What it is: Photomath is an app available on the App Store and Google Play. With Photomath, students can scan a math problem and learn how to solve it with step by step instructions and an answer. The app includes a photo calculator (take a photo of a math problem, it gets solved in an instant), handwriting recognition, step-by-step instructions, and a smart calculator. For added features, Photomath+ includes complete step-by-step instructions, colorful explanations of the math, and extra math knowledge.
How to integrate Photomath into the classroom: On the surface, the Photomath app might look like the ultimate way for students to “cheat” their learning. After all, they can snap a picture of any math problem, get step-by-step “show your work” instructions, and the answer in an instant. When I look at Photomath, I see each device with the app as another teacher in the classroom. When students get stuck, or need to check their work/understanding, not only do they have access to the answer, but also to the process. They can see exactly where a mistake has been made, and even get an explanation about why the process is what it is. It also changes the math class from being procedures-based, and empowers teachers and students to engage math from a problem-based, practical aspect. Since students have help with the procedure of how to solve a problem, they can engage math as a mathematician, identifying the problem that needs to be solved, using number sense to understand the problem, and with Photomath ensuring that the procedure they apply has been solved correctly. It definitely could change the goal of your math class, rather than just finding the answer, assignments may become more practical application in nature.
Consider using Photomath as a check-in station where students can go through their own work and identify where they may need support. The app offers immediate step-by-step guidance, when students don’t understand the guidance, you know instantly that more teaching is needed.
Tips: If your school has homework, this would be a great app to recommend to parents! When they get stumped, the app can be a sanity saver.
What it is:
Book Source has a pretty incredible tool called the Classroom Library Organizer
. A FREE account on Classroom Organizer let’s you digitally build and keep track of your classroom library, import BookSource orders, import student rosters, track book conditions, generate reports, and more. All of this equals one thing for your classroom library: organization. For an organizational freak like me this is heaven! It makes it SO easy to track your classroom library, check in and out books to students, keep them located where they are supposed to be located in your classroom. Basically it is a miracle worker (not to overstate it or anything). As a teacher you can create book rules (like what you are prompted to enter in about a book upon return or how many days books can be checked out), you can choose which fields to display (including reading levels, word counts and interest level), and which fields to display to students. You can even view reports about students reading habits. Pretty handy. And free. Did I mention free?
So, how does this nifty little tool work? You won’t be spending your time typing in information about each and every book you own, that would be WAY too tedious…not to mention time consuming. Classroom Organizer
comes with a handy little (free) app for your smart phone. Search “BookSource” in your app store, download the free app and you are armed and ready to go. The app lets you scan ISBN barcodes on the back of books. In a few seconds you have a complete entry for the book including the name of the book, the author, reading level, interest level, etc. This gets automatically added to your classroom library. You can even set a location on the book so that it is returned to exactly the location it came from. SO smart!
Now for the downside: The site is not very explanatory. You have to play around a bit to find what you are looking for and figure it out. There are no “about” pages or even cues from the home page about what all the tool does. As a blogger and a teacher, I find that annoying. I don’t always have time to sit and figure a tool out without a little pizazz that says “don’t forget to look at me!”. It is a small thing really, the tool isn’t hard to use at all, just not very consumer friendly…it doesn’t sell itself until you play.
We are using this as our only library tracking system at Anastasis
since we are so small. I started adding books to our library today. If you don’t have time to do this yourself, enlist some of your students to scan books as part of their classroom job or clean up time.
Students can use Classroom Organizer to help them find books to read. They can search by interest level, reading level, author, etc.
If you use BookSource
there are even more built in goodies to help you out!
Please leave a comment and share how you are using BookSource Classroom Organizer in your classroom!