ICM Research



Mathematics Education

Web-Based Mathematics Education

Introduction and Background

Web-based learning can extend the reach of education and significantly broaden its impact and influence. There are many approaches but few are effective for teaching/learning mathematics. Given the state of mathematics education in the United States and other countries, an effective way to deliver teaching and learning materials over the Internet/Web holds much promise.

While various methods have been used to display mathematical formulas in Web pages and to make simple mathematical computations accessible via CGI programs or X Windows, a general and effective system for accessing, producing and delivering mathematical content is still the subject of research and development.

Investigators at the W3 Consortium (W3C) and elsewhere are working to make publishing mathematical materials on the Web easy. MathML defines an XML language for markup of mathematical expressions with support for both presentation encoding (display layout) and content encoding (computation semantics).

The IBM digital publishing group has released the experimental Techexplorer a Web browser plug-in that dynamically formats and displays documents containing scientific and mathematical expressions coded in TeX/LaTeX. Some MathML is also supported. Techexplorer also allows a user to send expressions to a fixed compute server for evaluation. MathType, from Design Science Inc., supports interactive creation of mathematical notations for web pages and documents. The same company also offers WebEQ that provides a Java applet to display WebTeX and MathML in a browser. The W3C Amaya Web browser demonstrates a prototype implementation of MathML which allows users to browse and edit Web pages containing mathematical expressions. Together with the rest of the Web page, these expressions are manipulated through a WYSIWYG interface. The increasing acceptance and software support for MathML were evident at the recent MathML International Conference 2000.

Mathematical content viewing on a Web page is static. On the Internet, end-users, especially educational applications, can make good use of dynamic access to mathematical computing. ``Internet Accessible Mathematical Computation'' has been the subject of the 1999 IAMC Workshop (part of ISSAC'99) and the 2001 IAMC Workshop (part of ISSAC'01). The full-day workshops underscore the on-going interest in making mathematical information and computation easily available in the new communication age For more background and related activities, please refer to the Proceedings of the IAMC Workshops the IAMC homepage and the Workshop on The Future of Mathematical Communication

At the Institute for Computational Mathematics (ICM/Kent), efforts have been made to build a distributed IAMC framework which can support both interactive and transparent access to mathematical computation on the Internet/Web through the Mathematical Computation Protocol.

Researchers have begun to make attempts to deliver mathematical education materials over the Web/Internet. Already, we can find many Web sites providing courses and tools for mathematics education.

WME Efforts, Related Systems, and Websites

Here is a growing list of projects and systems related to making mathematics education available/accessible on the Web:

WME-Related Conferences and Workshops

  • International Conference on Information Technology (ITCC), ITE Track on Education Technology, Curriculum and Assessment

  • Internet Accessible Mathematical Computation (IAMC) IAMC'03 Workshop

WME Framework Project at ICM/Kent

The WME Framework project is a collaboration between ICM/Kent USA, the Department of Computer Science, Lanzhou University (Ganzu Province), and the Mathematics Mechanization Research Center (MMRC), Academia Sinica (Beijing) China. Currently the following researchers are involved:

    Li Lian: Professor, College of Information Science, Lanzhou University, Gansu, China
    Wang Jimin: Professor, College of Information Science, Lanzhou University, Gansu, China
    Liu Zhuojun: Professor, MMRC, Academia Sinica, Beijing, China
    Lin Dongdai: Professor, MMRC, Academia Sinica, Beijing, China
    Norbert Kajler: Professor, Ecole des Mines de Paris, Paris, France
    Simon Gray: Professor, Ashland University, Ashland Ohio, USA
    Keehong Song: Associate Professor, Pusan National University, South Korea (khsong@pusan.ac.kr)
    Paul S. Wang: Professor, ICM/Kent, USA
    Michael Mikusa: Professor, College of Education, Kent State University, USA
    Xiao Zou: Ph.D., College of Information Science, Lanzhou University and Computer Science graduate student ICM/Kent,
    David Chiu, Xun Lai, Saleh AL-Shomrani: Computer Science graduate Students, ICM/Kent, USA,
    Mrs. Grace Dorene Ellis, Mr. Jacob Miller and Mrs. Kim Yoak (teachers of mathmatics at Kimpton Middle School, Munroe Falls, Ohio, USA)
    Mrs. Katie Jones: (mathematics teacher at Lake Middle School, Hartville, Ohio, USA)

WME in Middle School---OBR funded pilot project, pilot site, R&D.

WME Framework Publications

WME Middle School Pilot Project

This is an OBR research challenge funded pilot project to perform trial deployment of the WME technologies for middle school mathematics educaton.

Please visit the pilot project site for more details.

WME Framework Software Components

  • The Mathematics Education Markup Language (MeML)---public dtd loacation http://icm.mcs.kent.edu/MeML/dtd/MeML.dtd.
  • Woodpecker---A client-side Page Processor
  • MadMath---An MeML authoring tool
  • fraction.wme---An experimental WME serivce for fraction computations.
  • lineplot.wme---An experimental WME serivce for plotting straight lines.
  • twoline.wme---An experimental WME serivce for solving linear equations and plotting lines.
  • polynomial.wme A---An experimental WME serivce for simple polynomial computations.
  • polynomial.wme B---An experimental WME serivce for polynomial GCD.
  • polynomial.wme C---An experimental WME serivce for polynomial factoring.
  • polynomial.wme D---An experimental WME serivce for solving linear polynomials in one variable.
  • fraction.mesp---An experimental MESP conforming WME serivce for fractions.

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The WME homepage and the WME Framework Project has been supported in part by the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) and by the National Science Foundation