Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Five Helpful Tools for the Math Classroom

I am always on the lookout for really cool internet applications that I can use in math. If you know of others, please comment.

Equation Editor

You might notice that I have added an equation editor to the sidebar of my blog. Click on the format of the equation needed, make a few modifications and you have a very nice looking math equation. Normally, I use MathType on my own computer with MS Word. However, MathType is not free and not available in the cloud. Thus, when working on internet based computers, other options have to be utilized. I wouldn't want to have to type a whole worksheet using this gadget, but it isn't bad for one or two equations to use in a presentation.

Flash Cards

I am a big fan of Quizlet for vocabulary flash cards. I previously wrote about quizlet here. Quizlet is great for learning vocabulary. It is wonderful for differentiating instruction with minimal effort on the part of the teacher. This summer students in a PSAT Prep class typed in 16 word lists with definitions of 25 words each in under an hour. Afterward, they were instructed to concentrate on learning the first list. It was fun to watch students make their choice on how to learn. Some of them reviewed the flash cards electronically. Many of them played one of the two games available on quizlet. Several others practiced the words by taking a quizlet generated test. A few chose to learn the old fashioned way by creating index cards for their words or by studying the list on paper.

Students often are required to memorize many formulas in math as well as trigonometric identities. I wasn't able to figure out how to get quizlet to handle a math formula. Then I discovered another flashcard application called Cobo Cards that uses Tex to make beautiful flash cards with equations. Once I learned how to copy and paste the Tex commands into Cobo Cards, writing equations was a breeze. Click here to see my set of trigonometric identity cards.


Math teachers use many graphs on their tests and worksheets. Students, too, need to be able to use internet based graphing options if they are to create presentations. My twitter friend @JackieB introduced me to Graphsketch shown at the left.

Another option for creating graphs would be to utilize the computational knowledge engine at WolframAlpha. I typed in an expression, then used Photo Filtre to copy it and save as a jpeg. It does not have the grid lines like graphsketch, but it is very well done.


I found the animoto embedded below at I thought it was great and plan to show it to my students once school starts. Hopefully, this will help them understand the concept of a function. Another use for math animotos might be to illustrate a theorem or develop a proof in geometry. Students could create an animoto illustrating the steps of solving an equation. The site mentioned above describes the method for creating the function animoto using PowerPoint slides. I think Google Doc Presentation slides could easily be substituted. Each slide would need to be saved as a jpeg and uploaded to animoto.


One of the best sites for math games is Here you will find all kinds of games for all levels, elementary to secondary. The games are interactive and just plain fun. Be prepared to lose a few hours while exploring this site.

I hope that you will find these tools useful as well. Please leave me a comment regarding your favorite internet math tool.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Differentiate Instruction with Technology - Presentation with Prezi

Recently, Amy Mayer wrote a post about what an amazing tool Prezi is for education. The community manager of Prezi contacted her to see if she would be interested in testing an embed feature, which will be available shortly. They kindly allowed me to test it as well.

Embedded below is a prezi presentation of a brief description of Web 2.0 tools that would be helpful to teachers who are just getting started integrating technology into their lesson plans. It is organized by study tools, presentation tools, audio tools, and teacher tools.

Truly, I created this Prezi so that I could improve my own prezi skills. In my opinion Prezi is one of the most incredible presentation tools available. Prezi's showcase contains several examples that I thought were very creative. There is one using rings to create a giant Venn diagram about books. There is a really cool religious one in which verses from Psalm 33 of the Bible have been placed into framed pictures that sit on a shelf. The one that interested me most featured a photo that was used as a background to incorporate the presentation. This is what I wanted to try. I chose a picture, created a presentation about technology, and used their newest embedding feature.

Thank you Prezi developers. Now, I can't wait to try your next new feature!