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January 1993

NONEUCLID: AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR MATH TEACHERS

Since its introduction in 1992, the NonEuclid program for teaching hyperbolic geometry has been used successfully by teachers around the nation. The program provides users with an effective means of interactively exploring noneuclidean geometries (see the January 1993 issue of Parallel Computing Research).

According to Joel Castellanos, a CRPC researcher at Rice who headed the creation of NonEuclid, the program has received wide acclaim. He has heard from mathematics teachers at several colleges, including Allentown (PA) College, Keene (NH) State College, Monmouth (NJ) College, and Mount Vernon (OH) Nazarene College. More than 500 copies of the program have been distributed since its creation.

Several users are helping to increase NonEuclid's visibility within the mathematics community. One teacher at Allentown College is planning to use the program during a two-hour workshop at the 1995 National Council of Mathematics Teachers National Convention. Also, Heréndira G. Tello, a graduate student at Ohio State University, has conducted a study to evaluate the effectiveness of NonEuclid as a teaching tool.

Tello noted the need for students to learn noneuclidean geometry through logic reasoning, since intuition could not be easily used. Studying a group of 13 graduate students in a mathematics education course, Tello used interviews and a survey to measure participant attitudes toward teaching hyperbolic geometry to high- school students and the appeal and instructional effectiveness of NonEuclid in this process. The study concluded that hyperbolic geometry could be used to illustrate an axiomatic system and that NonEuclid could facilitate this teaching. The group, which contained several experienced mathematics teachers, tended to agree that NonEuclid made appropriate use of visuals and that users could easily interact with the program.

Castellanos has plans to continue development and enhancement of NonEuclid. A book on the program will be published and a new version for PC- compatible computers will be developed (NonEuclid currently runs only on Macintosh computers). Castellanos has also been receptive to comments and suggestions from users (he can be reached at joel@cs.rice.edu ).

NonEuclid is available through the CRPC's Softlib public domain software distribution system. Click here for more information.


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