Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Overview of Mathematica in Education

I attended the online seminar for Mathematica this afternoon. Since I have had very limited experience with Mathematica, I found this online demo to be very helpful.

is an online tool which can be downloaded onto a local laptop and used for demonstrating various mathematical functions. Everything within Mathematica is live, interactive, and dynamic. There are three simple rules that one uses when creating functions to be demonstrated in Mathematica. Mathematica allows users to build interactive models which teachers can use to demonstrate the graphing of mathematical functions. In addition, these interactive models can be provided for students to use independently to perform exercises as assigned by teachers.

Mathematica is very flexible. For novice users, the website provides a large set of pre-built interactive models which can be used "as is" or which can be tweaked to be used in other ways. Mathematica also provides tools to allow models to be exported in various formats such as PDF format, etc.

I can see using Mathematica in various ways. First, it is a great tool for visually demonstrating math concepts in an interactive and dynamic way, complete with "slider" tools, etc., to easily change the function being illustrated. Second, I can see exporting a model to our school website as a resource for my students to use outside of class in order to "play" or learn more outside of class. Third, I can see exporting the models to various formats as a review tool which will allow students to prepare for upcoming classes or exams.

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