Electronic Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics

Baltimore, Maryland, November 1-4, 2001

Paper P003

Demos with Positive Impact: A Project to Connect Mathematics Instructors with Effective Teaching Tools

David R. Hill

Mathematics Department
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA 19122

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Lila F. Roberts

Mathematics and CS Department
Georgia Southern University
Statesboro, GA 30460

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As instructors, we use a variety of tools to make mathematical concepts real and meaningful to our students. Even in laboratory classes or classroom environments in which cooperative learning activities are prevalent, the instructor plays an important role as facilitator of learning. Demos with Positive Impact is an NSF project to develop a web-based collection of effective instructional demonstrations and to connect this resource to mathematics instructors. In this poster session, we showcase some of the demos and invite participation from our colleagues.

As a demo, we have in mind a vignette incorporated within a classroom presentation that engages the learner on a level in addition to the dialog of the instructor. Demos provide a description or explanation of an idea, concept, or process, illustrated with some form of instructional technology such as computer software for computation or visualization, graphing calculator, physical object or prop, or data collection apparatus. In contrast to lab activities or projects, these vignettes are designed to be presented by the instructor.

Every experienced mathematics instructor has a private toolbox of demos that have been effective in the classroom. Demos with Positive Impact, funded by an NSF proof-of- concept grant, focuses on collecting, developing, and disseminating these valuable tools to our colleagues across the country. The scope of the project is broad, encompassing topics from college preparatory mathematics to post-calculus mathematics. Demos with Positive Impact is a resource for instructors who are looking for ideas or demos that are adaptable for various teaching styles and learning environments; it is useful for high school and college mathematics instructors.

The success of Demos with Positive Impact depends on tapping into a largely unharvested resource: our colleagues' collective experiences in mathematics teaching. In this poster session we will showcase some of the demos in the collection and invite participation from our colleagues. Throughout the display time, handouts that provide details on how an instructor may participate will be available. During the period in which we are available, we will demonstrate the web site and the demo collection.

Keyword(s): software, graphing calculators, cooperative learning