EquatIO: A Tool for the Digital Math Classroom
Post in News by TerryVannoy on 13th January 2020
A paperless classroom?
With the abundance of access to digital computing tools for the classroom, teachers have lots of ways to make their lessons more engaging, more interesting and more… paperless. Google Classroom is now integrated with many Chrome extensions, and teachers who use Google applications (like Docs and Slides) are learning to enable workflow patterns for students using Chromebooks, laptops, or their own devices. Unfortunately, the exception seems to be math teachers. In my work supporting K-12 teachers in the New York City area, I see many math teachers hesitant to jump into the digital world with their instruction. Why is that? Are they afraid of the technology or of being left behind?
Math learning made digital
The traditional answer to this is simple: math is done with pencil and paper, involving handwritten numerical expressions, equations, and graphs. These things are tough to simulate… until now! Get ready for a great new tool for math teachers from the creators of Text Help Fluency Tutor. Text Help has created EquatIO for math teachers and has made its Chrome Extension available. Watch this video tutorial for the basic features of EquatIO. Then, create an account. When you next open a Word document or Google App (like Docs or Slides), tap on the extension above in your Chrome toolbar. This opens the EquatIO tools at the bottom of your page.
EquatIO’s many tools
From left to right, here are the tools you’ll be able to utilize with EquatIO:
1. Equation Editor: This tool opens up a text area so you can type in a math expression or equation, including function notation, math symbols, and variables. When finished, tap on the “Insert Math” tool in the lower right to embed your expression into your document.
2. LaTeX Editor: LaTeX editors create graphical representations of math in a text environment. If you know this tool, activate it within EquatIO to insert math expressions in your documents. [This is an advanced option.]
3. Graph Editor: In this tool you can type an equation or function and it will produce a graph. When you choose “Insert Math,” your graph becomes embedded in your document and is resizable and movable just like a picture.
4. Handwriting Recognition: Using your finger on a touchscreen, you can handwrite your math equation and insert it. Great for a touchscreen setup in your classroom!
5. Speech Input: How about speaking your math expression or equation? Tap on the microphone and speak; it will interpret your voice into text.
6. EquatIO Mobile: A QR code appears so you can scan it and go to this website on your mobile device. From this site you will have voice and handwriting tools to create your math equations/expressions and embed them on associated Google Docs. If you have been working on a document and need to finish it remotely from your phone, this is the tool for you!
7. Insert mathspace: Inside this tool you have access to a large area that looks like graph paper. Four additional tools become available: select tool (mouse), freehand drawing, shapes, and smart shapes. See an example below where I have sketched out something I want to include on a student worksheet:
8. Screenshot Reader: Tapping on this gives you a tool to select math content on a page. It will read the expression aloud, and you can copy/paste this content somewhere else.
As you can see, EquatIO offers many great features that can help create a more digital environment for math teachers. Explore the many benefits of EquatIO in your math classroom today and tap this great resource!
If you want to learn about other types of instructional technology for your classroom, try signing up for a trial of OTIS for educators at http://otis.teq.com.