Karishma

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12 years, 93 days

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I’m extremely pleased to introduce the newest update to the Maple Companion. In this time of wide-spread remote learning, tools like the Maple Companion are more important than ever, and I’m happy that our efforts are helping students (and some of their parents!) with at least one small aspect of their life.  Since we’ve added a lot of useful features since I last posted about this free mobile app, I wanted to share the ones I’m most excited about. 

(If you haven’t heard about the Maple Companion app, you can read more about it here.) 

If you use the app primarily to move math into Maple, you’ll be happy to hear that the automatic camera focus has gotten much better over the last couple of updates, and with this latest update, you can now turn on the flash if you need it. For me, these changes have virtually eliminated the need to fiddle with the camera to bring the math in focus, which sometimes happened in earlier versions.

If you use the app to get answers on your phone, that’s gotten much better, too. You can now see plots instantly as you enter your expression in the editor, and watch how the plot changes as you change the expression. You can also get results to many numerical problems results immediately, without having to switch to the results screen. This “calculator mode” is available even if you aren’t connected to the internet.  Okay, so there aren’t a lot of students doing their homework on the bus right now, but someday!

Speaking of plots, you can also now view plots full-screen, so you can see more of plot at once without zooming and panning, squinting, or buying a bigger phone.

Finally, if English is not you or your students’ first language, note that the app was recently made available in Spanish, French, German, Russian, Danish, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese. 

As always, we’d love you hear your feedback and suggestions. Please leave a comment, or use the feedback forms in the app or our web site.

Visit Maple Companion to learn more, find links to the app stores so you can download the app, and access the feedback form. If you already have it installed, you can get the new release simply by updating the app on your phone.

Today we celebrated International Women's Day at Maplesoft. As part of our celebration, we had a panel of 5 successful women from within the community share their experiences and insights with us. 

Hearing these women speak has given me the courage to share my personal experience and advice to women in technology. If what I write here helps even one woman, then I will have accomplished something great today. 

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What do you do at Maplesoft?

My name is Karishma. I'm the Director, Product Management - Academic. 

 

Where did you grow up and where did you go to school (Diploma/degree)?

I was born and raised in Montreal to parents of Indian descent. Like most Indian parents, they “encouraged" me to pursue a career in either Law, Medicine, or Engineering, despite my true calling to pursue a career in theatre (at least that's what I believed it to be at the time)

Given that I had no siblings to break the ice, and that rebelling wasn't my Modus Operandi (that came much later), I did what any obedient teenager would do: I pursued a career in Electrical Engineering at McGill University. In my mind, this was the fastest way to landing a job and fleeing the proverbial nest. 

Electrical Engineering was far from glamorous, and after two years, I was ready to switch. It was due to the sheer insistence of my mother that I completed the degree. 

So how did I end up pursuing a graduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at McGill University? It wasn't the future I envisioned, but the economic downturn in 2001-2002 saw a massive decrease in hiring, and the job that I had held-out patiently for during those four years became a far-off dream. So I did the thing I never imagined I would: I accepted the offer to pursue a Master's and the very generous stipend that came with it. In case you are wondering, I only applied because my father nagged me into submission. (Insistence and nagging are two innate traits of Indian parents)

Contrary to what I expected, I loved my Master's degree! It gave me the freedom to immerse myself wholly in a topic I found exciting and allowed me to call the shots on my schedule, which led to my involvement in student government as VP Internal. But apart from the research and the independence, pursuing a master's degree opened doors to opportunities that I couldn't have imagined, such as an internship with the International Organization for Migration in Kenya, a job offer in Europe, and the chance to work at Maplesoft. (I guess my parents did know what was best for me.) 

 

What is the best part of your job?

It's figuring out how to solve problems our users have as well as the ones they might not realize they have. 

At Maplesoft, I work with some most brilliant minds I've ever encountered to build a product that makes math more accessible to our users, whether they be a student, researcher, scientist, or engineer. 

Some of the aspects of my role that I love the most include: 

  • speaking to and learning from our customers, 
  • interpreting the meaning behind their words, facial expressions, vocal intonations, and body language, and
  • collaborating with the sales, marketing, and development teams to turn what was 'said' into tangible actions that will enhance the product and user experience. 

Most nights, when I leave work, I do so with a sense of excitement because I know my actions and the actions of those I work with will help our users achieve their goals and ambitions. There's no better high. 

