Joint Meetings handout

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The Math Images Project 1/2/

Gene Klotz. Swarthmore College and The Math Forum @ Drexel Steve Maurer, Swarthmore College

The CCLI-funded Math Image project is building a website that will make use of beautiful images related to math for a variety of educational purposes. Viewers can click on an image to find out more about the image and the mathematics behind it—in the form of text, interactive explorations, and exchanges with "experts". In addition, we believe that constructing the site will be a valuable experience for undergraduates, providing opportunities for summer projects for students—even in their early years—to learn about mathematics through writing and perhaps kindling a passion for our subject.

We also see the Math Image site as a source for student class projects, e.g. writing explanatory and pedagogical materials about the images, or creating interactive learning modules for them. The site should develop into a resource in home, school, and college environments. And whether on a computer lab, faculty, teacher, or home computer screen, the site might give a new population of casual viewers new insights into what mathematics actually is, and sometimes might even turn a cursory glance into real interest in the subject.

Last summer a team of undergraduates constructed a beta version of the site based on Wikipedia's software, which offers easy use and construction, and some educational possibilities as well. For example we will encourage Wikipedia authors to join our efforts, which should significantly increase expansion of the site, as well as broaden the community of learners involved in its creation and encourage fruitful interactions among students and people with strong interests in the field.

This coming summer we will have a small group of students funded by a CCLI Phase 1 project. Based upon our successes we hope to obtain a much larger Phase 2 grant so that we can invite some of you and your students to join us thereafter. At this time, feel free to use the site for class projects—our experience is that the act of writing on a public wiki much improves student writing and thinking. The Math Image Wiki will be part of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Wiki.

Feel free to examine the beta site at Comments welcome!