Aug 18, 2023

NGPF Podcast: Dr. Lindsay Gold and Mike Houston from Texas Instruments

Dr. Lindsay Gold and Mike Houston from Texas Instruments join us on the NGPF podcast to talk about their career paths to joining TI, the resources they have, and their perspective on how math fits into financial literacy education.


Ren Makino: Hi, this is Ren from Next Gen Personal Finance and you're listening to the NGPF podcast. Today on the show you and Yanely is joined by Dr. Lindsay Gold that Mike Houston from Texas Instruments. Everyone knows about the classic TI graphing calculators but today, Lindsay and Mike join us to talk about how they ended up at Texas Instruments and the financial education resources they have. Listen to this discussion to learn more about the wonderful work being done over at Texas Instruments. I hope you really enjoy.

Yanely Espinal: We're really excited to have this conversation because I think one of the biggest pieces of financial education is math, right?

There's a foundational understanding of math and numbers that really helps us just do a better job at wrapping our minds around money and a lot of the foundational financial pillars, right? And lessons kind of speak to math and intersect with math a lot. So this is gonna be a really good conversation.

But before we jump into the math stuff and the work that you all are doing now, We'd just love to learn a little bit of your backgrounds professionally. What were you all doing before you ended up in the role that you are in now, and anything that would be helpful for us to learn about your work before coming to your roles now.

So we'll start with Lindsay, and then we'll go over to Mike. 

[00:01:14] Dr. Lindsay's and Mike's Backgrounds

Dr. Lindsay Gold: Sure. My name is Lindsay Gold and I am from Dayton, Ohio. To give you a quick rundown of my background, I started actually as an elementary educator, so I taught first, fourth, and fifth grades before I had my triplett daughters who are now sixteen, but because I was taking care of babies at the time, I started teaching at the community college in Dayton Sinclair, and it was in the developmental math department. 

And here's where I really got hooked into educating adults, but also that need for real life authentic learning experiences because struggling my fifth graders, so I, I started to really get interested in adult education and get interested in how can we better prepare students and prepare pre-service teachers for math. So I went back and got my doctorate in math education and now I teach pre-service teachers at the University of Dayton. So I teach both the math methods courses for it, the license is changing now, PK through eight. And then I also teach the grad educational technology courses. 

Getting into personal finance, that happened when I was doing my degree. I did my dissertation on elementary education or perceptions of financial literacy and K through two, which I found was very little understanding of financial literacy at the elementary level.

And so I really have a passion for starting these discussions earlier so that by the time they get to middle and high school, they're not foreign topics for them. So, I ended up writing with Mike and a few others, a book called On the Money and It's Math Activities for grades K through five. To start that conversation early and to get students hooked on the idea of why this is important at the elementary level.

Yanely Espinal: Wow, that is so cool. There's so much there and I can't wait to share the link. I'm gonna put the link in the show notes because that's definitely something we want to check out and support.

We also definitely agree with you about supporting younger learners and just scaffolding this up so by the time they are in high school and getting personal finance. It's not like the first exposure they've ever gotten to this stuff, so love that. 

Mike, go ahead. Unmute, jump in and tell us a little bit about your background.

Mike Houston: Thanks so much. So my name is Mike Houston. I am about to enter my 20th year of teaching high school math. I've been teaching at the same school for 20 years. It's been algebra, calculus, and statistics for me for pretty much all of those 20 years. And Lindsay and I wound up kind of working on some projects together in Ohio, and I got to know Lindsay really well.

And we just became fast friends and whenever she, Lindsay really brought a lot of this financial... my current financial world we kind of started with Lindsay. And so I'm really thankful that I got the chance to meet her and work on some projects with her and hope that continues to go on.

But the, the one story that I, I think for me is just a really great anecdote: you know, I, I grew up just outside of Pittsburgh and the school that I went to is three I think in the state of Pennsylvania. And we have some pretty great schools in PA and so the fact that I was in a top three school, I think meant even extra, you know, a little more.

We were probably middle to middle and upper class and we just never really talked about money growing up. And so I went to a really, really great school, Washington Jefferson College, where I wanted to study pre-med and I was gonna be a doctor and I started making some really awful financial decisions of my own.

