If our regular feature, looking at digital learning tools, we will focus on Equatio in this post. As a maths teacher myself, I am very excited about the possibilities Equatio brings to the classroom.
The most common complaint I receive when I talk to Maths and Science teachers is that doing maths on a computer is very difficult and when it comes to G-Suite downright impossible. But Equatio from Texthelp is set to change all of that. Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer to do calculations in pencil on some rough paper, but Equatio has made it quick and easy to do maths on my computer while opening a whole bunch of new possibilities. Add since Equatio is now free for teachers, there is no reason not to give it a try.
What is Equatio?
Have you ever tried to create a maths quiz on Google Forms, only to realise that you will need to type the equations in Word, take a screenshot and add it as a picture to your Form? And then realised that this had made your Form so big that it keeps on hanging? Not yet, well I have, and I promise you it put me off creating Forms for quite a while.
But now, with Equatio in my life, things have changed. Equatio is an equation editor that will take almost any input and convert it to a properly typed formula. Not only can you type your formulas, if you have a touchscreen you can write the formulas, and Equatio will recognise them, or you can turn on your microphone and speak. If you have the premium version, you can download Equatio mobile that allows you to take a photo of any maths you have written down, and it will type it for you. It couldn’t get any easier. But that’s not all, click on the graph icon and Equatio will immediately link you up with Desmos insert the graph you want.
Equatio is part of a collection of apps that Texthelp has created to take the frustration out of using computers in the class so that everybody can focus on the learning.
While I started using Equatio with Google Apps, it is not platform based, and if you want it, you can download the desktop version to use with Microsoft Office. Although I will add a disclaimer here, I still find Microsoft’s Equation Editor to be the most user-friendly, most straightforward and prettiest way to type maths (but it doesn’t add graphs)
Although I started to use Equatio to solve my problem with typing maths into Slides and Forms, it is the Equatio Makerspace that has impressed me the most. Makerspace provide you with a type of digital whiteboard that students can use to make their thinking visible. It is super easy to use, has all the features of Equatio, like voice recognition and Desmos integration, and it works seamlessly with Google Classroom. With the click of a button, you can create and send notes to learners, but even better, they can create notes and share.
Another disclaimer: The fact that I have a touch screen computer makes Makerspace even cooler.
Five reasons to use Equatio
- It put the focus back on understanding and learning and not on digital literacy.
- Good quality feedback – we all know how valuable feedback is, the premium version of Equatio allows you to give feedback and enter into a conversation with leaners, encouraging them to explain their thinking.
- It takes the focus away from the answer and put it where it belongs, the process. To often maths programmes reinforce the idea that maths is all about solutions. Equatio allows you to focus on the thinking process behind the answer.
- Increased collaboration – since Equatio incorporates so smoothly with Slides and Docs, it adds a new dimension to collaboration tasks.
- I enable learners to take an active part in the learning process.
What does it cost?
Like most apps these days, Equatio is Freemium, which just means that you get some basic features for free. But by now schools are starting to realise that while there are lots of great free stuff available, giving your product away for free is not sustainable. So if you want to access the really cool features in Equatio, like handwriting recognition, Equatio mobile etc. you will need to pay something. The good news is that all these features are available for free to teachers, but if you want your learners to make use of Equatio, you will have to buy licences for them. Luckily it is one of the more affordable apps to get.