Help With Math: Purveyors of MathXpert

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MathXpert: software to help you learn mathematics.

I'm a teacher. How can I use MathXpert at my school?

 MathXpert was designed to replace blackboards and homework, not teachers and books. Let's take a look at the possible uses of MathXpert in the light of that statement. Replacing blackboards: You will need a computer projector and screen. You can then demonstrate the correct solution of (symbolic) mathematical problems, and perhaps more importantly, you can project beautiful and accurate graphs, and change them instantly to show the effect of changing a parameter in the formula. There are some teachers who use MathXpert both ways in class, but there are also some who project only graphs for their students, preferring to use a blackboard or whiteboard for doing solutions by hand. Replacing homework: If your school has a computer lab, you can install MathXpert there and give your students access to the lab, either during school hours or afterwards, or both. With a few minutes of instruction, your students will be able to use MathXpert. Of course, you could just turn them loose in their with their regular homework assignment--that method worked in a controlled experiment in a calculus course in Estonia. All the students in the sections that had access to MathXpert earned at least a B in the course, while in the other sections, as is usual for that course, many students flunked. However, I don't recommend that method, or rather, I don't recommend using only that method. Instead, I recommend that you prepare structured lab exercises for your students. Give them instructions about what to graph, what parameters in the graph to change, and ask them what they observe, and how they explain it. Give them some symbolic problems to solve, and let MathXpert help them do it. You could ask them to print out their solutions, but you won't be able to grade those solutions in a traditional way, because they will all be correct! You can't take a mathematically incorrect step with MathXpert. MathXpert can't handle word problems directly, but it certainly can help solve word problems once the problem has been put into symbolic form. This opens up the chance for you to focus more on the part about understanding the context of the problem and translating the conditions of the problem into symbolic form. Once you've helped the students with that part, MathXpert can help them with the mechanics of completing the symbolic solution. Put a word problem at the end of your lab sheet for the day, and then go around the lab and help the students get it formulated correctly for input to MathXpert. Is this going to cost me a lot of extra work? It might cost you a little extra work to prepare those lab exercises, but once done, you can re-use them next year, and you should save a lot of time grading homework, since that chore will be a thing of the past. You can also use your favorite word processor to prepare a "homework file" containing problems for your students to solve with MathXpert. You can put that file on your lab's server and the students can open it. Then they don't have to type in the problems themselves. On the other hand, it's not that hard to type them in, so if you don't have time to prepare a problem file each week, you still can have your students use MathXpert. The payoff will be that all your students will succeed. MathXpert is your tool to ensure that no child left behind is more than a slogan in your class. It's also possible for teachers who so desire to prepare web pages that contain student exercises to be solved using MathXpert. This is, however, certainly not necessary for teachers who are not so inclined.