How will free-form input change education?

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How will free-form input change education?

Postby Kathy_Bautista » Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:25 pm

One of my colleagues, Kelvin Mischo, recently visited the national AMATYC conference in Boston, and spent a lot of time discussing free-form input. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this new feature, it essentially lets you compute as you think, by typing commands in plain English, without any knowledge of Mathematica syntax. It really allows you to leverage Mathematica's power and breadth of computation in a very intuitive way.

In his blog post, Kelvin wrote...
It seems that most community college educators know how powerful and useful Mathematica can be to support lectures or individual student projects. But this year, more than anything else, we talked about how Mathematica 8’s new free-form input will reduce or eliminate a teacher’s preparation time and will help students who are new users access Mathematica’s powerful functionality immediately.

I think the implementation of free-form linguistic input in Mathematica 8 represents a huge shift in education because it not only lets both faculty and students get started with Mathematica immediately, but it also helps students to better focus on the concepts they’re learning wthout getting bogged down in the syntax (or keystrokes...for those who are still using calculators).

So what do you think? What effect will free-form input have on your classroom, and education in general?

Katherine Bautista
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