App Review: PhotoMath

My top set Year 10 told me about this app in passing, I was curious so I hastily downloaded it. This blog post is titled review but I am completely on the fence as to whether this is technology at its best or an absolute pain in every Maths teacher’s backside.

Basically this is an app that does Maths for you. You simply hover your camera over a question (which must be printed not handwritten) and hey presto; answer, almost instantaneously. 

  
Clever. I think I’m OK with this. I’d expect pupils to show working on homework so they could use this as a quick check but hang on…what’s this?

 

(Apologies for the dodgy photo work there. It’s near on impossible to hover steady and do the Apple double click to take a screenshot simultaneously!) By clicking the steps button you get this:
  
Which I’d be pretty happy with as a piece of Quadratics homework. There’s my issue. Technology is great but we probably need to rethink how we assess pupils as it advances. (I was never actually a big advocate for homework anyway). I wonder how many Y10 homeworks this year have been done by PhotoMath?!

Maths-wise the app can handle most numeric calculations as well as algebraic ones although it fails to factorise and it couldn’t recognise the square root sign in the textbook I tested it on. You’ll find exemplar photos at the bottom of the post. I’m actually pretty blown away by how powerful it is. I’ll be interested to see it develop. 

PhotoMath is free to download on the App Store. If you’re anything like me you’ll be testing it on *everything*. 

   
         

  

  

  

  

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2 comments

  1. abyssbrain · May 9, 2015

    Then give them more word problems.

    I teach advanced number theory and combinatorics, so I wish them good luck for finding an app that can solve those problems 🙂

  2. Chris Hatch · May 15, 2015

    It gets the solutions from Wolfram Alpha so if they felt so inclined they could already do this.

    I don’t have a problem with this. Admittedly I teach in FE but I want students to get assessments correct and I would rather they cared enough to find out what the answer is and how to answer it rather than just give up.

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