February 25, 2016 — Adriana Rose, Business Development, Partnerships

For the last few days, we’ve been discussing Wolfram Programming Lab and how it is a tool for those teachers looking to incorporate coding into their computational classrooms. Today is the last day of the series, and I’m going to talk about the experiences I’ve had with Programming Lab. What I’ve seen from numerous workshops is that adopting a computational thinking approach increases engagement and supports creativity in the classroom. Having an engaged classroom is paramount; otherwise, teachers risk students falling into a dangerous spiral of disinterest that prevents them from learning and is likely to cause classroom management problems. Programming Lab gives teachers the ammunition to fight boredom and create exciting lesson plans.

My colleague Ishwarya and I have been visiting elementary, middle, and high schools for the past couple of years to teach workshops of various lengths. It’s been such a help to have the Wolfram Language in the cloud. Without downloading any software, students are able to go to a website and start programming immediately. I usually start off my workshops with the Getting Started and Draw a Sphere Explorations. Here are some of the kids that I’ve worked with in the past year or so:

Students working with Wolfram Programming Lab

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February 23, 2016 — Ishwarya Vardhani, Educational Partnerships

I hope you’re enjoying the Wolfram Programming Lab series. Today I will be sharing more classroom experiences using Programming Lab and what it makes possible. I will also describe the resources available to interested educators. So let’s get started!

One of the local middle schools here in Champaign-Urbana conducts a community enrichment program for its students. When we heard about this, we knew that we wanted to participate and continue investing in our local community and school districts. So I’ve been working with a group of sixth graders for the past few weeks.

One of my favorite things about Programming Lab is that it can be accessed directly from a web browser, making workshops run smoothly without needing to download software. Once students create a free account in Programming Lab, all their work is automatically saved and they can always go back to it. And some always do! I love it when students come up to me and say they tried to do something and it worked, or ask for my help when it didn’t. Both of these feel awesome, as every teacher knows.

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February 18, 2016 — Adriana Rose, Business Development, Partnerships

Today is the second post in our Wolfram Programming Lab series, and I’ll be highlighting how the Wolfram Language supports the development of computational thinking skills for almost any subject matter. Students solidify concepts and practices by making connections to all of their subjects, not just a few here and there. By incorporating computational thinking across the curriculum, teachers give their students an opportunity to develop twenty-first-century skills to automate processes and solve messy problems with real-world data. In this blog post, I’ll take a look at several Explorations in Wolfram Programming Lab to show the possibilities of programming in the Wolfram Language.

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February 16, 2016 — Ishwarya Vardhani, Educational Partnerships

Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts on experiencing Wolfram Programming Lab. In this series, my colleague and I will share our thoughts on using Wolfram Programming Lab as a tool to develop a computational thinking mindset in students. Modern industry has recognized a serious lack of problem solving and critical thinking in recent graduates. In a world going digital, there is an ever-increasing demand for a curriculum that is current and equips students with skills they need to succeed outside the classroom. Adding a computational thinking approach in the classroom addresses these issues. With Wolfram Programming Lab, injecting computational thinking activities to support the curriculum has never been easier. In fact, with the tools and methods we are going to describe in this series, it is possible to do this across a wide range of subjects, not just math and computer science.

Wolfram Programming Lab is an immersive programming environment that is also fun! You can run Programming Lab through a web browser as well as on desktop systems. It is compatible on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Though Wolfram Programming Lab officially released earlier this year, the education folks here at Wolfram have been using it for a while now. Apart from constantly adding and tweaking content, we have been very busy conducting workshops in schools and libraries in Champaign-Urbana and nearby cities. Today I’ll discuss experiences from two workshops that I led using Wolfram Programming Lab.

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