Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on GeoGebra

 

 

1. What is GeoGebra?

 

GeoGebra is a free, stand-alone, dynamic and easy-to-use software for mathematics visualization that combines geometry, algebra, and spreadsheet side by side in the same window. On the one hand, you can do geometric constructions and on the other, enter corresponding algebraic equations and coordinates directly. GeoGebra has many built-in functions for mean, median, mode, box and whisker plot, histogram, bar graph, line plot, best fit line through points, areas of polygons, straight lines, circles, LCM, GCF, properties of right triangle (sine, cosine, tangent), etc. Its WebStart version is also free, so teachers can use GeoGebra for class work and voluntary studies without downloading the software.

 

Its creator, Markus Hohenwarter, started the project in 2001 at the University of Salzburg and is continuing it at Florida Atlantic University. Judith Hohenwarter is the coordinator of documentation and translation. GeoGebra has been translated and used in more than 40 languages. The worldwide success of the program speaks for itself to its utility. GeoGebra is written in Java and thus available for multiple platforms. It has won several international awards, such as the European and German educational software awards and is in use all over the world. Its most recent tested version available now is 5.0 though 4.2 and 4.4 versions are still largely in use.

 

2. What is its price for network use such as in schools, colleges, private and public organizations?

 

GeoGebra is available on the Internet downloadable at www.geogebra.org for group or individual use absolutely free with no strings attached. Its WebStart version is also free, so students can use GeoGebra for homework and voluntary studies without downloading the software.

 

3. Is it only for school-level mathematics?

 

No. GeoGebra is being used at college and university levels as well. Please read the following documents among many others available on the Internet:

 

i) http://archives.math.utk.edu/ICTCM/VOL19/S100/paper.pdf
ii) http://tsg.icme11.org/document/get/666 

 

4. Does GeoGebra deal with only geometry and algebra as its name suggests?

 

Along with Geometry and Algebra, GeoGebra allows us to investigate Discrete Mathematics, Probability and Statistics, Linear Algebra, Calculus, etc. as well in real-time. Besides mainstream mathematics, GeoGebra is used in Financial and Recreational mathematics, Robotics, Astronomy, Electronics, and Physics. The main page of a list of such topics created in English with GeoGebra is at http://www.geogebratube.org.

 

5. How does GeoGebra fit in K-12 settings?

 

The middle and high school students come from different backgrounds and skill sets. Most of them are not savvy in reading or understanding through verbal expressions or at abstract level. They are comfortable at concrete level. GeoGebra provides them with concrete materials to support the process for transferring their concrete understandings to the abstract level. Moreover, teaching students how to draw solutions to problem solving situations provides an excellent strategy for understanding the underlying concepts. For advanced students GeoGebra explains very high level of concepts through visualization. Once the concepts are clear to students, both common and advanced, they feel comfortable to tackle mathematics at a next higher level.

 

GeoGebra is also suitable for one-on-one teaching where individual student works on the Internet under the supervision of a teacher. For group setting the teacher can use a projector.


6. What is the difference between Geometer’s Sketchpad (GSP) and GeoGebra (GGB)?

 

First, GSP is priced software whereas GGB is totally free. A link between free software and education was first made by Richard Stallman in his essay, Why Schools Should Use Exclusively Free Software (compiled by Sam Williams - ISBN: 0-596-00287-4; 2002). According to Stallman, reasons are as follows:

a)     It saves school’s money.

b)     Schools should promote ways of living that benefit society as a whole; and free software, like recycling, does this.

c)     It promotes the idea that learning is not wrong, as proprietary software does when students reach an age and start asking, ”how does this work?”

d)     A school’s primary job is to teach children to be good neighbors and citizens. Free software does this by allowing people to share, learn, and help each other.

e)     It advocates freedom and security of information and the right to cooperate with each other.

 

Second, GGB is more user-friendly in that it offers the advantage of visualizing a mathematical phenomenon graphically as well as algebraically on the same window. It is possible to input an algebraic equation and see its graphical representation side by side. Third, GeoGebra lessons/files can be converted into html applets to upload/publish on the Internet with minimum effort within the GeoGebra interface itself. It is platform independent, that is, it works on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, other Java-based platforms, etc.

 

7. Have you experimented with GeoGebra in the classroom?

 

Yes, many times. My classes also were observed several times. Some observers were so impressed that they commented they wished they could learn math concepts with one such program, while the others said they enjoyed the class very much by working with and helping the students at the same time.

 

8. Is there enough information available to learn GeoGebra?

 

Yes, there is plenty of information on the Internet. Its user’s manual in English (version 3.2) can be downloaded free from www.geogebra.org/help/docuen.pdf. Its 4.0 version is at http://geogebra.ir/geogebra/Files/PDF/1ebdfcdc018141828ae75acfdb586247.pdf and version 5.0 at http://wiki.geogebra.org/en/Manual. Besides, there is a very active users’ forum at www.geogebra.org/forum to ask questions and get technical help. Free websites are available where one can upload his or her lessons for teaching or learning purpose.

 

9. Since GeoGebra is Java based, is it necessary to know JavaScript in order to work with it?

 

Both no and yes. In general, it is not necessary to know JavaScript in order to be able to work with GeoGebra. To walk an extra mile, however, working knowledge in programming with JavaScript is a plus. Recently efforts are being made to substitute Java by html5 as it has become difficult to cope up with frequent version updates by Java, thus making the older GeoGebra applets obsolete. The recent GeoGebra 4.4 versions do not even allow creating html files on the fly. In order to get html files one should register with http://www.GeoGebraTube.org first to open a free account and then follow a set of steps to embed the html5 codes to his or her individual site. Some of the functionalities of the original applets are lost in the process. Hopefully all the bugs are going to be fixed soon by the GeoGebra team.

 

10. Are there possibilities to do more advanced activities with GeoGebra?

 

Well, for one, html applets can be made to talk to each other, that is, when one parameter is changed in one applet the other applet responds to that change dynamically. Please click MaxVol-3D&Graph listed on my site http://prabir.pbworks.com to see how two applets are linked together in real time. Refer to answer to question 4 for a list of exhaustive topics, both advanced and otherwise, being handled by GeoGebra.

 

For pre-calculus and calculus lessons, please visit http://dynamath.wikispaces.com/Precalculus+and+Calculus+with+GeoGebra.