An important issue in teaching mathematics with GeoGebra is how the so called developing countries can get access to it and benefit from this software. We will follow up here with a series of blog posts on GeoGebra activities in India, edited together with our Indian GG friends.
In countries like India educational software technologies seem still out of reach due to internet access problems in schools and the high cost of most educational softwares. Since GeoGebra can be downloaded for free on a single laptop, then uploaded to many computers, and can be run without any internet access, it creates a favourable learning environment.
Other than Internet access, another critical factor is the IT knowledge of teachers working in a digital environment. A “higher aim” set in the Indian National Curriculum Framework now is to the develop the children’s inner resources to think and reason mathematically, to be able to come to logical conclusions and handle abstraction. This requires teachers to fundamentally change their teaching methods. That is also why professional development related to GeoGebra is not only about learning how to enter a digital environment, but also about discovering its new, pedagogical potential in everyday teaching.
Other than one-time workshops, regular follow-up activities and an easy-to-reach mentoring system are necessary, too, so that teachers feel more confident about the use of the software in their classes.
GeoGebra Institutes in India provide high quality, children focused trainings and support teachers while overcoming these problems.
After a successful GeoGebra workshop in Bhilai, another one was held also in India, 9 10th February, 2013 at the Delhi Public School in Patna, Bihar State. The workshop was organized by Delhi Public School in Patna in order to get the participating teachers acquainted with the use of the software and discuss how to integrate it into everyday teaching. Dr. Praveen Kumar Chaurasia (Assistant Professor, GI National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), see http://pkchaurasia.iitiancollege.info/) was the resource person for the workshop, and focused his training on the possibility of using GeoGebra in child-centered learning, highlighting the pedagogical aspects of the software rather than technical ones. Dr. P.K. Chaurasia also talked about the National Curriculum Framework in India and its recommendation for child-centered learning which can be fulfilled using Geogebra. His experience tells us that children use GG as a cognitive tool that helps them to construct meaning based on their prior knowledge and conceptual framework. He showed the participants how to design applets using the software. Right after this session everybody created their own applets.
In the next blog post we will share the latest news about the work of GeoGebra Institute, Kerala, which is now linking GeoGebra with its empowering social business activities.
Guest post by Réka Berkes