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Topic: TI83 Graphing Calculator Online

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Subject:   RE: TI83 Graphing Calculator Online
Author: Mathman
Date: Aug 20 2005
On Aug 20 2005, MarcJL wrote:
> I am a second year teacher about to teach geometry for the first
> time.  Geometer's Sketch Pad seems to offer an excellent environment
> for developing a geometry intuition.  

Problem: does this justify
> the investment in having kids learn GSP?  

This is a personal decision on your part, and depends upon the level of
difficulty of the course, and school expectations.  In the real life classroom
situation you might have to rob Peter to pay Paul.  What matters, so far as I
would venture to add, is your own knowledge and background, and your ability to
present that to the students so that they can understand.  Like a
painter-artist, the medium can be anything available.  It's the art that
matters.  In the wrong hands no tool is useful.  In the right hands it is, and
that person can use any tool to advantage.  So, again, it's a personal choice.
What will matter in the long run is that the students grasp fundamental
concepts, and that you present and develop them in a logical fashion so that
they will see how to apply them to solution of new problems.  What you consider
to be a "solution" might have to bend a little here and there, but some
knowledge will be better than none if it is ultimately correct.

Another consideration:  It is perhaps equally difficult to learn to use
hand-drawing tools if they are to be used properly.  It's all about technique.
One of the best demonstrations of this was a shop teacher I admired and helped
on occasion.  He had developed a drafting course.  The students had very
defintie assignments, and they had to be completed first on the drawing board
from fundamental drafting techniques, and then move over to the computer and
Autocad.  After several such assignments, then, and only then was Autocad used
consistently.  It was a very successful and useful course of study.

My 2 cents worth.

P.S.  We used to call geometry the great divider [between those who owuld likely
go on to study more math, and those who would not.]  It is conceptually very
difficult for many, and programs such as GSP can help a great deal in the
visualisation of structures.

P.P.S.  Consider using a program like DeltaCad for creating diagrams to be put
into your word processor for exercises and tests.


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