Got into a lot of credit card debt. So much so that took 10 years really for me to get to the peak of where my financial life just kind of crumbled. The house of cards finally crumbled after 10 years. And it took me another 10 years to get out and clear my name and improve my credit score.

And so really 20 years of my life, have been already consumed by this financial stuff. And I thought, I started thinking back. I'm like, you know, I, I didn't have a lot of financial background in school growing up. My parents weren't talking a lot about money other than what I think would be kind of typical, but like we never talked about budgets.

We, you know, a lot of the things I think are important for kids to at least have in their vocabulary if not actually know how to do. We never did growing up. Just one more quick anecdote. Nana, I'll, I'll turn things back over to Lindsay. This happened the other day with my, I have a six year old daughter.

She, she, we, we were going to the store and she asked if she could bring her wallet because she wanted to buy something. And I said, you know, that's fine, and she had so many singles in her wallet from just doing, you know, a chore here or whatever there, birthdays, you name it, that she couldn't actually fold her tripod wallet.

And she was getting really frustrated. And I said, well, here, let me, let me change that out for you. And so I took a count out, $21 bills, and I took a 20 out of my wallet and I gave her the 20 and I took her 20 singles and she lost her mind. And it took me about a half an hour. I'm, I'm not even sure, even after that half an hour that I did a good enough job, kind of explained to her what was going on with that.

But you know, I think that's a really, I. Typical thing that's happening in a lot of families these days. You know, whenever I go buy something, I'm not using as much cash as I used to. I'm using my watch or, you know, just tapping and all of a sudden I'm paying for something. Or we went through like an easy pass on the turnpike and I had to explain to her like how that, how I just paid my turnpike toll without actually handing someone money.

So, you know, whenever I was growing up, You know, you could see a lot of the money being a transaction being made, whether it was cash or a track, and now it's, you don't see the money anymore. It just, it's like magic. Which is, I think makes it even harder for us as teachers to get students to understand the value of money, so... 

Yanely Espinal: That is such a, it's such a funny thing that you bring that up, Mike, because just a couple weeks ago, my sister and I, I, we were spending a weekend together and she has two little girls. She's a single mom of two, and one of her little girls is in elementary school. She's going into the fourth grade and she kept telling me, you know, tia, tia I want my own phone.

I just, I want an iPhone. Mom won't let me get it. I was like, you know, when I was your age, honey, I used to play with Barbies, so I don't know why you want a phone. You should be playing with toys and reading books. Like I used to read chapter books and play with some, you know, why, what is the, why are you would, do you feel so passionate about getting a phone instead of, you know, enjoying being a kid?

And she said, Tia, because if I have a phone then I can buy anything that I want. And I just like paused for a minute. 'cause I was like, what? In her mind, the phone is money because she watches her mom tap to pay with her phone using Apple Pay all the time to go in and out of the store and buying stuff and paying for Starbucks and paying for things at Target.

And it's just tapping the phone and in her mind, you know, not having many conversations about what money is and you know, the different ways and methods people can pay for things. So she's just equating that phone with money. And so I think that there's this generational shift away from a conceptual understanding of money and the role that it plays and understanding the different methods for payments.

So the fact that you bring that up, Mike, it's just so funny because I, I've seen that in my own life with some of the youngest members in my own family. And I think it's definitely very relevant to this conversation of early exposure that, that you brought up. And I don't wanna call you Lindsay, I'm gonna start calling you Dr. Lindsay, 'cause you got your PhD to put respect on your name...

Dr. Lindsay tell us, what kind of brought you to TI? I mean, you talk about a lot of the work that you were doing before and teaching and your passion for kind of bridging financial literacy into the math work that you've been doing. But what brings you to your role at TI, and tell us a little bit about the work that you're doing now.

[00:09:15] Dr. Lindsay's Role at TI.

Dr. Lindsay Gold: Sure. So now this I'll go back to Mike. This is where Mike kind of introduced me to the Texas Instruments world when he came to do a workshop at Ohio University when I was doing my graduate work there and as a grad student. And so that's an initially how Mike and I met, and what's been really great from that is I've been able to take my passion for financial literacy with his expertise for the technology and for the math curriculum at the high school level.

