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Topic: Jeff's Tuesday ToolFest Question

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Subject:   RE: Jeff's Tuesday ToolFest Question
Author: Mathman
Date: Jun 14 2005
On Jun 14 2005, Jeff L wrote:
> What is/are the biggest problem(s) to using math software tools in
> the classroom or for the class?

I'm retired, and should likely stay out of this discussion, but I do have a bee
in my bonnet. I think the greatest disadvantage is the apparent effort required
to find uses, rather than have things happen naturally as they should.  That is,
there is much effort to use "tools" when more traditional methods that have been
shown to work for centuries do just aswell, or even better in some instances.
Tools are good, especially when used along with good teaching methods, but they
are nto a magic pill.  I once had the need and opportunity to tutor a student
hving trouble with geometry.  The teacher was using GSP.  nothing against that
software at all, but two things of note:  (i) the teacher offered a question on
a test, and had taken it up showing the "solution, but it was based upon a false
premise, one that "traditionally" was taught to suggest "Whatever you do, don't
do this." ...assuming congruence on SAS with the angle not contained..., and
(ii) I was able to show her, and give enough confidence within an hour the
precepts of congruence, using only the old tin box of a construction set.

So, use them, but use them wisely, and not necessarily all of the time, but when
needed.  Students will not learn to abstract and visualise mentally if not given
the opportunitiy to do so, and it really is an advantage for them to do


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