 

What advice do you have for young women interested in a career in your field? 
Throughout my career, I've had the privilege to work with some amazing women and men who've given me advice that I wish I had known when I was an undergraduate student. If you are a woman pursuing a STEM degree or starting your first job in a tech firm, here are three tips that may help you: 

1.   Don't be scared of the 'N' word. 
Don't be scared of NETWORKING. I know it can be intimidating, but it truly is the best way to land a job, advance your career, or meet the person you admire most. Remember that networking can take place anywhere - it's not exclusive to networking events. Some advice that I received that helped me overcome my fear of networking: 

  • Smile - Before you approach a person or enter a networking session, force yourself to smile. It will help you diffuse any tension you are holding and will make you appear more approachable. 
  • Research - Take the time to research the person(s) you would like to meet. Find out as much as you can about them and their company. Prepare some icebreaker questions and other questions to help carry the conversation forward ahead of time. Remember that people like to talk about themselves and their experiences. 
  • Don't take it personally - The person you approach may find networking equally tricky. So if they seem disinterested or aloof, don't take it personally. 
  • Just do it - Networking gets easier with practice. Don't let a failed attempt set you back. The worse thing that will happen is that you don't make a connection. 

 

 2.   It's ok to ask for help.
If you are a woman in an environment that is dominated by men, you might hesitate to ask for help. DON'T! There's nothing wrong with asking for help. That said, many women ask for help in a way that undermines their confidence and thus erodes others’ perception of them. Next time you need help, have a question or require clarification, take a moment to phrase your request, so you don't inadvertently put yourself down. 

 

3.   Play to your strengths
Don't think you need to know everything. Nobody expects it. If you landed a new job or co-op placement, and you are finding yourself doing things you've never done and don't come naturally to you yet, don't let your brain convince you that you don't deserve it. Remember that you earned it because of your qualities and strengths. 

I am very pleased to announce that we have released a new version of the free Maple Companion app. For those you may have missed it, the first release of this app gave you a way to take a picture of math using your phone’s camera and upload it into Maple. Instructors have told me they’ve found this very useful in their classes, as they no longer have to deal with transcription errors as students enter problems into Maple.

So that’s good. But version 2 is a lot better. The Maple Companion now solves math problems directly on your phone. It can handle problems from algebra, precalculus, calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and more. No need to upload to Maple – students can solve the problem by hand, and then use the app to check their answer, try new operations on the same expression, and even create plots. And if they want to do even more, they can still upload the expression into Maple for more advanced operations and explorations.

There’s also a built-in math editor, so you can enter problems without the camera, too. And if you use the camera, and it misinterprets part of your expression, you can fix it using the editor instead of having to retake the picture.  Good as the math recognition is, even in the face of some pretty poor handwriting, the ability to tweak the results has proven to be extremely useful.

There’s lots more we’d like to do with the Maple Companion app over time, and we’d like hear your thoughts, as well. How else can it help students learn?  How else can it act as a complement to Maple? Let us know!

Visit Maple Companion to learn more, find links to the app stores so you can download the app, and access the feedback form. And if you already have version 1, you can get the new release simply by updating the app on your phone.

 

I’m very pleased to announce that we have just released the Maple Companion mobile app for iOS and Android phones. As its name implies, this free app is a complement to Maple. You can use it to take pictures of math you find out in the wild (e.g. in your handwritten notes, on a blackboard, in a textbook), and bring that math into Maple so you can get to work.

The Maple Companion lets you:

  • Avoid the mistakes that can occur when transcribing mathematical expressions into Maple manually
  • Save time when entering multiple equations into Maple, such as when you are checking your homework or pulling information from a reference book
  • Push math you’ll need later into Maple now, even if you don’t have your computer handy

The Maple Companion is an idea we started playing with recently. We believe it has interesting potential as a tool to help students learn math, and we’d really like your feedback to help shape its future direction. This first release is a step towards that goal, so you can try it out and start thinking about what else you would like to see from an app like this. Should it bring in entire documents? Integrate with tutors and Math Apps? Help students figure out where they went wrong when solving a problem? Let us know what you think!

Visit Maple Companion to learn more, link to the app stores so you can download the app, and access the feedback form. And of course, you are also welcome to give us your ideas in the comment section of this post.

As we look ahead to our next Maple release, I wanted to let you know of some changes that we are making  to the platforms and operating systems that will be supported by Maple 16.

With Maple 16 we will be adding support for Linux Ubuntu 11.10 and Macintosh OS X 10.7 while dropping support for Linux Ubuntu 10.10 and Macintosh OS X 10.5.  As a result, we will no longer support Maple on the PPC platform (Apple stopped PPC support as of OS X 10.5).

If...

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