ECMP 455 · Networked Professional Learning

Pencil Math VS Photo Math … You Pick


Screenshot of the Photo Math website taken on March 11, 2016.
                          Screenshot of the Photo Math website taken on March 11, 2016.

Photomath, “reads and solves mathematical expressions by using the camera of your mobile device in real time.” Photomath allows for instant feedback and creates a step by step process to solve a problem.

“Instant Results; Photomath reads and solves mathematical problems by using the camera of your mobile device in real-time. It makes math easy and simple by educating users on how to solve math problems.” – Photomath

“Step by Step Solving; Learn how to solve captured problems and equations through ‘human like’ solving steps.” -Photomath

It is important to keep in mind that Photomath does not solve word problems. If there is an equation that involves a step by step process it will create a solution for it. An example of this is solving for x and y in a linear function.

There are many different perspectives that students and teachers have on the benefits, disadvantages and the reason for creating Photomath.

Photomath has an IOS and Andriod app.

Have you had the opportunity to use Photomath? What reviews have you heard about Photomath? Would you use a tool like Photomath in your classroom?


7 thoughts on “Pencil Math VS Photo Math … You Pick

  1. I have used a tool like Photomath for math problems and I was using it for answers I couldn’t get. Therefore, I don’t know if students will actually be learning from the process on Photomath and learn the fundamentals of writing with pencil. I think that there are apps to enhance learning such as graphing apps like such as Math Graphic or Quick Graph that have students see the problem but still have to learn the concepts.


  2. Shalayne,
    First, thank you for sharing this tool. I have never seen it before and I believe through your post I have gain an accurate understanding of what the tool does. I believe that this tool could be beneficial to students, however I am not certain that I would choose to use it in a mathematics classroom. I have two major concerns:
    1. Students receive immediate feedback
    Dan Meyer wrote an interesting post on feedback and the benefit of delayed feedback in some cases. I know that when we did our presentation on the Formative tool, one of the drawbacks was that immediate feedback piece. If students are being graded too early I believe it can shift focus from understanding to memorizing “correct” answers.
    (Check out Dan’s post here:
    2. Students are given step by step instructions on how to solve problems.
    I believe that this reinforces the idea that there is only one correct way to approach a problem. Problem solving is at the heart of mathematics, and developing problem solving strategies is a part of students’ learning process.
    I would be very interested in hearing your opinions on these ideas!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Shalayne,
    I have never seen this app myself, nor others like it. The only math app I have ever used has been desmos. I was trying to form some opinions as I was reading but couldn’t quite since I don’t have experience with anything like it. When I came to the comment section however, Tori ‘s comment caught me attention. Her two points are extremely critical in math. Students do need to struggle as harsh as it sounds but it’s builds on the way we approach problems. I truly think that the answer in math is not as important as the process and there are many different processes on getting there.


  4. This is very interesting! I have never heard of this until now. I picture myself back in high school using this to help me understand the break-down, step by step, solutions to difficult problems. During high school, math was an area of strength for me, but I think I attribute that to my teachers because taking Calculus in university was not the same story. I think this app could be useful but students would need to be wary of whether the app is actually solving problems for you, rather than helping you understand the process of solving them.


    1. Something weird happened with my comment there… But to continue my thought… I think that T. Glynn was right to be concerned when they said that the app gives step by step instructions how to solve the problem. This isn’t really using problem solving and allowing the students to create their own solutions to the problem. I think that if a student were to be given access to this tool, they would use it to do their homework; thus not learning the actual concept. I think that if the teacher were to use this in the classroom, there would have to be a balance between when and how the students can use it, and their own problem solving strategies. But other than that it’s amazing what technology can do!


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