This site is a listing of math-related information in four categories: Student Center, Teachers' Place, Research Division, and Parents & Citizens. Once in the Teachers' Place, the user has the following options: discussions, classroom materials, activities & projects, software, organizations/publications, workshops, making math fun, and top links for teachers.
Type of Material:
Navigation through the available resources and understanding the organizational basis to find the materials of interest represent a major technical challenge of this website.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
"To build an online community of teachers, students, researchers, parents, educators, and citizens at all levels who have an interest in math and math education," through the following: discussion opportunities (e.g., collection of mailing lists, Web-based discussion areas, and ask-an-expert services), math-related web resources (e.g., Internet Mathematics Library), development of high-quality math and math education materials (e.g., Forum users create materials for Internet classrooms), and interactive projects (e.g., Ask Dr. Math, Teacher2Teacher, and Problems of the Week)?.
Target Student Population:
K-12 teachers, students, university faculty who provide pre-service and in-service math education programs, researchers, parents, educators, and citizens at all levels.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Advanced internet navigational skills. Teaching experience would be helpful, may not be necessary.
Many of these math materials show outstanding examples of how technology can empower a critical thinking approach to math education. Content is aligned with and is connected to the NCTM standards.
One search for ?research? links provided 1,451 alphabetized items. This result is of little practical utility. Links to some of the best resources on the web are somewhat buried among the great variety of items presented.
Links to some of the best resources on the web are somewhat buried among the volumes of a great variety of items.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Encouraging Mathematical Thinking (discourse around a rich problem: BRAP) presents an exemplary discussion showing how to stimulate and use classroom discourse during mathematics instruction.
A link to shareware executable programs includes a PC grade book management program. It would be useful to know the quality and features of this item before selecting to download and install this shareware program. Some learning objects are linked to more clearly identified objectives than others. Some, but not all, are linked to NCTM standards. Criteria for quality of instructional approach for reaching specific learning objectives should be defined. The only apparent mechanisms for user participation in the construction, organization, and evaluation of the resources are the Math Forum Suggestion Box and the public discussions. GENERAL COMMENTS: Focus is needed on a limited number of key projects to improve this site for the Internet education community. The extensive lists of resources need to be turned into a more structured library of materials that are easily selected based on learning objectives and academic level. An invitation for public participation in the organization and evaluation of the site through more systematic feedback opportunities (i.e.,
a Feedback Button that leads to a comments form) is encouraged.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Many of the interactive Forum Web Units and Lessons (e.g., Magic Squares) and the Problems of the Week are interesting and engaging. Navigation through the links is easy, and things are adequately explained. The communication feature where people with specific mathematical interest can discuss issues is also easy to use.
Some Forum Web Units and Lessons appear to be little more than an online textbook (e.g., Chameleon graphing). The content and organization of this site quickly become overwhelming. Once a useful item is identified, if not book-marked immediately, it becomes very difficult to return to that item. The math forum and the Mathematics Library items are organized alphabetically ? with search lists that are exceedingly long. The Quick Reference Sheet items organized in columns (i.e., Main Areas, Projects, Features, and Archives) is not helpful since the entire Internet Mathematics Library is only one of many items in the Features column. Browsing for a particular item of interest at an appropriate academic level can take quite some time.
GENERAL COMMENT: A better organizational structure with math subcategories and a tree for pedagogical topics (i.e., metatags, a dictionary with controlled vocabulary, and an ontology with links among content items) is needed to make the resources more accessible. [See Cycorp (1997), CYC Ontology Guide at http://www.cyc.com/cyc-2-1/cover.html for guidance]. The Browse Archives page in the Teacher2Teacher presents a good attempt at providing an organizational structure, yet when browsing, it is not apparent where each item lists among the multiple categories of the Browse Archives page. For example, when browsing for "Middle School content,
" how does one distinguish items about Algebra from Probability?
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