**AOLA
Framework for eLearning in Mathematics Education**

**Introduction**

The
discussion of technology roles in mathematics and mathematics
education (MME) is ongoing. No doubt that the benefits are
welcoming, with some seeing more of what technology can
do and should do. In here, we believe that technology
can and will enhance the learning process and the environment,
especially at current time mathematics is not native to
the Web yet. How this e-learning environment should be leveraged
in both traditional and 'new' teaching practices, and how
the augmented learning process with characteristics such
as timeliness and availability would affect instruction
design remain to be seen. Nonetheless, it is time
to act. We propose an e-Learning framework based on the
simple idea of **AOLA**, that is, **Author-Once-Learn-Anywhere**.
The AOLA framework offers a platform for teachers, learners
and technology to co-exist in one environment, facilitating
any-to-any (any2any) interaction that is crucial to the
learning process. Note that the interaction is not limited
to teachers-to-learners, but also, for example, learners-to-technology
and vice versa. In 2007, the development
of the language of AOLA - activityML begins.

This
website serves as the always-on dissemination channel for
the development of this AOLA framework and its related technology.
There are two tracks - one is the ePlatform,
and the other is AOLA-related technology. The discussion
of former can be found in this website also. We will
concentrate on the latter here.

**Background**

In
the 2nd ATCM (1997),
one
of the plenary speeches [Leong
1997] suggested that Internet technology was getting
ready for mathematics on the Web as evident by the development
of MathML
and OpenMath
[11]. The image format GIF provides one channel for mathematics
symbols to be viewed, though not represented as native symbols,
on the Web. At that time, as the Web entered into the Interactive
Web Era [Chu,
S., et. al., 2004], the challenges facing mathematics
contents on the web were representations (basic and ad hoc)
and presentations (e.g., expressions not as raster images).
In the 3rd ATCM, Leong [9] provided his prediction
of CAS (Computer Algebra System) for 2008. Two of the key
points stated revolved around the dynamicity of mathematics
contents (the need for ‘live math objects’),
and the authoring of mathematics contents less the knowledge
of some CAS language (the language should be hidden from
the users - not to becoming another hurdle). At that time,
the CAS engines, or compute engines in general, were not
perceived as 'services' available on the Web but as an integral
part of CAS. In the 4th ATCM, Lee (1999)
strongly suggested
the convergence of computers and graphic calculators will
take pace. The performance limitation of handheld calculators
will no longer be an issue as hardware technology can transform
graphic calculator capability to parlay that of a computer
with minimum disruption to learned processes, or a handheld
computer of size comparable to that of the graphic calculator
with connectivity to networks.

When
you are reading this, ATCM 2005, the tenth conference, has
begun, and also a technology landscape begins to take shape.
Internet technology, inclusive of Web technology, also has
evolved since 1997. MathML 2.0 was released in 2001. Plug-ins
(e.g., MathPlayer)
or built-in capability (Amaya)
enables standard web browsers to view mathematics expressions
represented in MathML. Mathematics editors (e.g., MathCast)
now can export MathML to be included in lessons, deployable
as web pages. CAS’s are powerful, e.g., geometry objects
can be manipulated in 2D and even 3D space, facilitated
by faster and cheaper hardware. No doubt, mathematics objects
are ‘alive’ within specific software environments.

Conferences
of similar nature as ATCM have tracks that deal with ‘live
mathematics.’ One of the themes at ICTMT7
(The 7th International Conference on Technology in Mathematics
Teaching) was ‘designing and using dynamic mathematics
environments.’ There is also the International Conference
on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics (ICTCM)
where technology use is discussed. This topic has also been
discussed in various publications [1][2][3][4]. In the 10th
ATCM (here in Korea this December 2005), one of the
plenary speeches will be discussing recent development on
how mathematics can be ‘input’ – one of
the major hurdles in authoring mathematics contents for
the Web. No doubt it is a challenge to adopt technology
in mathematics education. Nonetheless, unmistakably, these
and other developments, studies and meetings are unrelenting
efforts towards one common goal – enabling technology
for learning and teaching mathematics.