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Topic: realities in school?

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Subject:   RE: realities in school?
Author: Craig
Date: Mar 12 2004
Our computer policy is possibly more liberal than most--we don't have filters,
for instance.  However, it is impossible for students (or teachers, except those
with sysadmin permissions) to download programs in the lab.  As a math teacher
keenly interested in using technology (my Statistics class meets in the computer
lab daily--some days it's a pain, but we do use computers a lot), I worked
with the technology director to insure that a "manageable" number of
mathematical software packages (those for which we have full or limited site
licenses) are available on school computers.  It still takes time, and doesn't
work perfectly (we still can't seem get two major software programs accessible
from our Mac lab).

I have two "workarounds" that I have used over and over:
1.  Use fairly common software in uncommon ways.  Spreadsheets, for example, are
fairly common--and they have a lot of mathematical power.  There are many
great ways to use spreadsheets, either for demonstration to the class or for
student work.  NCTM's latest "On-Line" (electronic journal) had a great
article on using sliders, for instance.
2.  Make sure your computer folks have fairly current versions of web browsers
and plugins, including Java, Acrobat Reader, Flash, and either QuickTime or
WindowsMedia.  Many (even most?) of the MathTools available from this site run
on Java.

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