Review by Cresta Kowalski, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2017
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Blank virtual grid sheets assist students with mathematical notation

Subjects & skills
  • Math

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Pros: Quick way to write and solve math equations, improves legibility for students with dysgraphia.

Cons: Relies on students to understand how to set up the problem properly; no guidance on strategies or algorithms are provided in-app.

Bottom Line: Clear and precise app that allows students to focus on calculation, not number formation.

Use ModMath as it's marketed: to get students who struggle to write mathematical notations completing their work with the least amount of difficulty. Using the notation canvas and keypad, students can work without ever picking up a pencil to complete their math problems for class, regardless of content difficulty. From basic addition to complex equations, students can use the canvas to print, save, or email their work to the teacher. If math computations are required in other content areas -- like physics, chemistry, or biology -- students can pull up ModMath and submit their work. It's a virtual notebook page for math, and students can share their work from their notation canvas with classmates and teachers whenever it's needed. 

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ModMath is a program created to support students who are struggling with mathematical notation. After completing a short tutorial, users will create their work on a notation canvas that has graph paper lines; the canvas can be customized in the Swatches menu in order to provide color or overlay options that are easier to see. Then students will use a keypad to write their math equations within the cells of the virtual graph paper. It doesn't matter how simple or complex the problem, the keypad has options to support upper mathematical operations and functions. There isn't any help on how to solve the problem, that's all on the shoulders of the user. Once the work is complete, the student can print, email, or save the document to the cloud.

Other options in the app that aren't included in the free version are the ability to make notes on your paper and to insert a photo from your device. The note option is helpful for students and allows them to communicate their thoughts or additional written information to their teacher. The photo option allows students to insert a photo of a worksheet, whiteboard problem, or textbook strategy and then use the information in the image as they work on their notation canvas. 

ModMath gives support for students who struggle with numeral formation and mathematical notation, which can be a stumbling block for increasing mathematical ability over a lifetime. ModMath takes away the stress of fine motor deficits and allows students to use the keypad to "write" their math problems. There are no fancy bells and whistles, no additional math supports or guides, no sounds or voice-to-text capabilities; the app is purely for notation and submitting math work. 

ModMath is a huge value for students who find that pencil-and-paper work, due to fine motor deficits or visual spatial difficulties, impedes their academic progress. For students whose focus and inattentiveness impairs their ability to align numbers in the proper places, this app gives them the visual spaces to put them in. It's not needed for everyone. But in considering universal design, ModMath levels the playing field for students with dysgraphia or other difficulties that may cause them to misalign or incorrectly form numbers. 

Overall Rating

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

Useful tool for students that clearly presents math work and equations. Straightforward design and simple to use for any math notation, from basic facts up to complex calculus. 

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

The graph lines on the notation canvas keep numbers and symbols in the proper place, allowing students to perform calculations without the complication of messy notation. 

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 tool helps students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other learning difficulties. Support is available through a tutorial and help topics on the website. 

Common Sense Reviewer
Cresta Kowalski Classroom teacher

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