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Re: More /.{I->-1} craziness

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  • Subject: [mg106635] Re: More /.{I->-1} craziness
  • From: Richard Fateman <fateman at>
  • Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 05:14:55 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <> <hhhmn8$o9t$> <hhpl28$9lf$> <hip8gf$t4d$> <8304354.1263643340634.JavaMail.root@n11> <hiuur1$919$> <hj130e$bcn$>

Do you have any evidence that, taken collectively, the students know 
more calculus? Can you show that they do better on the final exam than 
students who haven't used computer systems?

   Typically the calc teachers I've encountered want to know "what to
leave out to make room" for computer stuff.  I tell them to leave out
Logarithmic Derivatives.

Some students like computers because they are neat, and may be 
enthusiastic about this aspect of the course (though not all...).

Maybe it is unimportant that they learn calculus at all, and they should 
just learn about computers. This would be an important but divisive 
claim:  i.e. calculus is unimportant; we should require that students 
learn computer skills (Mathematica??) instead. Maybe David Park's point 
is really somewhere along that spectrum, and we should hold students who 
learn Mathematica to a lower standard regarding the traditional 

To be clear, I don't object to teaching students about computer algebra 
systems.  I do so when I get a chance (in computer science courses).
I just am unaware of evidence that it makes them better calculus 
students.  I don't doubt that a teacher using a computer to do graphics 
can enliven a calculus class. And even students doing graphics on their 
own (e.g. TI graphing?) can have fun. But can you show they learn more 
calculus if they have Mathematica at hand?


Helen Read wrote:

> My students come into university level Calculus I or II with no 
> Mathematica experience, and learn to use it in my calculus class while 
> learning calculus. ...

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