May 25, 2024

The Photomath app solves math problems and shows step-by-step instructions for solving the problem by pressing an arrow below the solved equation. Courtney Coleman | Banner

Photomath, a new mobile app that solves math equations by taking pictures of printed problems, is the kind of tool that could have students who dislike math singing for joy once the app reaches its full potential.

While it is not as universally useful as some might hope, it is a good first step toward helping students make the most of their time spent out of the classroom.

Using Photomath is simple: Open the app, put the printed equation into the red box on your screen and then wait for the program to solve the equation for you.

What sets Photomath apart from a calculator is that you can see the problem solved step by step just by pressing an arrow at the bottom of the solved equation screen.

This feature effectively allows users to understand the steps behind the solutions to their problems.

As intriguing as this concept is, there are two primary downsides to using Photomath.

You cannot use the app to solve anything but printed equations, and the technology in the app is not yet equipped to handle mathematics beyond problems at a ninth or 10th grade level.

MICROlink, the company behind Photomath, plans on enhancing the application’s solving ability to accommodate both of these issues in the future, but for now users will have to use it for basic problems.

The other downside to Photomath is the potential it has to promote cheating.

All students have to do is take a picture of their problems and let the app do the work for them.

With constant advances in technology, cheating is already a growing problem. With Photomath, academic dishonesty will be harder to catch.

Overall, while there are glitches in the interface of the application, the many practical uses of Photomath are attractive to students.

The app is definitely worth the download if students are looking to understand homework assignments and assigned problems that teachers are not there to explain.

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