Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Math Software @ NCTM

Math software needs to be placed in perspective. One size does not fit all. Various objectives, including cost, must be considered. Please refer to this diagram for areas of concern.  At NCTM, several programs were on display. Comments on them and others follow. Text in Bold means that I will attempt to vet the products in 2010-2011.

Please realize that there are many free supplements.  Making them work cohesively with a curriculum, not just as an occasional time-filler, is the challenge.  It may be wiser to use Heymath, which is designed for teaching. On the other hand, through Lesson Study, combining Wolfram Demonstrations, Gizmos, Wolfram Alpha, VirtualNerd, Brightstorm, Autograph, and Geogebra with an online assessment system; such as Daskala, could yield remarkable results.

General Purpose
Check out thinklinkr! Create and share outlines online.

Elementary
  • ST Math: K-5 had large crowds.  However, it should be noted that neither ALEKS nor Johns Hopkins nor Ascend offer software for K-2.
  • ThinkFun Education has many math games.
  • First in Math for K-8.
  • Thinkport is developing math games.
  • I Play Math Games has games for k-12 under an unusual format.
  • Johns Hopkins has furthered development of CTY Online for gifted students.
  • Guaranteach offers 20,000 video lessons and assessment for K-12 at $15/student.
  • KendallHunt offers online lessons for K-5: Aha!Math and for the gifted as Project M3.
  • Math-Whizz sells online tutoring with lessons for 5-13 year-olds.
  • Tadell sells online assessments in Spanish without text for English Learners in K-8.
Secondary Free Usage
Secondary Paid Usage
  • ST Math: Secondary Intervention is the software component of Mind Research's Algebra Readiness program
  • RevolutionK12 offers integrated programs of detailed instruction with assessment for Algebra Readiness, Algebra 1, CAHSEE, and SAT/ACT. Newport-Mesa has used this for CAHSEE and some SAT prep.
  • CatchupMath, from Hotmath, is an integrated online program with assessment for Algebra only.  It has an extremely low cost.  It could be considered an homework component for classes without mandatory homework.
  • Adaptive Math offers a strong, coherent online curriculum. 
  • InternetMath offers an integrated instruction system for K-8 math with random numbers in problems.
  • DimensionM continues to advertise online math video games.  These should be evaluated.
  • Buzzword created the most buzz at NCTM. It had a strong focus on Middle School math, and is highly compatible with how teachers and students work.  It must be evaluated in 2010-2011.  While not quite as good as ALEKS.  It has more instructional support.
  • Tutor.com offers online, at home tutoring for students.
  • Autograph 3.3 graphing software is designed for education: animations can run in slow mode so that students can see change better.
  • AscendEDU offers online courses through Algebra 1 (116 lessons) that can work in a classroom.
  • ThinkWell offers Algebra through College Algebra courses.
Programming
  • Small Basic is a great starting point for 5th grade+.
  • Depending on the STEM robotics program chosen, variations of Basic and C are learned.
  • Python is the language of science that would enable students to work in laboratories.
  • Mathematica and Matlab focus easier on mathematics than Python and are reasonably priced.
  • Statistics doesn't have a standard.  Free R isn't appropriate for high school, but low cost Minitab (Windows only) and JMP are and they can be transferred to college lab environments.
  • 3DVinci offers 3D geometric shapes to enhance Google Sketchup for Math.  The Pro version of Sketchup can be purchased at Ed sites for $50.

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