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Re: if using Mathematica to solve an algebraic problem

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg108990] Re: if using Mathematica to solve an algebraic problem
  • From: Richard Fateman <fateman at cs.berkeley.edu>
  • Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2010 03:33:08 -0400 (EDT)

David Park wrote:
> Well, if the students are truly incapable of thinking it hardly seems fair
> to take their money, or to fool the public by credentialing them.
We do it all the time!  Or would you rather have ineducable people out 
roaming the streets?  Oh,
I think we do have that...  Or maybe we make them CEOs of banks and 
such. Or elected officials.

>  If you
> want to teach broader based thinking skills you need more mentoring,
> projects, essay questions and fewer "grind out the answers" type tests. But
> then that would be much more expensive to provide, wouldn't it?
>   
It is unclear that we know how to do it, regardless of the cost. There 
are a very few books on solving problems,
for example.

> But this is a Mathematica news group so the real question is: what role, if
> any, can Mathematica play in education?
yes, that is a good question.
>  It seems obvious that Mathematica
> should be useful in education -
or something like Mathematica.   At least to readers of this newsgroup.  
For people who are learning
to read, Mathematica is not so useful.
>  but the obvious isn't always true or easy. I
> consider it as an ongoing problem to be solved. Mathematica is something of
> an amorphous object depending on how we adapt it. It isn't fair to just
> treat it as a fixed thing that doesn't work. There are a lot of educators
> out there who are trying to adapt Mathematica to educational uses and some
> are doing very impressive things.
so far as I know, not impressive in a measurable way.  (e.g. students 
using Mathematica learning more calculus)
>  It would be nice to hear more from them
> about their successes and frustrations, and how they are using it and what
> techniques they use.
>   
sure.



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