App of the Week: PhotoMath

Photomath
Title: PhotoMath
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: Free

From WordLens (now part of Google Translate) to Invisibility 3D, apps which use the camera as an input tool to harness machine intelligence always interest me. When one such app, PhotoMath hit the top of the download charts last year, there was some minor outcry among educators. Would students use the app to cheat? But while the PhotoMath app reads and solves mathematical problems by using the camera of your phone and tablet in real time, it is far from the scourge of math teachers. Like Wolfram Alpha, it is a nice tool to have on hand when you can’t remember enough math to help students with their work.

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Within the app with an active camera, you can manipulate the size of the datawell to pick up the whole of more complicated questions, and the app solves advanced math problems including quadratic equations and inequalities. The app goes beyond solutions, anticipating the admonition to “show your work.” A red button opens the step-by-step process for doing just that. Continue reading

STEM Into Winter Programming

Everyone’s talking about STEM (or the arts-added version showcased in the October issue of School Library Journal), and YALSA’s STEM task force produced an updated toolkit earlier this year to provide 41 pages of STEM programming resources just for young adult librarians.

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If you’re stumped for ideas and looking how to integrate science, technology, engineering and math into your program schedule, look no further than YALSA’s STEM Toolkit.

It includes step-by-step program plans, advocacy information if you need to justify your program plans, resources, and dozens of ideas to get your program going.’ ‘ Chock-full of research on best practices and “why” STEM should be a priority for library professionals, the toolkit highlights the importance of developing a thorough program plan and guides you through initial brainstorming efforts to an adaptable teenprogram evaluation. Passive and active programming ideas from around the country are included,including three immediately replicable projects.

Check it out today! ‘ And ‘ thanks to STEM Task Force Member Jennifer Knight for the heads-up on this great resource.

 

App of the Week: Questimate!

questimate

Title: Questimate!
Platform: iPad only, iOS 6.0 or later
Cost: Free download/ optional paid upgrades

 

 

How many flamingos are as tall as a dinosaur? How many 2×4 Lego bricks are as long as a yoga mat?’  These amusing questions are sure to pique teen interest and engage some math skills. With Questimate! you make the questions.’  Choose from such options as: “how long…” or “how tall…,” paired with animals or household objects, or test your historical estimation skills by creating questions with “in what year…” You can play solo, or challenge a friend. If you are baffled by an answer, you can tap the “Really?” button for details.

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App of the Week: Alge-bingo

Title: Alge-Bingo
Platform: iOS
Cost: .99

It’s back to school time and this month the YALSA App of the Week bloggers are’  focusing each week on apps that are good for students and teachers. We’ll cover research, science, math, and staying organized. If you have a favorite school related app feel free to post information about it in the comments on our App of the Week posts. And, don’t forget, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is taking nominations for Best Apps for Teaching and Learning. You can make a nomination on the AASL website.

I don’t like math. Never have. I see a string of numbers and my brain grinds to a halt. I have empathy for teens who feel the same. They might try to laugh it off, like it’s cool not to like math, or maybe they think it isn’t important because they are strong in other subjects.’  But trying to rationalize a dislike of math won’t help anybody.’  Math is important and necessary. This is why I chose to share a math app for our Back to School series. Maybe if I’d had an app to play with when I was struggling with math it would have helped me stay focused instead of getting frustrated.’  According to this article in Education Week, students and teachers alike seem to enjoy apps for math.

In searching for great math apps, there are several. I decided to focus on an app that helps with basic arithmetic,’  the type of math I struggle with the most, as well as the foundation for other mathematical pursuits. Alge-bingo makes a game out of basic algebraic equations and challenges you to do your arithmetic fast.’  Continue reading