Wolfram Technology Conference 2011—October 19–21, 2011 | Wolfram Headquarters, Champaign, Illinois, USA



Mathematica: The Best Fit for Your Statistics Classroom

with Craig Bauling

Statistics can be a challenging subject for students to master. This talk focuses on a recent case study about statistics education and discusses how the most common difficulties can be effectively addressed with Mathematica. Topics include applying statistical methodology to real-life situations, designing and validating solution methods, and organizing and presenting data.

Teaching Calculus Minus Computation, Plus Understanding

with Nikolay Brodskiy
The University of Tennessee

Wolfram|Alpha and Mathematica take care of all computational problems in a multivariable calculus class. That frees significant time to be spent on a conceptual understanding of calculus. Such a fundamental change in the course raises a whole spectrum of questions: from content-specific questions like "What is the fundamental theorem of multivariable calculus?" to technical questions of managing homework assignments completed by students in the Mathematica notebook format.

In this talk, I will briefly mention a theorem I proved that can be considered as the fundamental theorem of multivariable calculus. That would illustrate the complexity of mathematical questions that need to be resolved before we teach calculus at a higher conceptual level. I would like to share my experience of using Wolfram|Alpha together with Google Docs for homework assignments and tests. I have incorporated a significant conceptual component into tests, making the tests more coherent with my concepts-oriented teaching. Students read my lecture notes as notebook files and complete an online homework assignment before I talk about the corresponding material in class. This fall semester I will take it even further: all my lectures will be recorded and made available on YouTube. I will spend class time mostly on doing projects with students when they have to apply calculus to their favorite topic.

My website contains most of the materials I use for teaching calculus, including video lectures recorded during the 2011 summer semester.

Wolfram|Alpha Update

with Jean Buck

Wolfram|Alpha has been going through quite a few developments during the last year. This talk will give a tour of new features and products based on Wolfram|Alpha technology.

Calculators Are for Calculating, Mathematica Is for Calculus

with Andy Dorsett

We will be exploring how Mathematica can improve on (and ultimately replace) traditional methods of teaching first-year calculus. Mathematica becomes the tool not only for discovering new ideas, but also for clarifying and bringing to light all the foundational calculus concepts in first-year calculus that get obscured due to the tedious arithmetic and heavy algebraic manipulation required in traditional methods of teaching the course.

Mobile Computing in the Classroom

with Nikki Johnson

Imagine the power of Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha on a mobile device: these tools are allowing for a more fun and dynamic classroom. Explore the various ways mobile devices can enhance learning in math, science, and even music classrooms. Through a variety of examples, you will see the benefits of mobile computing technology in your class.

Scott Gray

Learning Math by Making Math with Mathematica

with Scott Gray
O'Reilly School of Technology / Making Math

I will present a new instructional design paradigm and new web-based tools for using an online version of Mathematica to teach mathematics at the undergraduate and high school levels. Dubbed a Maker Cube, the system combines constructionist learning ideas and formative assessment to bring about a radically different approach to math education.

Cliff Hastings

The Equation for Classroom Success: Mathematica for Teaching and Student Use

with Cliff Hastings

Learn how to improve your classroom experience with Mathematica. This presentation gives a tour of functionality relevant to teaching and learning, along with case studies and best-practice suggestions for course integration. Topics include making your classroom dynamic with interactive models and a survey of computation and visualization capabilities useful for teaching practically any subject at any level.

Using Computable Documents for Online Mathematics Instruction

with James Howard
University of Maryland University College

Teaching mathematics online introduces new problems and difficulties to an already complex task. Besides the normal issues of notation and anxiety, online instructions bring challenges introduced by the technology itself. First, there is almost no ability to work directly with a student who is having problems, though modern technology, such as video conferencing, partially addresses this. Second, asynchronous classes place a lag between a question and an answer, interfering with the learning experience. Third, static examples walked through in textbooks and videos cannot show the subtlety and nuance of responsive examples on a blackboard led by an instructor.

These issues manifest in distance learners in ways similar to the physical classroom. Students may be disoriented and confused during the transition to new application areas when skills are not mastered early. Students may also be frustrated early when the examples provided in textbooks do not provide sufficient guidance for generalized solutions. But for the instructor, these manifestations are less transparent in the digital classroom.

Mathematica and its Computable Document Format (CDF) provide mechanisms for interactive examples that give more insight than static examples in a textbook. Using three examples from developmental and precalculus mathematics courses, this presentation shows how CDF delivers interactive learning directly to students through a channel not available through other online or in-class resources. The examples show how even lower-level courses can benefit from the advanced features and interactivity inherent in CDF to give distance learners a better understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts.

