wolframalpha.com ... "the end of human thought" .. I like it.

wolframalpha.com

On twit this week they tagged it as the end of human thought, but they were just being cheeky.

What do math, chemistry, and physics teachers think of wolfram alpha?

I think it is awesome. There will be some students who employ this tool inappropriately and "cheat", but the interested students will use this to extend what they learn, and achieve new levels of learning.

What do you guys think?

Tags: computer, math, mathematica, science, wolfram

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If there's a way for kids to cheat on the tool it is not worth the time to install it.
You don't need to install it Anne, it's out there already for free! What's cheating anyway?
I just looked into this after someone brought this to our attention as a Google killer. Local consensus: nah. I was going to blog about it to our community, though. Will let you know what the response is. The cheating angle was the first thing that occured to me, but maybe that speaks more to the kind of student I was...
yeah. It is definitely not a search engine. Nobody seems to know exactly what to call it, but Stephen Wolfram says that by building computer programs we can learn things about the physical world by running them and observing the output.

It is a science and mathematics research tool. Let me know what people say on your blog. Post a link here please.
I've just tried it briefly - I'm impressed, and I've recommended it to my year 9 students as part of their algebra revision, since the engine will reveal its processing steps, not just an answer. I probably won't use it in class, not being in a 1:1 context, so 'cheating' is not all that significant.
I'd put it in the extension category.

For those exploring it, there are some fun (?) results with bessel functions. It's integration and differentiation seems fair.. It also seems to like representing solutions as continued fractions.
check out this firefox addon to compare/mash up google and wolfram alpha; every search is a google search and a wolfram alpha search.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/12006

It basically replaces the google ads with a wolfram alpha search. Just awesome. My students are teaching me!
Kids will always be able to cheat in one way or the other.


This seems like a great start to more great things to come. It's not a search engine.



Who was the 26th president of the united states? Kids don't need to memorize this fact; they need to know how to find the answer. I am very interested in this new program, I feel like more of these programs will be coming with "web 3.0"...
A CASish type app (diffrentiate sin(x)) that's free and accessible, can tell me how many days I've been alive for (10 feb 1973) and relies on the language we use to discuss mathematics/physics to function, pretty impressive hey!
Wolfram throws into focus the question "why do we still teach knowledge?"

Einstein famously asked "Why should I clutter my brain with information that is readily available from reference sources?", when recovering that information required a trip to a (physical) library. I would much rather spend my time instilling into young minds the habit (and skills) of reflexively hitting Google, Wikipedia, and now Wolfram, whenever they find themselves wondering about the date of this, the composition of that, or the method for the other.
After writing this I got enthused and expanded it into a blog post on Wolfram|Alpha and its implications to education, for anyone who's interested. Thanks, Geoff, for starting a great thread!
I checked out your blog ... that was a great use of wolfram alpha, and to extend the numbers given and predict the future! Have fun on your trip. Keep living, searching, and hopefully finding.

Geoff
Will do all three, promise! Thanks for the blog comment.

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