Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Special Blog #1

Alpha Wolfram

I found that America's population is about 309 million people. I'm not surprised that comparatively, America's ranked #3 in population. The baby boomers produced many families that heavily increased our population, but since, the average procreation has dropped from 6-5 children to 2-3 children per family. With obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions on the rise, which became a problem starting with America, and the decrease in overall procreation, America's population has started to flat line and even decrease. Statistics are already showing that our newer generations might fall prey to shorter lifespans than older generations due to malnutrition. [Perhaps this isn't a terrible thing, though. America alone uses 25% of the world's natural resources. That's right; the rest of the world lives on 75%.] In terms of America's education ranking, we are not even in the top five. Overall, Great Britain, Japan, and Germany heavily out weigh us in several categories such as mathematics and science rankings and graduation rates.*

Alpha Wolfram is a program I use semi-regularly because it's program you can ask mathematical questions to get easy step-by-step instructions in solving the equation. One can view the solution in general, but they have three opportunities per day to input an equation and view the solving instructions. To do it more often, one has to upgrade to the "Pro" version, which costs money, so I think this is a great aspect and great fault to this program. Most would rather suffer, wait, and grapple with the problem than pay a nice sum of money to use the program constantly. This ensures that the students wisely picks problems after previously struggling with it. Because of this I find it useful, though it has notoriously bad reputation. Because I underestimate the average American student many times, I would not promote the use of this program in my classroom. The fact is: if one person has access to the program, they can pass the username and password to the remaining students, crippling my homework assignments and learning objectives. Some will use the program like it's intended to, but most would rather look at the easiest route to an 'A'.

Social Media Counts

Social media is always on the rise. I knew that it was going to be on the rise since Myspace came out and was such a huge hit. This means a great deal to my approach in using technology as a major tool, but I can't estimate how much it will affect the common classroom in a few years, but as it is, the instant information is a gratifying result. I imagine to be a teacher in the 80's and earlier involved plentiful prior work put into each teaching session and far more poor communication issues in less than timely manners. As it is, the sharing of information produces amazing results in all sorts of categories.

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