Tag Archives: active learning

EARCOS 2012 Presentation - Using Geogebra for Skill Development

After a late night getting into Bangkok and a couple hours of sleep (though I suppose few good stories start "I had a good long night of sleep when I first arrived in Thailand) I made it to the start of the EARCOS 2012 Teachers' conference yesterday morning. I'll have more to say about the details of the conference later on, but I wanted to post briefly about the presentation I gave on Geogebra in the afternoon.

The room was packed with teachers and coaches armed with laptops and interested in seeing how the program works. My focus was on giving feedback, with Geogebra as the medium for that feedback. I did not intend it to be a beginner's tutorial on Geogebra for a few reasons:

  • There is so much fantastic material out there already that shows how to use the software.
  • I wanted to specifically focus on the philosophy of using software to provide instant feedback to students on mathematical tasks.
  • Nick Jankiw from Geometers Sketchpad was doing a series of workshops on GSP and I didn't want to engage in the Geometers Sketchpad vs. Geogebra debate. I see them both as excellent pieces of software. I choose to use Geogebra for a number of reasons that I mentioned in my presentation. The truth is that Geometers Sketchpad defined the field of dynamic geometry, and I do think it's important to acknowledge that fact.
That said, anyone that wants help getting started with Geogebra should feel free to ask me for help. Thanks to a great suggestion from John Burk (@occam98) and Andy Rundquist (@arundquist) I had some screencasts demonstrating more advanced sketches of my own playing on the screen while waiting for the program to download and while figuring out the basics.
I thought the workshop went well  - I wish I had not felt the need to talk so much and had given more time for people to interact with each other. That said, I think there were many that came and left with much more knowledge than when they entered. A few told me that they already plan to use it next week in their classes.

My slides and accompanying notes can be found here: EARCOS presentation - notes pages

The video is below - unfortunately there wasn't a great place to put the camera to be able to get me and the slides, and the contrast is not great to be able to see what I am doing in the program. I'll find some time to post some screencasts of the demonstrations I did with the software later on.