Maple’s Point and Click Environment shortens learning curve and lets you be more productive - Academic User Stories and Case Studies - Maplesoft
   
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    Home : Company : Maple User Stories - Academic
User Stories - Academic

Maple’s Point and Click Environment shortens learning curve and lets you be more productive

When Maplesoft® introduced its smart document environment in Maple™ 10 - now enhanced in the recently announced Maple 11 - the new interface presented a paradigm shift in performing complex mathematical calculations. The company knew that the point and click environment would transform the way engineers, students, and researchers approached and used math.

Dr. Nick Zorka of Lawrence Tech University experienced this transformation. “When students discovered this new environment in Maple, it felt like a fresh new technique for learning math”, he recalls. “No more the long learning cycles and having to memorize numerous syntax and commands. With the click of a mouse, Maple would present the solution in the simplest way.” Dr. Zorka is a guest faculty at the Lawrence Tech University where he teaches Advanced Computer Application courses to junior and senior engineering students.

Maple is intuitive and easy to use, while providing the most advanced, complete, and error-free set of mathematical capabilities available. One of its most significant features is that it is syntax free. This means that students need not invest the time and effort required to learn a new set of software tool commands. Maple offers a palette from which users can point and click to the math component they want to use. This also enables them to enter expressions very easily, thus allowing them to start using mathematical equations instantly.

The context-sensitive menu in Maple is a very popular feature. For every equation or mathematical expression, Maple will present to the user, from its more than 4000 commands, only those that make sense for that particular expression. This is a wonderful way for students to work with their equations quickly and easily. It also lets them effortlessly explore various components of that expression.

Dr. Zorka discovered that these features of Maple had an enormous impact on his students.

“My students found it overwhelming and very time consuming to learn different software tools as part of their course”, said Dr. Zorka. “Maple made a lot of difference to their approach to learning. It is easy to use and you can even write down equations with the mouse, similar to writing with a pen or pencil. You can access various expressions from the palette just by the click of a mouse – I can’t imagine it getting any simpler! The context-sensitive menu is amazing; students learn a lot more by just experimenting with the various possibilities that Maple presents for each equation. For students who have their days cramped with course work, this came as a miracle. Many of them even started enjoying this tool which, till then, looked cumbersome and difficult.”

“One graduate student in my Advanced Digital Control course used MATLAB for his control problems. When he realized he had to learn Maple, he came to me frustrated and said, ‘I hate learning these tools, they are never easy.’ I then introduced him to Maple and it completely changed this student’s perception. He is now very enthusiastic and tells me, ‘the pain is gone now; this is a really cool product!”

Other well received features of Maple include enhanced graphics that help students visualize difficult math concepts and a built-in math education editor that integrates live math text into documents. For more information on Maple, please visit: http://www.maplesoft.com/products/maple/