Paul Abbott, a faculty member in the School of Physics at the University of Western Australia, wants to teach his students a tool that they can use to tackle real-world problems—not only in his physics and mathematics courses, but throughout their studies and into their professional careers.
Mathematica provides Abbott and his students an immersing and engaging environment to investigate problems—from calculating and visualizing results to documenting and presenting findings. Abbott uses Mathematica to build all of his course materials, including lecture slide shows, student assignments and exams. His students use Mathematica to visualize surfaces, explore concepts using interactive examples, hypothesize results and check their work. According to Abbott, "What I love is watching the 'Aha' moment, the moment when they say, 'Oh, I get that concept.' And they get more concepts with the assistance of Mathematica. It gives them confidence. They go 'Wow, I can do this,' and that's the most exciting thing about teaching."
Abbott says Mathematica's free-form linguistic input and rich Documentation Center make it easy for educators and students to get started with Mathematica and quickly move from basic computations and visualizations to exploring real-world problems and research.