I was recently reminded by Stephen McConnachie at Middleton Grange School of the excellent Wolfram Demonstration Models available online and I have explored the ability to embed these directly into Moodle, our Learning Management System.
These interactive models allow students and teachers to directly manipulate animations to increase understanding of complex ideas such as insulin molecular structure, radial engine design and how microwave ovens work. Wolfram Demonstrations uses CDF Technology (Computable Document Format) to deploy the interactive demonstrations to any standard web browser – a plugin approximately 230MB in size.
Once the plugin is installed, a user can manipulate the model directly within the browser as this video shows:
The full video above shows the three stages of using these demonstrations:
- The installation of the CDF plugin
- The obtaining of the embed code for the selected model from the Demonstrations page
- Inserting the embed code into Moodle (or any other page that supports iFrames)
The Wolfram Demonstrations pages were created to support Wolfram Mathematica users. Anyone wishing to create their own demonstration model must submit their examples to Wolfram Research where a full vetting for accuracy and completeness takes place.
So far, High School students, teachers, professors, researchers, lawyers and hobbyists have all submitted to the ~9600 examples. Below is a screenshot of some of the demonstrations:
The other strong feature of Wolfram Demonstrations is the cross-curricular range of models as evidenced here:
These demonstrations represent an excellent additional resource that teachers can take advantage of, particularly when trying to aid student understanding of complex ideas. I will be promoting these to our staff and beyond for inclusion into Moodle courses within the College.
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