Home > Website of the Week Archive Detail

<< Prev 4/17/2011 Next >>

GeoGebra: Blending Algebra and Geometry

Some of you might remember Sunburst's Geometric Supposer series. It was creative and useful. Then, with Geometer's SketchPad and Cabri, dynamic geometric software took over amidst new feelings of creativity and usefulness....plus more explorations!

Another name that surfaces is GeoGebra, especially since it can be downloaded FREE! But, what is it...and what does it offer?

In a nutshell, GeoGebra is dynamic mathematics software that joins geometry, algebra, tables, graphing, statistics and calculus in one easy-to-use package. Plus, it is available in many languages and is offered as being appropriate to almost any age user (questionable!).

It has many nice features, in addition to being FREE:

  • Its graphics, algebra maniplulations, and data tables are both inter-connected and dynamic (i.e. change one part and the others adjust accordingly)
  • The basic interface is useable and makes sense...after some "growing time"...and then you can focus on learning the more powerful features
  • With some practice, you can use the authoring tool to create web pages offering interactive learning experiences
  • Again, it is FREE and a good example of high-quality open source software
  • If you know nothing about the software GeoGebra, I suggest you start with the GeoGebra Quickstart page for an overview.

    Also, the GeoGebra group offers a strong set of Introductory Materials, including downloadable books, tutorials, and help guides. A large collection of use-contributed learning materials are available. And, a forum for the GeoGebra user community exists, but it becomes more valuable if you can read multiple languages.

    In sum, GeoGebra is a FREE powerful dynamic software package. BUT....it has not caught on with either my students or myself. I must admit that I have been spoiled with many years of access to GSP. I often recommend GeoGebra to my students, but they tend to also prefer GSP (like teacher, like student syndrome?). Also, I recommend Rick Paris' Peanut Software, which also has a FREE geometry package "Wingeom" that is closer in operation to GSP.

    So, if you want to send me an argument for why GeoGebra is better or more useful mathematically than GSP etc., then please let me know...I would be glad to post counter-statements.