To kind of marry that into this project that we kind of have been working on, you know, for the past couple years. And what I love about Texas Instruments is they heard us, we were saying this is something really important. More and more states are starting to adopt this. We need to really look at financial literacy.

Which is why now they have created a resource on the Texas Instruments website, which we can also link for you. But they are starting to really hear that teachers are wanting this and needing this, and thinking about what does the technology do for financial literacy? 

And really what I love about that is because it can be bridged with math and things that students can start to do the calculations more easily, so they can create graphs, it can show them trends. Lots of work with budget, interest in paying off debt and what does that look kinds of things. So that's really how we got into the Texas Instruments portion of it.

Yanely Espinal: Thank you, Dr. Lindsay. So your audio's breaking up just a little bit, but I, we caught, we were able to catch most of that. 

Dr. Lindsay Gold: Sorry about that. 

Yanely Espinal: No, that's okay. It's, it's amazing how many different resources you've all put together and I think one of the things most people will think of when they, you know, hear about Texas Instruments is obviously the graphing calculators, but most don't know that there's a whole instructor, community and, and financial education resources, financial literacy resources and more. 

So it's just awesome to have have you both here to talk about those things and we'll kind of get into all of that. But Mike, I wanna turn into you and just kind of hear a little bit about the connections that you see between teaching math you know, in traditional ways, and then personal finance instruction.

[00:11:28] Mike's View on a Different Approach of Teaching Math

Mike Houston: Yeah, so, you know, I've been teaching math for 20 years and most of those 20 years I do a lot of problems, examples, discussions, and none of 'em involved financial literacy. And so I started, you know, again, whenever Lindsay and I were doing a lot of work together, I'm like, well, where, where are students at my own school getting exposed to financial concepts?

And. It, it was like the hot potato, like no one wanted to touch the financial stuff. And it kind of landed in our social studies department where they do like an economics course. And our business department does a little bit with personal finance. But again, it was like no one wanted to touch this, the financial piece. 

And I kind of think part of the reason why that is might just again, be going back to what I grew up as, that you know, Lindsay, and I'll both tell you that neither one of us are financial experts. I've certainly made my fair share of serious financial boo-boos. I continue to work hard to make sure that I'm, I'm doing really good financial things and teaching my own kids good financial things.

But it wasn't like most of us had, you know, A serious backbone of financial lessons growing up. And, and so now we're expected to teach our own students about all these financial concepts. And we, I, I feel like I'm almost an expert in a lot of math content that I teach. I definitely do not feel that I'm an expert in financial concepts that I try and teach.

And so that's sort of where TI sort of come started to come into play. I'm like, well, okay, I wanna do more. I need to do more. Because I think what my students are getting exposed to in social studies and in the business departments isn't enough, because if you happen to not take you know, one or both of those classes, then you just managed to skate through 12 years of education without really hearing, talking, learning about anything really financial and then, we're surprised whenever these students go out and are making some really bad decisions. So I started looking around for resources that I could use with my own students.

And I don't know if you guys felt the same way that I did and still kind of do. But it wasn't like there was a plethora of really great financial resources out there for me to use with my high school students. You know, I know there's textbooks that are written specifically for. You know, whether it be financial algebra, things like that.

But I was kind of looking for more along the lines of, oh, I'm teaching, solving a system of equations today to my Algebra one students. And I'm like, how can I, you know, I wonder if someone already made a really great financial-ish edge to a solving systems lesson. And that wasn't for me at that time.

It wasn't super easy for me to find that, and I, I felt like I might not be alone in wanting something like that. And so that's where Lindsay and I, Lindsay especially really started talking a lot to some people at TI and said, listen, I think this is, I. It's something that needs to happen. I know NGPF has done a great job.

So if I, you know, now I know if I wanted to go and look for something on solving systems, I know where to find it. But it, had it not been for NGPF to do that, I don't, I still think that we'd be kind of stabbing in the dark a little bit. 

Yanely Espinal: Yeah, I mean, I hear you on that. I think that there definitely has been a gap for a long time in connecting the dots between math instruction and money instruction, and it just, it seems like a no brainer.

You know, I, I wanna say that like I've read online about how early forms of, of numbers, you know, we think about like early forms of writing, like uniform, but even before that, early forms of numbers and scratching and tallying and just trying to keep track. Was because they needed to keep track of money.

