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Online Learning Tools: Wolfram|Alpha - Computation Knowledge Engine

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"Wolfram|Alpha is an engine for computing answers and providing knowledge.

It works by using its vast store of expert-level knowledge and algorithms to automatically answer questions, do analysis, and generate reports."

Text books have exercises. Doing these exercises is an important learning activity. Such exercises move students forward along carefully designed learning-paths.

Though the text book content is mostly sufficient for doing the exercises, students prefer looking for solutions on Internet. Browser bookmarks help students in efficiently converging to the solutions. Search engines and wiki sites are also quite helpful.

I have noticed that the website with interactive tools are not utilized to their full potential. Mainly because they do not give ready made answers. These sites let user interactively explore and find their ways forward. Many of these are free services, many others require user to subscribe to the services by paying some (monthly/annual) fees.

I'll try to bring some of the free web-based interactive computational tools/services to your notice. In this blog, I'll introduce Wolfram|Alpha.

You can take a tour of Wolfram|Alpha by following the link given above, but let me paste an important fact about the site (take from that website):

It works by using its vast store of expert-level knowledge and algorithms to automatically answer questions, do analysis and generate reports.

There are more examples by topics. Of particular interest is Step-By-Step Solutions. It unfolds the built-in knowledge sequentially one step at a time only when you ask for it! Try, for example, the integral $\int sin(x) cos^2(x) dx$ step-by-step. Note that Step-by-Step Solutions service from Wolfram|Alpha is not free!

[By the way, 0space lets you create a similar multi-step content with hand-coded steps.]

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