## FORMA MEnTIS: Learning Mathematics through an Interactive Web Teacher
*Antonietta Esposito*
`esposito@crmpa.unisa.it`
**CRMPA - Centro di Ricerca in Matematica Pura ed Applicata**
Via Ponte Don Melillo - 84084 Fisciano (Sa)
Italy
*Nicola Capuano*
`niccap@crmpa.unisa.it`
DIIMA - Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica e Matematica Applicata
**Università degli Studi di Salerno**
Via Ponte Don Melillo - 84084 Fisciano (Sa)
Italy
### Abstract
In the last few years, the attention has turned on the use of the information and communication technologies for popular and formative purposes. In particular, the great evolution of computers and computer networks has allowed the diffusion of multimedia application for innovative presentations of knowledge and educational material. In this paper we will describe our research and development activities within the context of FORMA MEnTIS, a project born in this scenario. FORMA MEnTIS (an Italian acronym that means: advanced teaching through new methodologies and technologies in the school and in the society) is an interactive software tool able to encourage and support the diffusion and the dissemination of scientific culture through an innovative approach based on the integration of multimedia tools, Web and mathematical software. The prototype is structured as a Web site giving access to many section. The Classroom section gives learner the possibility to study (interactively with the aide of Applet and JavaScript) theory about matrices and geometric transformations (as an example but extensible to cover many other topics) and some historical fundamentals about mathematics and computer science. The Exercise section is an interactive section in which students can exercise on the matters learned in the Classroom section. In this section, using a server side Mathematica3.0? kernel (a powerful engine able to support numeric and symbolic calculus and to return graphics in two and three dimensions) we linked to the Web server a set of packages capable to generate exercises in real time, to test student using them and, if the student requires it, to show him the correct step-by-step procedure to solve it. The Interactive Space section gives users a set of services in order to guarantee their interaction and co-operation: an on-line discussion forum where students can put questions and receive answers from teachers, a calendar of principal events, a test tools allowing teachers to send on-line tests and surveys to students, a graphical chat allowing teachers to do on-line lessons using texts an a virtual blackboard. In this paper we will explore the main design and implementation issues of the FORMA MEnTIS project. In particular we will focus on tools to be used and how to use them to obtain a similar environment from scratch.
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