Phantom mathematicians in the library

One of the cool things Pam Saunders introduced to the library when she assumed the Head of Library position this year was the interactive whiteboard. I don’t mean an actual Interactive Whiteboard but a large whiteboard which, as students enter the library, they often catch a glimpse of and are drawn to interact with.

The whiteboard is:

1. A large blank canvas for many things – surveys (about quintessential things like chocolate), quizzes, word of the day, and things like that;

2. A space for students to respond to abovementioned quintessential things.

So Whiteboard + Quintessential Things + Passing Students = Interaction.

Just this week we attached a mathematical challenge relating to circles arcs and sectors from Khan Academy on said Interactive Whiteboard. Not heard of Khan Academy? You must have a look. Although the problem we posted is not the one you will see when you follow the link because they change.


And without being seen by any of us, a phantom student wrote down his answer.

Can anyone tell me if this is the correct answer? If I could find the problem on Wolfram Alpha then I would have not only the answer but also the process leading to the answer. That’s good learning. And you also get a scratchpad to play and work things out by scribbling and drawing and moving things around


as well as hints, a place to check your answer,


and a very helpful video which explains things clearly even to non-maths people like me.

Khan Academy is great for self directed but supported learning, and not just for maths.


I wish our Interactive Whiteboard was actually interactive so that we could select problems and include all the tinkering gadgets the Wolfram Alpha website has.

But then again, we could just use a whiteboard marker and let the students do some collaborative problem solving.

Khan Academy also caters for a senior secondary and tertiary levels of Maths. Take your pick here.


2 thoughts on “Phantom mathematicians in the library

  1. Pingback: Phantom mathematicians in the library | What do...

  2. Pingback: Phantom mathematicians in the library | What is...

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