Introduction | Appetizer | Examples | Documentation | Applications | Work plan | E-mail

Introduction

**Descartes** is the name of a
highly configurable applet designed to present educational
interactions involving numbers, functions and graphs. *Descartes*
may be used by authors of educational Web pages to enrich their
materials with a great variety of interactive mathematical
models. This Web is dedicated to the presentation of the applet *Descartes*,
its documentation and some applications.

Using **Descartes** a teacher may
create interactive Web pages on several areas of mathematics. For
example, this graph of a parabola is made with the *applet*
**Descartes**.

The reader can modify the values of the
parameter p (clicking the control arrows for p or actually writing in
the text box and clicking *intro*) and see how the graph
changes in response to these modifications. Each time that the
parameter p changes, the graph is updated. This way the user
can check that the large values of p correspond to a more
open parabola and the small values of p give rise to a more
closed parabola. This first example is a typical application of
the* applet* **Descartes**: a graph appears
whose mathematical definition depends on a parameter and on
changing the parameter, the graph is updated.

The *applet*** Descartes**
allows practical viewing of all the *graphs* of *functions
of one variable* and of *equations in two variables*
which appear in secondary education. However**
Descartes** is not only useful for viewing graphs, but it
also helps to understand the relationships between the equations,
their graphs and the various elements of which they are
composed. The examples and the applications which are
presented in this document illustrate the great variety of
possible uses of **Descartes**.

**Descartes** is a work tool for
math teachers who wish to create interactive lessons in the
format of web pages, already for being put on an internet server
or on a computer disk. The intention of the pages which form this
document is to offer a *guide *to the teachers for
learning how to use **Descartes** as a work tool and
a complete *technical documentation* of this *nippe*.

The word **nippe** is formed from
the initials of "**n**úcleo **i**nteractivo
**p**ara **p**rogramas **e**ducativos"
(interactive core for educatonal programmes). To know other
nippes and the general ideas which give rise to this concept, it
is suggested that the reader should consult the Proyecto
Prometeo. For **Descartes**
to be a nippe means that it is a piece of software which allows
the creation of a wide variety of interactive educational
programmes on Web pages. Every application of Descartes is
obtained by means of a particular *configuration*.

Technically speaking, the *nippes* are *applets*
written in the **Java** language. An applet is
a program which can be included on Web pages. Thus **Descartes**
is an applet and thatīs why itīs various applications may be
included in Web pages. However,** Descartes**
is not just any applet, it is a *configurable*
applet. Each configuration of Descartes gives rise to a
different interactive program.

To create a configuration of Descartes it is
necessary to know its **fourteen** tools (LANGUAGE, COLORS, SPACE, PARAMETERS, VARIABLES, FUNCTIONS, CONTROLS, EQUATIONS, POINTS, SEGMENTS, CURVES, ARCS, TEXTS and BUTTONS) and to
learn how to configurate them. These tools are configurated
by means of a simple language which is explained in detail in the
documentation included in this document. However, it is not
essential to study all this document to create applications with
Descartes. The language for configurating the tools is very
simple and can be learnt by looking at the configurations in the
examples. Whatīs more, for creating an application, it is
recommended that you start with an application which bears a
certain resemblance to that which you wish to create, and modify
it bit by bit until you achieve the desired result.
For this reason, before the examples and the technical
documentation, it is suggested to the reader to study the
page named appetizer, in which it is explained how to modify a configuration
to create another.

Contents of the document.

The main objective of this document is to teach
the reader how to create applications with **Descartes**.
These applications will be educational programmes in which graphs
will appear and the pupil-user will be able to modify certain *parameters*,
move some *controls* and see the effect that these
modifications and movements have on the graphs.

To achieve this objective the document has been organized in five parts.

The **first** is this **introduction**.

The **second part** is called appetizer and is a page which explains how to create **Descartes**
applications from other applications.

The **third part** offers some
simple examples which illustrate what can be done with **Descartes**.
It is not claimed that these examples are educational
applications on their own, for that they would have to be
surrounded by explanations for the pupils and be organized in
accordance with some study plan. The object of these
examples is solely to illustrate, by means of very simple
examples, the way to configurate the various Descartes tools and
to show some of their possibilities.

The **fourth part** is the
technical documentation of nippe Descartes. In this part, it is explained how
to configurate each one of the fourteen tools: LANGUAGE, COLORS, SPACE, PARAMETERS, VARIABLES, FUNCTIONS, CONTROLS, EQUATIONS, POINTS, SEGMENTS, CURVES, ARCS, TEXTS and BUTTONS.

Finally the **fifth part**
consists of some applications which can be useful as examples of educational Web
pages in which the most is made of the nippe **Descartes**.

Introduction Appetizer Examples Documentation Applications Work plan

Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte. Aņo 2000 | ||