[Edu-sig] Math UI

Jay Bloodworth johnabloodworth3 at gmail.com
Thu Jun 16 17:36:28 CEST 2011

This question is not really specific to python. Apologies if that is a
party foul, but I think it is in the spirit of the list.

Suppose I give an algebra student the system:

y=2/3x + 5
4x - 2y = 7

I want the student to solve the system algebraically, to show her work,
to use appropriate notation, and to do it on a tablet computer rather
than pencil and paper. What does the UI look like for this task? Is it
something the equation editor for a word processor? Or more specialized?
Are their lots of menus? Or is it more like LaTeX, using special text
syntax to denote fractions, etc. How do we make sure that using the UI
doesn't occupy so many brain cycles that it limits the student's ability
to do the algebra?

Obviously this is less about solving systems in particular and more
about the issues that come up as computers begin to replace pencil and
paper as the standard format for communicating in a math classroom. I
would appreciate your thoughts.


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