The Math Forum: 2000 Summer Institute - sum2000

July 25 - August 11, 2000 - Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

2000 Summer Institute || Agenda || List of Participants

Day 10 Summary

Lee Smith gave a presentation on the JOMA Project. JOMA, which stands for the Journal of Online Mathematics and its Applications, is part of an online digital library. The Math Digital Library is being developed by the Mathematics Association of America, in partnership with the Math Forum. The Math Digital Library is part of the National Science Digital Library initiative which is being funded by the National Science Foundation. As the project develops, it may not be so much of a library as a Learning Resource Center including resources, courses, and "ask an expert" services. The first volume of the journal due out in December or January will focus on "mathlets", which are small, interactive, platform-independent programs for learning mathematics, including applets, shockwave, and javascript programs.

Participants were given time to look at a variety of mathlets using a set of review criteria. There are many challenges as the project moves to becoming platform-independent.

  • While testing the mathlets for the project, there was difficulty running the mathlets on Macs using Netscape. Internet Explorer should be used instead.

  • The Institute participants had some frustration with a function graphing mathlet. It did not run like graphing calculators, requiring the user to read the directions and not just "play". It was one of the more complex mathlets that participants attempted to use, with many written directions.

  • Some mathlets require the user to download plug-ins. Depending on the system and browser, downloading plug-ins may also cause frustration.

  • Some mathlets give the user more control to change values and view the changes. Others are less interactive and are meant to show only one example.

Looking to the future, after the early college/calculus emphasis, mathlets will be collected and reviewed for high school math courses. Another concern recognized by the teachers in the Institute was that secondary computer labs may be very limited in their hardware and software, and therefore teachers may not be able to run the mathlets if and when they are available.

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