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Margaret Sinclair

Hi everyone,

My first foray into the net was joining the geometry forum discussions last winter! After a few weeks of observing I found myself jumping in to comment on some teaching technique or to offer an idea on a problem. It was addicting!

Nevertheless, I wasn't convinced of the place the net could serve in a classroom until I did research for a major paper. I accessed library lists, of course, and surfed some math home pages gathering materials and a bibliography of articles. Then I asked a few questions on the forum itself. The response was amazing. Anything I had been reading was two to three years old. The e-mail I received was 'hot off the presses' and some came from the researchers themselves. I was immediately struck by the potential--and the potential problems.

At this point I think the following areas are important uses of the internet for high school math students and consequently important for us to keep in mind this summer:

And these are important problems for teachers to contend with:

One thing I am convinced of, is that the really exciting thing about the internet is the possibility for interacting with real human beings in other parts of the world. It is a huge reference base and a good vehicle for fetching software and so forth, but I hope our focus is on using it to get kids to talk mathematics.

On a personal note: I am a mother of 5 (ages 12 to 26). I taught grade 1 for 5 years, then took 13 years off to stay home with the kids and went back to teach math in 1988. I enjoyed primary, but I love teaching math to high school students.

I'm from Toronto, Ontario. We don't have exactly the same courses as in the States so it's hard to compare, but basically I teach grade 9 to OAC (that's Ontario Academic Credits for entry to university)--anything from technical math to calculus. I'm very interested in using computer software in my classes (although I'm not a computer teacher). I've used MapleV and Theorist as well as spreadsheets. (I'm trying to get the school to buy Sketchpad because I really enjoy using it, but the money isn't there yet.)

I'm involved in giving workshops to help teachers use Theorist and Maple, and I co-write our math contests for Junior and Senior divisions.

Bye for now,

Margaret Sinclair,
Jean Vanier C.S.S, Toronto, Ontario
margsinc@village.ca
sinclair@mathforum.org

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July 1995