Re: What is Mathmatica

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg3210] Re: [mg3193] What is Mathmatica*From*: Richard Mercer <richard at seuss.math.wright.edu>*Date*: Sat, 17 Feb 1996 14:16:55 -0500*Sender*: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

> Although I have a general idea what mathematica is I > still wonder: if I used the program to learn calculus > would I have learned the subject just as well as if I > learned it the old fashion way? > > Thnaks > > Tom Mathematica itself will not teach you Calculus. If you use a traditional Calculus textbook and use Mathematica to avoid doing homework problems by hand, you will have chosen the worst of both approaches. If you use quality Calculus materials designed for use with Mathematica, perhaps in conjunction with a "reform" textbook, you will learn Calculus in a *different* way that is not strictly comparable to the "old-fashioned" way. There are trade-offs; some things you will learn less well, and others you will learn better. But using Mathematica-based materials is very likely to be a better way, because it will use a balanced approach, including graphical and numerical approaches to the material, whereas a traditional approach concentrates very heavily on the algebraic approach. You will probably do fewer problems but better problems, in particular fewer "rote" problems and more problems requiring actual thought and planning. The same can generally be said for any "reform" approach to Calculus, regardless of the technology used. Richard Mercer ==== [MESSAGE SEPARATOR] ====