A Comparison of Geometry Software for the Classroom

Author: David Hartmann | Last Update: 7/5/2011

I have created this page to share what I have learned about available geometry software for instructors and students.  I am excluding 3D, tutorial, and game-like software.  I need to offer two disclaimers. First, one of the products I describe, Tabula, is a product that I created and sell.  Second, while I have used all these programs listed, I must resort to the experience of others for some details.  I document these references.

Other Lists

There are other lists out there but they generally contain too much that is obsolete and too much that is not relevant to middle and high school classrooms.

         Wikipedia's List of Interactive Geometry Software - A long listing and comparison of "computer programs which allow one to create and then manipulate geometric constructions."  Some of these are obscure or obsolete.

         Florida State University's Mathematics Virtual Library - A vast list of math software, the bulk of which is for upper level high school courses and college courses.

         The Math Forum @ Drexel's Internet Mathematics Library - The geometry category of this library is large and includes many types of resources including software.  Many broken links and obsolete resources.

The List

Name

Organization

License in $

Type

Description

Recommendation

Technology

Geometer's Sketchpad

Key Curriculum Press

Teachers - 69.95, Students - 29.95,

1 year - 9.95

DGE*

Sketchpad has a long history in the U.S. which has resulted in a large support network of trainers, publications, research, and examples. Sketchpad is also probably the most refined DGE program particularly in labeling, compliance with convention, and formatting (Steketee 2010). Other conveniences include a marker that can reduce some free-hand marks to computer drawn marks, and text that can be linked to figures.

For those who are willing to pay, want a tried-and-true general purpose DGE program, or would like to tap into the large support network.

Java

GeoGebra

GeoGebra team directed by Markus Hohenwarter

Free

DGE

GeoGebra has a large, international, and growing following.† Benefiting from a community of volunteer contributors, it probably has the largest set of tools and may be the most powerful of DGE programs (GeoGebra Forum 2011).† Though, as often happens with open source projects, there are occasional quirks and inconsistencies.† Animations may require scripting and creating formatted text may require learning LaTeX (Wysocki 2008).

For those want a free program or many high end options.

Java

Cabri II Plus

Cabrilog

Full - 125.00, 1 year - 29.90

DGE

Cabri has a long history, like Sketchpad, but primarily in Europe. A free companion product allows Cabri to exchange files with TI-83 and TI-84 calculators. Conveniences include menu customization.

For those who wish to benefit from the support network in Europe.

Java

Live Geometry

Kirill Osenkov

Free

DGE

Live Geometry is perhaps most useful to programmers who would like to adapt the extensible open source code to a particular need.

For those who wish to program your own features.

Silverlight

Cinderella

Ulrich Kortenkamp

Basic version - free, Pro version - 69

DGE, Physics Simulation

While Cinderella can certainly be used at the secondary level, its non-euclidean options, physics simulation capabilities, and unique approach to dealing with special cases are best appreciated at higher levels.

For those who have specific needs for the unique features offered.

Java

Tabula

Numeracy Works (David Hartmann)

19.95

DGE, Hands-on Simulation

Tabula has basic DGE capability but adds features to simulate the hands-on manipulation of real shapes.† This includes a folding tool, a knife, a tape dispenser, and simulated working instruments (ruler, protractor, and compass).  Conveniences include marks that transform with associated figures and snapping that can form dynamic relationships.

For those who value hands-on learning or find that DGE alone does not meet the needs of students.

Silverlight

 



Steketee, Scott (2010) Comparison of Sketchpad and GeoGebra retrieved from http://www.keypress.com/documents/GSP5/Detailed_Comparison_of_Sketchpad_and_GeoGebra.pdf

GeoGebra Forum (2011) Geometer Sketchpad and GeoGebra retrieved from  http://www.geogebra.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=19981&start=15

Wysocki, Jim (2008) Geometerís Sketchpad vs. GeoGebra retrieved from http://jimmy13.wordpress.com/2008/09/07/geometers-sketchpad-vs-geogebra/