Waterloo — July 23 2007 — The University of Guelph and Maplesoft?, a leading provider of high-performance software, are partnering to develop innovative and efficient uses for technology in mathematics and science education. 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.
?Helping students improve their problem-solving skills is especially critical during the first year of a university education,? said Professor Anthony Vannelli, Dean of the College of Physical and Engineering Science, University of Guelph. ?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.?
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. He says that this new partnership will allow the University of Guelph to ?lead the way in adopting new techniques of teaching aimed at making education more efficient and contemporary.?
While 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 ebooks. Maplesoft is also exploring the possibilities of adding chat sites, messaging, blogging, and podcasts to math and science courses.
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. Starting with core calculus courses, the university will introduce learning options such as ebooks, chat sites, messaging, blogging, and podcasts. Eventually, the teaching techniques will be expanded to additional math classes and sciences courses, and to distance education offerings.
Maplesoft will provide the necessary software and service support. ?This initiative is core to the future health of the post-secondary system and competitiveness,? said Tom Lee, Vice President of Market Development, Maplesoft. ?We absolutely have to leverage the creativity of our educators and our immense technological advantage to meet certain global challenges.?
At the University of Guelph, mathematics professor Jack Weiner will be the chief investigator for the initiative. He has been using Maplesoft products in his courses for several years and will build on that experience. Weiner is the winner of the 2007 Teaching Excellence Award from the Central Student Association, a two-time 3M teaching award nominee, and has received both provincial and university teaching awards.
?I?ve seen technology make a profound difference for the student and for the instructor,? Weiner said, adding that class grade average and success rates have dramatically improved.
?Incorporating educational technology, such as ebooks, into courses also increases the efficiency in instruction,? Weiner said. ?Teachers also have more time to focus on the needs of individual students in the classroom. This helps to boost the students? 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?s students. This is truly exciting stuff,? Weiner said.
University of Guelph and Maplesoft have also submitted a proposal to the Ontario Research Fund?s Research Excellence Program asking the government to provide matching funding for the initiative.
Maplesoft? is the leading provider of high-performance software tools for engineering, science, and mathematics. Our product suite reflects our philosophy – given great tools, people can do great things. Maplesoft has transformed the way researchers, mathematicians, educators, and students use math, enabling them to work better, faster, and smarter.
Over 90% of advanced research institutions and universities worldwide, including MIT, Stanford, Oxford, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the U.S. Department of Energy, have adopted Maplesoft solutions to enhance their education and research activities.