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Project Jatse - An open source set of tools for teaching, learning and playing with algebra.

Posted by turbogeek on March 6, 2005 at 9:05 PM PST

Project Jatse, owned by Eric Brown-Munoz is an open source (Lesser General Public License) set of tools for teaching, learning and playing with algebra. The goal is to provide a broad range of symbolic algebra functionality that is missing in the open source community.

This project is targeted at the mathematics used in high school, although these classes can be extended to cover either more or less advanced math. The project is currently in its initial release on and the working applet can be found here:

Jatse is a new project within the Global Education and Learning Community (GELC). It has swiftly made progress and has graduated from the GELC's incubator to the Tool For Teaching section of the community. To kick off the graduation of this project, I asked Eric Brown-Munoz for some info about himself and Jatse:

Tell us about yourself

I am currently working for The Concord Consortium to develop applets that support an innovative algebra curriculum. This involves building mathematical models with several views to give students insights into the underlying mathematics.

The grant I am working under is coming to an end. I would love to hear from anyone who is looking for an experienced educational programmer. Previously, I worked in many aspects of the software industry-- starting with phone support and moving through quality assurance and tools development. I also spent three years teaching high school science.

What school are you associated with?

I hold a B.S. degree in Physics from the University of Massachusetts.

Why did you start this project and what is it about?

Educational software needs good symbolic math tools. Most software uses numeric algorithms even though students do math symbolically in the classroom.

I started working in this direction in my current job, but I want to go much further than the grant I am working under needs.

What is the status and further plans for this project?

There is a pretty good Expression tree that can represent and evaluate arbitrary algebraic expressions. This is the heart of this project. I wrote a prototype GUI. This is based on one approach to teaching algebra which focusses on expressions as objects. There are also two packages, polynomial and render, that are the foundations for features I am working on for the futures. These are in progress.

All of this Code is currently available in CVS.

I plan to create three products...

- A library of useful classes based around the Expression Tree.

- A set of applications to meet educational needs.

- Resource materials to make these useful to students and teachers.

What kind of help are you looking for?

I am very interested in finding developers who would like to collaborate on this type of software. I would love to form a team to make software that is useful and cool.

Specific needs are:

- Good programmers with a strong interest in algebra education.

- People with user interface design skills.

- Someone with parser experience.

- People with educational design experience.

Where are you located?

Cambridge, Massachusetts.