3 years, 76 days

## The Case of the Mysterious Treasure...

Maple Learn

It’s finally here. The mystical treasure that has long been rumoured to lie deep within the labyrinthine halls of Maple Learn is within your grasp at last. The ordeals ahead are treacherous, and most who have ventured in have never returned… but, armed with nothing but your wits and your curiosity, you know you’re prepared to conquer the trials that await you. Can you be the first to uncover the secrets of Maple Learn?

Surprise! We here at Maplesoft have decided to become game developers. Okay, maybe not really, but we do have one game that we’re excited to be sharing with you all. Introducing: The Treasure of Maple Learn. This series of documents mimics the style of a text-based adventure game, and takes you through a series of puzzles that challenge you to discover for yourself all of what Maple Learn has to offer. It was originally created by myself and a team of other co-op students during the 2021 Maplesoft Hackathon, and I’m very excited to be releasing this updated and polished version of the game. Finally, it’s time to set out on your quest to discover the legendary treasure that lurks within Maple Learn… if you dare.

If you don’t dare, don’t worry, we have other options. You can also check out our new video on Getting Started with Maple Learn, which takes you through everything you need to know to become a Maple Learn expert. And if that’s not enough learning Maple Learn for you, we also have an extensive collection of How-To documents. Want an in-depth look at how to use the plot window? How about an exploration of how to work with linear algebra? Or maybe you want to unleash your artistic side? We’ve got you covered.

So if you’re just getting started with Maple Learn and are looking for a tutorial, you’ve got options—we’ve got a quick video overview, tons of collections of in-depth documentation, and a quest through the treacherous depths of Maple Learn to uncover the secrets that lie within. Pick your poison! (But maybe watch out for literal poison in that labyrinth.)

## Researching Relativity...

Maple , Maple Learn

Space. The final frontier. A frontier we wouldn’t stand a chance of exploring if it weren’t for the work of one Albert Einstein and his theories of special relativity. After all, how are we supposed to determine at what speed an alien spaceship is traveling towards Earth if we can’t understand how Newtonian physics break down at high velocities? That is precisely the question that this Maple MathApp asks. Using the interactive tool, you can see how the relative velocities change depending on your reference point. Just what you need for the next time you see a UFO rocketing through the sky!

But what if you don’t have the MathApp on hand when the aliens visit? (So rare to travel anywhere without a copy of Maple on you, I know, but it could happen.) You’ll have to just learn more about special relativity so that you can make those calculations on the fly. And luckily, we have just what you need to do that: our new Maple Learn collection on modern physics, created by Lazar Paroski. Still not quite sure how to wrap your head around the whole thing? Check out this document on the postulates of special relativity, which explains and demonstrates some of the fundamentals of special relativity with lively animations.

Once you’ve gotten familiar with the basics, it’s time to get funky. This document on time dilation shows how two observers looking at the same event from different frames of reference can measure different times for that event. And of course once you start messing with time, everything gets weird. For an example, check out this document on length contraction, which explains how observers in different frames of reference can measure different lengths for the same moving object. Pretty wild stuff.

So now, armed with this collection of documents, we’ll all be ready for the next time the aliens come down to Earth—ready to calculate the relative speed of their UFOs from the perspectives of various observers. That’ll show ‘em!

## Accessibility in Mathematics...

Maple Learn

Disability Pride Month happens every July to celebrate people with disabilities, combat the stigma surrounding disability, and to fight to create a world that is accessible to everyone. Celebrating disability pride isn’t necessarily about being happy about the additional difficulties caused by being disabled in an ableist society: as disabled blogger Ardra Shephard puts it, “Being proud to be disabled isn’t about liking my disability… [It] is a rejection of the notion that I should feel ashamed of my body or my disability. It’s a rejection of the idea that I am less able to contribute and participate in the world, that I take more than I give, that I have less inherent value and potential than the able-bodied Becky next to me.” The celebration started in the US to commemorate the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on disability, and since then it has spread around the world.

So what does any of this have to do with us here in the math community? Well, while it’s easy to think of mathematics as an objective field of study that contains no barriers, the institutions and tools used to teach math are not always so friendly. For an obvious example, if there's a few steps leading up to your math classroom and you use a wheelchair, that's going to be a challenge. And that's just scratching the surface—there are countless ways to be disabled, many of which are invisible, and many of which make a typical classroom environment very challenging to learn in for a variety of different reasons. As well, it can be difficult for prospective mathematicians to ask for accommodations, because of both the stigma against disability and the systemic barriers to receiving the proper accommodations. Just ask Daniel Reinholz, a disabled math professor at San Diego State University, whose health forced them to drop out of several engineering courses during their undergraduate degree: “Throughout it all, I never had a notion that I could receive accommodation or support, or that I deserved it. (Even though I’ve never really fit into the “right” category of disabled to be accommodated, so who knows what difference it really would have made.)” While Daniel was lucky enough to find a path to mathematics that worked for them, not all disabled people currently have that path available to them. As math professor Allison Miller puts it in her AMS blog post about disability in math, “Success in mathematics should not depend on whether someone’s needs happen to mesh sufficiently well with institutional structures and spaces that have been designed to serve only certain kinds of minds and bodies.”