They needed an accounting system, right? The reason why we have math and numbers is because of money, because of monetary systems and accounting, and needing to tally up how many of this and how many of that, and who owes who, what, and how much, and when. And so it's weird that they have kind of diverged right when they really should be much more conjoined.

So if there's a teacher, if there's an educator out there, either you know, here listening or listening eventually at some point to this broadcast, I. What would you say they should do to just get started? Because you've shared a really great resource. You know the site and it's got lessons, How To's, webinars.

It's got an app built into the TI graphing calculators. They can see students working on their screen and there's a lot, which is exciting, but, we all know educators are sometimes, you know, a bit crunched for time, and so if they were on the site and they wanted to get started right away, what would you tell them to, to do to take the most advantage of the resources that you all have?

[00:16:12] How to Take the Most Advantage of the TI Resources?

Mike Houston: Yeah, I would say I'm a, I'm a 10% change rule guy. Like I, I, I think, I don't like to change everything. I like to change just a little bit and see how it goes, and then if things go well, I'll change it, you know, a little more the next year. And I'm about to again start my year I. So I look for certain lessons that I think in the past maybe I haven't done the best at teaching or lessons where students continually every year sort of like really have a hard time wrapping their head around whatever that lesson is.

And that's what I would go and search for from either NGPF or from TI, and see if they can see if you can find a different way of explaining and presenting the material to students. Because I, what I found through it in the chat is I, for years get the, when am I ever gonna use this? I wanna do stuff that I'm really gonna use.

Well, guess what? This is stuff you're really gonna use. And so if there's a way that I can take my really traditional, boring solving systems of equations lesson and beef it up to something that is still a great solving systems lesson, but it incorporates financial concepts. And we can, in my 42 minute period where I'm teaching this, we can still have almost like a, like sometimes we need to take a sidebar and say, whoa, like you, you've never even heard of this word.

Oh, let's, let's talk about this real quick and then we'll get back to the math. So I don't necessarily feel like I'm teaching two different courses. I'm teaching, I'm teaching good. Overall, like I'm, I'm just teaching, like sometimes I teach about math, sometimes I teach about money. Sometimes I teach about, you know, how not to, how to make good decisions at 10 o'clock at night at a gas station.

You know, I, I, I, I just teach, so I don't necessarily feel like... I don't know. I don't think I answered the question yet.

Yanely Espinal: No, you did. You did. And, but, and honestly, that's like really preparing your students for the real world is like being the kind of teacher that's gonna teach them all kinds of things that are gonna be relevant and useful and helpful, not just sticking to the scope and sequence in the exact way.

It's, the curriculum is worded. So I think what you're speaking to is something that a lot of educators listening and tuning in will be, will really be able to relate to Mike. So, no, I, I, I think that that's, great. Now I don't know if there's anything else you wanted to add, Dr. Lindsay, in terms of what you would recommend for a teacher who's just getting started, because there's a lot of, of resources, which is awesome, but obviously can, you know, there can be a time crunch on it on an educator's end, so... 

Dr. Lindsay Gold: Absolutely...

Mike Houston: I I really, I was just, sorry to interrupt. I I really 

Yanely Espinal: No, go ahead. 

Mike Houston: I think TI's resources are, you know, they, they, we just started posting some material just a couple days ago. So they are truly fresh. As far as being linked to financial concepts I, I am sure Lindsay would probably agree that I would be even more excited as that grows and hopefully there's even more lessons there, and they're organized even better.

And so I think that that, but that has to come from us as the teachers. And like Lindsay said, TI listens extremely well, probably better than any company I've ever had the chance of working with. You know, just giving them a call, 1-800-TI-Cares, send 'em an email, whatever, and say, Hey, listen this, I really need this, whatever this is.

If there's enough. People saying the same thing, it, it happens. They make it happen. So if I was like, okay, I don't teach anything financial, I just teach math. And I, I need to start somewhere, I would probably start with NGPF's resources just because they're, they're split up really, really, and organized really, really well.

So I'd start looking through that. 

Yanely Espinal: Awesome. Thanks. 

Dr. Lindsay Gold: Yeah, I agree. I think it's important too, when you're starting out to find a community like this, so find, you know, webinars or find podcasts or, or find people that are interested in what you're interested in and then you can work together. I really enjoy that about the TI community is that when I have.

