Wolfram|Alpha is the THE TOOL that was missing from my classroom and that’s really why I am showcasing it here. I truly believe that in the hands of teachers like you, teachers that seek out new and innovative ways to engage students, W|A it has the power to advance learning and change the education forever.
- a reference library,
- scientific calculator,
- learning tools,
- socratic learning processes,
- visual aids,
- shown math steps,
- real-time data feeds,
- the ability to compare, combine and correlate data
- widgets, which are all engaging, enriching and entertaining!
It is a knowledge engine that uses natural language, curated data and dynamic computational/graphical representations to showcase the information a user is asking it to tabulate. So what’s the BIG deal about using Wolfram|Alpha versus using Google or Wikipedia?
GOOGLE – searches several URL’s and gets thousands of results
WIKIPEDIA – is community generated, subjective and has descriptive results.
Wolfram|Alpha provides discrete answers and the results are computed by robust algorithms mapping over 10,000,000,000,000 pieces of data!!!!
The products that Wolfram|Alpha supports are:
- its website at http://www.wolframalpha.com
- their app for smartphones (cost$1.99)
- a mini-app which is a widget builder that you can customize
- and a Wolfram|Alpha API
Try a demonstration of the power of Wolfram|Alpha – on the homepage enter LION, RED FOX, CHICKEN and see what comes up. Now try PIZZA + SODA. Enter 30MINS RUNNING, FEMALE, 30 YEARS, 135lbs. Try a mathematical problem such as LOAN, 25000, 6.5%, 30 YEARS. Or even a distance question like “What is the distance from San Francisco to Edmonton?” Looking for language arts assistance? Try “synonyms for nice”. And finally, if you are in the middle of a challenging Scrabble game, enter the letters you have on your line “rhinjte” and Wolfram|Alpha will give you possible word options to use! Too cool.
For teachers new to using Wolfram|Alpha, I really like the Examples Page which showcases a number of different content areas. As well, check out the Wolfram|Alpha for Education area which has lesson plans.
If you would like to see other semantically aware applications, go to our own PSDTECHPD wiki site. Have fun with all this exciting knowledge gathering and sharing!