Teaching with Web Sketchpad

This past semester, I taught a geometry course for teachers at City College here in New York. As you might expect, Sketchpad figured heavily in the course contents. But unlike other semesters when desktop Sketchpad was my tool of choice, this time, I took the plunge and limited myself to Web Sketchpad.

Web Sketchpad kept the focus of the class on the mathematics rather than the technology. The interface of the software is simple: There are no menus, just a collection of tools that the teacher selects from for the task at hand. The tools themselves are easy to use. When a user taps a tool icon, all the objects produced by the tool are immediately visible, foregrounded in the sketch and awaiting the user’s decision as to how to integrate these objects into the sketch. In contrast, other dynamic mathematics software often leaves students unable to predict the effects of their next action.

Below are two websketches from our first few weeks of the course. The first websketch focuses on applications of circles while the second websketch turns to quadrilaterals (Download the accompanying handout which gives information about what to construct on each page.) If you’re unclear how to use a tool, tap and hold its icon to reveal a short description of its use as well as a video or two demonstrating the tool in action.

If you’d like to build your own websketches, have a look at our Tool Library and Viewer. The videos on the landing page explain how to create, download, and upload websketches for your class.

2 thoughts on “Teaching with Web Sketchpad”

  1. Great sequence of tasks. I’d be interested in hearing more if you’re inclined to write. How did they do with them? What was challenging? How did you summarize to bring out the main ideas?

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