The technologies available range from low-end, hand-held calculators through high-end multimedia workstations. Technology will be available and supported both in INTECH sites and in the participants' schools. Intensive activities are implemented in technology-rich laboratories with modern workstations (Macintosh Power PC or Windows Pentium). All INTECH labs have high-speed Internet access to support individual workstation, local network, and web-based mathematics activities and applications. The laboratory also affords ready access to non-computer technologies, including graphing calculators and manipulative materials.
Laboratory and follow-up activities focus on using spreadsheets per se, but rather doing mathematics problems where they can enable and reinforce investigation, conjecture, and problem solving. Microsoft Excel is widely available, but other general purpose applications, such as ClarisWorks, provide good spreadsheet functionality to support middle-grades mathematics.
Hand Held Calculators
The desired functionality of the HHC includes the range of computations, simple function keys such as square root and square, making graphs. The TI-73, TI-81, TI-82, or TI-83 support more than this level of capability.
Graphics programs of enormous sophistication are available. An elementary and user friendly graphing program such as Algebra Xpresser (Hoffer, 1990) is available. Function graphing environments such as Theorist, Mathematica, Maple, or MatLab are available, but likely too sophisticated for middle grades use. The graphing calculator software bundled with PowerPC computers provides useful functions and relation graphers with simple animation.
Dynamic geometry programs (such as Geometer's Sketchpad, Cabri, or Geometric Supposer) provide exploration tools with rich potential for the middle grades. They can be used to explore relationships of and among geometric objects in a plane. Geometer's Sketchpad (Jackiw, 1992) is InterMath's tool of choice, but the problems should be explorable with any software that allows the manipulation of geometric objects depicted on the computer desktop.
A range of communication tools include word processors, (e.g. Microsoft Word, ClarisWorks, etc.), spreadsheets (e.g. Microsoft Excel, ClarisWorks, etc.), Internet browsers (e.g. Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Explorer, etc.), web page tools (e.g. Adobe PageMill, Netscape Gold, ClarisWorks HTML, etc.), E-mail (e.g. Netscape Mail, Claris Mail, Eudora, etc.), and other utility software.