Math, computers, and the Internet make a wonderful combination that seems to be producing better, more effective, and more interesting math educational materials every day. Internet technology—driven by speedy DSL access, increasing flexibility of use, and a large (and growing) potential audience—is providing an exciting forum for the development of some really outstanding math resources.
Many of the Internet-based resources are free. However, the very best require a monthly or yearly subscription fee. These paid programs—generally the most developed and the most sophisticated—offer the most features, especially for less-savvy Internet users. These programs range from math tools to tutorial services to "courseware" (basically, material intended to take the place of math textbooks). Some of the programs are very narrow in scope; some are huge packages.
High-speed DSL Internet access powers a host of ever-evolving features, including audio, video, real-time communications through audio or chat rooms, virtual whiteboards that can interact with computer programs, and much more. The Internet can provide real-time access to a math tutor across the country; it can also provide enormous space for storing resources to be used as needed.
A variety of electronic devices—in addition to calculators and fact-drill electronics—are helpful in math instruction. Interactive whiteboards also offer enormous potential and flexibility for demonstrating math concepts with multimedia in front of a classroom. In the sense that all software or Internet courseware can be used with a whiteboard, all of the programs are "whiteboard-ready." Some programs, however, have been designed or modified to take advantage of the special tools and possibilities that whiteboards offer.
Unless stated otherwise, all of the software and Web-based material mentioned in this article can be used by an individual or in a small group, large group, or a computer lab situation. As might be expected, most of the programs available today make a serious effort to meet state and national standards.
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