Special Event: New Wolfram Language Resources for the Classroom
May 13, 2016 — Rob Morris, Education Product Analyst, Business Analysis
Earlier this year we launched Wolfram Programming Lab as the place to start learning the Wolfram Language. And since launch, we’ve received a lot of feedback and support from educators and students interested in using Programming Lab in their classrooms.
Programming Lab was conceived and designed with teaching in mind, and to help make Programming Lab the best possible learning environment, we’ve developed some new tools for both students and teachers. We invite you to preview these new materials at a special virtual event, New Resources for the Classroom: Virtual Workshop for Educators.
Programming Lab is built on two major components utilizing two different learning styles to teach coding in the Wolfram Language—Explorations are based on a jump-right-in-and-explore approach, and Stephen Wolfram’s book An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language provides the basis for a systematic approach. We are introducing new educator-focused functionality for both of these components.
First are the Explorations. These are bite-sized coding exercises designed to create something or answer a specific question. We are enhancing these by introducing Teacher’s Editions, which provide goals, procedures, and helpful comments for each step within an Exploration. In addition to these, we have also developed “Programming Lab modules.” These are handy planning guides that are tailor-made to fit a specific duration: a three-day introduction, a five-day series, and so on. They range across topics that include astronomy, geography, math, and many others. These modules provide educators with the material they need to present Explorations that will complement the curriculum, or as a fun way to introduce a topic while simultaneously adding a programming language to their toolkits.
Explorations work well as targeted activities for students, but some students will want a more rigorous framework for learning the Wolfram Language. Those students will benefit from working through Stephen Wolfram’s An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language, which is built into Programming Lab. At the end of each section of the book, there are exercises to help solidify your understanding. We’re enhancing these exercises by providing instant, automated grading of your answers.
To preview these new materials and to be the first to try them out, please join us at the virtual event on May 17, 2016, from 4–5pm US EDT (8–9pm GMT). All are welcome, as no programming experience is necessary! This event is part of a series of workshops for educators, ranging in focus from how to use Programming Lab to teaching computational thinking principles. Recordings of past events are available online. You can register for the latest educator workshop here.