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Pros: Offers a unique, tech-savvy approach to showing solutions to math equations.
Cons: Kids will be tempted to use the app for quick and easy answers to problems, with no opportunity for in-depth learning.
Bottom Line: If used appropriately, this could be a fun tool for showing kids how to solve equations.
If you're looking for an interesting twist on teaching kids about equations, use Photomath as a whole-class instructional tool. Keeping in mind that equations have to be printed and not hand-written, create several equations that align to your lesson, and have kids solve them using paper and pencil. Then, using a copy of the unsolved equations, scan them with the app, one at a time. Review each step of the solution with the class, making sure kids understand why each step was completed.
Photomath is essentially a camera with a built-in program for solving equations. To start, kids point the device at an equation and wait a few seconds for the equation to scan. Then, the solution appears on the screen. Kids can tap a button to see the steps that were used to solve the equation. Other tapable icons on the main screen include an information icon, a brightness icon, and an icon that lists all recently scanned equations and their solutions.
It's pretty neat to see Photomath in action, but kids may not learn much from the experience. Each step of a solution can be displayed, but explanations aren't provided, which limits how much kids may understand. Ideally, kids will use the app if they occasionally struggle with an equation and want to see the individual steps for solving it. Kids can also use it to check their work, although traditional methods, like substitution, are much more valuable when it comes to learning. The greatest concern about this tool is that it raises the possibility of academic cheating, and may send kids a message to take the easy route when it comes to learning.