Thursday, August 06, 2009

Math Week: Readers' Ideas

Readers weigh in with 'Math Week' ideas, comments, observations, and suggestions...
Noah Geisel on finding and using tools:
Regardless of what subjects we teach, the innovative and "authentic" ways in which many of us are incorporating tech were not necessarily obvious to us from the start but we realize that we are limited only by our imaginations in utilizing the tools that are out there. It's no different for math and science; the tech exists, they just need to find it!

Norman Constantine on math and keyboards:
It is a question of what you are used to seeing as notation. Programmers have been writing code that produces massive calculations using a keyboard.

Reader Jeremy isolates a problem (and offers tech know-how to fix it):

Math homework is such a freeform method of writing. The only things I've found to accomodate it requires the student to learn a dizzying array of buttons to click on or some sort of syntax to represent equations within the confines of a sentence like structure. It's ironic, because I often tell people where I work that the hardware is no longer the problem in education. It's the innovation of individuals that is the missing ingredient. Maybe math is the one area that isn't quite true yet.... We need a tool that allows students to build equations visually, the same way they would on paper. The trick is going to be a GUI that is easy to use and only requires a mouse and keyboard.

Mark Pullen offers a suggestion for elementary school math:
For lower elementary, is a great site that has very specific practice sets on every single topic (or close to every topic) you would need in a given school year. If you wanted to shift to web-based math for 2nd-5th grades, I'd go there.

Reader DGM cites
They have deals with various textbook publishers for automated marking of the maths problems in the back of textbooks.

Kax offers a bunch of good resources: is a site recommended by Ira Socol because it can integrate into Word or Google Docs. I have not tried it out yet. We have Geometer's Sketchpad at my school which is a great program for exploring all levels of math. Dan Myer has a great blog where he gives creative ideas for authentic math at I also like the idea of mathcasts; I would like to have students create their own videos explaining math concepts that would become a library for help that students could access for help at home or if they are absent.

Brian gives a resource for adding equations to blogs:
If you are trying to get an equation into a blog or wiki, there is a relatively (notice the word relatively) easy way of doing it now thanks to LaTeX.

And Russ comes in with various ways to present math in projection:
People without Smart boards, but [who] have a projector for a computer, may be interested in the wiimote whiteboard project, to turn any surface into an interactive whiteboard with the use of a wii remote control. Improved versions may be available via sourceforge. Geogebra, would look fab, throwing graphs up on the wall, via wiimote whiteboard, interactively. And Sketchup (free 3d drawing program), great for elementary and middle school, tesselations, modeling, 3d dimensional construction, angles. See Bonnie Roskes' books at 3dVinci, geometrics, and modelmetrics. Co-author Jon Choate will be presenting at the NCTM conference in Boston this Oct. I love Sketchup. His zebragraph website has the .ppt's on a previous NCTM presentation. I'm head-over-heels over Sketchup, really!

Mind you, as a teacher in the Humanities, I really knew nothing about any of this cool stuff. Just goes to show what a great readership can do to help fulfill the promise of a blog.

You guys rock!

Math week continues tomorrow with a personal story of math agony.

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