Thursday, February 7, 2013

Special Blog Post #1

WolframAlpha Comparison

WolframAlpha is a search engine for "computing answers and providing knowledge". After I did an initial inquiry of the comparisons of the populations in India, China, and the United States, I found that both India and China far outnumber the United States by more than the entire population itself. In both India and China the populations are 1.21 billion and 1.35 billion people, respectively. The United States has a mere 309 million people. That is a vast difference. When asked to conduct similar searches, I decided to keep inside the demographic ballpark, since this holds my interest the most on the topic.

For my first search, I chose to search for Compare population density in India, China, and the United States. The results were as staggering as the population comparison. India wins this category for having over 1,050 people per square mile. Can you imagine that? The United States has only 67 people per square mile. That is almost a 1,000 person difference. I cannot fathom adding an extra thousand people within a square mile of my home.

For my second search, I was curious to compare the average incomes in the same three countries; therefore, I searched Compare average income in China, India, and the United States I'm still not certain whether or not I am surprised by the results. In this inquiry the United States takes the gold at $46,000 per person annually, silver goes to China $3,920, and bringing up the rear is India with $1,080. I am surprised that India and China have such low averages, but I supposed if you have a higher population it may level out. However, I am still uncertain on this thought, but for WolframAlpha, I am excited to learn of this new resource.

The possible searches are endless, and can provide multiple statistics as simple as typing in the words and clicking "compute". The use of this resource in classrooms could be very helpful. Out of curiosity while I was already on the website, I decided to tinker, as I often do with new technology, and see what other things I could find. To my excited surprise, there was even a place for teachers to swap lesson plans and creative ideas. Part of the reason I chose a focus in science is because it is a field that is naturally interesting, even more so when you apply hands-on applications, and this is certainly a way to take information and present it in a more interesting and appealing fashion. I will absolutely be putting WolframAlpha to good use in the future.

Social Media Count

Based on the information provided by Gary Hayes and the Social Media Counts, it is astounding how swiftly social media interest is expanding. In the past minute, thousands of blog posts have been made, millions of text messages have been sent, and billions of e-mails have been sent worldwide. This counter only shows a fraction of the technology explosion that goes on momentarily, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. As future educators, especially, we must take notice of these rapid changes.

It is our duty to keep up with the growth in order to provide our students with up to date knowledge. Think about this: the technology that you learn in say your first year of college, will become outdated by your third year. Using WolframAlpha seemed to be perfect for this example. The average lifespan in the United States is roughly 78 years. If you take the average lifespan and divide it by 3 for the yearly timeframe that computer systems change and outdate the previous ones, it means that in an average life these things will improve and change about 26 times. That is phenomenal! Say you begin teaching at age 25 and retire at the average age of 59, you may have to retrain yourself about 12 times in order to keep up with the constantly changing technological advances. For a person like myself, who enjoys learning new things about these latest and greatest advances, it is exciting to wonder what will be released next. I am eager to see what will cause our smartphones, tablets, and gaming systems to become the dinosaur-like bag phones, original computers, and Magnavox Odyssey gaming systems like our older generations. Only time will tell, but at the current rate we may not have to wait too long.

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