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Area Teachers Attend TI Workshop

Jeannine Huenemann


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Teacher Development at Texas Instruments training
Innovations High School teacher Izumi Okamura at TI training

Teachers from USU STARS! GEAR UP partner schools recently participated in a one-day Texas Instruments professional development workshop. TI partners with GEAR UP programs across the country to give teachers training in math, science, and STEM-technology using TI products to help them succeed in the classroom. The first TI workshop took place prior to the Utah Council of Teachers of Mathematics (UCTM) Conference.

This year’s training was led by TI Specialist Todd Morstein, a teacher himself, in Taylorsville on Oct 12. When asked by USU STARS! Program Coordinator Melia Balls why he liked working with teachers, Morstein said “I get to impact a lot of students by doing this. So, I have eleven teachers in here doing this and they have 100 kids a day, so I’ve affected a thousand students. It is cool to show teachers cool ways to do things… if you let kids explore, they’ll learn way more.”

The training included use of the TI-Innovator™ Hub, a coding output box that lets students see the results of their program using TI graphing calculators. TI presented the teachers with opportunities to apply for TI technology loans. Innovations High School teacher Izumi Okamura has already signed up for workshop loan for math club. She said that the loan for equipment “would be so cool for kids. I think that kids get excited about learning to use technology, and not just having to play games…. The hub is a really cool intro to programming.”

“Our school has the equipment, but I’ve been afraid of it, and now I can use it,” said Julie Bales, teacher from Logan High School. Teacher Joie Ellis from Innovations High School in Salt Lake City agreed. He said that the training “showed us how to let students do more self-directed… discovery-based learning that they are discovering rather than us just telling them this is how it works.”

The use of technology in the classroom has changed the way teachers teach. USU STARS! GEAR UP sees value in offering professional development for educators. We want teachers that attend these sorts of workshops to become in-school resources for their students and other teachers. By building a teacher’s self-confidence about technology in connection with education, we hope to give students and teachers new resources of STEM-based materials that they can use to learn and teach.

Registration is now open for the next free TI training workshop, February 8, which will take place prior to the Utah Science Teachers Association (UtSTA) conference. Math, science, and technology teachers are all invited to attend, and no prior training is required. If you attend a special STARS! GEAR UP Teacher Workshop on Feb 9 following the conference, we will pay for your UtSTA registration, including hotel/transportation.