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Topic: Day 2 Math Forum Advanced Summer Institute
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Betsy Teeple

Posts: 67
Registered: 12/3/04
Day 2 Math Forum Advanced Summer Institute
Posted: Jul 8, 1998 10:00 AM
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After a brief discussion on some of the logistics of the program, the
sum98 group trekked over to the Trotter lab to begin day two of the
Math Forum Advanced Summer Institute.

Following some time working on individual projects, Ken provided some
solutions to formatting math on the Internet
(http://forum.swarthmore.edu/workshops/sum98/text_n_gifs.html). Ken
embraced typesetting in ASCII text as a skill worth learning. Tips he
mentioned included: 1) if you are using HTML tags, make sure that they
are standard tags so that the audience will be able to render them; 2)
for exponents, it may be better to use carets because font size and
spacing can vary; 3) some students may create notation that they
explicitly define -- for example, Annie mentioned that she had seen a
student define two capital T's (TT) to represent pi. Ken's second
technique is to use a program (such as Graphing Calculator, a standard
program on Macs) that captures appropriate output and then use that
image. His third suggestion is to use Equation Editor, which can be
pasted in to text using Flash It, clip2gif, or any graphics program,
as he demonstated. Steve suggested altering the font in Equation
Editor to help with spacing in the text. Using Java and plug-ins were
two other ideas mentioned. Plug-ins may be best in the situation where
the main audience is a classroom that can easily download the
software. Steve then encouraged the participants to explore some of
techniques mentioned.

During the next session, Dave discussed using forms to build a web
page (http://forum.swarthmore.edu/tools/forms). A form can be used to
collect information from web users in an organized fashion. It is not
necessary to have rights to file transfer protocol (ftp). The basic
idea, as Steve mentioned, is to start using a form by copying the
source of an example and then adapting it to fit your own purposes. To
see how any of the example form pages were built, go to "View" and
scroll down to "Page Source"; Becky <becky@forum.swarthmore.edu> and
Sorelle <sorelle@forum.swarthmore.edu> annotated them, and along with
Dave <kersh@forum.swarthmore.edu> remain available for assistance with
forms throughout the week. Dave reviewed several of his example pages
to demonstrate the use of check boxes, radio buttons, and text fields.
Steve mentioned to be careful of which interface to use -- for
example, radio buttons can't be substituted for a check list. Bob
Panoff noted that providing default values in text fields helps
students to see what kind of input is expected in that field. Several
offshoots of a form page are the logfile, the returnfile, a template,
and a log directory
(http://forum.swarthmore.edu/tools/forms/madlib/madlib.html).

After a quick lunch, the participants returned to continue work on
individual projects. Margaret Sinclair then led the group through a
classroom activity. She first passed out questions for participants to
answer
(http://forum.swarthmore.edu/workshops/sum98/sinclair.activity.html).
We were divided into groups to complete the questionnaire. The
questions were split into four subgroups (A and C, B and D, E and G, F
and H), and each of the four groups got one of the subgroups of
questions and responses to analyze. Margaret noted that this activity
lends itself nicely to speadsheet and groupwork. Participants decided
on and then drew up different kinds of graphs to represent the data.
Afterwards, participants discussed how the web could facilitate this
kind of data collecting activity, resulting in an ongoing discussion
thread in <geometry-institutes>
(http://forum.swarthmore.edu/epigone/geometry-institutes/frexwabrix).

Back in the computer lab, Annie discussed using Java Sketchpad (JSP)
on the Internet
(http://forum.swarthmore.edu/workshops/sum98/java.gsp.explain.html).
Annie noted
that JSP is useful in animations of geometric figures. For example, as
Annie demonstrated, students can investigate properties of polygons
(by varying angles and sides) without destroying the basic structure
of the polygon. With JSP, she can put the figure in Sketchpad, put it
on the Internet, and all the student needs to access it is a
Java-enabled browser. She encouraged participants to reference the JSP
site (http://www.keypress.com/sketchpad/javagsp/) when JSP is used.

Betsy Teeple and Richard Tchen





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