Game Design for Education (CU Boulder)
Blackboard Learning System (Stanford)
TRAILS and The Math Forum

Suzanne's Summary, February 19

As I read the submissions to the 20 Questions! activity, I had a few thoughts and also a few questions to discuss with the class. Here's what I've been thinking:

Question 3 Name of Assigned Applet
No one reviewed: Floor Tiles ||  Pie Chart ||  Problem Solving: Distance, Rate, Time ||  Three Dimensional Box Applet

Question 9 Difficulties
Interestingly the majority of responders reported no difficulties using the applet. I find that interesting because often a complaint about using Java applets is that they don't work in all browsers or a plug-in is needed, etc. and yet there didn't seem to be anyone reporting this type of difficulty.

Question 10 Key features
Because there was some duplication in the applets reviewed, your group may find it interesting to read what another group wrote if they chose the same applet.

Question 13 Math topics
When I read the math topics that were listed by each group, it made me realize that this group may tend to think of more advanced math than what I normally address. The list of applets are actually all ones that I would use as a middle school teacher. It was fun to try to think about how the applets might be used by more advanced students. By mentioning the more advanced topics, you stretched my thinking in some ways but in other ways you left me wondering just how some of those topics might apply in a realistic sense.

Question 15 Adjustments
Again because it seemed that you were wanting to have the applets address the needs of an older audience (high school or higher?) the comments tended to recommend how the applets could be adjusted to be more complex.

Question 16 - 20
I enjoyed reading the responses to these questions the most. Several groups mentioned that the applet wasn't fun but it could be used by a teacher in a classroom. That led me to wonder if there are different levels of fun? Why would you want an applet to be fun if a student were doing it alone (at home, in the library, or ?) but not have it be fun if a teacher were using it for instruction?

Does fun interfere with a teacher's instruction? Does fun enhance a teacher's instruction?

In looking at the Circle Graph it occurred to me that a feature I might like would be to have the percentages displayed (with mouse-overs or some other feature) on the graph. But then as I thought about it perhaps a teacher wants the students to work with this applet so that they can learn to visualize the sections and the corresponding percentages. How do we know when a feature can enhance the instruction or hinder it?

There might also be a trade-off on the number of features that are made available and/or the sophistication of the graphics, etc. vs. the time/money it takes to develop them. How do you decide what is most important? Are you sure that some features that you spend the most time on, are the most important for the user?

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0205625.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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