Fascinerande interaktiv matematik

Mathematica, från Wolfram Research är ett av världens mest kraftfulla matematikprogram. Wolfram Research har tagit fram 2500 interaktiva demonstrationer av matematik, vilka visualiserar matematiska satser och idéer på ett mycket fascinerande sätt. Materialet får användas fritt av alla. Det presenterades vid NCETM National Conference: The Potential of ICT in Mathematics Teaching and Learning, London, 12 March 2008.

Från Conrad Wolfram som demonstrerade materialet på konferensen bad vi få en kort beskrivning av vad som kan vara mest intressant för svenska matematiklärare och elever:

  • The Demonstrations Project: This is free and can be used at several levels:
    • Any of more than 2500 interactive examples can be downloaded and concepts demonstrated with them in front of a class (through a projector or interactive whiteboard).
    • Students themselves can interact with the examples, gaining insight into how parameter values affect the results.

      All of this can be done using the Mathematica Player, free to download from Wolfram.com.

    • If the teacher has a full Mathematica, they can take a Demonstration's source-code and change it to make a new example (or a local language ie. Swedish version of the original). The code is very short for the complexity of example and often easy to see how to change.
    • If students are equipped with Mathematica, they can themselves understand how the program works, changing it to make new examples. Furthermore, they can immediately run any examples the teacher has changed (whereas if they have just the free Player, the teacher must convert their notebook for interactive use with Player first).
    • Teachers or students with Mathematica can make completely new examples which they can submit for publication to Demonstrations – following a project through from concept to implementation, documenting to publication – just to the real world!
  • Mathematica as an open-ended tool. Use instead of a calculator but with much more power to run real examples, giving students the experience of writing-up as they go. More at http://www.wolfram.com/solutions/precollege/.
  • Mathematica and Player for making interactive courseware and books. Because interactive notebooks can now be converted for the free Player, books and courseware can be replaced with interactive books making concepts much more understandable and engaging.
  • Curriculum reform. Longer term I believe that the current state of computer maths can be the magic bullet for reforming maths education to make it more inspiring and relevant. I have argued this case for a little while, but believe with some of the new technology in Mathematica 6 and in Demonstrations, the arguments are even stronger.