TI's Professional Development: Teachers Teaching with Technology Have Long Provided Training to Educators to Use Handhelds for Instruction, with Cumulative Benefits. (the [T.Sup.3] Program)

Article excerpt

John Brunsting says he and other faculty members stumbled upon it about 13 years ago, but now he considers it an integral part of the education process in his Illinois region.

"At this point, you'd be hard to find any math or science teachers in this general area who haven't gone through the program," says Brunsting, a former high school math teacher turned high school administrator.

The program he is referring to is Texas Instruments' professional development program called Teachers Teaching with Technology.

According to TI, "[T.sup.3] provides training for educators who are interested in enhancing the teaching and learning of mathematics and science through appropriate use of educational technology." One crucial key to TI's program is that the training is both developed and taught by fellow educators who are experienced in the application and teaching of particular courses in math and science.

The [T.sup.3] program offers professional development that is packaged and tailored to the individual educational needs of school districts throughout the U.S.TI customizes its courses to match local curriculum and standards, and it also tailors the duration of each professional development program, though many last for a week in the summer. In addition to on-site workshops, [T.sup.3] offers online instruction, annual conferences and regional conferences.

Covers All Grade Levels

At Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale, Ill., where Brunsting is director of teaching and learning, the school has trained more than 3,000-area middle school and high school teachers, and a few college professors. [T.sup.3] courses typically cost about a few hundred dollars per participant.

"We had a real desire to provide high-quality in-service for our staff, and we were excited by the visualization aspects that technology gave us, especially with graphing calculators and such" Brunsting says.

Since 1988 when [T.sup.3] was created by Ohio State University professors Bert Waits and Frank Demana, more than 60,000 teachers have been trained in the program, according to TI. The pair started by offering high school teachers one-week workshops in using graphing calculators to help students visualize pre-calculus and calculus concepts. Now [T.sup.3] is a worldwide organization, conducting professional development for teachers in more than 25 countries including Europe and Latin America.

During the years, the [T.sup.3] course offerings have grown to include elementary school and middle school instruction, in addition to some college-level offerings. Teachers leave [T.sup.3] institutes with knowledge in how to develop lesson plans and deliver instruction using TI handheld technology in the classroom. They learn methods for teaching students how to "explore" theories and build models, in addition to visualizing mathematics and science, with the aid of TI handhelds.

Partnering With Districts

Feedback from educators who have participated in [T.sup.3] courses provide some insight as to why TI's professional development program is so popular. For one thing, as comments taken from participant response forms indicate, [T.sup.3] instructors motivate by example:

"Just wanted to take a minute to let you know that you have inspired me!"

"I feel much more comfortable. This instructor made me feel like I am embarking on a very worthwhile learning adventure. …