Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha is an online calculator that works somewhat as a search engine. However, the program only uses its own files to return you an answer. They have a giant knowledge database that grows everyday and answers your question by using the data it has rather than referring to to millions of websites that have the answer's key words.


My assigned technology is the Flip Cam. While researching I have read/seen videos on the following: trouble shooting, how to actually create a video, and how to edit/share your videos.

I think the Flip Cam can be used in many different ways. Students in the fine arts can record themselves playing their instrument and can use the video to physically see what they are doing wrong. Students in core classes can use the flip cam for creating video projects, trailers for books, news casts on a certain topic taught in a class,and family video projects. It  can also be used for assessing if students understand new vocab/grammar because they can speak in a different language- using their new vocab/sentence structures. Also, students can record themselves in a practice interview (practice interviews are typically used in middle school and high school).  


The technology program I have been exploring is Inspiration. Inspiration describes itself as an "innovative new tool that applies the proven strategies of visual thinking and learning to data analysis." This program allows users to create visual representations of their thoughts using concept maps and has the ability to, "formulate questions, collect and organize data systematically to identify patterns and discover relationships, represent data in different types of plots to discover meaning, and develop conclusions and make recommendations based on data analysis." Inspiration applies to all ages. Kidspiration is meant for students grades K-5, InspireData is for grades 4-12, Inspiration is for grades 6-12, and there are teacher resources as well. Inspiration can be integrated into several curriculum subjects including Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics.


At this point in my research and experimentation, the TI-Nspire application seems like an extremely in-depth calculator, comparable to the TI-80s series. Except in this situation, it is on the computer and not a separate device. One can use a calculator setting, a graphing setting, a spreadsheet, a geometry sketchpad, and a statistics sketchpad. Every setting has a myriad of functions to solve almost any mathematical issue one could be greeted with. It does not seem super intuitive at this point, so I will have to teach myself how to really use this technology to its fullest potential.


I recently switched my technology project from Geometer's Sketchpad to GeoGebra. Both softwares are very similar. I have watched two videos on Geometer's Sketchpad, but I have not researched on GeoGebra yet. I have learned from the videos that these programs are used to demonstrate geometric functions. Basic functions, such as circles and ellipses, can be designed through this program and you can use the program to measure lines, angles, and area as well. Through the use of animations you can demonstrate many other topics as well.


When exploring Dipity, I discovered that it acts as a timeline where you can insert websites, videos, twitter posts, and other forms of media to add to this timeline. You can also transfer your facebook timeline into a dipity timeline. It is free to use, and once you have created your own unique timeline, you can embed it into other personal websites. Viewers can follow or edit your timeline, depending on which restrictions you have placed onto it. Dipity acts similar to twitter in that you can follow and see updates to other timelines, while viewers can do the same with your own timeline. Dipity can be used in a social studies classroom to track the important events during a specific presidency, the events that led to the creation of the United States, the major battles of a war, etc. It can be used in art class to track how popular art movements have changed throughout history. Within a science class, students can track how our understanding of the solar system has improved due to specific discoveries by scientists, with the date of these discoveries placed onto the timeline. There are numerous applications for Dipity.