Algebra Tiles explores concepts like squaring binomial
expressions using virtual expressions, such as a visual
representation of (x – 3) 2 to examine why the solution
isx2 – 6x + 9 and not x2 + 9.
The Linear Explorer tool allows students to explore the
slope and y-intercepts of linear functions actively, using
sliders to make changes in the values and seeing the immediate implication of those changes in the graphical
representation. A Quadratic Explorer tool is available for
students to explore quadratics in much the same way. The
Graphs and Table tabs are available to support students
in making connections among different mathematical
representations—graph, table, and symbolic. All of these
tools support the CCSS-M standard that challenges proficient students to use multiple representations to model the
mathematics and to draw conclusions such as the graphical
meaning of the slope m and the y-intercept b.
The textbook app includes homework problems and quizzes for each chapter. Students can use the Scratchpad to solve
problems and check solutions before submitting the results
to the teacher through iPad’s internet capabilities. The program supports teachers by providing an online resource to
track student progress. Teachers see the results for tests and
quizzes within the iPad app. They can also view students’
homework problems, quizzes, and tests in one place.
Kristen McKee, who taught at Philomath Middle School
in Oregon, helped me review this digital textbook. Her
views were helpful in changing my initial views of this app.
Here is how she summed it up:
It’s like having a mathematics lab in the textbook that
also includes a graphing calculator. Now students need
only their iPad instead of their textbooks, calculator,
The app is clearly a dynamic tool with potential for improving how students learn algebra. But teachers are still the
key, and they will need to experiment with different instructional strategies when guiding student learning with this tool.
HMH Fuse: Algebra 1 (version 1. 4) is compatible with
iOS 5 or later and requires 553 MB of storage space. It is
available for download from i Tunes.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Margaret “Maggie” L. Niess is professor emeritus of mathematics education at Oregon State University, USA. Her teaching and research has focused on TPACK and developing teacher knowledge for teaching with technologies in mathematics and science.
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