Founders Parade

Markus Hohenwarter, GeoGebra Founder and Managing Director

markus Founder and Managing Director of GeoGebra Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria This is what Markus says about GeoGebra: [youtube][/youtube]   Award winning Geogebra (GG) is a free (not for commercial use) and open-source dynamic multi-platform software used for STEM learning and teaching for all levels of math and science education. GG provides interactive geometry, algebra, statistics, and calculus opportunities that come with thousands of free materials. GG provides authoring tool to create interactive learning materials and comes as a widget in Wiki spaces classroom to make learning social, fun and easy contributing to “critical mass of learning power”.   Markus has an interesting background that contributed greatly to  GeoGebra being what it is today. Please view his extensive CV here. He is professor at Linz University who holds Master degrees in Applied Computer Science and Math Education as well as a Ph.D in Math Education along with high school teaching qualifications in Computer Science. These experiences together in education, math, and programming along were a solid foundation that equipped this entrepreneur for starting and executing a project of this scope. He was able to recognize and address an obvious need among math learners. The project was started while Markus was at the University of Salzburg, and then continued at Florida Atlantic University, Florida State University and University of Linz.   However, the project of this scope wouldn’t be possible without a fruitful Kickstarter campaign for IPad and Android (see here) , additional grants and the help of people from all over the world who were working and continue to develop GG’s open-source code and translators who made the product available in many languages. What makes this project unique is that is a product of global collaboration and cooperation, and quite creative in its essence. We can see that 21st century learning skills are well integrated within the project itself (visit GeoGebra’s blogs, community, and OERs to attest to this) which enabled the venture to flourish. Markus was and is a visionary that started something of value for all and by all. Cumulative human capital is its greatest resource. He laid the foundations for a huge GG global community that continues to grow. The International GG Institute (IGI) has more than 140 global user groups across universities and non-profit organization.  This is a place where teachers, students, software developers, and researchers come together to better GG. The local user groups support students and teachers in their region by sharing materials via GeoGebraTube, organize workshops, and work on GG. These IHI provide certifications as well.   Also GeoGebra continues to be fresh and grow with the pace of technology. Therefore, today we could see that GeoGebra can be used on an Ipad, an Android, and a Windows Store app with many new features. GG Team is compromised of experts in the world of academia/research, software development, and operations and finance, advisors, community support, translator, etc. All team members have extensive cumulative experience and credentials in their respective fields. Please view the list. For example, the research director, Lavitza Zolta from Cambridge University, extensively contributed in publishing peer-reviewed research on GeoGebra in Math education and professional development of math teachers.   Personal Reflections I find this project rather inspiring given that my academic background is in Applied Mathematics (a few years of Computer Science too) and Math Education. I am a math teacher who strongly believes in “automatization” of math in the classroom if we are to foster 21st century skills and engage learners in a meaningful way where math comes to life. What I’ve learned from Markus, is that I could harness all the skills I have so far to better the field I work in. I see that the world of academia could be fertile grounds for projects/visions of this scope and I particularly like open-to-all-rather-inclusive-project both on the user and production end. The vision needs to be clear and farsighted. The initial idea could be rather “simple” that addresses an obvious need/problem backed by research, but over time it can grow. This can be accomplished through continual effort and dedication by “experts” in various fields through all the stages in the development and with a joint venture in mind. However, I recognize that for a venture to become a joint one, one needs not just a great idea but a great model in place. For people to contribute, they must feel that they are contributing to something great. I also appreciate that Markus recognized that the greatest capital for any venture is the human capital! I also like the open concept of this venture because it allowed the fire to spread on globally and relatively quickly. But for the fire to spread, one needs a balanced combination of real “gems/stones” (great ideas, platform) and oxygen (favourable environment).  Just writing this prompted me to think of one specific need I’ve noticed over time among my math learners that could be addressed in a meaningful way. It is a start! .


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