You know, some questions like, this is what I wanna teach, what's the best way to do this? Or if you have any ideas, how can I link financial literacy to this math concept? I really think having that community support is really important. So if you're starting out teaching find, find a community, link yourself in, and you will be able to kind of bounce ideas off of each other.

Yanely Espinal: I love that so much. Now you have mentioned some examples tonight so far. But just wanna kind of get some specifics and, and kind of point us into a very clear direction about how we can, you know, combine calculator skills with financial literacy skills. So what would you recommend for educators who are looking for a, a direct way to be able to do that in the coming weeks as instruction is starting back up again?

How might graphing calculators specifically help students understand things like budgeting or managing credit or, you know, risk versus return and, and, you know, skills like that. What would you say to that? 

[00:21:02] How Might Graphing Calculators Help Students?

Dr. Lindsay Gold: I would say start, especially if you have the TI technology with the, something like the financial solver.

What's really nice about that is you can input the, the various aspects and then change things. That's what I like about I. I like about teaching math and the standards for mathematical practice and it's all about becoming problem solvers and trying things out and finding those connections and trends and things.

So the financial solver is very helpful in that. In terms of the technology, obviously, you know, there's the numeracy skills, your. Working on adding something, subtracting something, budgets, those kinds of things. If you have the, once again, the TI technology has lists and spreadsheets that you can use as well.

Very easy way to manipulate numbers or to create cells where you're adding, changing those kinds of things. Compound interest, showing graphs of those, the interest growing... ization tables. I'm trying to think of some other things, Mike, with the technology that we've used in the past, those kinds.

Let's see, what else can you think of Mike? 

Mike Houston: You, you rattled off some really great ones. I don't know that I have any immediately off the top of my head to add. I don't know. I, I agree though. I think the, the great thing about using technology is that it allows my students to do a what if, you know?

Well, what if we are trying to invest and get X amount of dollars by this time, how much would I need to start putting away each month? Well, what if all of a sudden this is gonna ch... like it, that that what if is so much easier to do with technology than without. 

Dr. Lindsay Gold: Absolutely 'cause you're not getting hung up on all the calculations, but they're better able to see those calculations very quickly.

And like Mike said, you know what ifs, what are better buys? Those are things that we do with the technology, you know, which would be better? Trying to think. Probability. Probability is another thing. Risks, investments. Oh yeah. But I really think the problem solving aspect of it is so important, and technology really enhances that because they're not getting stuck on those harder calculations.

Yanely Espinal: Yeah. Definitely. So you've mentioned the finance solver. And you know how to use that. We actually have a blog post, a dedicated blog post from last week on the Math Mondays section of our blog at NGPF. And it talks about how to integrate TI calculators into some of the activities that NGPF has.

It talks about the finance solver, it links to a bunch of activities and resources. So I'm actually gonna drop the link to that blog post and we'll include it in the show notes on the podcast because there's just so much there. 

But yeah, just making sure that folks know there's so many resources and activities that you can actually, you know, just they're ready-made. It's not, I think a lot of times the fear is that if you have this idea about how to integrate a graphing calculator, that now you have to start from scratch and, and start creating and building things.

And that fear, I think we can. All kind of, you know, help you realize it's, it's not that scary. There's so much that exists that you can build on from, or that you can use ready-made to save yourself that time, and you don't have to recreate the wheel, right. 

Dr. Lindsay Gold: Absolutely. And if you're interested in the, in the Texas Instruments technology, but you're like, I don't have that, I don't have the money to invest in that, please contact us.

We would be happy to get you hooked up with resources. Even, you know, if you wanted to try out the teacher software or something like that would be a good way to just get started in that. 

Mike Houston: If I could just jump in real quick.

Yeah. So back when I first started teaching, I was using the TI-84 and I used it because I had used it in college and like, it's why I felt really comfortable with that. My students had it. And so that was like my go-to. And I know a lot of schools are still using the 84. And there's it, it's great.

I've recently, over the past few years switched to Nspire and I think my students and myself have both benefited regardless either way. I think a lot of the, the important math concepts as well as financial concepts that the two come together is, is a, a visual aspect. So like Lindsay was mentioning, like some graphs or some tables, right?

