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Tool Building: Web-based Linear Algebra Modules - Conclusion

David E. Meel and Thomas A. Hern


Our goal in this paper is to share the possible. Developing web-based linear algebra tools has been a long process and one fraught with its ups and downs. The expertise necessary to develop Java applets is enormous, and the learning curve is steep. This has left many educators with ideas but without the means to express them. When Key Curriculum Press introduced JavaSketchpad , they provided educators with a means of publishing Java applets that was less complicated although more restricted than programming completely in the Java language.

Our various implementations of Transformer, Grid-Master, Eigenizer, WebSVD, and Hern & Long SVD point to the potential efficacy of implementing web-based modules and correspondent cognitively-guided activities as part of linear algebra instruction. As a consequence, we have now reached a point where we have a truly viable way to construct and implement widely available interactive tools. The tools must of course be accompanied by well-designed activities that take advantage of both the power and limitations of the tools in order to help students learn mathematical content. Therefore, we see that the focus must now turn to the more difficult and lesser-studied topic: How to design materials and situations to take best advantage of such technology. Up until now this has been mostly anecdotal.

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David E. Meel and Thomas A. Hern, "Tool Building: Web-based Linear Algebra Modules - Conclusion," Convergence (May 2005)

Tool Building: Web-based Linear Algebra Modules