The MATH FORUM as a Portal to Mathematics on the Internet
A Guided Tour for TechEd01
March, 2001    ...    Ontario, CA

Shelly Berman

About The Math Forum

The goal for this presentation is to give a quick overview of the Math Forum features and services that are of special interest to teachers and teacher educators.

   The Math Forum Home Page -
The Math Forum is an online community of teachers, students, researchers, parents, educators, and citizens at all levels who have an interest in mathematics and math education. The Math Forum has been consistently recognized as the leader in its field, and continues to provide high quality content and useful features, attracting about 4 million pageviews each month.

The home page offers easy access to all of the Math Forum services, with specific entry points provided to aid navigation for the novice, such as the Student Center and Teachers' Place. There are also links to 'What's New' on the site, a Search for Math on the Internet, and more.
   Problems of the Week -
The Problems of the Week are designed to challenge students with non-routine problems, and to encourage them to explain their solutions. There are six Problems of the Week (PoWs): Elementary, Middle School, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry & Calculus, and Discrete Mathematics. While we will continue to provide Problems of the Week, beginning this fall, a fee will be required to access a "mentored" environment in which every student submission is responded to by a mentor, and students are encouraged to strengthen their solutions.

Here are a few problems we can DO now:

   Problem #1

   Problem #2

   Problem #3

   Problem #4

There is a searchable archive of over 700 problems, each with the administrator's comments and highlighted solutions. Current or archived problems can be integrated into teachers' courses in a variety of ways - as an introductory or summary activity, as enrichment, to encourage team work or written communications, to allow the teacher unique access to student thinking, to allow students to mentor other students, and more. See the pow-teach discussion for more ideas.
The Problems of the Week have evolved to include additional useful features:
   Internet Mathematics Library -
The Math Forum continues to collect, organize, catalog and annotate thousands of math related web sites from diverse sources to create its Internet Mathematics Library. You can search or browse through over 7,000 items in the collection, organized under the headings of Mathematics Topics, Resource Types, Mathematics Education Topics or Educational Level. "Drilling down" from a heading takes you to a set of categories, then to a page showing subcategories, selected sites, and all sites in the category.

At the bottom of the Internet Mathematics Library home page is a link to a Power Search, which allows very pointed searches within the Library. This category scheme was adapted from the MAA architecture of mathematics topics.

   Ask Dr. Math -
Ask Dr. Math is an ask-an-expert service in which anyone in the world can pose a math question at any level. A cadre of volunteer 'doctors' select and respond to problems of interest. In addition to an archive of over 5,000 questions and answers that is searchable by level and topic, there is:
   Teacher2Teacher -
Teacher2Teacher, like a virtual teacher's lounge, is an environment in which questions are asked and opinions are shared about topics across the broad spectrum of interest to teachers, including classroom techniques, activities, resources, professional development, etc. The archive contains over 500 questions and their related discussion threads. Initial responses are provided by master teachers, and many questions stimulate a public discussion as issues are explored and opinions expressed. For example, searching the archive under the Education topic "Technology in Math Ed" finds about 50 matches.

A frequently asked question, like "how can I use assess my students", can generate much discussion, as found on this FAQ page.

You are encouraged to join T2T to receive the Teacher2Teacher Community Update, which contains community news and related items of interest from the Math Forum.
   Math Forum Searches -
We have over 300,000 pages of content, so this is quite an extensive search field. Given that ours is a full text searcher, you may want to focus a search in a specific area, or use the "that exact phase" and "complete words only" options.

Efficient searching is an art. You will find our Searching Tips and Tricks page helpful, and our Search Features page offers even more detail about such items as the "Starting Points" that are generated for many keywords and topics, and the automatic spell correction. These features are the result of the on-going design efforts to make the search environment more user-friendly. We invite you to contact us to clarify any unresolved confusion or questions.
   Web Units and Lessons -
The Math Forum is committed to building upon the activity of the teachers, students, and researchers who use it. The Forum provides a platform and the opportunity to share excellent resources and materials with colleagues world wide.

We are particularly pleased to highlight the exemplary work of Suzanne Alejandre, who's prolific efforts are targeted mostly at the middle school level.
   Math Forum Internet Newsletter -
Our electronic newsletter is sent out via e-mail once a week to those who subscribe, and is archived on our site. It offers tips about what we have at the Math Forum and how to find it, notes about new items on the site or on the Internet, questions and answers from services like Ask Dr. Math or the Problems of the Week, suggestions for K-12 teachers and students, and pointers to key issues in mathematics and math education.
   Discussion Groups & Projects -
The Math Forum's discussion archives include many mathematics and math education-related newsgroups, mailing lists, and Web-based discussions.

For example, people here at the TechEd01 Conference might find particular interest in the American Mathematical Society's calc-reform discussion, Rutgers University's Discrete Math and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) discretemath discussion, and the post-calculus level mathedu dicussion.

We also host the American Mathematics Association of Two Year Colleges (AMATYC) mathedcc discussion.

Some discussion sites are very active, like sci.math, which gets about 1,000 threads posted each academic month.
   Join Us As a Contributor -
There are many ways to contribute to the Math Forum community. Beyond using the various services we provide, many people subscribe to the newsletter, participate in T2T and other discussions, and make suggestions, such as alerting us to other good materials and websites they have discovered. Others find satisfaction in sharing their content as web units or lessons, or showcasing their students' work. Many people voluteer their time and efforts to respond to T2T or Ask Dr. Math questions, while others act as mentors for one of the Problems of the Week.

In what ever ways this might work best for you, please know that you are always welcomed and invited to interact with us in our on-line math ed community center.

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