Education Technology
TI Bulletin Board | Success Stories

July 10, 2015

Success Story: Sarasota County STEMsmart TechActive

Inspired middle school students post 'amazing' results on Florida EOC assessments.

More than 4,800 Sarasota County middle school students used TI-Nspire™ CX technology daily in STEMsmart TechActive classrooms in 2013–14. Every one of them met or exceeded proficiency requirements on that year’s Geometry and Algebra 1 End-of-Course exams.


Five years ago, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation took a hard look at the question: Are Florida’s schools preparing students for the post-secondary academic and career challenges that await them?

Its conclusion: Traditional methods of teaching and learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics (e.g., memorization and calculation) were not up to the task. A complete overhaul was required.

“The classroom and the world have changed since we went to school. The jobs and the workplaces of tomorrow will require new skills and new ways of thinking."

Teri A Hansen
President and CEO
Gulf Coast Community Foundation

At the same time, the Florida Department of Education was expanding its assessment requirements to include End-of-Course exams, adding urgency to the need for STEM education reform. Algebra 1 was the first course to undergo implementation of a statewide EOC in 2011.


The STEMsmart TechActive classroom, part of Gulf Coast’s larger STEMsmart initiative that includes Sarasota County Schools, was created to transform the learning experience, enhance students’ academic achievement and exam results and promote readiness in STEM-related college programs and careers.

Now established in all eight Sarasota County middle schools, STEMsmart classrooms are interactive, collaborative learning environments in which TI-Nspire™ CX handhelds and TI-Nspire™ CX Navigator™ Systems are used daily.

“[TI-Nspire™ CX handhelds] engage kids in a deeper understanding of concepts, allow them to explore concepts and, honestly, solve more problems than they ever could with paper and pencil.”

Page Dettmann, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Sarasota County Middle School Education


Every student in the Sarasota County middle schools’ STEMsmart classrooms demonstrated a satisfactory or better level of success on the 2013–14 Florida EOC Algebra 1 assessment. Crediting teachers for using TI-Nspire™ CX technology effectively to inspire students and engage them in the mathematics, Dr. Dettmann noted the versatile interactive teaching and learning system played an important role in that achievement.

“One hundred percent of the students in our STEMsmart classrooms using the TI technology [on a daily basis] were proficient on our End-of-Course Algebra exam last year — 100%. To me, that’s amazing.”

Page Dettmann, Ph.D.

Similarly, 100 percent of STEMsmart students posted proficient or better scores on the 2013–14 Geometry EOC, underscoring TI-Nspire™ CX technology’s positive impact in helping students accelerate their understanding of math principles and strengthen their problem-solving and reasoning skills.

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