Re: if using Mathematica to solve an algebraic problem

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg109137] Re: if using Mathematica to solve an algebraic problem*From*: Richard Fateman <fateman at cs.berkeley.edu>*Date*: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 04:09:48 -0400 (EDT)

David Park wrote: > You didn't initially tell us that these students were never again going to > take any math or I suppose any technical subject that requires math. I don't know what percentage of students take calculus (in high school) as their last college-level math class, but I think it is substantial. If students in high school were taught "mathematica" (whatever that might mean to a high-school student), for many students it would be a skill that (a) they would probably not really acquire and (b) if they acquired it, would not use, unless perhaps they took a calculus-with-mathematica course, and then after that, most would not use calculus or mathematica. > So > what's the point of your posting? It's a waste of time. > My point is to air some skepticism about the perspective that "now that we have mathematica, everyone should learn it because then educational objectives X, Y, Z would be easily achieved.". Note that I am not objecting to the notion that some people (researchers?) would benefit by learning something about some computer algebra system or some programming language. > And for those are going to study mathematical topics in college it is a > reasonable suggestion that they learn Mathematica rather than calculus in > secondary school. It is something that could at least be discussed. > Sure. I'm discussing it. I can think of many things I'd prefer. And if there was a decision to teach computer programming, you would still have to defend a choice of Mathematica as a vehicle for that material.