jarmitage

70 Reputation

4 Badges

6 years, 192 days
Maplesoft
Communications Coordinator
Ontario, Canada

MaplePrimes Activity


These are Posts that have been published by jarmitage

While many of us in North America were getting re-acquainted with the Fall routine, Maplesoft was involved in a major event, the Maple T.A. and Möbius User Summit. In the past, the Summit has alternated locations between Europe and North America, but following the success of last year’s Summit in Vienna, Austria, we recently broke new ground and expanded the reach of the event to include more countries around the world in order to localize the themes and to meet the growing demand from educators to take learning online.

The first event, organized by Cybernet, took place in China. The second of five events on the calendar took place in London, England. Held from September 7-8, this installment was a major stop in the tour, drawing many residents of the UK to hear talks from some of our strongest proponents of Möbius in Europe. The London Summit drew several delegates from the UK alone, many of whom were completely new contacts for us! Other attendees came from as far away as Russia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Australia, as well as some from Sweden, Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands. The turnout was brilliant!

Make progress or make excuses

The bulk of the London Summit was divided into three driving themes: Showcasing the Successful Delivery of Online Education; Best Practices for Digital Testing and Assessment; and Creating Engaging and Interactive Online STEM Content. Each theme consisted of 3 user presentations delivered by representatives from renowned institutions like University of Manchester, University of Birmingham, London Imperial College, University of Waterloo, Chalmers University of Technology, and more.

Maplesoft Application Engineer Surak Perera may have inadvertently set the tone for the day when he kicked off theme 1 with a quote from Tony Robbins: Make progress, or make excuses. One thing’s for sure – excuses were nowhere to be found at One Moorgate Place. The audience was captivated and engaged, and wasted no time bouncing questions and ideas off of our presenters. In fact, they were so eager to learn from our Maple T.A. and Möbius users that Jonny Zivku, Maple T.A. Product Manager, had to interject several times in order to keep the schedule moving! Each presentation reinforced the ability of Maple T.A. and Möbius to be used for diverse purposes such as distance education or analyzing incoming students, and in a range of subjects including multidisciplinary engineering cohorts, or simply core mathematics. Each presenter demonstrated that these tools can take you as far as the user’s mind is willing to be stretched.




 

Evening Reception

As heads were getting full and bellies were getting empty, the group left the luxuries of modern day and stepped back into what must have felt like a scene from Downton Abbey in the Main Reception Room of the venue. On the menu was the most culturally appropriate dish: fish and chips! Oh, and don’t forget the tea and wine!

There was no better way to wrap up the Summit than with Steve Furino’s interactive presentation and open discussion “Collecting Data about Collecting Data.” Small group discussion enabled the attendees to reconcile their inspiration from Day 1 with the practicality of putting it into practice once they return to their schools.

Overall, the London Summit was a smashing hit. The centralized location drew attendees who had a lot of common experiences which made for optimal discussion. The final question posted was the most revealing of everyone’s experience: where will the Summit be next year?

While that’s not yet decided, the Toronto Summit – the next stop in the Summit Series – is just a fortnight away (November 2-3). So for now, we’re saying “Cheers” to jolly good times in London, and “Can I get a double-double, eh” to Toronto!

Until then, you can experience the London Summit as if you were there with the full presentation proceedings and videos. They’re now available on our website!

Last week Michael Pisapia, Maplesoft European VP, attended the opening reception of Mathematics: The Winton Gallery at the Science Museum in London. Ahead of being open to the public on 8th December, contributors and donors were invited to take a look behind the scenes of the new gallery, which explores how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the modern world over the last four hundred years.

The gallery is a spectacular space, designed by the world-renowned Zaha Hadid Architects, housing over a hundred artefacts of mathematical origin or significance. It is divided up into disciplines ranging from navigation to risk assessment, and gambling to architecture. Inspired by the Handley Page aircraft, the largest object on display, and suspended as the centrepiece, the gallery is laid out using principles of mathematics and physics. It follows the lines of airflow around it in a stunning display of imagined aerodynamics, brought to life using light and sculpture. You can learn more about its design in this video.

Guests at the reception enjoyed a specially commissioned piece of music from the Royal College of Music titled ‘Gugnunc’, named after the aircraft and inspired by the rhythms of Morse code and mathematical and mechanical processes, and performed at the centre of the gallery.

Of course any exhibit celebrating all things maths is of great interest to us here at Maplesoft, but this one especially so, since Mathematics: The Winton Gallery showcases the earliest available version of Maple.

A copy of Maple V, from 1997, sits in ‘The Power of Computers’ section of the Winton Gallery, in an exhibit which tells the story of the significant role played by mathematical software in improving the quality of mathematics education and research. Other objects in the section include a Calculating Machine from the Scientific Service circa 1939, a PDP-8 minicomputer from the 1960s, and part of Charles Babbage’s mid-19th century analytical engine, intended as a high-powered mathematical calculator.

As many of you will remember, Maple V was a major milestone in the history of Maple, providing unparalleled interactivity, powerful symbolics and creative visualization in mathematical computation and modeling. For a walk down memory lane, check out Maple V: The Future of Mathematics (ca. 1994) on YouTube.

