Our goal is to build an electronic community composed of high school and college teachers and students, research geometers, researchers in geometry education, developers of software and other educational materials, appliers of geometry, and everyone else interested in the subject. Various aspects of the world of geometry make this a real possibility and a goal with important educational consequences.
We're now feeding quite a few sites (listed at the end) and some of them are feeding other sites .... We welcome the batch of new readers who have arrived, but we note with concern that some of our sites may expire articles as rapidly as every three days, which can give a fledgling bulletin board a rather denuded appearance. Please drop us a note if you read us on a feed and find almost nothing there; at the moment we're not sure how serious the problem is.
Do post your questions, comments, suggestions! We've heard from personal email that there are a lot of folks reading but not writing, and while we have not the slightest doubt that we'll ultimately fly, we need your immediate help in getting off the ground.
Although we may later become a regular Usenet newsgroup, while we get the kinks out and the structure coalesces, we will continue to exist as a separate newsgroup hierarchy on our own news server, with feeds to a number of institutions and educational networks. We can also appear as a mailing list to those who have only email capabilities or prefer this form of interaction.
We realize the importance of having school teachers participating on the Forum from the outset, and our sponsor, the National Science Foundation, has given us some funds to work with local Philadelphia schools. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not among the leading states in bringing telecommunications technology to the schools, and we have been forced to rely on the kindness of local institutions of higher learning for teacher accounts. This has been more of a struggle than we anticipated, although we are making progress. We have yet to find a magic formula which unlocks the hearts of directors of computer centers or those to whom they report. Suggestions would be most welcome, since this problem is by no means unique to Philadelphia.
For the time being we have modest funds which we could use to help some worthy teachers get on the Internet, and we'd like suggestions of particularly meritorious individual teachers of geometry.
We already have hints of the possible force of interactions possible when teachers, mathematics educators, and mathematicians talk together. However, we lack the critical mass to have many examples of teachers supporting teachers, an activity we expect to be important. And other enticing possibilities go dangling: --a science museum curator posed a question on mazes, and it took a long time for anyone to respond; --a community college teacher reports that her institution is now thinking of adding geometry to their curriculum and wishes suggestions; no response to date.
We hope to soon begin working with interested teachers to develop classroom geometry projects which involve the Internet in general and the Geometry Forum in particular. We're looking for teachers with ideas, and we have some modest funds available. Interested?
As a necessary aid to community building, we also have a software development component to our project. Our goal is to construct newsreading software which is especially simple and easy to use and, to meet the special needs of our particular clientele, has the capacity to send and interpret symbols and diagrams. Within a month we hope to post our plans on the Forum for public input.
Accessing The Geometry Forum:
It is especially convenient if your site is willing to carry our feed as part of its regular news, since you can then read us as you would a normal Usenet newsgroup. Drop a line to our network guru, email@example.com.
Otherwise we're accessible by pointing your newsreader to forum.swarthmore.edu instead of your local news server. Further details about access are available by writing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 1-800-756-7823.
An email alternative which we're currently debugging: If you're not set up for newsgroups or prefer mailing lists, we'll send you all new postings of the Forum (sub)groups you're interested in as email and you can respond in kind. To try out this possibility, mail email@example.com with a message body of 'help'. No subject line.
We're currently feeding the following sites. Further suggestions welcome.
City University of New York, NorthWest Net, North Dakota's K-12 Telcom Network, University of Minnesota, The World (Public Access Unix in Boston), Educational Computing Network (University Park, IL), St. Olaf College, Smith College, University of Virginia, Texas Education Network, University of Kentucky, a2i communications (Public Access Unix in northern CA), The IDS World Network (Public Access Unix in Rhode Island), Grebyn Corporation (P.A. Unix in DC area), uunet, public access unix in Australia, public access unix in North Carolina, Colorado SuperNet, CR Laboratories Dialup Internet Access (northern California), The Portal System, northern California, MSen (public access in southeast Michigan), CerfNet (southern California).
Let us know if you're reading us on another site. It's hard to keep track, since many places will feed us to other sites.