Using LiveMath
as an Interactive Computer Tool for Exploring Algebra and Calculus
Boon Wooi Joseph Yeo
bwjyeo@nie.edu.sg
Mathematics and Mathematics Education
National Institute of Education
Singapore
Abstract
Many mathematics educators in Singapore secondary schools are aware
that The Geometer? Sketchpad, a dynamic geometry software, can be
used to explore geometry. But most of them do not know of any computer
algebra system (CAS) that can be used to explore algebra and calculus.
Traditionally, most mathematicians, scientists and engineers have
always used a CAS, such as Maple, to perform symbolic manipulations
in order to solve algebraic and calculus problems. However most
educators do not see any purpose in their pupils learning a CAS
to perform symbolic manipulations, such as factorisation, differentiation
and integration, when formal assessments still require them to perform
such skills by hand. But with the advance of LiveMath (previously
known as Theorist and MathView), an intriguing CAS that provides
? unique user interface that allows one to perform ?atural?algebraic
maneuvers even more ?aturally?than one can achieve them on paper?(Kaput,
1992), there is now another way of using a CAS in the teaching and
learning of mathematics, i.e., to explore algebraic and calculus
concepts. Moreover the capability of LiveMath templates to be interactive
even on Web pages opens up an exciting chapter in online mathematics
learning. This paper looks at some examples of how educators can
use LiveMath as an interactive tool for their pupils to explore
algebra and calculus. It also provides some research evidence to
suggest that the use of LiveMath for exploring mathematics may enhance
pupil learning.
