Friday, December 18, 2009

Patricio Herbst is coauthor of a study that identifies benefits of using technology when teaching geometry

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Patricio Guillermo Herbst, associate professor of education, coauthored a study that identified some of the differences between traditional methods of learning geometry and methods using dynamic geometry software on a computer. The study was published recently in the International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning.

In the study, which Herbst co-wrote with Gloriana González of the University of Illinois, the researchers analyzed the ways students solved geometry problems, comparing the methods the students used over two days using static methods with the students work over two days using additional technology--calculators and dynamic geometry software.

Both methods, traditional work with protractors and rulers, as well as newer computer-assisted techniques, had distinct advantages. While students were more successful in discovering new mathematical ideas using the newer, computer-assisted methods, the experience with the older, manual tools provided the fundamental understanding of what the technology was doing.

The research is the subject of an article posted on December 16, 2009, on the redOrbit.com website.

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