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Pros and Cons of Autograph, Geogebra and GSP

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by mature_maths_trainee, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    Is anyone aware of a good-quality, and recent report comparing these softwares for use in the classroom? I've briefly searched on the web, but couldn't find anything.

    Or, what (if any) are the significant differences in fucntionality between them? I've done some playing with Autograph and Geogebra, and see that there's plenty of pre-prepared resources on both, and I'm perfectly comfortable using either.
    But Geogebra will be available in all schools where I might work, whereas Autograph requires a licence (so may not be). And more importantly, I can encourage (some) students to download Geogebra for themselves at home, and play with it. That seems a very big potential advantage.
    So would I be missing out on much if I just pursued using Geogebra?

  2. In this context it's worth also being aware of Wolfram Alpha MMT.
    It's not as flexible as the others but has the benefit that it doesn't need to be installed. You can just run it off the web. The literature on it is limited as it is still so new and in development.
  3. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    Hi MMT,
    In your position, if I only had time to work on one piece of software then I would choose GeoGebra. There are too many strengths to list here, but the fact that you can link geometry and algebra so easily and that it can be freely downloaded are both key.
    Autograph is still good for statistical things, and there are some places where GeoGebra still has not caught up. If you have enough time and access to a copy of Autograph then do use that too.
    I originally used Cabri-geometre. I then had to use GSP and some of the things I was able to do easily in Cabri were very difficult to accomplish in GSP. Other things, though, were easier and I learned different things from using both. Even if you don't end up working in a school with Autograph, I suspect you will find that many of the skills you acquire by using it at the moment will be transferrable to GeoGebra or to other software in future.
    Have fun with it all!
  4. Colleen_Young

    Colleen_Young Occasional commenter

    I agree with Nazard, if only one then GeoGebra for the reasons you yourself state - free, extensive resources available and available everywhere for you and students. I am always pleased to use resources students can then use at home such as the various free graph plotters discussed on another thread.
    I do like Autograph though, we use it a lot at school.
    I also like WolframAlpha and use it frequently but would not suggest it as a substitute.
    It's not that new, in fact you can ask it yourself! There is quite a lot of information about it available, a gallery of examples available on the site, the WolframAlpha Blog, also the community which you can join. I put some links together here.
  5. I've used GSP and Geogebra but not Autograph. I really like GSP for the way you can set up parameters and animate things, the last time I saw Geogebra this wasn't possible with that software. The parametric colours in GSP are also very nice for the lower years.

    Personally, I'm at best fifty-fifty over dynamic software. Getting pupils to use it can be a trial in itself and not always a particularly efficient way of getting them to understand a concept. Me using it on the IWB can get over that but I'm not always convinced that it achieves much more than a series of well drawn diagrams.
  6. DM

    DM New commenter

    I use Cabri to teach constructions and circle theorems. It works a treat.
  7. I've just checked the Cabri website and it's saying a license for school plus students is an initial 900 euros plus 300 euros a year thereafter, just a school site license is 600 euros.

    I don't mind spending money on something I'll use a lot but those circle theorems better work a real a treat at those prices!

    I've downloaded the demo, nice it works on Mac too, so I'll give it a go and thanks for the shout DM.
  8. DM

    DM New commenter

    I wouldn't buy it again sara now geogebra is available for free. We got it many years ago.
  9. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    Have used Geogebra and autograph for a few years.
    I like them both. But have used geogebra more when there are constructions to do, some of the less coordinated kids get a real kick of being able to draw really well on screen . (although it takes some practice). Not used it much for graphs.

    Autograph is great with it's slow plot button. Normally quite good for stats (ahem).

    I would recommend getting to know geogebra really well
  10. Wolfram and Geogebra for me
    Kids can use both at home and certainly geogebra without a net connection
    The only downer about geogebra IMO is the issue with use of fractions
  11. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    Good point - web connection not necessary for GeoGebra.
    There are lots of ways that GeoGebra isn't perfect, but the key thing, I think, is that it is continually being developed further.
    Cabri is still on version 2+, which has been out for years. GSP took at least half a dozen years between updates. GeoGebra is being updated all the time.
  12. KYP

    KYP New commenter

    Just to note that GeoGebra has had animation for 18 months now and there is an ever-increasing number of statistics functions available.The spreadsheet facility is very useful and flexible.
    The developpers are always open to feature requests, both large and small; a couple of years ago I just mentioned that it would be good to use the English terminology for transformations rather than the US version - and it was changed within 5 minutes!
    The GeoGebra forum is very active, both to support users in resolving problems and to discuss/debate pedagogical and mathematical issues.With such an international community (currently over 40 languages are supported) the debate can be fierce (how do you calculate Q1 and Q3?) but is invariably positive and fruitful.
    GeoGebraPrim is available for primary age students and 3D is on the way, as is a mobile version. And it's all free.
  13. Many thanks to DM for the heads up on Cabri, I'm now 75 Euros lighter having bought the individual license for the 3D version of the software! I don't think I can justify to school buying the site license but I love learning new software and this piece is very good!

    I still prefer GSP over Geogebra but Geogebra is definitely getting there, even if now quite as polished.
  14. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    does that come with special glasses?
  15. No, though I already look quite a site in my reading glasses! I've made a little animation of a cube folding up from a net. As with most software, I've bought it, I'll use it all the time for a month and then I'll get bored and want something else. I'm the ideal target market for software developers!
  16. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    the folding cube sounds good.

    I think mathsnet has one, and the other platonic solids....
  17. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    What's in a name?
    You've got it all backwards, I'm afraid, DM. Teachers just stuff everything up as far as IT is concerned. The IT technicians are supposed to provide IT that works perfectly. They do this by keeping teachers as far away from it as possible.
  18. DM

    DM New commenter

    I can have anything I want on our network but they regularly remove anything that is not used frequently enough in their opinion - so stuff like Cabri and Bowland Maths disappears about three times per year. Hopeless.
  19. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    A proposal a couple of years ago: we will automatically delete any file that hasn't been used in the last two years. Can you imagine it - if you don't teach a particular course for a year or two all your stuff gets canned!
    They appear to have rethought that one. But I bought myself an external hard drive, just in case. I am so much better at backing up nowadays!
  20. DM

    DM New commenter

    Can we have a new gripe about IT thread? Our staff drive keeps becoming full and, rather than buy more storage, each Department has to go through their area and delete anything that is deemed not essential to create more space. No video clips etc for us!

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