As many of my friends are quite aware I truly enjoy incorporating technology into my classroom as a way of adding value. Recently I have been relying heavily on a program called The Geometer's Sketchpad
for my Geometry students to learn the concept of symmetry (disclaimer: this program is useful for more than just Geometry class) and I have found it beneficial because my students can now create and manipulate their own shapes in order to learn the concepts.
Of course I use it for myself in order to come up with examples of symmetry and to show them to my students. But more than just that, I have attempted to teach them how to manipulate the program for themselves in order to learn what I mean when I discuss reflective, rotational, translational, and point symmetry.
Last Friday I gave a creation-based test to them to answer questions using their knowledge of Sketchpad. On one side of the sketch I crafted my own shapes for questions; on the other, the students created their own symmetric figures following certain protocols.
It was amazing to see them working so diligently on a concept they were all grasping so well. While I do not think computer technology is the exclusive way to educate the youth of tomorrow, I do think it has such strengths that we would be fools not to experiment with it.