We have been having some technical difficulties over the past few weeks. Basically we finally got tired of our old host and have been transferring our site over to a new host. There were a few false starts getting WordPress working, but I hope we are all good. This post has been ready for awhile, just waiting for things to be set.
I heard about FluidMath a couple of weeks ago and I had to try the free trial. I played around with it for about a week and I really like it. I’m pretty sure that I’m just scratching the surface, but I thought I would put a couple of videos up that show me messing around with it.
FluidMath allows you to hand write math (either on a tablet PC or interactive whiteboard); it then interprets your handwriting and does the calculations or graphs the function (actually relationships, since it will graph implicit relationships as well.) It does this all very quickly. I thought it was pretty cool that you could go back in and change the original function and it would update everything on the fly. You can also do some dynamic graphs with sliders, all very quickly and on the fly.
If you haven’t see FluidMath before, check out their video here: http://www.fluiditysoftware.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=27&Itemid=7
I was impressed at how easy it was to use and figure out. The only time I really had trouble using it was getting it to recognize my handwriting a few times. This really wasn’t a big deal, and after using it for 30 minutes or so I had corrected most of my mistakes.
As an example of the intuitive way that it works, I wanted to put a second graph on the same coordinate system and I wasn’t sure how to do it. I thought it would be good if you just connected it with the first graph, so I tried it and it worked!
After talking to some fellow teachers at school about this program I went and looked at the pricing more closely. When I was first checking it out I saw $75 and thought it wasn’t bad for something so awesome, but after looking again that $75 is for the subscription fee. So I would have to pay $75 a year to use it. This seems a little steep, but hopefully the price will drop after the company gets going. I can’t imagine many districts putting up the money for a whole math department to use this, and if they did I would feel like I had to use it everyday!
Which leads to the question “Would I use it everyday?” You can switch between math and drawing, so you can hand write notes that you don’t want to be turned into math and quickly switch to math input when you need to. One thing that I didn’t look into is the ability to import Excel files, and I did enough to figure out you can copy and paste graphics into the file. I use OneNote in class most of the time and I really like the ability to import PDF and Word files into the program to write on them, I’m not sure if you can do it in FluidMath. I do like that FluidMath also uses tabs, this will make organization much easier.
Video recording is built in (well, after you download an encoder if you don’t have one already installed) which makes the whole flipped classroom a breeze! It’s also nice to record a lesson for those absent students. Although, you would have to figure something out for recording sound.
So I think I could definitely start using this on a daily basis.
You need to send an email to get your trial copy. I was surprised to get a response from the CEO, and ended up having a little email conversation with him about FluidMath. Turns out that they have been working on a Calculus enabled version and he let me try out a beta version. I included some video below to give you a look.
I recorded these videos after playing around for about an hour, so they are not polished FluidMath use! I thought it would give you a good idea of the learning curve necessary for this program. I couldn’t get the actual video to embed, so the pictures are links to the video that are on our SmugMug site.
Above is a link to a video showing some of the basics. I left some of my mistakes in so you can get an idea of how easy it is to correct those mistakes.
This is a link to a video showing some of the dynamic graphing capabilities.
This is link to a video showing some of the animation capabilities of FuidMath. It did take me a couple of tries to get this working correctly. Once I figured it out I think I can reproduce it pretty quickly.
A link to a video showing the Beta Calculus enabled FuidMath. This is a recreation (I forgot to start the recorder) of the first thing I did when starting this program. I had played with the regular version for a few hours so I had some of the basics down.