by Keith F. Taylor
On January 21, 2000, I was informed, by the Chair of the CMS EGC, that a grant of $5000 was made for my proposal to develop a web based course entitled Enrichment in Number Theory and Encryption. The proposal was for a three year development period and the project began on May 1, 2000. So this report comes before one quarter of the time period has passed.
I should note right away that I have applied to the EGC in this fall's competition for the second and third years of funding and I have submitted related applications to other organizations for major funding to support the development of a much larger enrichment curriculum using the EGC grant as a seed. To this point in time, about $4500 from the Endowment Fund grant and about $2000 from my Discretionary account have been spent to employ students to set up an architecture of web pages, enter content and write appropriate Java Applets. We have completed Lesson 1 (Divisibility and the Greatest Common Divisor) and have written a collection of applets that will be used in later lessons. The structure of the later lessons has been established (web pages and content outline) and the Christmas break will find me writing several additional lessons.
Lesson 1 has been tested with several young people from the target group and has received a generally positive response. However, they found the writing too formal and stuffy". I will be modifying the language to make it more appropriate for the 13-16 age range.
To view Lesson 1, go to http://math.usask.ca/encryption and to play with preliminary versions of some of the applets, go to http://math.usask.ca/encryption/applet.html
If I receive funding for the next two years of this project, I feel that a useful enrichment resource will be completed and it will serve as a sample of what could be accomplished on a much broader scale.
(Added to this report: The Endowment Grants Committee has awarded this project a further $5,000 of support in each of the next two years.)