Roschelle, J., Hand, V., & DiGiano, C. (2001). Towards a coherent on-line collection of tools for math learning. Journal of Online Mathematics and its Applications, 1 (2). Available at http://www.maa.org/publications/periodicals/loci/joma/towards-a-coherent-on-line-collection-of-tools-collections-of-tools
In any academic discipline, one important role of journals is to ensure that knowledge is published in a form that others can use and build upon. A journal of interactive mathematical tools should also fulfill this role, adjusted to the reality that the field is now using and building upon tools and not just ideas. Where software is concerned, “using and building” thus translates into issues of reuse and interoperability. As mathematics education does not have a long editorial tradition of examining software contributions for reuse and interoperability, we will use our column to begin exploring and articulating what these ideas mean for the audience of JOMA authors and readers. In this introductory column, we think especially about the “readers” — what do mathematics teachers and instructors want from a collection of mathlets? First we consider the general question of what makes for a successful collection of digital resources. Then, we present five lines of triangulating data that help us understand what middle school math teachers want. (We explain later why our focus is on middle school rather than college.) Finally, we discuss the results and implications for the future contributions JOMA authors might make.