PhotoMath: Should you ban Windows Phone in the Maths classroom?

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Remember when calculators were banned in the classroom, because it made calculation too easy? Well, in the same spirit there’s going to be a maths teacher somewhere that will decide to ban their students from having a Windows Phone in their maths classroom. And all because of PhotoMath and how it makes it too easy to solve mathematical expressions.

It’s really simple to use….

Point your phone at a maths equation:

Photomath (1)

PhotoMath shows you the solution:


Photomath (2)

..and the steps to solve it:

PhotoMath (3)

OneNote and stylus to the rescue for creating complex equations!

Thanks to OneNote, I’ve also found it can solve complex equations…

First, I hand wrote the complex equation that I wanted straight into OneNote (with my Surface Pro 3 stylus)…


…then I used the OneNote “Ink to Math” function:


..and OneNote inserted it into my document as text:


…which I then (maybe bizarrely) scanned and solved with PhotoMath

Apparently, X = 5 over 2, with 11 steps to a solution:

PhotoMath (4)

There are three thoughts running through my head now:

  1. I’m actually going to be able to help my daughter with her HSC maths homework (but I’m never going to reveal how!)
  2. We’re hitting Arthur C Clarke’s Third Law:  “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”
  3. If you’re a maths teacher and your students discover the app, what are you going to give them to do as homework? Maybe you’ll ask them to create mathematical expressions that they can solve, but PhotoMath can’t?

Learn MoreLearn more about PhotoMath or just download it straight to your Windows Phone here

Footnote: The microblink team behind PhotoMath have also released an SDK for Maths Equation Solving, so I can imagine we might see this functionality being built into other apps too!

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