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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.
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