The student (or group) had to create their own word problem or puzzle that represented the mathematical concepts.The goal was to create a problem that was challenging for others students to solve, and would be one they would have to work through.I also know that this is not the first time someone has tackled the idea of doing Math homework differently (Flipped Classroom anyone? That being said, when I came back to our Math teachers to show them Photo Math, they took a long hard look at their instructional practice, and what they could do to change things up in order to give kids a better learning experience.
The student said, “Oh yeah, I think everyone just uses Photo Math now. She jotted down the answers on her piece of paper and went on to the next problem.“That is Photo Math? You use the tiny computer in your pocket to be basically smarter than you already are.
It’s technology that augments a human brain, not just a distraction.
These teachers took a creative approach to solving the problem of the world changing rapidly and their practice being impacted at its very core.
They could have easily tried to continue giving the same type of math homework knowing that programs like Photo Math existed.
”“Well,” she said, “Our kids are getting 100 percent on every piece of homework, and yet, they are not passing the quizzes and tests. I quickly googled the app on my phone and found this video (which is eerily similar to what I saw in the library that day): We tend to hear stories all the time of computers doing “human things” and impacting productivity but this time it was different.
Parents are wondering how this is possible, and quite frankly, so are we.”Hmm. Not because I couldn’t believe it, but because it changed the way I viewed math forever. Carter knows about it…but no one ever said we couldn’t use it. ”I told her she wasn’t in trouble at all and continued to ask a few more questions about how the app worked. And Photo Math is not the only app out there that does it. This Verge author wrote about his experience with Socratic (another math solving app that answers questions from other subjects as well), that seems to take this process to the next level: I pointed it at 2x 2 = 7x — 5, which I wrote down at random, and it gave me a 10 step process that results in x = 7/5.In order to do this, the students had to go through a sustained inquiry process in which they tested different problems and ways to display the problem (as a puzzle or word problem).This involved having test groups to answer their problem and developing ways to make sure it was “Photo Math” proof.So, I went back to my Math teachers, ready to show them the app that would end Math homework as they knew it…forever.I know there is a big debate over the practicality of homework in general.”“Yes, it was good that they were turning in homework. All of the steps were right, the solution was right.”I waited to hear more…“And we think they are cheating. Even the online homework we are assigning is coming back correct, so it’s not like kids are copying each other on the bus like the old days.”“Ok, I can check into it and see what we find.”At that point, I wasn’t sure what was going on, but it did seem odd.I know from when I was teaching, and now being an administrator, normally you don’t get 100% of the students turning in homework.The students would get together in roundtable reflections and talk about what went well, what didn’t, and what they learned about this concept throughout the process.The final project created opportunities for more learning and students mastered the skill of not only solving these problems but also creating them.It was not about using the latest and greatest technology to combat Photo Math. There was no reason to continue giving the same homework each night to students who could answer every question with Photo Math.It was not about taking the focus away from mathematical concepts. Were there times they would still give problems and practice them in class? Were there times students would take problems home to work on and study? Yet, in the long run, something needed to change in order for the students to be successful.