Interactive mathematica

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Slides developed for the UNC Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) conference, April 14, 2010.

Slides developed for the UNC Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) conference, April 14, 2010.

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  • 1. Using Mathematica as an interactive F2F and online teaching environment
    Robert R. Gotwals
    North Carolina School of Science and Math
  • 2. Teaching Environment
    Specialized high school for science/math students
    Computationally-based courses
    Computational chemistry
    Computational Medicinal Chemistry
    Research in Computational Science
    Core Courses
    Chemistry by Inquiry
    Two modes
    Residential (F2F) courses
    Online courses (NCSSM Online,
  • 3. Teaching Needs
    Electronic notebooks
    Text, data, graphics, hyperlinks, other media
    Computational engine
    Data analysis (statistics)
    Data visualization
    Specialized resources
    Bioinformatics, other “omics” capabilities
  • 4. Strategies
    Electronic Notebooks
    Microsoft Word
    Various wiki tools (Moodle, Wikispaces, etc.)
    Computational engines
    Excel – general data analysis tool
    Gnuplot (data visualization)
    “R” – statistics package
    Specialized Resources
    Jmol, LigandExplorer
  • 5. Challenges
    Multiple tools, multiple platforms
    Lack of seamless integration
    Multiple learning curves
    No one tool adequate for our needs
  • 6. Current Solution
    “Mathematica is a computational software program used in scientific, engineering, and mathematical fields and other areas of technical computing”
    Mathematical function library
    Special mathematical function library
    2D and 3D data and function visualization and animation tools
    Solvers for systems of equations
    Numeric and symbolic tools for calculus
    Multivariate statistics libraries
    Toolkit for adding user interfaces to calculations
    Tools for image processing
    Tools for visualizing and analyzing graphs
    Tools for combinatorics problems
    Data mining tools such as cluster analysis, sequence alignment and pattern matching
    Import and export filters for data, images, video, sound, CAD, GIS, document and biomedical formats
    Database collection for mathematical, scientific, and socio-economic information
    Support for complex number, arbitrary precision, interval arithmetic and symbolic computation
    Notebook interface for review and re-use of previous inputs and outputs including graphics and text annotations
    Technical word processing including formula editing and automated report generating
    Tools for connecting to SQL, Java, .NET, C++, FORTRAN and http based systems
    Tools for parallel programming
  • 7. Palette Support
  • 8. Sample Research Notebook
  • 9. Sample Classroom Product
  • 10. Sample Student Lab
  • 11. Computational Engine
  • 12. Specialized Computations
  • 13. Mathematica Pros and Cons
    Cross platform
    Exceptionally robust
    Huge user community
    Exceptional documentation / help capabilities
    Reasonable learning curve
  • 14. Questions?