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Discussion: Roundtable
Topic: "Graphing Calculator" Software


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Subject:   I like the applets
Author: Gayla
Date: Oct 2 2003
Hi Gene,

The applets worked this time.  I wanted to look at them for my own self, as a
refresher.  It's been a while and I don't see this stuff very often, and I was
well into getting my bachelors degree before I really began to understand
graphs, or what a solution to a system of equations really meant.  Things came
together very slowly.  The applets not only served as a refresher, but they made
meaningful comparisons between graphs.  It was a really great refresher, and I
even interchanged two of the graphs in the last applet, getting the direction of
the lag backwards.  Thinking about what Joel said in his 9/26 posting titled
"Technology Replaces Teachers":
http://mathforum.org/mathtools/discuss.html?&do=r&msg=_____round-52 , and your
answer, it would've, even today, taken a teacher a bit of time to (re)explain
some of this stuff to me, whereas with the technology, I was able to go through
it again and make the connections at my own speed.  This is not something I
would have waded into independently as a student, but if these kinds of
approaches had been used, and I'd had to face them, it would've been like wading
into the water, and I would have learned to swim with mathematics much quicker,
much easier, with far greater comprehension.  Surely many many of the other
technology exercises given in the entries have been equally good, but the
reluctance to visit them is still considerable.  The point of my message is to
reinforce, first person, how difficult it can be to get people like myself to
jump into technology waters, and it may be (I wouldn't know) the same such
people that have the most potential (in a basic sense) to benefit from
technology, because it can replace dependency on the instructor, free the
instructor's time, and empower the student.  The really bright students are
generally going to get the material with or without assistance.  It is the
borderline and deficit cases who need extraordinary help from the teacher, some
of which could be replaced by technology.  This is, by the way, a new opinion,
based on my experiences tonight.  

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