What an amazing tool–Wolfram Alpha!
I entered the following two equations: y = 3x + 4, and y = 1/2x – 5, and was given a solution in less than 5 seconds. Check it out at http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=y+%3D+3x+%2B+4%2C+y+%3D+1%2F2+x+-+5. How does this changing learning tasks? How does it not?
What I always needed as a student was to see an example of how a problem is solved. Sometimes I needed to see several example so that I could commit the steps to memory. Unfortunately, there were not always examples in the book for each variation of problem. You all know the problems I am talking about–the ones at the end of the chapter that were the most difficult. They can seem downright impossible. The teacher rarely goes over such problems but we were always expected to solve these problems either in homework, on a test, or both. With Wolfram Alpha this is possible. What a great tool for students. It’s like the “I do, We do, You do” without the teacher. Students can plug in their own problems and within seconds be provided with a map to the solution.
As teachers, we can more easily create guided notes, test answer keys and more. I had never heard of this tool until a week ago. I can’t wait to make use of it in the classroom!