A new blog by our Mathcad/Education Program team on students and their first experience with Mathcad.
Was your experience the same as some of these future engineers?
In answer to the specific question posted, I din't get to use Mathcad until I was more than 10 yrs out of college, but it was great!
As to some of the rants in the blog, your mileage may vary. My son is in a college prep high school, last rated about 26th in the Newsweek rankings, and they actually require minimum of a TI-83. Almost all of the SAT-like tests expect calculator usage.
The TI-83's descendant, the TI nSpire has a GUI, not unlike Mathcad's, and TI is finally making inroads into the back-to-school racks this year, quite different than two years ago, when we got one for sophomore year. As the TI-83 gets longer in the tooth, the nSpire should become the flagship and premier calculator product for TI. Unfortunately, TI's PC based emulation of the nSpire requires an additional $49, and not even I've broken down to purchase it.
One of biggest disappointments in Mathsoft's and PTCs product evolutions is the demise of Studyworks. While I wasn't particularly a fan of the Science version of Studyworks, the Math version was one of those "just right" products that have tons of power hidden behind a simple interface.
IF PTC is unwilling to revive Studyworks, perhaps a collaboration with the nSpire might make some sense, especially if a translator for the nSpire worksheets could be read into Mathcad.
Look at this!
A link to a blog that doesn't appear in the mathcad blog page.
How would I find this starting from the mathcad page if this note weren't posted?
That particular blog seems to be a singular thing. The rest of the blogs are located here:
The analysis should also consider learning & doing styles. e.g. http://www.vark-learn.com/ And consider the mental attitude / mental model at the time.
Some see the exercise as a procedural activity (think C coding, Matlab, etc) and some as a concise encompassing abstraction (MathCAD !). Often it is noce to have a the large range of choices that C and MatLab gives you. You have a feeling of direct control and you can hack and burn to your hearts content. Then you get tired. You want to concisely represent the problem and get the results. You need both the tool AND the viewpoint (veltanshaung in SSM), and lo and behold mathcad comes to your rescue. But some never shift up the gear to want to reformulate there problems in the mathcad way. They stay stuck in hack and burn, but mathcad punishes that even more because it doesn't let you get started - you simply don't have that separation between coding (wher all errors are allowable) and running the code (where the errors are discovered, late).
Anyway, that's my thre'penny worth.
First experience could be good or bad, but at least is the introduction for a tool to make the engineering work. What about the second experience? When the engineering student must to use the tool in chem, phys, math, biology classroom? In the past we have a very big collection of books with a mathcad electronic book suplement (like the Schaum serie). For teach anything in engineering we need books, just think in an engineer that never must to study nothing in a book and which class of work can hi do.
But now the books for mathcad are all for the first-time approach. Electronic suplements came with the "mathcad engine" but can't run in new operating systems, needs emulation of windows for work groups. Also are write with some old pedagogical concepts. If PTC wants the new generations working with mathcad needs to re-implement the association with the printers of the learning books, giving support to writers and a new mathcad engine to read electronic books with the key examples and problems for the matter.