Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Wolfram Summer School


John Burnette

Educational Innovation

Class of 2016


John Burnette has been a teacher of high-school math and computer science since attending the Mid-Career Math & Science program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1987. He was fortunate to have had his first teaching job with the Lab School associated with the University of Chicago, where he first explored Mathematica running on NeXTstations. He has been addicted ever since—Wolfram Research does not have a bigger fan.

With only about a decade of employment left in him, John is driven to play a part in finally pushing real reform that moves true education of mathematics to the K–12 environment. He will happily point out which eggs need to be broken in the making of that omelet.

Project: Using Wolfram Explorations to Capture the Attention of Students

Adopting the constructivist philosophy of education championed by the Paul Lockhart and Eleanor Duckworth essay, I will create a portfolio of Wolfram Programming Explorations, each suitable for use by students who have read up to a given page in An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language.

The final goal of the project is two-fold: (1) to do my part to create rich Explorations that exercise an ever-growing “toolkit” of functions as readers make their way through the text; and (2) to demonstrate how this technology can, with minimal effort, stimulate interest in and improve intuition for diverse academic disciplines.