Reinventing Math Class

Guest post by John McGowan, Math Product Manager, Texthelp

Let’s get real for a minute: math has always had a bit of an image problem, hasn’t it?!

As a teacher for over fifteen years, I know all too well that many of my students just aren’t as excited by the subject as I am. I can see it on their faces when they come into the room for my first class each year. And as the long-term poor relation, math is now facing an even bigger threat to its popularity in the classroom – technology.

Tech has been a powerful enabler for new approaches to learning over the last few years and digital methods are steadily transforming teaching, as traditional pedagogy gives way to more collaborative, interactive strategies.

[Tweet “Reinventing Math Class w/ #EquatIO (Chrome Ext from @texthelp) #gttribe #googleedu #mathed”]

But the benefits of technology haven’t been enjoyed equally across all subjects.

The explosion of digital devices has made the teaching of English, science and humanities subjects a more social, community-focused experience. Students can work together on stories and assignments, sharing comments and suggestions with each other in much the same way they engage with their digital lives outside the classroom.

There have been many efforts to introduce technology into math classes as well. But the big barrier is being able to write math digitally. Teachers and students find it difficult inputting equations, graphs and other expressions on a computer. Even writing a basic fraction like ‘three-quarters’ (¾) with your keyboard isn’t easy. And what about square root signs, fractions, powers or other mathematical symbols and expressions?

There are various mathematical description languages out there. But you have to think like a programmer, using hard-to-remember codes and key combinations to write something relatively straightforward like the solution to a quadratic equation.

When I joined the Texthelp team last summer, one of our goals was to change the way math is written digitally. And I’m excited to announce that we’ve officially taken digital math to the next level!

Our newly launched Chrome extension, EquatIO, takes the pain out of creating equations, formulas, and math quizzes. With EquatIO, you don’t need to know any of that complicated math code. It understands what you’re typing or handwriting, instantly turning your expressions into clear, accurate on-screen formulas. And it works on Windows, Mac and Chromebook, so it’s great for BYOD classrooms.

Watch this video to see exactly what EquatIO can do!

You may be saying to yourself, “But I thought Texthelp was all about tech for reading and writing?” Well, I would argue that math is a form of communication just like reading or writing. “Show your work” is a common phrase heard in every math classroom. That’s because math is more about explaining how you got your answer rather than the answer itself.

[Tweet “Show Your Math Work, Digitally! With #EquatIO from @texthelp #googleedu”]

EquatIO introduces a digital way for students to easily demonstrate and communicate their thinking. What’s more, Texthelp is fundamentally about helping individuals understand and be understood, which we can now do across all subjects.

EquatIO Features:

– Easily create math expressions including equations and formulas
– Compatible with Google Docs and Forms* (Sheets and Slides coming soon!)
– Input via keyboard, handwriting recognition* (via touchscreen or touchpad) and voice dictation
– Guesses what you’re typing or writing – like predictive text on your smartphone*
– Hear your math expressions read out loud
– Compatible with LaTeX input for advanced users
– Create interactive digital math quizzes*
– Input student responses directly into digital quizzes*
– Chemistry formula prediction*

Reinventing the Math Class with EquatIO (Chrome Extension)

You can try EquatIO for free at the Chrome Store. All premium features are now Free for Teachers!

Give it a go today – and join in with our community to see how we can all make math digital.

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