Friday, July 15, 2016

Five Things I Learned at Descon16: Friday 7/15/16

1. Desmos is now accessible to students who are visually impaired. Pressing command + F5 activates a text to speech function that will not only read the functions as you type, but will also identify if your cursor is in the denominator, subscripts, superscripts. Pressing option + T will activate an audio tracer that will audibly read the coordinates of points on your graph as you press the left and right arrow keys. Pressing option + H will play an audible tone whose pitch will change as the function increases or decreases from left to right across the graph. I hear that Chris L was trying to get a graph to play "Mary had a Little Lamb". Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to make these work on a Windows OS. Hmm...

2. now includes bundles of activities. Bundles are a collection of activities in a suggested order around a specific topic, such as functions or quadratics. Each bundle has key understandings for that topic, as well as commentary on how each activity fits into the larger sequence. Of course, it's up to the teacher to fill in the gaps, but I'm interested to see how well the sequencing, pacing, and scaffolding provided by these bundles holds up in the classroom.

3. Access to Desmos at home can be a big step towards equity in the classroom. Sara VanDerWerf, besides being one of the most passionate and kind people I have met, gave a great keynote that touched on technology and equity. She noted that a large barrier to students is often home access to technology, which is why she implored the group to have all students

4. Alice Hsiao introduced me to the Chicken McNugget Problem (Also called the coin problem), which is stated below:

McDonalds sells Chicken McNuggets in boxes of 6, 9, or 20. Obviously one could purchase exactly 15 McNuggets by buying a box of 6 and a box of 9.

Could you purchase exactly 17 McNuggets? How would you purchase exactly 53 McNuggets?

What is the largest number for which it is impossible to purchase exactly that number of McNuggets?

What if the McNuggets were available in different sized boxes?

I intentionally haven't added any links as not to spoil a solution. After all, I'm still working on one now...

5. Drinks in Minneapolis are annoyingly cheap during happy hour, especially when there is a minimum charge. Thanks to everyone at the Desmos team for their time and generosity!

6. (Extra Credit) Make a list in Desmos with L = [1, 2, ... 10]. Check back in with Sara's Desmos Dictionary. Make your own marble slides, card sort. Hide some folders. Talk about Desmos, Geometry, naming points, and back end vs. front end. And lastly, read The Art of Evangelicalism.

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