June 26, 2013 — Jon McLoone, International Business & Strategic Development

My government (I’m in the UK) recently said that children here should learn up to their 12 times table by the age of 9. Now, I always believed that the reason why I learned my 12 times table was because of the money system that the UK used to have—12 pennies in a shilling. Since that madness ended with decimalization the year after I was born, by the late 1970s when I had to learn my 12 times table, it already seemed to be an anachronistic waste of time.

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March 13, 2013 — Crystal Fantry, Manager, Education Content

It’s that time of year again! Time to apply for the Mathematica Summer Camp 2013! The camp is being held at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, July 7–19. Students will have the opportunity to learn Mathematica’s computing language, work with Wolfram mentors, and interact with other students with similar interests. By the end of camp, each student will have created his or her very own Mathematica program!

Mathematica Summer Camp

Last year the camp was a great success, and students worked on a variety of projects, from modeling diseases to stereographic projection of platonic solids.

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February 11, 2013 — Conrad Wolfram, Director of Strategic & International Development

Computer Based MathI’m very excited to announce that computerbasedmath.org has found the first country ready for our completely new kind of math education: it’s Estonia. (…and here’s the press release).

I thought Estonia could be first. They are very active on using technology (first to publish cabinet decisions immediately online, first to include programming in their mainstream curriculum), have ambition to improve their (already well respected) STEM aptitude and lack the dogma and resistance to change of many larger countries. There aren’t so many countries with all those characteristics.

In our first Estonia project we will work with them to rewrite key years of school probability and statistics from scratch. This is an area that’s just crazy to do without a computer, even harmful. It’s an area that’s only come to the fore since computers because it only makes sense with lots of data. No-one in real life does these hand analyses or works with only 5 data points, so why do we make our students? Why get students emulating what computers do so much better (computing) rather than concentrate on imaginative thinking, analysis and problem-solving that students ought to be able to do so much better even than today’s computers?

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November 12, 2012 — Crystal Fantry, Manager, Education Content

This week is American Education Week (November 11–17), and in a very fundamental way, our goal as a company is to improve educational standards and accessibility around the world with our technology. For over 20 years, Wolfram Research has been at the forefront of combining technology with education. It started with Mathematica and grew with Wolfram|Alpha, mobile apps, the Wolfram Demonstrations Project, Wolfram SystemModeler, and much more. From simple elementary math to highly complex physics, Wolfram’s tools are used not only around the nation, but around the whole world.

Mathematica SpikeyNext year marks the 25th anniversary of Mathematica. Today, Mathematica is a staple at both research universities and smaller liberal arts colleges. In fact, Mathematica has been adopted by many school systems throughout the country, including SUNY, CUNY, and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU). We’ve partnered with MnSCU to make Mathematica available to Minnesota public high schools through an outreach program. And the government of Panama, having recognized the importance of investing in its future, has recently focused on teaching Mathematica to professors, researchers, and students in all computer-accessible high schools and universities countrywide.

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January 18, 2012 — Wolfram Blog Team

Wolfram Education Portal (Beta)

Teachers, are you looking for a new way to integrate technology into your classroom? How about through a dynamic textbook or pre-generated lesson plans? Students, are you looking for some extra help or practice in your classes? How about using interactive demonstrations and widgets to help understand the concepts you are learning? The Wolfram Education Portal is the answer for students and teachers alike!

We are happy to announce the launch of the free Beta version of the Wolfram Education Portal. The portal comes equipped with a dynamic and interactive textbook, lesson plans aligned to the common core standards, and many other supplemental materials for your courses, including Wolfram Demonstrations, widgets, and videos. The Education Portal currently contains full materials for Algebra and partial materials for Calculus, but will continue to grow and improve with your comments and feedback.

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November 29, 2011 — Jackie Tran, computerbasedmath.org

Having worked on content development for computer-based math over the past few months, I am excited to share a quick report on our lively summit at The Royal Institution. The purpose was to address the question “In an era of ubiquitous computing, how should we rebuild math education from the ground up, to keep pace with and drive progress in the real world?”

The Computer-Based Math Education Summit

Attendees included people from government, education, assessment, industry, technology, STEM, and publishing, which I believe proved to make a very interesting crowd. The talks from speakers were insightful as anticipated and, at times, amusing; however, what I enjoyed most were the natural discussions and debates that happened after these talks and throughout the summit.

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November 18, 2011 — Kelvin Mischo, Sales Engineer

Minnesota State Colleges & UniversitiesAfter a few meetings during the past few weeks with Mark Thomas, Software Contracts Specialist for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU), Wolfram and MnSCU have finalized a plan that will provide Mathematica to Minnesota public high schools through a new outreach program.

Any of the roughly 400 public high schools in Minnesota can request a license for Mathematica at MnSCU-offer@wolfram.com, and Wolfram will provide up to five local licenses per school for the duration of the 2011–2012 academic year. Wolfram and MnSCU intend to extend this partnership in the future.

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March 25, 2011 — Abigail Nussey, Wolfram Science Summer School Event Director

There’s still time to apply to NKS Summer School 2011, a complex systems research school based on Stephen Wolfram’s seminal tract on the subject, A New Kind of Science (NKS), published in 2002. The first NKS Summer School was held soon after the book’s publication, and, this summer, Wolfram Research will host its 9th annual program, centered on doing research on the topics and methods introduced by the book. The 2011 NKS Summer School is being held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA from June 27 through July 15, 2011. The concepts introduced in NKS have already made significant contributions to research and technological innovation.

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February 8, 2011 — Wolfram Blog Team

Paul Abbott, a faculty member in the School of Physics at The University of Western Australia, wants to teach his students a tool that they can use to tackle real-world problems—not only in his physics and mathematics courses, but throughout their studies and into their professional careers. For him, Mathematica is that tool.

Abbott uses Mathematica to build all of his courseware, from lecture slide shows and assignments to quizzes and exams. His students use Mathematica to visualize surfaces, explore concepts using interactive examples, hypothesize results, and check their work. He says Mathematica is an “immersive environment” that helps his students reach a higher level of understanding.

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January 5, 2011 — Kelvin Mischo, Sales Engineer

After talking with community college educators recently at the national AMATYC conference in Boston, I’m reminded, once again, that time is the most valuable commodity in a teaching setting.

It takes time to plan a lesson for students, time to refine this lesson such that it has the most impact, and time to plan what technology will accompany a lesson and how to guide students through the process of using that technology. Any wrinkles with using the technology will greatly distract students from the course concept at hand.

As a concrete example, community college faculty are used to explaining to students the four menus, and roughly eight steps, to visualize a function and its derivative using a calculator, which is a significant time investment. (The examples are from my own TI calculator I’ve kept all these years.)

Steps to visualize a function and its derivative using a TI calculator

It seems that most community college educators know how powerful and useful Mathematica can be to support lectures or individual student projects. But this year, more than anything else, we talked about how Mathematica 8′s new free-form input will reduce or eliminate a teacher’s preparation time and will help students who are new users access Mathematica‘s powerful functionality immediately.

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