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Karen Hollebrands

In this editorial, I look back at what the Mathematics Teacher Educator journal has accomplished during its short existence. In particular, I examine how past editors and panelists have worked to clearly establish the unique identity of the journal. This clearly articulated vision has assisted in attracting well-aligned, high-quality manuscript submissions. It also provides educative scaffolds for authors, reviewers, and editors that have led to the publication of articles relevant to mathematics teacher educators. I then look forward to consider how we can harness the power of the internet to enrich readers' experiences with the journal. Many ways exist for an online journal to capitalize on technology to communicate, interact, and connect.

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Karen F. Hollebrands

Before designing, selecting, or implementing a lesson, understanding the knowledge that your students already have (or do not have) is helpful, regardless of the topic that you are teaching. When I began to teach geometric transformations to a class of tenth-grade honors geometry students, I attempted to assess their knowledge. What I learned about these students' initial understandings of geometric transformations was surprising, as well as extremely useful for planning instruction. Knowing in advance the difficulties that students may experience when learning new mathematical concepts and skills can help prepare teachers for the classroom.

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Karen F. Hollebrands and Samet Okumus

In Tools and Mathematics: Instruments for Learning, authors John Monaghan, Luc Trouche, and Jonathan M. Borwein devote 19 chapters, divided into four parts, to portraying various issues and developments related to tools, artefacts, and instruments with a focus on theoretical approaches. They present different theories, highlight how they relate to the use of tools in mathematics, and envisage future issues and trends. Chapters 6 and 11 appear at the end of Parts I and II, respectively. These chapters take the form of a dialogue between the three authors and include Richard Noss, who contributes his thoughts about the issues presented in each part. The authors provide an interlude in Chapter 16 and reflect on the future as it relates to the use of tools in the teaching and learning of mathematics.

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Tina T. Starling and Karen F. Hollebrands

With the geometry curriculum already packed with content, who has time to introduce anything new? Many students already have difficulty with regular polygons to begin with—wouldn't an additional topic for polygons be adding fuel to the fire? Perhaps. However, if activities are carefully chosen, students can actively review prerequisite skills as well as benefit from being asked to think critically in a new way.

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Karen Flanagan Hollebrands and Hollylynne Stohl

This month, we provide an example of a rich mathematical task that leads to many different connections. The task was posed to a class of high school seniors who were using a dynamic program for geometry called Cabri Geometry II. This tip includes directions for creating this problem with technology and suggestions for exploring it. The Cabri II software is available for Macintosh and PC computers from www.cabrilog.com/en or education.ti.com. It is also available for several different Texas Instruments calculators (TI-83 Plus, TI-83 Plus Silver, Voyage 200, TI-89, and TI-92 Plus). The program is similar to The Geometer's Sketchpad, and users who are familiar with The Geometer's Sketchpad should be able to easily adapt this task to use with it.

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Karen Flanagan Hollebrands and Hollylynne Stohl

This month's “Technology Tips” introduces readers to a powerful teacher-productivity tool. Mathematics teachers have needed inexpensive, easy-to-use software that allows them to create electronic documents that contain multiple representations. One such software package is TI-Interactive! (version 1.1, Texas Instruments, 2002). TI-Interactive is a word-processing tool that combines the features of a graphing calculator with the flexibility of a word-processing program, an equation editor, and a computer algebra system. This software tool gives mathematics teachers the power to create, modify, and share textbook-quality graphics and symbols. This “Technology Tip,” written by Robin L. Rider, is meant to introduce some of the commonly used features of the software. Future “Technology Tips” will explore more advanced features.

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Karen Flanagan Hollebrands and Hollylynne Stohl

AS MANY OF YOU PREPARE YOUR STUDENTS FOR ENDof-year examinations, you spend time creating review sheets and sample assessments. For this month's “Technology Tip,” Jeff Suzuki introduces readers to a powerful use of word processing and spreadsheet software that can help teachers design individualized worksheets and assessments. Jeff provides directions for using a function called Mail Merge in Microsoft Office. Although most productivity software groups (for example, ClarisWorks, Microsoft Works, and Office XP) have this type of merging function, the directions given in this “Technology Tip” are specific to Microsoft Office 2000. The process may be used with any software that has mail-merge capabilities and that allows a spreadsheet data file as input.

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Karen Flanagan Hollebrands and Hollylynne Stohl

IN THIS MONTH'S “TECHNOLOGY TIPS,” MARY ANN Connors introduces readers to the use of scripts on the TI-89, TI-92, TI-92 Plus, or Voyage 200 calculators. She demonstrates how teachers can create scripts to be used either during a whole-class calculator demonstration or by students while they engage in a mathematical exploration.

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Paul Gosse and Karen Flanagan Hollebrands

This month's column sees a return to dynamic geometry. Daniel Scher presents a “proof,” which he claims is rigorous, of why the midpoints of the sides of a quadrilateral, joined in order, produce a parallelogram. Do you agree? Our second tip is a worthwhile introductory activity for any group new to a particular technology. Susan Hvizdos challenges us with a TI-83 Plus Scavenger Hunt.

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Paul Gosse and Karen Flanagan Hollebrands

This month's tip centers on an alternative view of functions. Instead of perpendicular axes for domain and range, we explore parallel axes. This idea has been around for a while (see the references in Bridger and Bridger ([2001] and in the “Surfing Note”), but we hope to breathe new life into this fascinating representation of functions with two easy-to-use programs for the TI-83 Plus. We provide an introduction to mapping diagrams (also called function diagrams) and the code for one program to produce them using the TI-83 Plus. Information about the second program will be given in “Technology Tips” in May. Both programs are available electronically, so users do not have to type the programs into their calculators.