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Innovative Uses of a Variety of Intelligent Technologies in Teaching College Algebra: 

Innovative Uses of a Variety of Intelligent Technologies in Teaching College Algebra Om P. Ahuja Kent State University A Conference Paper Presented at the Special Session of the Joint Annual Conference of Mathematical Association of America and American Mathematical Society Baltimore, January 2003


Objectives The purpose of this project is to promote instructional excellence by designing an integrated college algebra curriculum based on the use of various intelligent technologies including the use of Derive, animated and dynamic PowerPoint slides, web-based non-printable lectures, integrated cooperative learning, innovative activities, web-based discussion forum, open-ended questions, and a comprehensive and interactive website.

Intelligent Technologies: 

Intelligent Technologies An intelligent technology is any technology that can undertake significant cognitive processing either on behalf of the user or in conjunction with the user. For example, graphing calculator, personal computer with certain kinds of software, www in teaching and learning, or ways of organizing activities.

Special Features of Activities: 

Special Features of Activities The study addresses the development, implementation, and effects of the following web-based activities in the college algebra course: Incorporating activities into an existing face-to-face course Creating a web-based diagnostic exam to assess students’ mathematical background Creating take-home web-based diagnostic assignments to help weaker students improve their preparation for the course content Creating web-based animated and dynamic PowerPoint slides to increase the number of modalities in the classroom.

Special Features of Activities (continued): 

Special Features of Activities (continued) 5. Using the Smart Board in combination with PowerPoint slide show to facilitate maximum interactions 6. Creating open-ended problem situations on web-based modules to be used in the classroom 7. Developing interactive web-based quizzes for assessing students’ learning / self-assessment 8. Integration of audio in web-based animated and dynamic slides 9. Developing innovative non-printable web-based lectures 10. Developing a comprehensive and interactive website which students would use to download handouts, participate in discussion forum, and see their progress periodically.

Final Goal: 

Final Goal To develop a comprehensive, interactive and dynamic on-line course on college algebra in such a way that students get more than what they would perceive to benefit from face-to-face teaching.

Technology for Project: 

Technology for Project Computer Derive 5 Smart Board MathType WebEQ Developers Suite (yet to be used) PHP 4 (server side scripting language) mySQL (database) Microsoft Powerpoint Macromedia Director (Media Enhanced Module)

Printable Module: 

Printable Module Printable modules are offered online in the form of downloadable Powerpoint slides using MathType to display equations. These can also be viewed as an animated slide show. This is technology that all students should be able to access easily with low range bandwidth and lower end computer systems. This can be saved and accessed offline as well.

Media Enhanced MOdule: 

Media Enhanced MOdule A trial module has been prepared in Macromedia Director to test audio and animation enhanced teaching using MathType to display equations. The module consists of a shockwave file which is embedded in a web page. A standalone version of this module can be created to be distributed on CD-Rom for students who don’t have high speed internet.

Media Enhanced Module: 

Media Enhanced Module Pros Media enhancement allows students to get a virtual classroom learning feeling. Shockwave only requires a plugin to run. This can be obtained for free from the Macromedia website. Cons This technology is relatively new and therefore requires larger bandwidth and higher end computer systems. Preparation of such a module takes a lot of time. This is however worth it because the end result can be used numerous times.

Dynamic Web SIte: 

Dynamic Web SIte The dynamic website has been created with a mySQL database. The scripting language that is interacting with this is PHP. The combination of the two can help produce powerful functionality for websites. Data is stored in the database and retrieved each time the website is accessed. Example One of the functions created is a web-based quiz set. The results of these quizzes are stored in the database. This data can then be used to grade the quiz and then display the score.

Dynamic Web Site Functions: 

Dynamic Web Site Functions Add Students Student Profile Grade Boundary Toggle Quiz Answers and Status Upload And Show New Modules Post an Announcement myQuiz (Secured to allow access to registered students ) Quiz Grading Security (Password encrypted areas)

A Note on MathType: 

A Note on MathType MathType has been used to display all the math equations in the modules, quizzes and web pages. This technology allows easy conversion of Word documents into web pages with mathematical symbols and equations viewable in any browser on any platform.