Ed tech continues

Although my class is now long over, I’ve continued to run into questions relating to the use of technology in teaching mathematics.  I wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue using this blog, but now I think I will.  At least for the time being (I may, down the road, merge this with my personal blog, just for simplicity’s sake).

One of the main reasons I decided to continue this work is that I feel a little bit lost when it comes to educational technology.  This is an odd feeling for me, because although I am not exactly a digital native, I am very comfortable with techy stuff, and am usually able to simply sit down with something and figure out what it’s all about.

Not so with some of this ed tech stuff.  Take GeoGebra, for example.  This is a free geometry tool, similar to Geometer’s Sketchpad (with the major exception of price).  Now, I am not that old (34), but when I was in school we did all our geometry by hand.  Learning this process was a lot of fun to me, because compared to some of the other things I’d done in math classes (quadratic equations), geometry seemed artful.  But then, I am an exacting sort of person, so the precision involved in geometric constructions is something that would naturally appeal to me.  For those who aren’t quite my flavor of perfectionism, geometry can be a bit of a struggle.

Enter GeoGebra: free geometry software that is, by its very nature, precise.  If you draw a line in GeoGebra, it’s straight.  Circles are perfect.  Polygons can be regular with the click of a button.  This may seem a bit like cheating, but it’s not.  One could always begin with hand construction, then move to GeoGebra, where students can then “play” with the shapes, investigating things like the relationships between angles and sides, etc.  GeoGebra does a whole lot more than this, but that’s all the further I’ve gotten in the nifty online tutorial.

If you haven’t tried this software, I recommend it.  If nothing else, it’s fun!


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