Maplesoft Partner to Develop Teaching Techniques

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<p><strong>Waterloo, Ontario &mdash; July 24</strong><br />The University of Guelph and Maplesoft, a provider of high-performance software, are partnering to develop innovative and efficient uses for technology in mathematics and science education. </p><p>The two organizations will work together to develop state-of-the-art technology tools aimed at giving students a more compelling and effective academic experience while making instruction delivery more efficient and student-focused.<br /><br />&ldquo;Helping students improve their problem-solving skills is especially critical during the first year of a university education,&rdquo; said Professor Anthony Vannelli, dean of the College of Physical and Engineering Science at the University of Guelph. &ldquo;Students right out of high school are often frustrated because they did not understand what level they would be expected to work at once they got to university. Our goal is to use technology to help them overcome many of the issues they are facing.&rdquo;<br /><br />Vannelli added that plenty of great technology exists today, but the challenge is to use these technologies to help teaching effectiveness in challenging math and science courses. </p><p>He said this new partnership will allow the University of Guelph to &ldquo;lead the way in adopting new techniques of teaching aimed at making education more efficient and contemporary.&rdquo;<br /><br />Although Maplesoft technology has been used in education for decades, the company has supplemented it recently with new mathematical software technologies such as intelligent assessment systems and e-books. </p><p>Maplesoft also is exploring the possibilities of adding chat sites, messaging, blogging and podcasts to math and science courses.</p><p>As part of this new partnership, the University of Guelph will test and develop different education strategies based on this new technology framework, focusing on mathematics and science. </p><p>Starting with core calculus courses, the university will introduce learning options such as e-books, chat sites, messaging, blogging and podcasts. </p><p>Eventually, the teaching techniques will be expanded to additional math classes and sciences courses, as well as distance-education offerings.<br /><br />Maplesoft will provide the necessary software and service support. </p><p>&ldquo;This initiative is core to the future health of the postsecondary system and competitiveness,&rdquo; said Tom Lee, Maplesoft vice president of market development. &ldquo;We absolutely have to leverage the creativity of our educators and our immense technological advantage to meet certain global challenges.&rdquo; <br /><br />At the University of Guelph, mathematics professor Jack Weiner will be the chief investigator for the initiative. </p><p>He has been using Maplesoft products in his courses for several years and will build on that experience. </p><p>Weiner is the winner of the 2007 Teaching Excellence Award from the Central Student Association and a two-time 3M teaching award nominee, and he has received both provincial and university teaching awards.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve seen technology make a profound difference for the student and for the instructor,&rdquo; Weiner said, adding that class grade average and success rates have dramatically improved. &quot;Incorporating educational technology such as e-books into courses also increases the efficiency in instruction.</p><p>&ldquo;Teachers also have more time to focus on the needs of individual students in the classroom. This helps to boost the students&rsquo; overall motivation, retention and comprehension. This new initiative will take some of these essential experiences and expand on them using all the new media that seem alien to so many teachers but are completely integrated into the lives of today&rsquo;s students. This is truly exciting stuff.&rdquo;</p><p>The University of Guelph and Maplesoft have also submitted a proposal to the Ontario Research Fund&rsquo;s Research Excellence Program asking the government to provide matching funding for the initiative.</p>

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