While we can’t make systemic changes on our own, we here at Maplesoft can still do our part to make tools for math that are something everyone can use and enjoy. As such, we’re excited to share that Maple Learn is now compatible with the screen reader NVDA. By using this screen reader, and with our extensive keyboard shortcuts that negate the need for a mouse, individuals with low or no vision can now use Maple Learn to help them explore mathematics. All you need to do is select “Enable Accessibility” from the hamburger menu, and you’ll be ready to go! Maple Learn also includes the colour palette CVD, which is designed to be accessible to colourblind users. To learn how to access the colour palettes, check out this How-To document.

There is still more work for us to be done to ensure that we’re doing our part to make math accessible to everyone. Not only are there still ways in which we’re working to improve the accessibility of our products, but we all as a math community need to strive towards recognizing the barriers we may have previously overlooked and finding ways to provide accommodation for all mathematicians. One organization, called Sines of Disability, is already working towards that very goal. They are a community of disabled mathematicians dedicated to dismantling the systemic ableism present in mathematics. For this Disability Pride Month, consider taking the time to check out these resources and learn more about this issue.

## Tackling Tricky Tests with Tom...

Maple Learn

What was established in 1788 in Prussia, is derived from the Latin word for “someone who is going to leave”, and can be prepared for using the many capabilities of Maple Learn? Why, it’s the Abitur exam! The Abitur is a qualification obtained by German high school students that serves as both a graduation certificate and a college entrance exam. The exam covers a variety of topics, including, of course, mathematics.

So how can students prepare for this exam? Well, like any exam, writing a previous year’s exam is always helpful. That’s exactly what Tom Rocks Math does in his latest video—although, with him being a math professor at Oxford University, I’d wager a guess that he’s not doing it as practice for taking the exam! Instead, with his video, you can follow along with how he tackles the problems, and see how the content of this particular exam differs from what is taught in other countries around the world.

Oh, but what’s this? On question 1 of the geometry section, Tom comes across a problem that leaves him stumped. It happens to the best of us, even university professors writing high school level exams. So what’s the next step?  Well, you could use the strategy Tom uses, which is to turn to Maple Learn. With this Maple Learn document, you can see how Maple Learn allows you to easily add a visualization of the problem right next to your work, making the problem much easier to wrap your head around. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about any arithmetic errors throwing your whole solution off—Maple Learn can take care of that part for you, so you can focus on understanding the solution! And that’s just what Tom does. In his video, after he leaves his attempt at the problem behind, he turns to this document to go over the full solution, making it easy for the viewer (and any potential test-takers!) to understand where he went wrong and how to better approach problems like that in the future.

So to all you Abitur takers out there—that’s just one problem that can be transformed with the power of Maple Learn. The next time you find yourself getting stuck on a practice problem, why not try your hand at using Maple Learn to solve it? After that, you’ll be able to fly through your next practice exam—and that’ll put you one step ahead of an Oxford math professor, so it’s a win all around!

## Making A Good Point...

Maple Learn

Sometimes, it’s the little things. Those little improvements that make a good tool even better. Sometimes, it’s as simple as an easy shorthand notation that allows you to create and label points on a graph with a single command. Just to pick a totally random example.

Okay, maybe it’s not totally random. Maybe this new point notation is one of our newest features in Maple Learn, and maybe it’s now easy and quick for you to create labeled points to your heart’s content. Maybe you could learn more about all the ins and outs of this new feature by checking out the how-to document.

But I can’t make any guarantees, of course.

That said, if this hypothetical scenario were true, you would also be able to see it in action in our new document on the proof of the triangle inequality.

With this document, you can explore a detailed (and interactive!) visualization of the proof using Euclidean geometry. You can adjust the triangles to see for yourself that the sum of the lengths of any two sides must be greater than the third side, read through the explanation to see the mathematical proof, and challenge yourself with the questions it leaves you to answer. And those points on those triangles? Labeled. Smoothly and easily. I wonder how they might have done it?

We hope you enjoy the new update! Let us know what other features you want to see in Maple Learn, and we’ll do our best to turn those dreams into reality.

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