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Lite Applets

Frank Wattenberg, Bart Stewart, and Suzanne Alejandre

The following image is "live" -- click on it to see what happens. Then think about how you might use this tool in material for mathematics instruction.

This "image" has two parts: a static image (the map), for which you can substitute any image you like, and a "Lite Applet" called Image_and_Cursor, which we will describe in more detail in the following pages. Our goals are

  • to illustrate the flexibility, adaptability, and ease of use of this and other lite applets, and
  • to convince you that you can make use of these tools to design your own interactive instructional materials.

Lite applets are flexible and powerful tools that can be used as part of highly interactive curriculum modules that are scientifically and pedagogically sound. The power and flexibility of lite applets are based on three ideas:

  • Lite applets use parameters to enable a curriculum developer to control their appearance and functionality.
  • Lite applets can produce output that is easily cut-and-pasted into a spreadsheet or a computer algebra system, in which a student can analyze the data. This provides students with more power and creative control, and it helps them build general purpose skills.
  • By using Javascript and HTML forms (which are much easier to use than Java), together with applet parameters, curriculum developers can create very interactive materials without knowing Java.

Image_and_Cursor is the first entry in the Lite Applet Collection, an open source collection housed in MathDL. All the files used in this article, including the Java source code files, are freely available and may be downloaded for your own use. Links are provided throughout the article and on our Resources page. We invite you to submit your own lite applets and modules to be considered for inclusion in this collection. Contact any of the authors for further information. We expect to add new lite applets and new modules using those applets to the collection regularly.

Published August, 2002
© 2002, Mathematical Association of America


Frank Wattenberg, Bart Stewart, and Suzanne Alejandre, "Lite Applets," Convergence (December 2004)