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Topic: Mathematical collaboration tools


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Subject:   RE: Mathematical collaboration tools
Author: LFS
Date: Sep 8 2009
I don't know much about this, but I will say what I do know. There is
information below about easy ways to use LaTeX with GeoGebra and with pbworks
wikis below and if anybody wants to know more or how, just reply.

====Important: if you have Word (and hence Equation Editor) you can get the free
translator from Design Science (the maker of EE) and it will take your EE
equation and "translate" it into LaTeX ====

==LaTeX on pbworks== http://math247.pbworks.com/latex-examples

What is LaTeX?
LaTeX is a math text editor. This means it does not "do" math but it is a way of
inputting math formulas into text.

You probably know of the math text editor MathType (commercial) and its little
cousin Equation Editor (comes free with MS Word). They are WYSIWYG (what you see
is what you get) text editors for mathematics. They are easy to use with
templates and you can see what you are going to get.

Although they are getting better, MathType equations do not scale well nor do
they position well on webpages. Many times you must make images of your
equations which is both time-consuming and again does not position well on a
webpage (so called "inline" equations that are placed like this "f(x)" in text
tend to go above or below the line of text and look horrible. Of course if you
want to change them you must repeat the entire process again.

Latex or LaTeX is a non-wysiwyg system of inputting equations built on the
original TeX system.

With LaTeX, you need to write \frac{3}{4} to get the fraction 3/4. When
published, it will look like a real fraction - not like here - and you can get
incredibly lovely looking math functions and formulas with LaTex. But you have
to know how to input it and you don't really know what it looks like until you
print or publish it.

But - relatively speaking - you can get it to show lovely mathematics on
webpages and in programs like GeoGebra. (It can even be "dynamic" in GeoGebra.
That is, you can write formulas whose values change as the object is
changed.)

And, it is free. I use a derivative of LaTeX called jsMath on my pages here:

http://www.mathcasts.org/mtwiki/GlossaryT/QuadraticFormula
and even a user without the TeX fonts will see good math (I hope).

As I said above, if you have Word and Equation Editor you can get the free
translator (from the maker of MathType: Design Science) and it will take your
equation and "translate" it into LaTeX.

This is good to know about LaTeX if you are working on a wiki like pbworks!
Although still in its infancy (inline equations still look horrible), a pbworks
wiki will let you input a LaTeX equation.
So you type your equation in Word using EE, have the translator translate it to
LaTeX, copy it and then open the plug-in on your pbworks wiki page and paste
it in.
Here is a page with examples: http://math247.pbworks.com/latex-examples
This is a God-send for teachers. (If you do own MathType, this is like so easy
to do. If anybody wants a little mathcast on how to do this, write back and I
will make one - and I will check out how to do it with EE, which would then be
totally free.)
 
Hope this helps.

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