Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Re-engineering the Math Classroom

Fuzzy logic and Bayesian Networks could be used to evaluate the effectiveness of of multiple choice assessments- especially clicker system assessments.

Textbook test generators can be used to generate questions for clicker system quizzes.

Virtual manipulatives work great for pre-algebra classes especially NLVM with the virtual equation balance. Also there are several nice sites for tangrams. And don't forget Google Earth. is a nice worksheet generator web site.

Algebra in Motion offers a set of Geometer's SketchPad visuals and animations to demonstrate a variety of algebra topics visually. For this reason alone, Geometer's SketchPad would be very useful.

Mimio has produced a low cost item that allows you to turn any whiteboard into a smartboard. This item used in conjunction with Geometer's SketchPad (a computer and a projector) could really help facilitate graphical drawing on the whiteboard and it's capture capability helps to eliminate redundant lesson delivery.

If you don't attend regular math conventions, conferences and workshops, you are missing out on a lot.

Supplemental materials are great and some textbooks make great supplemental materials. Harold Jacobs has written several textbooks that provide a meld of classic text based problems with modern critical thinking and problem solving challenges.

MathType is great and very useful for PowerPoint presentations, however, there are some other technologies coming along- like the Open Office formula editor- that may make formula entry easier. MathType actually is pretty good for use with SmartBoards or Mimio systems because of the big buttons and all the pointing and clicking. But if you want to type equations- and I believe this is the quickest method to enter formulas (or anything in the computer)- Open Office formula editor allows you to enter formulas like you enter equations into the graphing calculator. For example, x^2 + 3x -2 for a nice quadratic or (-b +/- sqrt(b^2 - 4ac) over (2a) for the good old quadratic formula. Unfortunately, you can't have the best of both worlds. MathType does allow you to type formulas, but you have to learn the syntax of a typesetting system called TeX. Open Office allows you to type the formulas easily, but it does not allow you to migrate the formulas to Power Point easily- and that's a problem if you must use PowerPoint like I must with my Interwrite PRS clicker system.

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