GeoGebra – A powerful tool to transform math class

I’ve been using a lot of different EdTech tools in my math classroom, but I found no tool which is more powerful than GeoGebra. Some of the reasons, I would love to share with you.

 Great tool for beginners and for experts

First of all, it is incredible easy to use. Is it easy to construct a triangle, a straight line, or a circle.  Even teachers, who consider themselves not very tech-savvy, will have results in a few seconds. Students don’t need a long time to learn how to handle the software. For GeoGebra novices, it is a great opportunity to create easy geometrical constructions.

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Easily constructed triangle – ready to copy and paste

But simple to use does not imply limited usage. When you start to go deeper in GeoGebra, you will find a plethora of applications to use in math classroom.

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Applet: Find the correct parabola for the bridge

Teachers create applets to hand to their students, using the slide control, random numbers, 3D-constructions and much more. It’s not to complicated to make your own little applet. The deeper I dig into GeoGebra, the more I come to think that I still have a lot to learn.

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An applet using random numbers: Place the points in the system of coordinates. 

GeoGebra is available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and there is a also browser based version, so you don’t have to download and install it. You can create an account to upload your results, but you don’t have to. And of course, it’s free.

To sum it up, GeoGebra provides you with a wide range from quick and easy constructions to complex and demanding applications.

 

A powerful network

Not only was GeoGebra first created by Markus Hohenwarter, who was an Austrian teacher and now is a University professor, but there is also a big community of teachers working with GeoGebra and sharing their work. You can find a lot of great stuff in the “material” section of GeoGebra’s homepage. You can even upload your own ideas and share them with other teachers. And of course, you can use material created by other teachers. This is how OER comes to life!

When I want to learn more about a certain function of GeoGebra, I look for tutorials on YouTube (there are a lot of them) or I search for GeoGebra material created by other users and learn from what they have done.

 

Easy way to start with the SAMR model

The SAMR model by Ruben R. Puentedura shows how EdTech can be used in the classroom.

S stands for substitution, A for augmentation, M means modification, R redefinition. Find visualisations here. The impact of EdTech grows with every step I take in this model.

GeoGebra is able to fulfil the needs of all four steps. Teachers can use GeoGebra to create their own visualisation. This simply substitutes their drawings with a digital drawing. It is easier, quicker, but the purpose is still the same.

GeoGebra augments math teaching, when a teacher for example creates a parabola using a slide control. Now students can quickly see how changing a parameter influences the shape and vertex of the parabola. This is not only easier and faster than drawing a significant number of parabolas using altered parameters. The direct response also makes it a lot easier to see what happens. A good teacher will still create a table of values to show how the formula influences the parabola, but the process is clearer, faster and easier to understand.

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Parabola y = ax² with slide control. Created in a blink of an eye

You can modify your math class when you create interactive applets with GeoGebra and compile them with other elements, such as tutorial videos, learning apps, interactive assignments, you name it. When you use a flipped classroom setting, why not enhance it with some GeoGebra applets? You can embed GeoGebra applets in your wordpress blog, in OneNote, in Powerpoint, in moodle and (as far as I know) in Google Classroom. But this is not a one-way street. Create a book on GeoGebra and combine your GeoGebra applets with YouTube videos, quizzes and other elements. Find an example here.

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A GeoGebra book, combining a YouTube tutorial with the matching GeoGebra applet

Putting GeoGebra in your students’ hands, you will get amazing results. Let them construct shapes using their geometrical features, let them find real life problems and model them in GeoGebra, let them share their work with learners from around the world using the GeoGebra website. In this way, you can redefine your math teaching and open your class to the world.

Bottom line: it is the endless possibilities which makes GeoGebra so wonderful to use. Regardless how deep your knowledge is, how you imply using GeoGebra in the classroom, which system software you’re running or which devices you’re using. GeoGebra can transform the way you teach math.

A request at the end

Start slowly, don’t compare yourself to the GeoGebra wizards you will find everywhere in the internet.

Create an account, use the network.

Share your work!