Danish Teacher Uses Maple to Enhance Education for High School and University Students

Challenge

Steen Jørgensen, a former high school teacher at Elsinore High School in Denmark, needed a tool to help his students better understand core Math concepts and prepare them for future education and careers.

Solution

Elsinore provided students with free copies of Maple to enhance their studies. Jørgensen used Maple to administer exams and homework assignments. Students also used Maple to take notes during class and download lecture files. Elsinore provides students with free copies of Maple to enhance their studies.

Result

Jørgensen received a positive response to Maple from his students. Students developed greater confidence and competency to pursue university education. Jørgensen also runs a math competition, sponsored by Maplesoft, that awards winners with a free copy of Maple. He also uses Maple in his research projects, modeling 3-D buildings to showcase Maple’s capabilities.

Technology is a valuable asset in education, when applied correctly. The right tools can enhance the learning experience and better equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed. In Denmark, the education system relies heavily on Maple for mathematics teaching, and to prepare students for the future. Students begin using Maple as early as elementary school to supplement their education, helping build stronger math skills and greater confidence in working through complex concepts and difficult problems. Steen Jørgensen, a high school teacher who also teaches at the Danish Technical University (DTU), uses Maple in a variety of ways to help students better understand mathematical concepts.

Jørgensen has been a high school teacher in Denmark for 39 years, and a professor at the DTU for 9 years, with his high school accommodating his part-time university teaching schedule. He currently teaches two courses at the DTU, having recently retired from teaching at Elsinore High School. His university experience has been a valuable asset to his high school students in preparing them for the expectations of post-secondary education.

Jørgensen was first introduced to Maple in 2009 when both Elsinore and the DTU introduced it in mathematics courses. Maple has many features that he values, including the way Maple can complete complex calculations and allow for complicated drawings. “I also like that Maple can be programmed to do special calculations,” he said. “Recently, I used Maple to complete a coding project in Google Maps. It is a very versatile tool.”

Elsinore has been part of Maplesoft’s *Maple Gym* program since 2009, which Jorgensen has helped to drive. Students at the school use Maple to complete homework assignments and final exams. “Students can install Maple on their own computer, and use it at school and at home,” he said. “They like that they can plot nice curves and graphs, which helps them easily work through complex expressions.”

In his high school math courses, Jørgensen uses Maple in his lectures to introduce new subject matter and help his students better understand how to work through problems. Most of the students use Maple to take notes during class, and Jørgensen also creates files in Maple and shares them with his students. “The students are very satisfied with Maple and its capabilities,” Jørgensen said. “For instance, they like that they can write a paper with calculations, graphics and text all in one document.”

Elsinore provides students with a free copy of Maple, which enhances their studies and ultimately leaves them better prepared for university, Jørgensen said. “The University of Copenhagen and the DTU both use Maple for mathematics courses,” he said. “Giving students access to it in high school provides them with greater confidence and competency to pursue university education.”

In addition to his teaching, Jørgensen uses Maple for many applications in his own work, using it to complete calculations for various mathematical research problems. Most recently, he worked on a private research project using Maple to study 3-D printing and geometry, pertaining to buildings that can be modeled in Maple. “I use Maple to plot the buildings and create the math,” he said. “I created files that can be seen and rotated in the 3-D Builder on a Windows computer. I have created some unique towers using Maple.”

The purpose of the project is to show Maple’s capabilities and the types of projects that can be completed using the software. Creating the models requires a lot of mathematics, and it helps Jørgensen improve his proficiency with Maple. “There is so much one can do with Maple, and these projects allow me to utilize Maple’s rich features,” he said. “I used Maple to make a parameterization of the boundaries of the buildings, and to look at the STL-file format, and how Maple can convert drawings into STL files so they can be viewed in the 3D-Builder on a Windows 10 computer.” One example of a building project Jørgensen worked on is a large observation tower in *Camp Adventure* in Denmark. Jorgensen *modeled the tower*, which is a hyperboloid, using Maple, and calculated relevant mathematical information pertaining to the tower.

Jørgensen and two of his colleagues, Jens Carstensen and Palle Bak Petersen, also run a *math competition*, which began in 2003. They maintain a website with various problems for students who want a challenge. The competition runs every month, with the exception of July and August, and is open to Danish high school students. There is no qualification or recommendation required. All responses from students are graded and a monthly winner is selected from the correct respondents, with prizes such as a calculator or a free version of Maple. “We hear from many teachers who are happy with the option to direct their more knowledgeable students to the website to attempt solving the problems,” he said. “We’ve even had several elementary school students participate! They are very gifted and seek difficult math problems.”

Jørgensen’s work with Maple illustrates how technology can be used to enhance learning. Developing creative methods to challenge students not only helps them gain greater proficiency, but also makes learning more engaging and interesting. “A tool like Maple gives teachers an indispensable resource for connecting with students and challenging them,” said Jørgensen. “Maple not only creates more possibilities, but it shows students that greater things are possible. It allows them to test their limits, and we’re able to create a framework for them to do that.”

References

*Roche, Kimberly E., et al. "Sorting Five Human Tumor Types Reveals Specific Biomarkers and Background Classification Genes." Figure. Nature Scientific Reports. 25 May 2018. Web. 27 June 2018.*

*Weinstein, Marvin. “Finding Amazing Structures Hidden In Big, Raw, Dense Data.” Figure. LinkedIN Pulse. 13 July 2015. Web. 27 June 2018.*

*Weinstein, Marvin. “Quantum Insights: Finding Meaning in the World’s Most Complex Datasets.” Talks at Google. 18 Sept 2017. Lecture.*

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