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In Class &Misc Ink-Enabled Apps Isaac on 12 Mar 2007 08:26 am

Inking in Windows/MSN Messenger to Teach Math

Since discovering that Windows Messenger supports ink almost seamlessly, even to non-tablet machines, I’ve offered online help to more than a few far-off friends taking math classes (how does a math teacher end up with so many friends who are math-phobic and trying to pass a basic college math course for the n+1st time?). Giving this kind of help before was always hindered by the lack of an easy way to communicate mathematics online. Innovate, a “journal of online education,” recently published an article titled “Synchronous Chat and Electronic Ink for Distance Support in Mathematics” discussing the use of Windows/MSN messenger for distance communication between instructor and student in mathematics:

In the following pilot study, we investigate the mechanics of employing a freely available chat client (MSN Messenger) for the teaching of mathematics to distance students. The client incorporates an electronic ink function that allows users to directly post and edit mathematical formulae and diagrams while communicating synchronously, thereby avoiding the technological limitations noted by previous researchers. In this study we explore the benefits and the difficulties experienced by students and instructors in the use of the client, and we provide the results of a course survey in which students assessed the value of MSN Messenger for distance courses in mathematics.

(Free registration required to view full article.)

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4 Responses to “Inking in Windows/MSN Messenger to Teach Math”

  1. on 12 Mar 2007 at 6:31 pm 1.Ryan said …

    Very cool. I may just try this as a way to help students work on homework, or projects.

    I could see some people not liking this though, because then it’s working with students past school hours, etc. Like free tutoring.

    I wonder what others think, should teachers offer this extra help or will it bolster the argument for teachers to work more? Would it change the public’s expectations of teachers?

  2. on 12 Mar 2007 at 8:21 pm 2.Isaac said …

    Both the article and my experience are situations where there is no face time and where it’s not like outside-of-class help from the teacher… I would be strongly disinclined to provide additional help this way to students I have face-to-face in class, both for the reasons you mention and because I’d rather not interact with students in a medium in which they don’t inherently apply “classroom-appropriateness” filters to what they say and do.

  3. on 02 Apr 2007 at 5:08 pm 3.TPN :: The TabletPC Show » Blog Archive » Tablet PC Show #57 said …

    [...] finally, some real-word folks using tablets, including a math teacher and a physical [...]

  4. on 02 Apr 2007 at 5:44 pm 4.TeacherTabletPC » Mentioned in The Tablet PC Show #57 said …

    [...] about 46:50 into the nearly 51-minute Tablet PC Show #57, Perry Reed mentions my post on Windows Messenger Inking to communicate math, along with several other real-world uses of Tablet PCs.  There’s also a ton of info on [...]