Photo Math is an app to allow users to solve math equations by taking a picture of the problem with their mobile device.
Photo Math currently can’t identify hand written expressions and can only read clean text equations. Aside from having an equation solved, one is able to see a step-by-step solving formula.Apps such as this are already being used at the Humber Math Centre to cater to all learning styles.
“Technology intrigues students,” said Humber Business math teacher and co-op student Jessica Huang. “It shows them that you can use different applications and technology to help you. It’s a different way of learning (in which) you can try and gauge your own learning.”
Cameron Redsell-Montgomerie, coordinator at the Humber Math Centre says, “I think this is teaching faculty how to teach math and that they can’t get away with just calculations.”
Despite the app being unique with its capturing and solving feature, Redsell-Montgomerie adds that users are limited, and current applications such as Wolfram Alpha, are already catering to the everyday user by instantly providing answers to questions ranging from math to statistics. .
“Once the app can read hand written equations, it’ll have the potential to do marvelous things.”
Huang said her concern with applications like Photo Math is their potential to limit or restrict student learning.
“Yes an app is great. It’ll tell you the answer right away where you take a picture of it…but you’re not understanding why it’s happening. You’re not the brains behind the operation, the software is,” she said.
Although concerns have been raised about whether students may give up on further refining their mathematical skills, Jonathan Piché, first-year Humber International Business student, doesn’t believe Photo Math is hurting students, but is a beneficial tool. Piché said the way the app guides users through the equation process is truly helpful and he believes educational apps can help students save money on tutors.
“I wouldn’t use it for every equation but if I was stuck on a question I would. I wouldn’t use it as a reliable source,” Piché said.
The free app is available on the Apple app store, Windows Store, and Google Play; the official Android app is set to launch early 2015.