(The original GeoGebra file used for the dynamic image above was created by Melina O’Brien, Moss Vale High School, NSW, course participant, September 2011) Is GeoGebra utilized widely by all math teachers in your school?The saying ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’ applies to many aspects of life but especially to the use of technology. In regards to teaching, there can often be an incredible tool with gamechanging potential available for our use, if only we knew about it. For mathematics teachers, GeoGebra is one such tool. Most mathematics teachers will have heard of GeoGebra. However, as I argue in several articles on this site, it appears many math teachers are unaware of the extent of GeoGebra’s power, simplicity and applicability to numerous aspects of middle and high school mathematics. I propose that the number of teachers who utilize GeoGebra (or similar) on a regular basis, at least as a projection tool, to be less than 50% – and that’s 50% of those who have access to a computer and data projector! How many of the teachers in your department use GeoGebra on a regular basis for their mathematics students? How many do not? This will not be a ‘geeky’ article. I’m addressing the everyday math teacher here, or the school leaders who influence them. And with my feet planted firmly on the ground. However, the message is equally relevant to the ‘pure math’ types. My sense is that because GeoGebra is an exceptional tool for higher levels of mathematics, most of the files developed and articles written in support of GeoGebra have been by teachers of higher mathematics. We rarely see files and articles written about GeoGebra as an approach for the younger years of schooling. Therefore, teachers of these grades can be excused for assuming GeoGebra is for the geeks, for the teachers of higher mathematics! Hopefully, after reading the GeoGebra articles on this site there should be no more excuses. To support the argument (that GeoGebra ought to be a key tool in any math toolkit) take a 30 second look at the dynamic image (gif) at the top of this article. It features a very simple GeoGebra file designed to help convey the principle behind reading a bearing from two points. The file is not meant to replace the need to ‘crunch numbers’ around bearings. However, showing such a file prior to tackling this principle will engage students as well as provide a stimulus for questions, and importantly, understanding. Alternatively, showing the file after covering the work provides students with a visual summary. The power of this is sometimes underestimated. Such a file, combined with other files similarly designed to promote understanding, provide a paradigm shift in teaching when compared to using an approach devoid of such demonstrations. The staggering fact is that GeoGebra can have this much impact even when ONLY using the pluginthedataprojectorandshowthefile method. Setting up studentled investigations, which require greater planning and a nontypical approach for teachers, offer even greater benefits. Now consider the gif below, a visually simple file containing some added novelty. It was created by past participant Anne Wolkowitsch and is a classic example of a teacher’s creativity being unleashed through GeoGebra. For the purpose of the gif I added some visuals during the video process – for example the “Ouch”. (The original GeoGebra file used for the dynamic image above was created by Anne Wolkowitsch, The French School, NSW,course participant December 2013) The file is clearly ideal as an introduction to the notion of gradient. The original file had the title and dynamic calculations showing at all times because the file was intended to be used for precalculus. For the purposes of this article, I modified the file. Its focus is now to support the teacher, by using a conceptual approach, to help bring conceptual understanding to junior high students. To achieve this, I simply added checkboxes to hide both the calculations and the title, preferring to start the file with the gradient dynamically displayed as ’Surfboard Number’.
Using the file as part of a conceptual approachHere’s one suggestion for embracing a conceptual approach to teaching gradient with this file.
The principles underpinning the surfboard gradient GeoGebra file can be applied to numerous aspects of mathematics, and especially to assist the conceptual understanding of middle and junior high mathematics. For more examples of dynamic images of GeoGebra files check out the other GeoGebra articles at the bottom of this page. Are you utilizing GeoGebra?What percentage of the math teachers in your department regularly utilize GeoGebra (or similar)? Some readers will be fortunate that they can answer “All”. However, commonly the number is far less. Hopefully this article, and those linked below will inspire more to jump on board and usher their students into a world of greater mathematical understanding. Learn GeoGebra as a teamThe online course is also set up to cater for teams. This means that several teachers from your department can enrol and learn collaboratively as well as receiving the full benefits of the online course. For more information on the Team model click here. . Other articles containing dynamic demonstrations of quality GeoGebra files:
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AuthorRichard Andrew likes to write about stuff that matters in education. That boils down to 'anything that helps teachers to betterengage their students'. His view? "Not much else really matters  engaged students learn. Disengaged students do not." ArchivesCategories
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