Scot, thanks for dragging me into what might become an endless morass. So, let me just say my piece and point out that I will not be drawn into the fray any further.
I had 15 years experience with Maple in the classroom at a time when learning syntax was the only way to go. It was a chore convincing students to learn the Maple language in order to "learn the math language." When Maplesoft introduced the beginnings of "syntax-free" computing, I was then working for Maplesoft and I immediately saw the benefits of students not having to learn syntax in order to implement math calculations. I pushed Maplesoft to improve its capabilities in that direction because I believed it would benefit students.
For students who will make use of Maple far into their careers, learning syntax is probably necessary. But for students who need Maple to "get through" their required math courses, and who will probably not take math courses beyond those, why add the burden of syntax if it can be avoided?
For the instructor who wants students to master syntax, just operate in a worksheet (even using 2D math input) and use a Context Panel operation. The underlying syntax will be displayed. Is there a faster way to learn syntax?
So, I guess the moral of the story is that necessity is the mother of invention. Adopt the usage that best serves the student. And now we can debate the meaning of "best."
PS. I think what Paul did to solve the inequalities was clever, and the graph he drew meaningful (if not subtle). That he was smart enough to ask if there was a better way shows what happens when there's a tool allowing different approaches to be implemented.