Teaching STEM has become increasingly important in education. As technology has advanced, though, it’s also become equally difficult to teach it. Teachers are constantly faced with a struggle to find good STEM resources, and to find resources made with real-life skills in mind.
GeoGebra is a digital software package that focuses on maths and science. It offers multiple interactive resources and tools to improve students’ understanding of these core subjects. However, how does GeoGebra compare to other STEM-focused platforms like Zenva Schools?
Keep reading our GeoGebra guide to learn its standout features, user experience, and more!
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What Is GeoGebra?
GeoGebra is a learning software tool with multiple courses and learning resources for math and science topics. The resources they have include simulations, lessons, games, and more. In addition, they cover numerous sub-topics such as probability, algebra, and many more.
Along with resources, GeoGebra also provides several digital tools, particularly in the form of calculators.
Who Is GeoGebra Targeting With Their Interactive Features?
The primary target audience for GeoGebra is teachers, specifically math and science teachers. They provide numerous teaching resources to help students struggling with specific subtopics within those subjects. Additionally, they want to attract teachers by enabling their creativity with a resource authoring tool.
Also worth noting, GeoGebra offers its service to multiple countries (in different languages) to expand its target market – something unique to other platforms which are generally US-focused.
However, while GeoGebra is a STEM platform, they are a bit lacking in targetting the technology component of the concept. Platforms like Zenva Schools are better for that aspect in this regard, as Zenva Schools has a specific technology focus when it comes to classroom resources.
Who Founded GeoGebra?
Markus Hohenwater founded GeoGebra. Besides being the president of the GeoGebra foundation, he is a professor of mathematics education at Johannes Kepler University. As such, he continues to have experience directly related to the topics covered with the platform.
What Are GeoGebra’s goals?
GeoGebra has specific interests in focusing on math and science. Along with their particular focus, they have many goals to implement into the resources they provide:
- GeoGebra wants to deliver an extensive range of math (geometry, algebra, etc.) and science apps.
- GeoGebra wants to make its product as easy to use as possible. To achieve this, they provide a simple and accessible interface.
- GeoGebra aims to promote creativity within educators. They use a teaching resource authoring tool to create resources and save them as online web pages.
- GeoGebra wants to make the product accessible. Therefore, they include multiple languages to promote accessibility to the product.
- GeoGebra wants to use OER software to provide free resources.
All this being said, it’s worth mentioning that these aims may not be suitable for every teacher. For example, Zenva Schools (which is a paid service focused on technology) is aimed more so on making sure their content saves teachers time – which is often the ultimate goal of these resources.
What Are The Main Features Of GeoGebra’s Software Package?
Now you know what the main aims of GeoGebra are, you need to know what they can offer to teachers and students. So here are the main features of the GeoGebra software package.
Math And Science Content
The subjects that GeoGebra focuses on are math and science. Because there are so many subtopics for these subjects, there are many different teaching resource types. Some of the teaching resource types on GeoGebra include:
- Simulations to help students visualize a math and science problem.
- Interactive activities
- Full lessons
Again though, there is a lesser focus on technology. For digital technologies teachers, platforms like Zenva Schools will be a greater asset, as the focus there is specifically on technology. Zenva Schools even have pre-mapped lesson plans for US Common Core Math standards – so the courses can be used in cross-discipline situations.
The Resource Authoring Tool
The GeoGebra founder believes that teachers can create some of the best educational content. Therefore, they have a resource authoring tool for teachers to create many unique resources.
You can select from templates, edit the text and images and move them around, and save it as a web page. Web page saving makes it easier for teachers to access their resources and teach them to their class – though of course teachers can simply print the webpage out.
That being said, making your own resources can take time. Other platforms like Zenva Schools can often be better for teachers who really don’t have time to spare. Zenva Schools offers tons of different content – from full courses to supplemental material like quizzes – pre-reviewed by industry experts and teachers. Thus, you can be sure to get quality without a time sink.
OER Software For Free Content
One of the most significant features of GeoGebra is that they mainly use OER resources for their content library. They do this so they can offer their content for free with no strings attached.
While free content is great, it does come with one downside – the content scope is limited. Certainly, math and science teachers will have a lot to choose from, but other platforms have a wider breadth of content available. This is not even to mention additional features that aid teachers with using the content in the classroom.
For example, while Zenva Schools is a paid service, it offers a ton of content and features, including: full courses, written text summaries, interactive lessons, quizzes, classroom management tools, analytics, pre-mapped lesson plans, and more.
How Is The User Interface For GeoGebra?
One of the main aims of GeoGebra is to keep its software simple with an easily accessible website. They want every piece of content to be easy to find by using simple menus. Consequently, the menu system is relatively simple and cohesively separates the subjects.
However, a few areas, like the resource topic pages, look a bit messy just due to poor UI design. Thus, the site isn’t without its clumsy areas despite its simplicity.
If the UI is important to you, there are definitely other comparable platforms in this regard. Zenva Schools likewise has a similar mantra of keeping the UI easy, as their goal is primarily to save teachers time and get them up in running in the classroom in a few minutes.
What is GeoGebra Missing?
Although GeoGebra has some high points, there are also many sub-par or missing features.
To start, while GeoGebra focuses on free resources, the general quality of the resources will often be less than other platforms and paid services. This by no means they’re bad, but there’s no way around paid services offering higher quality.
As mentioned many times before, GeoGebra also has a very limited scope in its subjects. This will be most noticeable for technology teachers since the platform boasts its existence as a STEM tool.
Lastly, GeoGebra’s main focus is resources. However, it is lacking other teaching features that teachers may want or need for the classroom.
Alternatively, platforms like Zenva Schools can fill a lot of GeoGebra’s gaps. As Zenva Schools is a paid service, there is a huge focus on quality assurance – as most courses are made by industry experts and reviewed by teachers to map the courses to Australian and US curriculum standards.
In addition, Zenva Schools also does offer the extra features teachers may want. This includes classroom management tools to organize to students and courses, and analytics to spot where students are struggling with the course content.
Do You Need To Pay For GeoGebra?
Since GeoGebra is based on OER resources, the most standout aspect of the platform is its entirely free. This is in comparison even to other “free” platforms. While many similar platforms boast they’re free, at the heart their “optional” memberships offer the most value and are the most worthwhile aspect.
Not so on GeoGebra. When they mean free, they mean free – there isn’t even a real option for any form of membership. So for teachers on the strictest budgets, this is a good option.
However, as previously discussed, you also get what you pay for. If you’re looking for more quality control, sites like Zenva Schools (which charger per student per year) can offer a lot more.
There are most certainly some noteworthy features on GeoGebra, including their resource authoring tool and their completely free, no-strings-attached resources. There is no doubt it is a valuable platform for math and science teachers, especially those in vulnerable economic positions.
However, for technology, they are not necessarily the best STEM option. Zenva Schools, as one example, has much more to offer in terms of features in content while still being relatively affordable for teachers who can afford to spend a little bit of money. With mapping matched to US Common Core Math as well, they aren’t bad as a supplement to that area too.
Of course, the right platform depends on your needs – so you can keep GeoGebra in mind as an option.
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