two things were striking to me -- I think it was the first time I've
heard a technology speaker NOT speak out against tutorial and drill
software (I understood him to say that this type of software is
useful as part of larger instructional plan). But most striking was
the effect use of technology to _make_ the presentation. I think he
used something like Powerpoint to show electronic "transparencies" which
included screen captures from software, color photographs, and
quicktime movies of things like the Jasper series videos and video
descriptions of other projects (such as Roy Pea describing a project
he directs). I was very curious (but didn't ask) how big the file
containing his presentation was -- my guess 40 MB because of the
10-20 quicktime movies.

I think I benefited most from the exhibits and informal meetings with
friends and colleagues. The new TI-92 was widely available for viewing
and testing. My favorite exhibit discovery was at the Vernier booth --
they use a wire "in-basket" to cover/protect the motion probe that
attaches to the TI CBL -- for someone like me who consistently drops kilo
weights and other items onto this $90 probe the basket was a simple,
clever, and useful idea.

I also enjoyed chatting with Annie Fetter who took the initiative to
revive NCTM-L. I didn't see many yellow ribbons or evidence of NCTM-Lers
though I know they were there. I learned that NCTM will soon be more
active on the Internet. The World's Largest Math Event occurring later
this month will be one of the first items -- look for this on the Web
through the PBS site :

I did hear an NCTM Board member (as of 10 Apr, a former Board member)
express a concern that NCTM's Internet activity be widely available to
all NCTM members. There seems to be concern about teacher access to
the Web and gopher.

Anyway, I did more, heard more, saw more, but I've said enough.

What about others? ...

Ed Dickey

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