Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha is an engine for figuring answers and producing information.  This website can compute just about anything from complex mathematic equations to the daily weather in Hong Kong.  With students having the ability to access this engine on a daily basis, it has the possibility of being an opportunity and threat for learning.  Wolfram Alpha provides various opportunities for students to advance in their knowledge of a certain area.  For instance, the website is very beneficial in mathematics because students are able to key in equations and receive immediate results with plots and related queries.  Also, they are able to work independently by accessing visual models and charts, which aid them in working out problems.  The website can be a good source for students to check an answer to a problem.  On the contrary, Wolfram Alpha can impose a threat to learning.  The website does not provide step-by-step solutions, which can be problematic in the sense that students can just type in their equations and receive instant answers.  This process of learning reflects instrumental learning because students don’t actually have to know why the engine came up with a certain solution.  Wolfram Alpha can be very beneficial for learning mathematics if used properly or very detrimental if not used correctly.   

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