The attached document is from The Chronicle of Higher Education on WolframAlpha.
If is rather long but worth reading if you are interested in the future of mathematics education.
I'm interested:
They're in the stone ages in my opinion. I mean the teachers who object to using Wolfram Alpha, Mathematica, and any other means to help students learn math. In my opinion, they really have not a clue what's going on: seeing how the problem is worked and having the answer in hand helps students learn math. I am personally of the camp that students should have the answer manual and if necessary, give them 95% of the solution sequence so that they may relatively easily fill in the remaining 5% and find some sense of accomplishment and not become discouraged: Discovery comes from the strangest of places and not always from the sharpest in the class.
I suppose it depends what you want: a select few that can grasp the concepts without crutches or a class full of students that find a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in learning how a problem is worked with the hope that gradually some will become better with time and use that experience gained with using these new tools to work on problems previously inaccessible to those not familiar with the methods.
Often though we don't help them enough,the Riemann Hypothesis remains unsolved, and we have a crisis in Mathematics in at least the USA.
The author is living in a time warp, WolframAlpha offers nothing that has not been available for something more than 5 years. They are also ignorant of the history of CAS systems.
Free CAS sytems have been available for PC's for a number of years, as have online CAS tools. I use Maxima which has a pedigree of 40 years and is a free download. There are also tools for PDA's and smart phones that do the same sorts of things (some of them freeware).
All WA seems to have done is stick the noses of people into a reality they have been trying to ignore for some time.
(Also there are much more effective stealthy ways of cheating than using WA, which I will not go into here, I expect the author also thinks take-home exams are a good idea).
To prove a point I include the attachment, which is pertinent to this post
CB
I should have added that WA differs from the existing tools that acomplish many of the same effects as far as maths homework/exams are concerned in that it attemps to obviate the need to learn any system specific syntax. It attempts to interpret what you type and forms the prescise syntax needed for the Mathematica engine for you.
I can see that this will allow many more (lazy and/or incompetent) students to benefit from the technology that many have been using now for years.
CB
Maybe I should clarify a point. The Chronicle of Higher Education is a weekly newspaper that covers higher education issues mainly in the US & Canada. As such, we would expect the reporter to know much about the history and use of computer algebra systems. However, he did rely upon two sources: Derek Bruff and Maria H Andersen.
The above links are to their web pages on this topic.
Here is a radio story on Nation Public Radio on this topic.