It's like search on steroids
Wolfram Alpha is unlike any search engine I have ever used. Rather than provide a list of websites in a search, Wolfram Alpha provides an answer to your question by search and computing data. If you want to know how many seconds you have been alive, ask “how many seconds old am I if I was born on __?”
Wolfram will calculate the number of miles from Chicago to San Francisco and automatically provide the conversion to kilometers, meters, nautical miles, and even the amount of time light would take to travel that distance in a fiber optic cable. Wolfram Alpha will do simple and complex mathematical calculations, from calculating the square root of 527 to figuring out the cosine of 42 degrees.
As a teaching tool, the possible uses of Wolfram Alpha in the classroom are endless. According to their website, Wolfram Alpha’s knowledge base covers a huge range of areas… Math, statistics, physics, weather, geography, history, chemistry, media,
engineering, astronomy, earth sciences, life sciences, music, sports, shopping, food, education, organizations, transportation, technology, and more.
No matter what you teach, Wolfram Alpha’s search engine can provide the answers!
How I Use It
Wolfram Alpha’s knowledge base provides access to a huge array of information. Teachers using Wolfram Alpha in the classroom are finding a variety of creative ways to make use of this search tool. In math class, students can use Wolfram Alpha to help check their work on many different types of problems; Wolfram will even display the steps followed to find the solution. Imagine students being able to check their own work at home and find mistakes they made in their thinking when solving complex problems. History teachers are using Wolfram Alpha by allowing students to search for historical or geographical data. Music teachers can even use Wolfram Alpha to generate sound with a specified waveform or search for information about a specific chord. The challenge for teachers will be to keep the students focused on the required search as it is very easy to get lost in the myriad of search options users have. The depth of information is tremendous. For teachers getting started, a visit to Wolfram Alpha’s educator page at http://www.wolframalpha.com/educators is a must. Teachers can find a set of free lesson plans
and ideas for using Wolfram Alpha in the classroom.