Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2014
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Convenient digital math notebook teaches kids to be tech savvy

Subjects & skills
  • Math

Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Handy digital note-taking tool exposes kids to a new, innovative way to create math documents.

Cons: Getting used to the editing and file-saving features can take a lot of practice and patience.

Bottom Line: MathPad is a useful tool for creating and sharing documents that contain mathematical expressions.

You could use MathPad as a classroom tool for sharing documents with students. Use the app to create a math worksheet for students to complete and share the document using email or iCloud. Kids can retrieve the worksheet using their own copy of the app and enter the answers using the math keyboard. For extra practice, have kids create their own documents with at least four expressions. They can share their documents with a partner, and the partner must evaluate the expressions.

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MathPad is a digital note-taking tool that lets kids create mathematical expressions within documents. Kids use a special math keyboard that draws, resizes, and aligns characters so expressions are easier to read. Additional features include iCloud document storage, the ability to email and print documents in PDF format, and the ability to share documents with other MathPad users.

The app opens as a large display screen with a few tappable icons. The information icon is a great place to start, as it contains helpful information about features and links to resources, including tutorial videos on how to use the app. Under the information icon, kids can choose the "How to Use" option to learn details about each feature for creating, modifying, and sharing documents. At the tap of a button, kids can start a new document and start adding expressions with one of two types of easily accessible keyboards: an expression keyboard and a text keyboard. Once kids are finished with a document, they can save it to the iCloud, email it as a PDF, copy it to the iPad clipboard, or share it with other MathPad users. It's worth noting that the free version of MathPad includes functionality for users to try some of the basic features. An in-app purchase of $4.99 upgrades users to the advanced features discussed in this review. MathPad EDU is a paid full version with no in-app purchases.

Kids can learn how to enter and display mathematical expressions using a digital math keyboard. Creating complex expressions by hand or with more traditional software programs can be tricky. MathPad makes it convenient to create a document that displays the expressions with variables and symbols that are nicely aligned and easy to read. Teaching kids to use a digital note-taking tool is a great way to integrate technology with day-to-day math tasks. The app won't teach kids how to evaluate expressions, but kids will learn a useful way to display and share technical information.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Creating math documents isn't an exciting task on its own, but using a digital tool makes it a bit more interesting and engaging, and there's a high level of interactivity.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

The tool isn't intended to teach kids about math or how to evaluate expressions. However, kids can learn how to use technology as a way to display and share information.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The developers have done a nice job of providing supporting information, including an embedded help menu and links to tutorial videos.

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