HOT TOPIC: Interactive Geometry
Volume 2, Issue 7 - October 16, 2005

"If we ever get the chance to meet in person, be sure to ask me to share with you my tenth grade year in geometry class. Of all the courses in all the disciplines I have studied, none was more difficult for me than analytical geometry. Looking back, I understand why. Here I am, highly visual and existential in my intelligence strengths, and the pedagogy and technology of the time were incapable of accommodating my learning needs. I survived the rigor of those first period classes, but it has only been over the years that I have truly awakened to understand the proofs and theorems of my youth.

What would have been an incredible help to me at the time would have been the ability to actually pick up and manipulate two parallel lines intersected by a transversal; to look at tangents on a circle from multiple perspectives and watch the values of a right triangle change as I made the Pythagorean Theorem work for me. It wasn’t a lack of intelligence on my part; it was a lack of making the connections I needed to internalize these things for myself. As I experienced the concepts in my own adult life, I have made those connections and I now appreciate the things my geometry teacher was trying so hard to impart to me some thirty years ago.

Thanks to today’s technologies, learners no longer have to learn abstract concepts without concrete experience. They can manipulate and examine geometric concepts from hundreds of different angles. They can experiment and test their understandings without worrying about making mistakes. And in the end, they will be better thinkers and learners because of it. I offer this week’s digital dozen as the very best interactive geometry resources online."


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©2005 Walter McKenzie

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