Friday, 24 July 2015

GeoGebra Global Gathering 2015

Last week I attended the GeoGebra Global Gathering in Linz, Austria.   There were lots of fantastic ideas being demonstrated but these are a few of my highlights that I think I’ll be making use of …

Students creating animations

It was great to see some ideas from Fabian Vitabar from Uruguay about student tasks that involve them creating animations in GeoGebra.  There were two different suggestions for doing this – one was to get the students to create an animation such as a bouncing ball by animating points appropriately and then adding images to make the animation look like a real scene.  The other was to create some more pure maths based animations such as moving points around a polygon.  You can see a GeoGebraBook of his talk and some examples at: https://tube.geogebra.org/b/1408699#material/1408705.  I think it could be very motivating to students to create animations like these and there is a lot of maths that they’ll need to sort out for themselves to get them to work correctly.

Designing GeoGebra Tasks for Visualization and Reasoning


Anthony Or from Hong Kong gave a fantastic talk on Designing GeoGebra Tasks for Visualization and Reasoning.  You can see a GeoGebraBook of his talk at https://tube.geogebra.org/b/1405633.  There’s much more in it than I’ll be able to do justice to here but the main theme was linking the process of students constructing objects in GeoGebra to enhancing their mathematical reasoning skills.  One useful idea was the contrast between robust and soft constructions: a robust construction maintains properties when objects are dragged and a soft one doesn’t but can be used for investigating.  I’d not really thought about emphasising soft constructions as a way in to robust constructions before but I think it could be a useful technique. A final highlight from this session was the challenges section at the end.  Constructing an equilateral triangle on a set of three parallel lines is a particular favourite – I managed to solve it on the train journey back from Linz to Vienna!


Problems that Challenge Intuition

Diego Lieban from Brazil had some examples of very nice problems that challenge intuition: https://tube.geogebra.org/b/971211.  The first one about the shape of a net of a tube when sliced diagonally is particularly tricky as it’s hard to make the cut on a real cardboard tube without creasing it.

New features on their way – Phone apps, Badges and Groups

Some upcoming features were presented that are very exciting.  The work on the phone apps is developing and there is a beta version of the Android one available for testing now.  I’ve tried this and I’m really impressed – it’s very responsive when objects are dragged and, contrary to what I was worried about, it seems to work well on such a small screen when selecting and dragging objects.  Badges are coming soon for GeoGebraTube accounts – these will automatically display when users have created specific objects or used specific tools/views.  I can see these as being very effective in encourage people to continually develop their skills.  The last feature that I’m excited about seeing is being able to create groups of GeoGebra users.  This will be especially useful for Professional Development workshops – it will mean that teachers from these can form a network and continue to support each other afterwards.

Smart Board software

I’d been aware for a while that GeoGebra was built-in to Smart Board software but hadn’t seen it in action.  The ability to hand write an equation of a curve and then drag this into a GeoGebra widget looks like a handy tool and one that I plan to investigate further.  There’s more instructions online about how to do this at:
http://onlinehelp.smarttech.com/english/mac/help/notebook/14_3_0/Content/Product-User/InsertingContent/InsertingContentFromGeoGebra.htm 

Other sessions

There were lots of other great sessions and plenaries at the gathering.  A full list of GeoGebraBooks for the talks is at: https://tube.geogebra.org/student/bDgPocAYy#material/1375207.

Ben Sparks and I gave two sessions too:
Professional Development for practising teachers including live online sessions - https://tube.geogebra.org/material/show/id/1367449
Creating effective teaching resources and using GeoGebra in examinations? - https://tube.geogebra.org/b/1367455