Seeing this copy of Maple finally in place in the exhibit marks the end of a long journey – and not just in the miles it travelled to arrive at the museum from its home in Canada. When we were first approached by the Science Museum for a donation of Maple, we launched a hunt to find not just the right copy of Maple with its box and manuals, but also artefacts that showcased the origin and history of Maple. It was a journey down memory lane for the inventors of Maple as well as the first few employees as they dug out old correspondences, photos, posters and other memorabilia that could be showcased. Today they can be proud of their contribution to this display at the Science Museum. 

Although the case of historic software packages is visually less impressive than many of the other items in the gallery, it certainly attracted plenty of attention as guests made their way in for the first time. 

For fans of Maple V - and there are many - it’s reassuring that the Science Museum are now entrusted with preserving not only the iconic packaging, but with telling the story of Maple’s history and marking its place in the evolution of mathematics and technology.

To learn more about Mathematics: The Winton Gallery, its highlights and architecture, visit http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/mathematics

To see the timeline of Maple’s evolution over the years, visit:  http://www.maplesoft.com/25anniversary/

From October 19-21, the third installment of the Maple T.A. and Möbius User Summit took place. Making the move back to Europe this year, the three-day conference was held at the beautiful Vienna University of Technology in the heart of Vienna, Austria. The scope of this year’s event expanded to include Maplesoft’s newest product, Möbius, an online courseware environment, which is designed to help academic institutions move their STEM courses online.

This year’s Summit brought together participants from 20 countries, including Australia, the Czech Republic, Poland, China, Norway, India, Egypt, Japan, the Netherlands, and many others. Needless to say, there is great interest in learning more about how Maple T.A. and Möbius can play a role in shaping the educational landscape.

Video recordings of each presentation will be made public soon, so keep an eye out for them!

Conference attendees take in the sights on the veranda at TU Wien

Getting Down to Business

Presentations were divided into 5 overarching themes as they relate to Maple T.A. and Möbius: Shaping Curriculum; Content Creation; Experiences Using Möbius; Integrating with your Technology; and The Future of Online Education. Presentations were given by representatives from schools across Europe, including DTU (Denmark), TH Köln (Germany), Imperial College of London and University of Birmingham (UK), Vienna UT (Austria), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), Université de Lausanne (Switzerland), and others.

Many talks showcased the impressive versatility of Maple T.A. as a online assessment system, and Möbius to have practical applications in all STEM subjects, from Nuclear Engineering to Operations Management and many subjects in between.

Perhaps the discussion that gave Maplesoft the most feedback was led by Steve Furino from the University of Waterloo, who divided attendees up into groups to formulate a wish list of what they’d like to see in a courseware authoring environment. The list had over 40 items.


Linda Simonsen, Country Manager in the Nordic, records a group’s wish list

Notable Quotables

Many thought-provoking statements and questions were posed, but the following few stood out above the rest:

  • “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could take the best course from the best instructor anywhere in the world?”
  • “With Maple T.A., we can divert resources away from grading and over to tutoring.”
  • “Möbius rescued us!”

Get the party started!

While each day was full of invigorating conference discussions, evenings provided ample opportunity to ditch the suit jacket and tie, and enjoy the lively Austrian atmosphere. The first evening at the Zwölf Apostelkeller was the perfect venue to break the ice while satisfying those taste buds longing for some traditional Viennese cuisine. Once Schnitzel, Käsespätzle (a delicious German version of Mac and Cheese), Strudel, Kaiserschmarren (shredded pancake), and a glass or two of wine hit the table, people soon forgot about the pouring rain outside.

The evening reception took place 3-4 levels under ground

Michael Pisapia, VP of Europe, serves digestifs to guests

It would have been hard to top the social in the Apostelkeller, but the next evening sure tried.

Day 2 finished with an impressive formal dining experience at the historic Gerstner Beletage in the Palace Todesco, built in 1864 and situated directly across from the Vienna State Opera House. The 500-room palace was home to Eduard Freiherr von Todesco, a well-known Viennese banker.

View from the palace of the Vienna State Opera House

Jonny Zivku, Maple T.A. Product Manager, gives opening remarks at the Gerstner Beletage im Palais Todesco

Jonathan Watkins from the University of Birmingham and Michael Pisapia - both dressed to impress

The skies finally cleared enough to take some photos, but only after most people had gone home. Thankfully Aron Pasieka, Möbius Project Manager, was still around to get some great shots of the city. Enjoy!


Before the skies cleared vs. after the skies cleared

From beginning to end, the entire Summit was very well received by everyone who attended.

We would be remiss if we did not thank our incredible hosts at the Vienna University of Technology. Stefanie Winkler, Professor Andreas Körner, and Professor Felix Breitenecker were beyond helpful in bringing many of the finer details together, as well as helping many people overcome the language barrier.

We can’t wait to do it all again in London, England in 2017, and hope to see just as many new faces as familiar ones.

 

Photo credits: A. Pasieka, A. French, H. Zunic, J. Cooper

 

Update: The conference presentation recordings are now available here on our website.

Page 1 of 1