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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November 23, 2010 — Wolfram Blog Team

“We have a real problem with math education right now,” is how Conrad Wolfram starts his TEDGlobal 2010 talk in Oxford, in which he reasons through what’s wrong, why, and how we can fix it.

Central to Conrad’s argument is the role of calculating—that for the mainstream subject it’s not an end in itself, but a means to an end, and therefore should be wholeheartedly computer based. As he puts it, “Math ≠ Calculating, Math >> Calculating”.

He’s optimistic about what’s possible. “We have a unique opportunity to make math both more practical and more conceptual simultaneously,” and to get people to “really feel math”.

Couldn’t agree more? Dramatically disagree? Let us know.

PS: If you would like to get involved, check out and join computerbasedmath.org.


August 25, 2010 — Tasha Dunaway, Academic Marketing Coordinator

It’s back-to-school time in the U.S., and we’re starting our trips to meet with educators ranging from the high school to post-graduate level. Many schools will be hearing about Mathematica for the first time, while others have requested specialized training to expand Mathematica usage in their work and in the classroom. Several schools are taking advantage of a program created in response to a recent domestic focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education called the STEM Education Initiative.

STEM Education Initiative website

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July 20, 2010 — Andy Dorsett, Academic Account Manager

When I attended this year’s National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference in San Diego, I met many “math coaches”. All teachers are coaches of their classrooms, but I’m referring to teachers whose titles are “coach”. These coaches spend time with at-risk or struggling students, trying to help the students gain further success in their education.

Coaches spend time working one on one or in small groups with these students to help them achieve a higher level of knowledge. They are looking for interactive ways to get students excited about all of their homework as well as to prepare them for standardized tests—especially in math—in new ways, relevant to the students and the topics.

However, very few of these math coaches have computer programming backgrounds. Quite often, their main technology tool has been the basic calculator. These coaches were interested in a tool that would not cost them hours of time to learn.

Insert Mathematica!

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