Recently our school district, LBPSB hosted our second annual EdTechTeam GAFE Summit.  During the Summit I was fortunate to hear Tim Lee Amplified IT (@AmplifiedIT) | Twitter talk about the graphing calculator Desmos.  I was enthralled and a little later looked into it further.

Before I continue with the story of our  Desmos Desmos | Beautiful, Free Math journey, I think it is important to share that when I look at technology tools, my overriding framework is one of pedagogy.  I always ask myself:

  • How will this enhance student learning?
  • Will it provide teaching and learning opportunities in different and improved ways?
  • Will it allow students the opportunity to publish their work?

Well, the answer to those three questions was a resounding – absolutely!

Not being a Math teacher I sought out a teacher at one of the schools I support.  I asked Jane Preston from Lakeside Academy if she would be interested in meeting with me so that I could show her Desmos.  She was pleased to have an opportunity to learn something new.  Jane and I met and WOW!

Every year Jane does a Conics project with her students.  She explained to me that normally it takes three weeks and the students do it with paper and pencil.  The past projects have been very successful but the questions remained: Where their creations shared with a wider audience?  Where they able to animate their creations?  If they worked on it at home how were they able to collaborate and help each other out?

Well, the answer to those questions led us straight to GAFE and Desmos. Jane was thrilled with what it had to offer her students.  We developed a lesson plan and Jane created her very first screencast explaining to her students what Desmos is all about.

For the past couple of weeks the students have been borrowing the set of 20 Chromebooks that I have and they have been actively designing and creating their Conics designs.  Below I have attached two videos from her students explaining what they have been doing. They will be exploring sliders and different ways to add colour to their design.

They will be exploring sliders and different ways to add colour to their design.


You could hear a pin drop

This blog post was written by Kim Meldrum – Consultant at Lester B Pearson School Board.