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The Spanish identity card and real life applications as a realistic way to learn mathematics and software development

Araceli Queiruga-Dios1, Ascensión Hernández-Encinas1, Angélica González-Arrieta2 1Department of Applied Mathematics University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain 2Department of Computers and Automation, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain

We have proposed our first course undergraduate engineering students to leave their mobile phones at home, or to switch them off during classes’ time, but we found that sometime it is very difficult, as they need to be connected all the time.

We are a group of lecturers and professors from different departments at the University of Salamanca that wanted to get well prepared engineers using real life applications based on the use of the mobile devices and laptops.

Computer Science engineering students have to assist to some programming courses from the first day at the university. They should develop a program for Fibonacci series or for getting the letter for our Spanish identity card (modular arithmetic), or any other algorithm that has a real application.

In mathematics classes, we have proposed the students to think mathematically using their mobile devices. The first proposal from their side was to use twitter to have the daily information, but at the end only one student was the responsible for feeding the application. They tried to find Apps for mathematics classes and some of them found some interesting ones, like the one for Cesar cipher. We make students to answer some google surveys using their mobile phones (they find easier and quicker than to go into the online platform). It is very difficult for students to think mathematically using their mobile phones. In fact, it is know that they are native ICT users, but they find difficult to add a question in a forum in the learning management system for example.

We have analyzed in this paper both things: how students use their mobile phones and also how they develop programs related to those real life mathematics applications. Furthermore, students learn mathematics developing some algorithms using different programming languages and making sure that the syntax is correct. In other case the source code will not run.