Are we allowed to use Photomath?

Juliana Cândida Batista Gomes Coelho, Ana Lucia braz Dias

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

Abstract

The discussion invoked in this presentation is based on the premise that mobile apps and tools will affect mathematics teaching and learning whether or not the communities of mathematics education researchers and teachers endorse their use. It is our belief that, instead of trying to prevent the inevitable or trying to isolate the classroom from technological tools that are widespread in other spheres of life, mathematics teachers should consider the ramifications of the use of these tools and formulate ways in which they can become welcome additions to our classes. In particular, we consider the use of PhotoMath, an app from the software development company MicroBlink that became available for Apple cellphones in 2014 and for Android phones the following year. The app can capture the photograph of a math problem from the cellphone camera, interpret it, and provide a step-by step solution. Although computer algebra systems and other apps such as WolframAlpha have been used to effect mathematical procedures for quite some time now, the fact that Photomath can interpret images of most math problems as such, freeing the user from having to type the problems, has made it popular for both its novelty and ease of use. Much in the same way mathematics education researchers and teachers debated the use of handheld calculators in classrooms decades ago, we see ourselves engaging in the same kind of conversations about new technology. Previous research with Brazilian teachers has shown that many teachers will use PhotoMath when they are writing problems for their classes and want to check their answers, but will not allow students to use it in class. We believe that in the same way teachers can engage in responsible use of apps such as Photomath, there is potential for students to do the same. We will present different ways in which we as teachers can respond to the widespread use of this line of technology in the sense of guiding and building upon its use with the objective or enhancing students' learning experiences, instead of ignoring its existence or trying to bar it from the classroom environment.The discussion invoked in this presentation is based on the premise that mobile apps and tools will affect mathematics teaching and learning whether or not the communities of mathematics education researchers and teachers endorse their use. It is our belief that, instead of trying to prevent the inevitable or trying to isolate the classroom from technological tools that are widespread in other spheres of life, mathematics teachers should consider the ramifications of the use of these tools and formulate ways in which they can become welcome additions to our classes. In particular, we consider the use of PhotoMath, an app from the software development company MicroBlink that became available for Apple cellphones in 2014 and for Android phones the following year. The app can capture the photograph of a math problem from the cellphone camera, interpret it, and provide a step-by step solution. Although computer algebra systems and other apps such as WolframAlpha have been used to effect mathematical procedures for quite some time now, the fact that Photomath can interpret images of most math problems as such, freeing the user from having to type the problems, has made it popular for both its novelty and ease of use. Much in the same way mathematics education researchers and teachers debated the use of handheld calculators in classrooms decades ago, we see ourselves engaging in the same kind of conversations about new technology. Previous research with Brazilian teachers has shown that many teachers will use PhotoMath when they are writing problems for their classes and want to check their answers, but will not allow students to use it in class. We believe that in the same way teachers can engage in responsible use of apps such as Photomath, there is potential for students to do the same. We will present different ways in which we as teachers can respond to the widespread use of this line of technology in the sense of guiding and building upon its use with the objective or enhancing students' learning experiences, instead of ignoring its existence or trying to bar it from the classroom environment.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Dec 6 2019
Event5o. Seminário sobre Currículo, Cultura e Identidade -
Duration: Dec 6 2019Dec 6 2019

Conference

Conference5o. Seminário sobre Currículo, Cultura e Identidade
Period12/6/1912/6/19

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