The GMMDC’s GeoGebra Support Project

The GeoGebra Focus Group at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth was established as a dedicated project within development programme of the GMMDC in 2011. It was the second academic focus group of its kind in South Africa and is part of a global network of such educational focus groups. The overall goal of the GeoGebra project is to establish  communities of practice of in-service educators who use  this open source dynamic graphics software to enhance the quality of teaching and learning of mathematics in schools and colleges.

The GeoGebra project currently represents an important vehicle for ongoing professional skills development of in-service maths teachers in South Africa.

Leader  of the GeoGebra Focus Group at the Nelson Mandela University, Prof WA Olivier

The Main Aims of the GeoGebra Focus Group at NMU are to:

  • promote the teaching and learning of mathematics in a dynamic and visual way through the integrated use of GeoGebra and similar open-source dynamic graphics maths software;
  • support in-service maths teachers to use GeoGebra in maths classrooms and as part of ongoing professional learning community activities;
  • Utilize GeoGebra as a tool to promote STEAM education in schools and colleges.

Over the past five years the GMMDC has offered many GeoGebra local workshops, seminars and regional conferences. The GMMDC also established strong links with the leadership of the GeoGebra global community that is based at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria. GMMDC staff have attended the annual GeoGebra Global Gathering in Linz on a regular basis and have also contributed to conference papers, workshops and panel discussions.

GeoGebra is currently an integral part of the GMMDC’s SACE accredited professional development programmes for in-service mathematics educators.

Some of the recent GeoGebra-related project implementations of the GMMDC are listed below.

Regional 2-day GeoGebra conferences:

Successful  2-day GeoGebra regional conferences were organized by GMMDC since 2012. The aim of these conferences, which were hosted on the Nelson Mandela University campuses, were to enhance the professional identity of maths teachers, extend their pedagogy of teaching problem-solving and to strengthen their skills to teach effectively in modern technologically rich learning environments.

Each conference was attended by more than 60 local in-service Mathematics teachers and Dept. of Basic Education officials. A number of Maths teachers from outside the Eastern Cape Province attended each year. Both local and international plenary speakers, Dr Zsolt Lavicza (Cambridge, UK), Dr Gerrit Stols (UP, Pretoria) and Mr Balasz Koren (Mathematics Institute, Budapest, Hungary), contributed to the conferences over the past years. The successful two-days events consisted of structured GeoGebra workshops and academic talks by delegates on the use of GeoGebra to teach Mathematics in the classrooms and to support STEAM education. 

In 2017 & 2018 the GeoGebra conferences was combined with the STEAM development project of the GMMDC. The Theme: Linking Maths and Arts for Beauty in Design in 2018 was used to launch GeoGebra as part and parcel of the STEAM development agenda of the centre.

 

GeoGebra Conferences at Nelson Mandela University 2012-2017:

 

GeoGebra workshops as part of professional skills development:

Hands-on interactive GeoGebra skills development workshops always formed  part of the accredited mathematics skills upgrade programmes of the GMMDC. GeoGebra software and support material were pre-installed on laptops of participating in-service teachers which allowed  ordinary teaching venues to be utilized as computer laboratories for the duration of any GeoGebra workshop sessions.

Example: Professional Skills Development GeoGebra Workshop

 

CAPS aligned GeoGebra Applets for mathematics visualisation and discovery learning:

The value of virtual manipulatives (applets) in mathematics education to explain, demonstrate and discover mathematical concepts is well documented. The proper use of such artefacts could contribute richly to discovery learning and enhanced understanding of mathematical concepts or results. The GMMDC mathematics applets were designed for use by teachers to facilitate discovery learning or to reinforce understanding of mathematical results in the classroom. These applets were made available to teachers during workshop sessions as part of the Technology Pedagogy and Content Knowledge (TPACK) approach to professional development of educators.

GeoGebra assignments for teachers that focuses on classroom implementation strategies also form part of the teacher development programmes that are offered by the GMMDC.