Best Teacher Resources For 2012

I recently emailed a friend about resources I use as a math teacher use. Upon sending my reply I thought to share my response in case it helps other math teachers.

Software

Be aware the school I work for predominantly uses Apple Mac’s and I’m aware that there are perhaps more resources for PC users:

Wolfram Mathematica

I mainly use this software for explaining and showing how to work through a problem. It’s great in that it allows teachers the ability to write equations in a text document and have the software output the result on a separate line. When working through complex problems I usually insert commentary explaining what I’m doing and then I show the resulting equations (etc). This resource isn’t free but educators receive a good discount!

GeoGebra

This piece of software is good for plotting shapes and graphs on a number plane. This tool is free for use.

Geometer’s Sketchpad

An excellent piece of software for designing geometry questions involving shapes with needed angle sizes (etc). This tool isn’t free and a 20-minute timer is applied with the save, open, copy, paste and print functions disabled.

LaTeXit

I use this when writing equations for presentations, or for worksheets/exams/tests. It’s a LaTeX editor which means it allows you to write complex equations, something like frac{-b pm sqrt{b^2 - 4ac}}{2a} and have it output the quadratic equation.

[latex]\frac{-b pm sqrt{b^2 - 4ac}}{2a}[\latex]

Google SketchUp

To a lesser extent I use Google Sketchup, and it is really only used briefly in class when the topics of volume and surface area arise. I’m certainly no expert in its use and because I don’t use it that often I don’t give it the credit it probably deserves. I know other teachers use it quite well in class.

Online Resources

There are a plethora of online resources available for math teachers, however, with such great quantity comes time in being able to use and learn the tools available. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I only include the sites I either recommend or use regularly:

Wolfram Alpha

When I want something quick and easy from Wolfram – usually quick computations in equation solving (or finding derivatives) or graphing of functions.

Google Docs

As each staff member has a Google Apps account I frequently find myself writing tests, assignments and worksheets in Google Docs now. I especially love the LaTeX equation editor it embeds into the document – it’s so much better than Microsoft Word’s Equation Editor (for Mac) as it allows me to type the formula into the equation editor rather than click and select the equation aspects I want. Definitely a time saver!

Mathletics

I used to use this resource a lot when I taught middle school classes (year 7-9), however, found that year 10’s and upper school classes don’t use it as much. A valuable resource for primary and middle school teachers!

So there you have it! A list of practical software and online resources that I use on a regular basis!