Math Paper is an Excellent Solution for Doing Math on an iPad–an App for ALL Learners

My blog is about free and “low cost” resources. This post reviews an app that I wouldn’t normally consider to be low cost at $19.99. I’m making an exception because I want to help get the word out about an exceptional iPad app that has just been released by Panther Technology. For anyone who needs it, and who can afford it, this tool is well worth the $20.

Math Paper is by far the best option I’ve seen for doing math work on the iPad! Math Paper won’t do calculations or graphs, but it provides all the tools needed to do everything from basic computation to complex algebra. Math Paper has been developed with the principles of UDL in mind, so it’s a tool that can be used effectively and independently by anyone, including individuals with motor challenges or cognitive processing issues. Accessibility and ease of use have been addressed successfully.

The developer promises that Math Paper will soon work with VoiceOver, and that the ability to scan is also in the works. Everything about this app suggests that it has been designed with switch users and scanning in mind. Here are the accessibility features that are already functional.

  • Hold Times adjusts the time a button must be pressed before it activates. This is to help avoid miss-hits for users with fine motor challenges.
  • Accessible Controls offers easy access to settings, file management, and other app functions.
  • Predictive Cursor automatically moves the cursor to where it is likely to be needed next.
  • Baseline Navigation allows the user to navigate a page by touching only near the bottom of the grid.
  • Keyboard Sounds provide audio feedback.

Math Paper is built around the 5 keyboards shown below. In order, these are the Main, Basic Functions, Advanced Functions,  More, and Fractions keyboards; and these give a pretty good idea of what Math Paper will do.

Making Math Real with Dan Meyer and 101questions

A post by Richard Byrne reminded me this morning about several things I’ve wanted to share here. First, I think TED Talks videos are wonderful! And not just because Chris Anderson, TED’s curator, attended the same school as me in India. I believe TED offers some of the most stimulating, challenging and inspiring content available online. The ever expanding range of subjects covered is amazing. So, I think any educator or life-long learner who is not subscribed to TED is missing out.

Secondly, there is a specific TED talk that resonated with me. It’s the talk by Dan Meyer entitled Math Class Needs a Makeover. (I’ve embedded it at the conclusion of this post.) In this video, Dan highlights the disconnect between math in the real world and the way math has typically been taught in North American schools. One of the points made by Dan is the importance of encouraging math learners to formulate the questions that mathematical reasoning can help answer.

This brings me to the third thing. Dan Meyer’s 101questions site, where the community of the curious can pose problems and ask questions.

Images and videos are posted on the site, and registered users are invited to pose questions, using 140 characters or less. After asking your own question, you can check to see what others have asked. I’ve had fun exploring the site, and I’m pretty sure there’s great potential here for engaging math learners. Here’s what the user interface looks like.

For anyone seeking to engage math learners, this is a fabulous resource!

Now, if you haven’t already seen it, please watch Math Class Needs a Makeover.

Daum Equation Editor for Google Chrome–Online or Offline

I believe it is important that everyone, especially learners in school, have opportunity to do math work on a computer. For many, pencil and paper is just not viable. Fortunately, the number of digital options is growing. I’ve written about the Equation Editor in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Mathematics Add-in for Word and One-Noteand the equation editor built into Google Docs. In this post, I’m sharing another extremely useful option. This one is an add-in for the Google Chrome browser.

Daum Equation Editor is a free app from the Chrome Web Store that can be added to the Chrome Browser. Once installed, the equation editor can be used even when the computer is not online. Symbols and notation are available for basic equations and expressions, as well as the most complex. Work can be saved as text or image for insertion elsewhere.

In terms of accessibilty, there are some especially helpful features. Font size can be enlarged to 48 pt, and there are multiple options for contrasting the color of the text with the background. This features to support vision challenges are illustrated in the image below.

The Daum Equation Editor offers yet another reason for using Google Chrome!

GeoGebra: Versatile Maths Software for ALL Platforms, now including Google Chrome

I think I was only an 8 year old third grader when I embraced the lie that “I’m not good at math”. Since then, my natural inclination has been to avoid academic maths whenever possible. I’m pretty sure I’d have been much more engaged, and more successful in my math studies, if I’d had the chance to explore mathematical concepts with the versatile free software shown in this video!

A post here about GeoGebra is long overdue! I’m prompted to write now because this powerful maths application is now available as an add-in for the Google Chrome browser, offering another big reason to consider using Chrome.

GeoGebra is available as a downloadable program for use offline. It is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and even the XO platform. It runs in some web browsers from an Applet that can be accessed here. Now Geogebra is available as an add-in for Google Chrome. There is no excuse for not making this engaging software available to learners everywhere! There is great support for GeoGebra in terms of both text and video tutorials.

What is GeoGebra? In its own words, “GeoGebra is free dynamic mathematics software for all levels of education that joins geometry, algebra, graphing, and calculus in one easy-to-use package.” Here’s what the user interface looks like, what you see when you open GeoGebra.

There is also an extensive collection of interactive worksheets from GeoGebra–with explanations, tasks and/or questions. These can be embedded on your own site. Or, the worksheets can be downloaded, shared via a URL, sent by email, or shared on social media such as Twitter or Facebook! GeoGebra Tube is an additional add-in for Google Chrome that enables the worksheets to run conveniently in the browser.

[I attempted to embed a couple of interactive worksheets here, but I discovered that the embeds work best when they can open on a larger web page than is available in a single column of this blog.]

I hope I’ve whetted your appetite to find out what GeoGebra might do for you and/or the learners you support. I suspect you know maths teachers or learners who would be very interested. I leave you with another video from Spain, showing the magic of mathematics as explored in GeoGebra.

Math on an iPad with Free Equation Editor in Cloudon

I’ve invested considerable time, and spent quite a bit of money, investigating options for doing equations and other math on an iPad. Three apps I’ve looked at offer potential: MathBot ($4.99) full version; Formula ($3.99); MathPad ($4.99 full version). Any of these might work well for a motivated post-secondary learner, but may be problematic for middle school or high school students, where so many learners need an alternative to pencil and paper for their math work.

To my great delight, this weekend I stumbled on a good solution for anyone who needs to do math on an iPad. I was investigating an app I thought to be unrelated.

Cloudon is a FREE app that provides 3 MS Office programs–Word, Excel, PowerPoint–on the iPad! These programs are completely functional! You can create and edit Word, PowerPoint or Excel documents, not just view them. Even better, the user interface is almost identical to the computer version. All you need to make it happen, once the app is installed, is a (free) DropBox account. Cloudon is so powerful, and the potential so great, that I intend write another more detailed post about it.

For now, I want readers to know that the Cloudon version of MS Word makes it just as easy to use Word’s equation editor on an iPad as on a computer. Because buttons and icons are smaller on an iPad, some users may prefer to use a stylus with it. (I wrote about Word’s equation editor HERE a year ago, and HERE three years ago.)

Here’s how you get to the equation editor in MS Word on Cloudon.

1. Open Cloudon and click on the icon identified below.

2. Select ‘Microsoft Word’.

3. Give your file a name and create it by clicking the ‘New’ button.

4. Open the ‘Text & Symbols’ menu.

5. Click on ‘Equation’ to open the equation editor ribbon.

6. There are 11 palettes of symbols, and these are opened as illustrated with a partial view of the palette for bracket symbols.

7. Here’s an example of an equation written with the editor. This image also shows the keyboard. It is noteworthy that this keyboard includes arrow keys because these are essential to the equation editor.