Application of the Mathematica Software for Analyzing Large Amounts of Data in Teaching Physics

with František Látal/Marie Volná
Department of Experimental Physics, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic

Collecting and analyzing large amounts of data is an important part of measurement in physics. Processing this data in Mathematica allows students to better understand the physical phenomena. Students will learn to import and export data from different programs and process the measurement results in graphical and numerical form in Mathematica. In the presentation, we will show examples created by students from the Faculty of Science in Olomouc, the Czech Republic.

Developing Interactive Courseware

with Kelvin Mischo

Engage your students with interactive courseware that excites and inspires. This talk will show several ways to author and deliver interactive courseware to enhance the classroom experience. Topics include new deployment options with Computable Document Format (CDF) and custom quiz-generation tools.

Kelvin Mischo

Mathematica for Engineering Education

with Kelvin Mischo

Learn how Mathematica can benefit your engineering courses.This seminar gives educators who are unfamiliar with Mathematica an overall picture of how it can benefit an engineering curriculum at all levels. A student's ability to conceptualize mathematics and computation is critical to understanding engineering principles, and this seminar will show engineering-specific examples of modeling, simulation, visualization, document creation, and how Mathematica is the unified environment that can be used throughout the workflow of engineering courses.

Analyze, Visualize, Simulate: Mathematica for University Research

with Michael Morrison

Accelerate your research cycle with Mathematica. Learn why Mathematica is used in academia around the world as the ultimate research environment with a look at its high-level and multiparadigm programming language, support for parallel computing and GPU architectures, built-in functionality for specialized application areas, and multiple publishing and deployment options for sharing your work.

Pedagogical Physics Simulations

with Brent Perreault
Concordia College

The Wolfram Demonstrations Project has changed the way people demonstrate mathematical concepts. Now, with the ability to embed CDF documents in web pages, it is possible to bring the demonstrative power of Mathematica to specific websites that focus on a particular subject area. This summer I began creating Wolfram Demonstrations of elementary physics simulations aimed to act as teaching aids for intro-level physics courses. By embedding these simulations in a focused and organized web page, I plan to create a group of fine-tuned teaching aids that can be used to demonstrate specific physical concepts, from force vectors to wave mechanics. Various Demonstrations that I have completed include simulations of collisions, a block on an inclined plane, buoyant force, and orbiting projectiles.

Attendees would benefit from my presentation by seeing an example of how Mathematica can be used as an education aid, and how those aids can now be published in CDF-embedded web pages.

Application of Mathematica in Solving Mechanics Problems

with Jan Říha/Veronika Kainzová/David Smrka
Faculty of Science Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic / Department of Exact Sciences, Moravian College Olomouc, Czech Republic

Teaching methods, used in scientific education, are supposed to stay up to date with current findings and developments in science as such. Therefore one should ask: "How can we improve the training of science teachers and specialists?" This question is then considered of high importance. The students of sciences come in touch with rather difficult phenomena, and there should be available a tool that enables them to approach their explanation. Mathematica has become the powerful tool to assist physics education at our department thanks to the project ICTEDUCA, which is co-financed by the European Social Fund and the state budget of the Czech Republic. By constructing three physical models, possible uses of Mathematica in creating two-dimensional and three-dimensional simulations are shown. The first model is Foucault's pendulum where the change of its vibrational plane is caused by Earth's rotation. Next is a pendulum that has each of its weights affected by friction force. Last, the ballistic curve, which is the trajectory of a diagonal throw under friction force that originates from a projectile's movement through an environment, affected by wind.

Sharing Wisdom Gained from Publishing a CDF ebook

with Eric Schulz

The print version of Calculus: Early Transcendentals, by Briggs, Cochran, Gillett, and Schulz, Addison-Wesley/Pearson Education, contains almost 1,000 pages. The electronic version of the complete text was created from scratch as a Computable Document Format (CDF) ebook composed of 113 files, collectively containing 648 interactive figures. Navigation between any two sections of the ebook and to specific items within a section requires only two mouse clicks. The CDF ebook is distributed to thousands of students enrolled at hundreds of colleges directly from Pearson's MyMathLab website. The presenter is the author of the CDF ebook and will share wisdom gained from the experience of designing, creating, managing, and publishing the electronic version of Calculus.

Download ZIP of presentation materials »


with Conrad Wolfram

computerbasedmath.org is a project started by Conrad Wolfram to build a completely new math curriculum with computer-based computation at its heart—alongside a campaign to refocus math education away from historical hand-calculating techniques and toward relevant and conceptually interesting topics. This talk will be a briefing on the concept, progress, and plans—including for the upcoming London summit in November.

*During the conference, not only will you hear about what's new, but you will also be privy to details about what's on the horizon in talks given by Wolfram executives, developers, and more. As such, you will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement to attend our talks labeled "NDA".