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AP Math Teachers join HP for the first ever HP Prime AP Summer Institute

Advanced Placement (AP) math in U.S. is the pinnacle of high school math, and the HP Prime calculator changes the “success equation” for students. I invited colleague Jessica Cespedes, from the HP Calculator Team, to tell us what’s new and exciting…


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Guest Author: Jessica Cespedes


This summer my team, HP Calculators, welcomed 80 AP Statistics and AP Calculus teachers from across the U.S. to the first-ever HP Prime AP Summer Institutes for three-days of professional development and training with the HP Prime Wireless Math Classroom. With four Institutes nationwide, the AP teachers were able to “geek out” and get right down to what matters most to them: how can Prime help their students learn more effectively? How can it help them succeed and enjoy math?


I was able to experience the Houston and San Diego Institutes in person, and while I’m no math expert, I have to say that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There’s something special about being surround with people who are truly passionate about something. Whether it be cars or comic books or math, there’s a feeling that there’s something bigger bringing them together to learn and share. These teachers are not only passionate, they are Advanced Placement teachers: the innovators, the over achievers, the bridge between high school and college. They took a big risk coming here, knowing very little about a new math solution that varies so drastically from what they’ve known their whole lives. But they’re here, and they’re excited. It’s an insecure excitement… knowing that this could be something truly unique but hesitant to believe until seeing it in action. Either way, they’re here to embrace it.




We walked them over to the Institute location and they met our instructors. Our instructors work in pairs of two, and as we get started the lead instructor and developer of HP Prime, GT Springer, smirking to the group, states, “We’re like the Marines here, no teacher will be left behind!”. A little laugh echoes across the room and smiles emerge as the teachers introduce themselves. There’s not much time to spare, we’re on a tight agenda, and so the teachers spend the next three days clicking away with their HP Prime calculators, learning about how it relates to AP Calculus or AP Statistics, seeing how Prime sets itself apart from the competition. There’ talks about mathematical fidelity, the discovery of derivatives, and of course, “rejecting the Ho” (null hypothesis, of course!).


They discover the HP Prime Wireless Kit, learning first-hand how they can distribute data sets, send polls to and create exam modes instantly. You can almost see their minds expand in their minds as information swirls around and around, soaked up like a sponge. This training is for them, a chance to learn how Prime can be used in their classroom, an opportunity to improve the way students perceive mathematics. In a few weeks’ time, they’ll be front and center as all eyes are on them to successfully integrate this new technology into their curriculum.


Three days of learning have flown by, and it’s time to wrap things up. The AP teachers are loving their Primes, and have worked hard to gain expertise with this new math solution. Teacher Clifton McNeely of Conroe ISD commented, “I am very excited to work with the new technology and can't wait to see what my students can do with HP Prime.




He won’t have to wait long, because HP has awarded each teacher and their school their very own HP Prime Wireless Classroom Kit grant, complete with 30 HP Prime Graphing Calculators and the Wireless Kit. We pass out certificates of completion, awarding them 15 hours of professional development, take a group picture, and sadly say our goodbyes.


But this isn’t goodbye forever. Oh, no, no, no. Remember, our team “leaves no teacher behind”. We’re dedicated to these 80 teachers; they put themselves out on a limb and we will too. We’re offering an open door policy on any questions they have, organizing several follow-up workshops, and creating a community space for them to grow together.


Many of the AP teachers really want to do anything they can to see Prime succeed. Teacher Erwin Lara of the High School for Enterprise Business & Technology in New York told us, “I look forward to using HP Prime, writing apps, and even running training sessions for… schools in our area”.


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So there it is. My side of the story, a story that ended up being a source of pride. By connecting these teachers and showing them something truly unique, I was able to connect with the product I market in a way I never had before. And we look forward to doing something similar again next year. Although if you thought 80 was big, in 2016 we’re going big for 800!  


If you’d like to find out more about the HP Prime AP Summer Institutes, feel free to reach out to us at calculators@hp.com. If you’d like to explore the HP Prime Wireless Classroom first-hand in your classroom, check out our free loan program at www.hp.com/go/experiencehpprime.


- Jessica Cespedes, Marketing Manager, HP Calculators & Education Solutions


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About the Author
  • Jim Vanides is responsible for the vision, strategy, design, and implementation of education technology innovation initiatives. His focus is the effective use of technology to create powerful learning experiences that help students around the world succeed. He has been instrumental in launching over 1200 primary, secondary, and higher education projects in 41 countries, including the HP Catalyst Initiative - a 15-country network of 60+ education organizations exploring innovations in STEM(+) learning and teaching. In addition to his work at HP, Jim teaches an online course for Montana State University on the Science of Sound, a masters-level, conceptual physics course for teachers in grades 5 through 8. Jim’s past work at HP has included engineering design, engineering management, and program management in R&D, Manufacturing, and Business Development. He holds a BS in Engineering and a MA in Education, both from Stanford University.
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