Karishma

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13 years, 34 days

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I’m very pleased to announce that the Maple Calculator app now offers step-by-step solutions. Maple Calculator is a free mobile app that makes it easy to enter, solve, and visualize mathematical problems from algebra, precalculus, calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations, right on your phone.  Solution steps have been, by far, the most requested feature from Maple Calculator users, so we are pretty excited about being able to offer this functionality to our customers. With steps, students can use the app not just to check if their own work is correct, but to find the source of the problem if they made a mistake.  They can also use the steps to learn how to approach problems they are unfamiliar with.

Steps are available in Maple Calculator for a wide variety of problems, including solving equations and systems of equations, finding limits, derivatives, and integrals, and performing matrix operations such as finding inverses and eigenvalues.

(*Spoiler alert* You may also want to keep a look-out for more step-by-step solution abilities in the next Maple release.)

If you are unfamiliar with the Maple Calculator app, you can find more information and app store links on the Maple Calculator product page.  One feature in particular to note for Maple and Maple Learn users is that you can use the app to take a picture of your math and load those math expressions into Maple or Maple Learn.  It makes for a fast, accurate method for entering large expressions, so even if you aren’t interested in doing math on your phone, you still might find the app useful.

Maple Learn is out of beta! I am pleased to announce that Maple Learn, our new online environment for teaching and learning math and solving math problems, is out of beta and is now an officially released product. Over 5000 teachers and students used Maple Learn during its public beta period, which was very helpful. Thank you to everyone who took the time to try it out and provide feedback.

We are very excited about Maple Learn, and what it can mean for math education. Educators told us that, while Maple is a great tool for doing, teaching, and learning all sorts of math, some of their students found its very power and breadth overwhelming, especially in the early years of their studies. As a result, we created Maple Learn to be a version of Maple that is specifically focused on the needs of educators and students who are teaching and learning math in high school, two year and community college, and the first two years of university.  

I talked a bit about what this means in a previous post, but probably the best way to get an overview of what this means is to watch our new two minute video:  Introducing Maple Learn.

 

 

Visit Maple Learn for more information and to try it out for yourself.  A basic Maple Learn account is free, and always will be.   If you are an instructor, please note that you may be eligible for a free Maple Learn Premium account. You can apply from the web site. 

There’s lots more we want to do with Maple Learn in the future, of course. Even though the beta period is over, please feel free to continue sending us your feedback and suggestions. We’ve love to hear from you!

A few weeks ago a television station in Toronto asked me if I’d share some tips on how parents could help their kids stay engaged with remote learning. My initial reaction was to run for the hills – appearing on live TV is not my cup of tea. However my colleagues persuaded me to accept. You can see a clip of that segment here - I’ve included it in this post because otherwise someone on the marketing team would have ;-)

My tips are based on a wide variety of experiences. My role at Maplesoft requires me to speak with educators at all levels, and remote learning has been a hot topic of conversation lately, as you can imagine. As well, in my past life (i.e. life before kids) I was a high school math tutor, and now as a parent I’m in the thick of it helping my son navigate Kindergarten remotely.

So here are my 5 tips on how parents of elementary and high-school aged children can help their kids stay engaged with remote learning. If you have other tips, including suggestions for university students, feel free to leave them in the comments sections. And if these tips help you, please let me know. It will have made the stress of my appearance on TV worthwhile!

 

Tip 1: Look for the positives

These are unprecedented times for kids, parents and teachers. Over the course of the last 6-7 months, learning as we’ve grown to know it has changed radically. And while the change has been incredibility difficult for everyone, it’s helpful to look for the positives that remote learning can bring to our children:

  • Remote learning can help some kids focus on their work by minimizing the social pressures or distractions they may face at school.
  • Older kids are appreciating the flexibility that remote learning can offer with respect to when and how they complete their work.  
  • Younger kids are loving the experience of learning in the presence of mom and dad. My 4 year old thinks it’s awesome that I now know all the lyrics to the songs that he learns in school.
  • As many remote learning classrooms include students from across the school board, this can provide kids with the opportunity to connect with their peers from different socio-economic backgrounds living across the city.

 

Tip 2: Don’t shy away from your kid’s teacher

While some kids are thriving learning from home, we know that others are struggling.

If your high school student is struggling at school, do whatever it takes to convince them to connect with their teacher. If your child is younger, make the connection yourself.

In my role, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many teachers, and rest assured, many of them would welcome this engagement.  They want our kids to succeed, but without the face-to-face classroom interaction it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for them to rely on visual cues to see how your child is doing and if they are struggling with a concept.

