More “useful math software”

Posted on February 28, 2011

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I got an email (to “Sirs”), with a reference to a site that might be useful to teachers.  No, it wasn’t unrelated spam; it was somebody’s attempt at making software to help students learn math, and every time I see one of these I resolve NOT to decide to make software to help people learn math.

You say you detect a mismatch between deeds and words?  My intent with learnign flash is to know enough to put something together to find a way to be part of a *team* to do it right. Every one-person attempt I’ve seen has had fatal flaws.   This one — the absolute first problem has a lovely picture of a trapezoid.   Measurements are given, and the long end has a length of one and the short a length of four, and the height is 9.

I would *still* have issues with the “9” part being obviously shorter in real life than double the four, because the point of a picture is to make something *more* understandable and if it is showing me 9 being less than 4, that’s not more understandable.   However, the 4 and the 1 … it’s honestly impossible.

I inquired of the author about it and sent a screen capture.  I clicked for the answer, which worked if you plugged in the formula, and then clicked back and got a different problem that wasn’t impossible, but which used exactly the same drawing.  I infer that the program randomly generates numbers for the measurements.   Hey, then SKIP the picture.  It’s procedure practice.  DOn’t call it more than that.

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