The Matrix Multiplication is an interactive simulation applet that aims to help students learn how to multiply two matrices and what conditions need to be fulfilled for the product of two matrices to exist. This simulation is part of the UK Institute of Physics New Quantum Curriculum.
To help students better understand matrix multiplication.
Target Student Population:
Linear Algebra students and College Algebra students studying matrix multiplication
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic knowledge of matrix algebra
Type of Material:
This site can be used for individual exploration or as a part of an in-class demonstration.
Java enabled browser with an Adobe Flash Player plug-in.
Evaluation and Observation
The operation of matrix multiplication always requires special attention due to a quite complicated general formula. This applet is designed to help students learn how to multiply two matrices and what conditions need to be fulfilled for the product of two matrices to exist. A user of this tool can choose different dimensions for matrices A and B, and the product C=AB is displayed if it exists. An entry of the matrix C can be selected and the applet will show how it is calculated. There is an option that lets a user to switch from a general matrix to the one with actual number entries. A clearly written explanation of matrix multiplication of provided just below the activity.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site could serve as a supplement to a basic Linear Algebra course. The applet can be used as an aid to a lecture or as a quick in-class demonstration. It could also be easily used as a part of a self-guided activity. A step-by-step explanation tab is really helpful if someone studies matrix multiplication on his own. The dimensions of each of the two matrices are displayed and when there is a mismatch, the column dimension of the first matrix and the row dimension of the second matrix are highlighted with an animated bull's eye that clearly points out why the mismatch occurs.
An ability to enter arbitrary matrices (even with preset sizes) would be a definite plus.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is intuitive and very easy to use. The navigation of the site is simple. The instructions are clearly presented and suggested activity is described. An average user can begin using the applet immediately.