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Re: total newbie

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  • Subject: [mg111080] Re: total newbie
  • From: Helen Read <hpr at>
  • Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 02:11:39 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <i1u1u5$7ou$>
  • Reply-to: HPR <read at>

On 7/18/2010 1:03 AM, David Park wrote:
> It really would be nice if the public thought enough of Mathematica that
> young people were exposed to it early

Yes, but:

> and didn't have to learn the basics in
> the middle of some course dealing with substantial material.

In my experience, it really is not difficult for students to pick up 
Mathematica by using it in a university level calculus class. I spend a 
grand total of one class period during the first week getting them up 
and running, and after that we use Mathematica routinely, without making 
a fuss about it.

And now with the Classroom Assistant palette, the learning curve is very 
gentle. I don't have to say a word about syntax on Day 1. I just get the 
students started with Classroom Assistant, showing them where to find 
Define Function, Plot, Table, and a few other things, and let them go to 
it. They pick up Mathematica syntax _on their own_ over the next couple 
of weeks. After a while they are mostly typing things in themselves, and 
rarely use the Classroom Assistant. Every one of them is pretty good at 
it by the end of the semester.

Helen Read
University of Vermont

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