## Wolfram Alpha is up and running

May 18, 2009 by richbeveridge

Wolfram Alpha is up and running!

Here is some discussion about the site.

And here.

I was also reading a New York Times article today about the web sites Course Hero and Cramster.

The future of education will, I believe, move in a direction that makes use of these tools, but still challenges students to learn and solve difficult multi-step problems.

I was saying to one of my students today that in difficult multi-step problems, knowing the answer is generally not all that helpful – it’s making sense of the answer that is important.

Some skills never go out of style – for instance, just because we have cars, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn to walk!

Even though simple calculators are ubiquitous, we should still develop number sense and learn to calculate and work with whole numbers, fractions, decimals and percentages by hand.

The same goes for elementary algebra – once hand-held computer algebra systems become common, I believe that we should still learn the basics of elementary algebra – for the same reason we should learn to compute without a calculator – critical thinking.

We can’t think critically about something we don’t understand.

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on June 3, 2009 at 3:44 PM |CarrieWhat great comments about the importance of learning and UNDERSTANDING fundamental algebraic skills! I may share some of your thoughts with my students next year, especially when they’re reaching for their calculators to do basic arithmetic.

on June 4, 2009 at 11:09 AM |richbeveridgeThanks for the feedback. If you’re interested in some of the complex multi-step problems I give my students, here a few of my favorites

Area of a triangle

Geometric Complex Roots

General Cubic

on June 16, 2009 at 5:32 PM |Wolfram Alpha, a New Online Computation Engine, Shakes Up Math - The Numbers Guy - WSJ[...] Some teachers see Wolfram Alpha as a tool liberating them and their students to focus on broader concepts, just as calculators obviated slide-rule instruction. It could also push math into a more visual realm and away from abstract notation, thanks to its plethora of graphs and charts. “Graphical aspect: I’m wondering how much mathematical notation will survive this big push of graphing and animation,” said Rich Beveridge, a math instructor at Clatsop Community College who has blogged about the new site. [...]

on June 29, 2009 at 10:04 PM |KimI agree that kids cannot think critically about what they don’t understand, which is why process is so much more important than the answer.

I can see myself using this site as a research tool as much as a place to do computations.

Does anyone have any ideas about/ or examples of how you have used this site in your math classrooms?