So I encourage you to reach out to your kid’s teacher especially if you notice your child is having difficulty.

 

Tip 3: Get creative with learning

Another benefit of remote learning is that it presents us with a unique opportunity to get creative with learning.

Kids, especially those in middle school and high school, now have the time and opportunity to engage with a variety of different online learning resources. And when I say online learning resources, I mean more than just videos. Think interactive tools (such as Maple Learn), that help students visualize concepts from math and science, games that allow students to practice language skills, repositories of homework problems and practice questions that allow kids to practice concepts, the list goes on.

Best of all, many content providers and organizations, are offerings these resources and tools available for free or at a substantially reduced cost to help kids and parents during this time.

So if your child is having difficulty with a particular subject or if they are in need of a challenge, make sure to explore what is available online.

 

Tip 4: Embrace the tech

To be successful, remote learning requires children to learn a host of new digital skills, such as how to mute/unmute themselves, raise their hands electronically, turn on and off their webcam, toggle between applications to access class content and upload homework, keep track of their schedule via an electronic calendar, etc. This can be daunting for kids who are learning remotely for the first time.

As a parent you can help your child become more comfortable with remote learning by setting aside some time either before or after class to help them master these new tools. And since this is likely new to you, there are some great videos online that will show you how to use the system your school has mandated be it Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom or something else.  

 

Tip 5: It’s a skill

Remember that remote learning is a skill like any other skill, and it takes time and practice to become proficient.

So remember to be patient with yourself, your kids, and their teachers, as we embark on this new journey of learning. Everyone is trying their best and I truly believe a new rhythm will emerge as we progress through the school year.

We will find our way.

I am very pleased to announce that we have just begun a free public beta for a new online product, Maple Learn!  Maple Learn is a dynamic online environment designed specifically for teaching and learning math and solving math problems, from mid-high school to second year university.

Maple Learn is much more than just a sophisticated online graphing calculator. We tried to create an environment that focuses on the things instructors and students in those courses have told us that they want/need in a math tool. Here are some of my personal favorites:

  • You can get the answer directly if you want it, but you can also work out problems line-by-line as you would on paper, or use a combination of manual steps and computations performed by Maple Learn.  
  • The plot of your expression shows up as soon as you start typing, so plotting is super easy
  • You can parameterize expressions with a single mouse click, and then watch the plots and results change as you modify the values using sliders
  • It’s really easy to share your work, so when a student asks for help, the helper can always see exactly what they’ve done so far (and it will be legible, unlike a lot of the tutoring I’ve done!)

Free public beta: Maple Learn is freely available to instructors and students as part of an on-going public beta program. Please try it out, and feel free to use with your classes this fall.

Visit Maple Learn for more information, and to try it out. We hope you find it useful, and we’d love to know what you think.

I’m extremely pleased to introduce the newest update to the Maple Companion. In this time of wide-spread remote learning, tools like the Maple Companion are more important than ever, and I’m happy that our efforts are helping students (and some of their parents!) with at least one small aspect of their life.  Since we’ve added a lot of useful features since I last posted about this free mobile app, I wanted to share the ones I’m most excited about. 

(If you haven’t heard about the Maple Companion app, you can read more about it here.) 

If you use the app primarily to move math into Maple, you’ll be happy to hear that the automatic camera focus has gotten much better over the last couple of updates, and with this latest update, you can now turn on the flash if you need it. For me, these changes have virtually eliminated the need to fiddle with the camera to bring the math in focus, which sometimes happened in earlier versions.

If you use the app to get answers on your phone, that’s gotten much better, too. You can now see plots instantly as you enter your expression in the editor, and watch how the plot changes as you change the expression. You can also get results to many numerical problems results immediately, without having to switch to the results screen. This “calculator mode” is available even if you aren’t connected to the internet.  Okay, so there aren’t a lot of students doing their homework on the bus right now, but someday!

Speaking of plots, you can also now view plots full-screen, so you can see more of plot at once without zooming and panning, squinting, or buying a bigger phone.

Finally, if English is not you or your students’ first language, note that the app was recently made available in Spanish, French, German, Russian, Danish, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese. 

As always, we’d love you hear your feedback and suggestions. Please leave a comment, or use the feedback forms in the app or our web site.

Visit Maple Companion to learn more, find links to the app stores so you can download the app, and access the feedback form. If you already have it installed, you can get the new release simply by updating the app on your phone.

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