Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2014
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MyScript Calculator

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Innovative technology turns handwritten equations into digital format

Subjects & skills

  • Math
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Great for:
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (6 Reviews)

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Pros: Makes using a calculator more fun and engaging; helps integrate technology into the math classroom.

Cons: Kids may need a lot of practice to master some symbols. Equations have to be drawn carefully so the app can recognize and process them correctly.

Bottom Line: This innovative and useful tool adds interest and engagement to an otherwise dull task. And it's free!

Given its universal ability to calculate a range of equations, from simple to fairly complex, MyScript Calculator could be used in most mathematics classrooms. Of course, the goal is not to teach kids how to solve equations, but rather to integrate technology into the classroom. It could be fun to have kids use the app to check their work. For example, when kids finish a worksheet you've assigned, have them work individually or in pairs to check their answers by handwriting the equations and cross-checking the calculated answers with their own.

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MyScript Calculator is a calculator app that allows users to hand-write math operations that the app then solves. When kids first open MyScript Calculator, a five-step tutorial walks them through important functions of the app. When they're finished watching the tutorial, a grid-like screen appears, and they can simply begin using their fingers to draw equations directly on the screen. The app processes whatever is drawn into digital format, and the results are immediately calculated. Kids can edit equations by scratching over numbers and symbols to delete them. When they're finished, they can email or copy their work, or use Airdrop to share it. Customizable settings include setting the number of decimal places, using left-handed writing, and turning automatic calculation on or off. A single $.99 in-app purchase unlocks the ability to continue a long operation or use the result in a new calculation, save results into memory and use them anytime, and access all past calculations for reuse or export.

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Kids can learn how to use technology to solve equations: They hand-write equations, the app processes those equations and transforms them into digital format, and then, as with a traditional calculator, the device calculates the answer. Kids can use scratch-out gestures to delete parts of the equations as needed. Unfortunately, the app doesn't have a memory feature, so multi-step equations may have to be written on paper. Nonetheless, having kids use a digital calculator is a great way to integrate technology into the classroom and engage kids a bit more in crunching numbers. Kids won't learn how to solve equations, but they will learn how to use up-to-date touchscreen technology.

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Overall Rating

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

Kids will likely enjoy handwriting math problems and watching the problems turn digital. It's much more interesting than hitting buttons on a calculator.

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

The app isn't meant to teach math, but kids can learn how to use technology to display and solve equations.

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 interface is simple and nicely organized, and an excellent tutorial explains how to use the various features.

Teacher Reviews

(See all 6 reviews) (6 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Peri N. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Oswego County Boces
Mexico, NY
Why use a program that needs keyboards for math symbols? Just write them!

I like this app as it takes guess work out of equations/numbers on paper. Screen caps allow students to submit answers to CMS'. Students like the magic of handwriting transforming to print before their eyes.

Very happy that e auto-calculate function can be turned off so students still have to solve the problem before checking their work.

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