Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 3995-4002
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Engineering higher education should favour integration of students into the actual technological society. Future engineers will face many practical problems that cannot be solved using classical methods, or this might not be possible because of time or costs.

In order to solve these problems, the engineer must be able to handle mathematical models and to know about the available tools as well as their potential and limitations. The use of learning methods in contact with information and communication technologies since the very first year of the engineering study can benefit mathematical education of a future engineer, taking into account that a deep mathematical conceptual understanding is required when computers are used for solving non-elementary mathematical tasks. Moreover, having a computer involved in learning can mean a big improvement in students’ attitude towards mathematics.

Sometimes, the big number of first year engineering students makes very difficult to manage classroom practices in mathematics courses. In these cases, blended learning including on-line courses of mathematical software can be a good solution that, moreover, requires an active involvement of students.

Last year, in the context of a Civil Engineering Degree program at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, an educational innovation project has been developed following that line and using free mathematical software. An on-line course of a Computational Algebra System has been organized using the virtual educational platform of the University. In this way, students have their own Math Lab available for checking their understanding of mathematical concepts explained at the classroom, and also for experimenting, visualizing and making conjectures.

In this paper, we address the main lines of this project and we analyze its results and its effects in learning processes in mathematics and technology.
Blended learning, free mathematical software, learning experiences.