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Re: A new graphic user interface

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  • Subject: [mg111847] Re: A new graphic user interface
  • From: telefunkenvf14 <rgorka at>
  • Date: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 07:37:33 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <i3oh1n$pgr$> <i3tnug$s7t$> <i40enl$bmr$>

On Aug 12, 4:26 am, Helen Read <h... at> wrote:
> On 8/11/2010 4:45 AM, telefunkenvf14 wrote:
> > On Aug 9, 4:16 am, Murray Eisenberg<mur... at>  wrote:
> >> Comments interspersed below.
> >> On 8/8/2010 7:22 AM, telefunkenvf14 wrote:
> >>> One related example, which I believe emphasizes my point: When
> >>> students jump into using palettes they're able to create a pile of po=
> >>> rather quickly----a pile they cannot possibly debug due to the fact
> >>> they've never absorbed 'everything is an expression'. Clinging to the
> >>> pointy-clicky route also makes the documentation seem very foreign to
> >>> new users. I have nothing against using palettes, but things need to
> >>> be learned in proper order....
> >> I held that position, too. But Helen Read's reports in this group
> >> provide empirical evidence that this is an unfounded concern: with the
> >> Classroom Assistant palette, what begins as point-and-click soon morph=
> >> into just typing input, apparently without much or any intervention by
> >> the instructor to suggest this change.
> > Not convinced. I sense this observation is (in part) shaped by the
> > topic of the class.
> It absolutely depends on what you are teaching. In calculus, I start
> them off with the palettes, and let the students wean themselves from
> the palettes at their own pace. It happens naturally, because everyone
> eventually picks up the syntax as they go, and they all get sick of
> point-and-click.
> > If you're teaching a pure math class? Then sure,  I can see how
> > starting with palettes would do no serious harm---but it all depends
> > on the skill-set you want students achieve by the end of the semester,
> > and the types of applications you show/build in class. (Simple problem
> > solving
> Simple problem solving is a good place to start.
> > vs. building more complicated models and interfaces, grabbing
> > data from the net, automating emails or SMS messages, etc.)


1. Do you have any of your encryption notebooks/lessons on the web?

2. You may have already read this recent blog post ("Doing Spy Stuff
with Mathematica," by Jon McLoone); if not, you'll probably want to
take a look. Jon always seems to have fun posts. :)

3. Do you collect any data on your students at the start of the
semester? (Prior programming experience; interest in programming;
aversion to math, etc.?) What about you, Murry?


> When I teach our transition-to-higher-math course (which includes proof
> writing etc. in the context of some topics in discrete math), I have the
> students write Mathematica programs for things like encryption. They
> aren't using palettes for any of it, and the existence of the palettes
> is neither a hindrance nor a help -- we simply don't use them. I do
> find, though, that students who came from my calculus class into this
> course pick up the Mathematica faster than those who did little or no
> Mathematica in their calculus classes.
> --
> Helen Read
> University of Vermont

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