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Re: total newbie

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg111080] Re: total newbie
  • From: Helen Read <hpr at together.net>
  • Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 02:11:39 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <i1u1u5$7ou$1@smc.vnet.net>
  • Reply-to: HPR <read at math.uvm.edu>

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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