Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Checking Work Instantaneously with FastFig

Thank you to superstar math teacher Mark Rogers for speaking about how FastFig helps his students learn first derivatives! Mark teaches secondary mathematics at Meridian School in Round Rock, TX. Check out some of his other videos here!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Positioning FastFig Globally

Here at FastFig we think it’s essential to keep up with the everchanging world of edtech and reassess our value within the complex global system. We are doing our best to keep up with edtech news and align our product with the needs of math educators around the world.

In order to do that,  we are taking a step back and analyzing the relevance of FastFig in a global context. We’re asking: if the meaning of education varies so vastly throughout the world, is it possible to build a universally viable edtech tool?

Let’s forget about computers, ipads, and smartphones, and go back to educational technology in the stone ages. The most simple stone tools responded to basic human necessities.

Need to eat? Learn to hunt: stone axe, bone harpoons, wooden spears, etc.

Need to carry objects?  plant woven baskets, and clay pots came along
Need to record information? Carving tools are created

The basic idea that learning tools respond to needs is unchanging.

Fast forward to 2014. Within the sphere of education it seems that human needs are changing with incredible speed. When we focus on needs in math education (like we tend to do at FastFig) these needs get even more complex. In some countries, access to graphing calculators is a top priority. In other places, a pencil and paper  is considered the most necessary tool for learning math. Here’s our assessment of universal needs within math education:

-People need to understand math using numbers and symbols
-People need to communicate math using a computer

We continue to work on sharing FastFig globally because it bridges these two universal needs. We’re currently working with students in 120+ countries and continue to expand our reach.

Read more about our global initiatives in our recent press release here.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What We're up to Lately..

Summer is in full swing and here at FastFig we are staying true to our name and movin’ on forward… fast! Here’s a little peek into what we’re working on...

Building our Staff: Welcome to our two new interns Sharon and Evan! Sharon, our Communications and Growth intern is working to amp up both our online and offline presence in the edtech community. Evan, our development intern is coding up a storm, working on everything from mobile device optimization to future products!

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FigPad, coming soon: Get ready, get set, FigPad is almost here! Our dev team has been working hard to release FigPad. ‘scratch paper’ for online math and engineering exams. So what’s the big deal? Currently in the online math testing industry there is no efficient way to capture math students’ thought processes.  Many students are asked to literally rip up their scratch paper in front of a webcam to assure that there are no stray copies of a test. FigPad creates a new level of security for math testing. Student work is captured, saved, and locked/hidden for later review. 

Connecting with Teachers: This summer we are talking to educators to learn more about how FastFig is used, and how it can be used more effectively.  Have you used FastFig? Let us know how you think it’s best used in the classroom. 

and as always, follow us on Twitter @fastfig - we love connecting to the edtech community via Twitter!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Power of Learning Tools for Girls in STEM

July 3rd marks the start of the International Math Olympiad. As math fanatics around the world amp up for the so-called World Cup of Mathematics, a looming concern exists: Less than 10 percent of IMO participants are female.  How can we bridge the gender gap in STEM fields?

For the past several years, this concern has surfaced over and over again in international dialogue regarding education, international development, and women’s rights. While it has become obvious that employment in STEM fields is essential for global economic development, girls and women are increasingly underrepresented. In a US study on women in STEM, researchers found that in the past 29 years the percentage of young women earning computer science degrees has dropped from 37% to 18%. This is a small but telling anecdote of the issue.

Edudemic, a maven in online edtech know-how puts it well: “how do we get more girls interested in STEM subjects and get them feeling confident that they can rock out in awesome, fun, high-paying, important and interesting careers that are still largely dominated by men?” Innovative leaders around the world are tackling this issue from many angles. Many organizations aim to create female focused events and competitions. For example, on June 23, 2014 Chelsea Clinton hosted From STEM to Success, an event focused on encouraging girls to enter STEM fields. Others promote solutions like STEM mentorships and STEM camps. Here at FastFig, we are passionate about embracing STEM learning tools!

In the spirit of inspiring learning tools, here are 4 tools that are rocking the STEM game for girls:

1. Roominate:  “Buildable Dollhouses for Girls” What a genius rethinking of dollhouses!

2. Engineer Girl  an easy way for girls to connect directly to professionals in STEM fields

3. Sci Girls social network for girls with STEM interests

4. Design Squad a lively series of STEM games and how-tos

In the coming months our team at FastFig plans to continue our efforts to promote and encourage girls in STEM! Ideas? Let us know: info@fastfig.com

Follow us on Twitter for updates on these efforts!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fresh FastFig for the New Year

Today we're very excited to release a brand new version of FastFig with some great new features for you to enjoy.
  1. A Fresh New Interface — You'll immediately notice FastFig looks completely different. We listened to your feedback and switched the notebook interface to a traditional file tree system.  Don't worry, all of your documents are still there, they are now in a folder under the name of the notebook.  Plus, making new documents and adding folders has never been easier.
  2. Photo Editing — We integrated the  Aviary  photo editor into FastFig so that you can edit pictures right in FastFig.  You can add effects, create borders, crop, resize, rotate, adjust brightness and contrast and much, much more!
  3. Videos — We heard from many of your that videos would be a great addition to a FastFig document and we agree!  By clicking the video button in the toolbar, you can add YouTube, Vimeo, and TeacherTube videos! You can use this for lesson videos, instructional videos or just plain fun videos.
  4. Greek Letters — We added a full set of greek letters to the keyboard, just click the Σ button in the upper left of the keyboard header or swipe all the way to the right on mobile.   Pro-tip:  You can type the names of greek letters into an equation and they will automatically convert to their symbol.  If you capitalize the first letter it will be uppercase, if you don't it will be lower case. i.e. "Delta" becomes Δ and "delta" becomes δ.
  5. FastFig Web Embedding — You can now easily embed FastFig document in your own website, blog or anything that supports HTML embeds.  All you have to do is hit the share button in the top right of the toolbar and click "Embed" and copy and paste the HTML code into your webpage or blogging software.
Thanks so much to all of our users for providing the feedback that made this possible!

Take a look:  FastFig.com