Friday, February 5, 2010

Math Resources – the new electronic standard

image Just this week I had one of those savory nostalgic moments that may not repeat many more times in the future.  I received my reviewers copy of the new Math Links 10 textbook from McGraw-Hill publishers.  For someone like myself who does everything online from personal banking to working with teachers creating websites there as an exciting moment of opening the mail to find a package.  The first crack of the textbook spine and the smell of a new book that I had a small (tiny really) role in creating.  Now I’m sounding way too nostalgic :)

In it’s print form this textbook is what you would expect.  Gorgeous, high resolution photos of familiar British Columbia icons such as the suspension bridge and totem poles.  Rich colour, graphics and layouts with generous white space to improve readability.

Here is the part that really impressed me. The breadth and depth of the electronic resources are outstanding.  Not only does the online version have the static PDF copies of the chapters, there is a fully interactive edition of the book.  You can tell the publishers are as nostalgic as me as the online resource is complete with a page flip option that even includes the sound of a paper page being turned.

The digital enhancements are throughout the book.  You can zoom in to read more clearly, a key accessibility feature, there are videos embedded that feature scientists that use math such as one from NASA.  There are screencast problem solving where you watch a hand solve a problem on what looks like a pad of paper.  The third type of media is interactive flash problem where student can test their understanding of problems related to the topic in that chapter.

Take a look at this page from the student edition.  This sample page has a video of a problem being solved.  A place for students to take personal notes and book mark the book and it is all overlaid on the corresponding page from the paper book.


Teacher resource

The teacher resource takes it to a whole new level.  I’ve chosen the first page of the chapter and pulled out all the ‘tabs’ that are originally hidden buy can be brought forward.  For example, in the overview a number of blacklined masters can be opened as word documents right from the links in the teacher edition.


This image show the media browser that displays the number and variety of multimedia that is available for the chapter.


All sample material can be accessed on this site:  

Final thoughts

This brings me back to my original statement.  It is clear that the online resource is very enhanced compared to the paper copy.  While there are still technical hurdles to overcome such as student access, we can only expect a growing number of student personally-owned devices that can access these resources in the future.

I’d be interested to hear from others about what version (or both) you would choose.

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