Those are all visual representations and I think that those are really important for students to see and a lot of times there's certain sections in math or concepts in math that really lend themselves really well to that and others, which really don't. And so I've. I've worked really hard to make sure that whenever I'm doing teaching math concepts or financial literacy concepts that don't necessarily lend themselves really well to graphing or something numerical, that I try to really figure out a way that I can make that happen.

And where I was going with this is where, Offers a free trial version of both the 84 emulator for teachers. It's called smartview TI smartview. And then there's a TI Inspire premium software which is offered by TI as a free trial as well. But the Lindsay said, Hey, get ahold of us. Usually back to school time is really great for Teachers getting not just the trial version, but finding out, like, t I always likes to have some sort of like niche way of saying, well, hey, if you do this, like send us a syllabus or something like that we'll just give you a license for this for free forever.

And so then you at least would have the software and maybe your students don't have it, but you know, you're still having these conversations with your students. Even if they don't have the technology in their physical hands or on their computers, you can still say, well, hey what, what number do you want me to try?

And still be interacting even though you're the one with the software on your computer? So I just wanna make sure that in case anyone was interested in that, that you knew that that was an option as well. 

Yanely Espinal: That's awesome. Such a great resource. I have a question about challenges that you both have witnessed, either experienced yourself or have observed in all of the work that you're doing with ti.

Because at the NGPF curriculum team, we know, like their focus and their goals when they were building out the financial algebra course was really to address two main things. One was looking to offer alternative math credits that give students an option that's not just calculus, right. Then, and then two was actually giving relevant math instruction that built in some real world skills.

And I think obviously with TI Calculators being in pretty much every school I've ever been in across the country teachers are, are using them a lot and in creative ways, but obviously they're, there can be some challenges. So what are some of the most common challenges that you've seen or experienced when it comes to math instruction, financial instruction.

The intersection of those in, you know, real classrooms... in schools across the country. 

[00:27:58] Challenges that Dr. Lindsay and Mike Have Witnessed.

Dr. Lindsay Gold: Sure there are. A couple. One that sticks out to me is that we're teaching students real life human beings. So these students come with us or come to us with their own backgrounds, their own experience, their own knowledge about personal finance, which can be very different.

So I think that's something we need to acknowledge as teachers is we need to know our students and their backgrounds and where they're coming from. Even cultural differences. We have to be aware of that. Some cultures do not want or promote loans. So that's something that you need to be aware of and really understand about your students so that when you are teaching these topics, which can sometimes be very sensitive.

To people that you are cognizant of their own background. I think that's really important. So that is definitely a challenge that I want teachers to be aware of and address. Another challenge that I can think of is just kind of the assessment aspect of it. So you have to decide what are you assessing?

Are we assessing financial literacy? Are we assessing math? Are we assessing both? How does that look? So a lot of times we might need to step away from the traditional test taking methods and try to think of some other ways to vary our assessments so that when we're having these conversations and these authentic real life experiences, how can we authentically assess our students?

It's another. Another thing I would like to put on teachers' radars when they're teaching these concepts. Mike, did you have something? 

Mike Houston: Yeah, you, you spoke really eloquently. I'm gonna speak a little bit less eloquently. I, my, my challenge that I find whenever I walk in and do professional development with other teachers typically is that a lot of other math teachers they use the calculator, whether it's the Nspire, the 84, the 83, whatever, they're using it as a four function calculator.

And that's how they've been doing it for a long time. And a lot of times it's because they don't know any different. And so that's where, you know, we try to give them some help, some training. And the, the, one of my favorite things about working with TI and the, the capacity that I do is that I, I've had the opportunity to really help my students make really deep connections, math and financial connections because they're using technology. 

And the other piece to this that I find really challenging on a regular basis, and this is about to happen in a couple days, whenever I walk in and my students are I, I could have all these calculators, you know, TI, Nspire sitting on their desks, and if I ask 'em to do 500 times 2017 they'll reach for this first, and that's all well and good. 

And that only gets 'em so far. It also, the syntax of whatever calculator app they may be using on their phone at some point we'll really start to bite them pretty quickly. And so I create opportunities where I let them, like, you want to use that, that's fine.

