Mathematics Interactive: About Us
Our aim is to provide effective, affordable and entertaining products for our target market of 100+ million computer-equipped high school and college students. Our two main products have been in development for six years and tested during the past two years at John Abbott College (near Montreal, Quebec). Their Mathematics Department has purchased a site license to use CalGraph. We are, at present, in negotiation with a group of Swiss universities.
A Calculus class at some universities may include 100 bored and frustrated students watching a burnt out professor scratch chalk on a blackboard. In University, the instructor may be a graduate student with no ability, experience or motivation to teach and little awareness of applications. In Secondary School, the instructor, may even, given the shortage of Science teachers, not even be competent in the subject and rarely will have much knowledge of its applications.
One cannot learn our subject, Mathematics, by listening to a lecture. The reality is that students are rarely self-motivated, do not enjoy class, receive little direction in how to learn and consequently work neither sufficiently nor effectively. They get virtually no feedback apart from disappointing marks. Our programs have been designed to alleviate these problems and be enjoyable and effective tools for students.
That first offering, CalGraph, has all the functions of a Graphing Calculator as well as all those most commonly employed in Statistics, Linear Algebra (Vectors, Matrices and Curve-Fitting) as well as Compound Interest Calculations. Its origins arose from the frustration of attempting to teach Mathematics students to use the available software.
CalGraph grew much more sophisticated as everyone who saw during its six years of development demanded some additional features. The physicists asked for Conversions; the chemists Curve Fitting, the business people Compound Interest Calculations; the Mathematicians Vectors, Matrices, Statistics and Exact Evaluation.
Our second offering, Bob's Calculus, which is nearly completed, but requires feedback and refinement, will be a CD for Calculus. We are currently testing our software at a junior college and are on schedule to fully market it using online advertising and direct sales to educational institutions by the Winter 2008 semester. We intend also eventually cover the entire senior high school/ junior college Mathematics curriculum. It is neither our immediate intention to offer instruction for higher-level courses given the limited enrollment, nor for junior high school as less help is sought at that level.
Bob's Calculus aims directly at young adults (ages 17 to 25). The basic concepts of Calculus, Limit, Derivative and Integral are developed with numerous illustrations from everyday life. The vocabulary is kept simple. Ideas that are new are explained in words they understand. People can learn Calculus from Bob's Calculus alone, but we expect it will appeal to many in conventional Calculus courses.
At present, surprisingly, no competitor has yet appeared with an effective or even interesting tutorial. For example, in our opinion, Journey though Calculus includes some Graphics which might amuse young children and offers little worthwhile instruction and feedback. While Maple can be used as a learning tool, it offers no Mathematics instruction at all. In our experience as teachers, it requires nearly one third of the hours allotted to a one semester course to show students how to use it. A significant proportion of our clients, in addition to buying a text for US $90+, also pay for tutoring and additional references. We intend to sell our CD, in which we cover more than a typical two-semester Calculus course, for little more than the cost for a single hour of tutoring.
Who are we?
Kishore Anand, the founder of Mathematics Interactive Inc., while teaching in junior college and university, noticed the obvious. Students who had the opportunity to participate in problem sessions (instead of copying notes as he droned on) had a better time in Math. class and eventually, higher grades. Students wonder "Who needs this stuff?" and are more motivated when they see how each Mathematics topic can be applied.
Around 1990, he had started to use software to illustrate Mathematics concepts and enable the students to learn actively. While it was clear that students were happier to do homework on a computer than on paper, the software available was not satisfactory.
He started writing his own programs, always making sure that the interfaces were trivial to master. The response of his students and the other faculty who used his software in their classes was encouraging. However, he became interested enough in programming to study it and, by 1998, had quit teaching to work as a Windows programmer.
Robert De Jean originally suggested the creation of CalGraph to use in our interactive tutorials. Only someone with his knowledge of Mathematics (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) and decades of teaching experience could have tested it as thoroughly. Bob's Calculus was created by a
dedicated, effective and popular teacher locally famous for the clarity of his explanations, enthusiasm and ability to help students not only master but enjoy Mathematics.
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