When we need an answer to aquestion, one of our first solutions isto “google it.” Google is theleading search engine that most ofus use in our education and for ourown personal inquiry. So what isWolfram Alpha and what does ithave to offer that Google doesnot?
Wolfram Alpha is a search engine thatactually computes the answers to inquiriesand displays them instantly rather thanprovide a list of websites based on the termsinputted into the search bar.If what you were actually searching for is notwhat is displayed after your search, there is alist under the search bar of other possibletopics you may have wanted to know about.
In addition to the typical subject search, there are a variety of featuresoffered by Wolfram Alpha that are not available with other search engines.These include: + Image Upload- Upload a photo to Wolfram Alpha and it will providethe photo’s dimensions and creation date, as well as a number of specialeffects and transformations that can be applied to the photo + Data Input- Input a date set to Wolfram Alpha and it will display chartsand graphs, as well as information such as the mean, median, and otherstatistical information. + File Upload- Upload a file to Wolfram Alpha and it will provideinformation on that file. For example, upload a music file (such as WAV) andthe duration, amplitude and frequency will be displayed, as well as charts. + Word Input- Input “word” followed with any word into the search barand Wolfram Alpha will display the definition, part ofspeech, pronunciation, origin, synonyms and antonyms, as well as otherinformation on the word.
One of Wolfram Alpha’s most useful tools is themathematical calculations. This program wascreated by Stephen Wolfram who also createdMathematica, a calculation tool which providedthe framework for Wolfram Alpha.Unlike other search engines, Wolfram Alphaprovides instant calculations. In addition, it chartsthem and provides a vast amount of informationother than just the solution.
Pros Cons + Answers are generated + May provide too much using internal data sources information, possibly too easy to use + No worry about inaccurate or + Takes away from inappropriate information discovery and research skills + Less hassle, time saver + Students using the + Can be used with program may not learn presentation tools such as how to properly identify electronic whiteboard reliable and unreliable resources
Value for 21st Century teaching and LearningNot only is Wolfram Alpha a free program, but it provides thefollowing benefits to the classroom: + Students can gather information on general concepts andresearch data on specific topics + Teachers can easily provide visual aides such as pictures,charts and graphs for lesson plans + Students are shown the steps of how mathematical problemsare solved + Information is easier to find and better laid out for students,allowing them more time to find the information they require
Teachers can use the Wolfram Education Portal whichcan help them create lesson plans and offersdemonstrations for educators built by Wolfram experts.They can also submit lesson plans and join theeducation group on Wolfram Alpha community to chatwith other educators about the uses of Wolfram Alphaand how they can use it in the classroomWolfram Alpha takes all aspects ofeducation and makes it possible foreducators to integrate technology intoeach subject they teach!
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