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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, gerirose wrote:
> It's quite possible for the kids to learn geometry as
> they learn Sketchpad tools. In fact that is the way it should
> happen.   And Sketchpad is so much more powerful than just using
> applets.  Besides all the wonderful suggestions on Math Tools, check
> out "Exploring Geometry with The Geometer's Sketchpad".  gerirose

I do not suggest avoiding the use, but geometry can be taught quite well with or
without GSP; Coxeter didn't do too badly, after all.  One of the exciting and
influential parts of teaching is dialogue.  That occurs between teacher and
student much more readily than when a student is given a set of instructions and
a screen to stare at.  There are subtleties that can be discussed on the fly by
interactive dialogue between people, not interaction between one person and a
computer.  GSP teaches by example, but does not involve method formal proof.
That method is applicable, as is the so called Scientific method to other areas
requiring order and reason.  It is that which is being taught along with
geometry, and which is otherwise missing on the whole.

GSP is a marvellous tool to demonstrate, and is valuable when students do not
have a ready capacity to visualise space-objects in their mind.  But even that
requires hindsight, as we become more skilled as we develop through the study
and repeatedly see pattern.

I do not have a good memory [ask my wife], but I remember all of Euclid.  That
came from a background starting just after WW2 with "magic lantern" slides, lots
of chalk, and lots of discussion.  I could recall the ideas of Euclid, but could
in no way shape or form recall which book they were from.  As a result, it was
thought that I had a poor understanding and received poor grades.  Yet, I could
apply those ideas readily to find proof where others could not, and have since
done rather well.  What I'm driving at is that so long as the students get the
ideas and learn the properties of figures and can reason about them, it does not
matter what medium you use.  If they lack formal proof, but can demonstrate
understanding by being able to apply reason to several problems, then that is
surely sufficient.


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