You need to try and get this one answer. That I'm trying to get, you know, here's a calculation, do it and here's the answer for it. And knowing that they're probably gonna use their phone and they're gonna be typing things in without parentes or whatever it may be incorrectly and getting the wrong answer.

And if they use the technology that I'm hopefully providing to them they can type it in just as easily, just as fast and they're gonna get the right answer. And so I start to kind of sell that to my students. So I don't get a ton of flack and pushback later on as we do more and more and work with the calculators and they want to reach for their phones, you know, over and over again.

I had just continue to remind them that, Hey, listen, like this. If you want to do a quick multiplication, like that's perfect. I. But once we start getting away from that it, it is really limited and almost can be harmful in a way. 

Yanely Espinal: I, I definitely see that. I think the students ask each other for help programming their phones.

And then the students with the TI always tell the, their friends that the, these calculators are easier to use. They themselves, you know, they themselves can recognize that, encourage each other, listen, use the right tool for the job. You know what I mean? We're not, we're not at the grocery store just trying to calculate.

Our budget for groceries. We're not at a restaurant trying to quickly get together a tip, how much to offer for a tip. Those things sure, pull out the phone, great. But in a classroom when you're doing higher order thinking you know, you really wanna have the right tool. So I really love that point and I, I think the students can definitely help each other with that as well.

Okay, I do have one last question for you both, which is to talk a little bit more about the support resources, 'cause you mentioned them and alluded to them a little earlier on in our conversation about how there's so much support and if you're, you know, needing any support to reach out.

Talk a little bit about those support resources that TI offers for teachers who wanna learn more about using graphing calculators in the classroom. 

[00:33:03] TI's Support Resources.

Dr. Lindsay Gold: Sure. So TI also has on-demand webinars which is really nice. And if you go to their financial literacy page, you'll have links to those on-demand webinars.

There's free lesson plans. We welcome feedback, so if you try one of the lesson plans in your classroom and have suggestions, ideas, or just wanna say, this went great, this didn't go so well, please let us know. So there's those free lesson plans as well. There's how to, so there's a video for both the 84 and Nspire on how to use the financial solver, which I think is nice to have that tutorial there for you as well as a resource.

And definitely NGPF resources, and I like to see when we can overlap those together. That is my favorite when we, you know, go through your resources and say, Ooh, I can see the technology here, here, and here. So I, I really appreciate that as well.

Mike Houston: Can I jump in? 

Yanely Espinal: Yeah, go ahead Mike, please jump in. 

Mike Houston: So, Lindsay has some great resources that are, so my top the other one I want to kind of do a shameless plug for is, I believe it's September 30th, is our international conference. And this year it's virtual and it's free, it's on a Saturday.

And so I, I love the fact that you can just sign up for different sessions, pop in, hopefully you like it and stay. And if you don't like it, then you pop out and find a different session that you do like. I would hope I haven't seen all of the sessions yet, but I would hope that there's probably gonna be some sessions that are financial- ish.

That'd be my best guess. So that's another great way to sort of get more exposure. You know, if you're, again, if you're at the end of the spectrum where the TI world is really new to you I, my recommendation again is to, you know, get the software, whether that's the 84 or the Nspire and Lindsay and I, you know, if you want to get ahold of us, we can sort of help you through which one of those two you might want pick.

But get, get the software, start playing around with a little bit, and then you know, get to our website, do some of those How-to's, and then maybe pop into a webinar or pop into the international conference and sort of start trying to, you know, get, get your feet wet. 

Yanely Espinal: That's awesome. 

Dr. Lindsay Gold: Thank you. We are so excited about this partnership that we have going on here within NGPF, so we really appreciate you as well. 

Mike Houston: Di-ditto. I, I don't know what else to say to that. Thank you so much for, for asking me to, to do this. I, it was a lot of fun for me and Lindsay.

Dr. Lindsay Gold: Definitely.

Ren Makino: I hope you enjoyed this episode with Yanely, Lindsay, and Mike, I have a few final housekeeping items before we go. The show notes and full transcript can be found on Please be sure to subscribe to the NGPF podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts better yet. Leave us a review. We love hearing from you and it will help us reach a broader audience. On behalf of Yanely, Mike, and Lindsay, thank you so much for tuning in to this NGPF podcast.

About the Author

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

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