Summary of: Using Technology in a Sophomore Linear Algebra Course
City Tech’s Math Seminar Series
Presenter: Ezra Halleck
David Lay, author of the currently used Linear Algebra textbook, has provided a convenient way for faculty and students to access the data in homework problems. With the Lay Linear Algebra toolbox installed, at the command line you type “c2s3” for chapter 2, section 3. MATLAB responds with a list of homework problems with data and prompts for an exercise number. After entering the number, MATLAB responds by defining a matrix or matrices containing the data. In addition, the Lay toolbox has various tools which manipulate matrices in a way parallel to the presentation in the book. For example, there are commands for each of the elementary row operations. The author has included boxed MATLAB subsections in the Study Guide which demonstrate how to use these tools. To get a hard copy of the Study Guide, you may contact the publisher. The electronic version is on the CD-ROM that comes with the book. I can provide you with an electronic copy if you do not have the CD. I have made use of the slides provided by the publisher. Depicting examples in 3 dimensions is difficult and the author has done a reasonably good job.
Instructions for installing the Lay Linear Algebra toolbox:
In addition to the author’s tools, there is an extensive set of material online for creating labs, illustrating concepts or as places for students to explore. A good place to start is MAA’s Digital Library http://mathdl.maa.org/
a) Journal of Online Mathematics and its Applications http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/4/
b) Digital Classroom Resources http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/3/
[Thomas Hern was a coauthor of a seminal article that I handed out to attendees a week after the seminar: "Viewing Some Concepts and Applications in Linear Algebra" from Visualization in Teaching and Learning Mathematics (1991) of the MAA Notes Series.]
Most tools on the MAA Digital Library site are stand alone, meaning that they do not need costly software such as MATLAB, Maple or Mathematica. However, since we do have access to this software, we may explore what is available for any or each of them. A good start is the ATLAST project: http://www.umassd.edu/SpecialPrograms/Atlast/
The files can be downloaded here and documentation is available. However, there is a lab manual and guide published by Prentice Hall. Since Prentice Hall has merged with Addison-Wesley, we may get them to bundle the guide with the Lay text. I have asked Pearson (Fred Speers) to send us a review copy or 2.
Summary written on 2/6/08, revised 2/11/08