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I don't like math.

I know, I know. I realize its importance. And I wish that I'd had a teacher like Dan Meyer to help me recognize that when I was younger. The funny thing about my attitude towards math is that I really enjoy updates to dy/dan and to the Wolfram Research blogs.

Wolfram has released Mathematica 8 today, an upgrade to the computational software program. One of the most interesting updates in this version is that you don't have to communicate with the software in the Mathematica language any longer. You can use free-form English, much like you can with the queries that you can make in Wolfram Alpha. In fact, Mathematica utilizes Wolfram Alpha to process your query and turn it into Mathematica code.

This move is akin to the work that Dan Meyer does - demonstrating that math shouldn't necessarily be "foreign" or without context. I think it's a good move towards making math more understandable, more applicable, and for kids, more interesting. Along those lines, here is Conrad Wolfram, the company's strategic director, discussing how we should rethink math education.

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Audrey Watters


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