Anyone who took an algebra or geometry class during high school probably remembers being told to always “show your work” on homework assignments and exams. But a controversial new app takes the hard work of “solving” out of the problem solving equation.
The free new app PhotoMath allows students to simply take a photo of a math problem and then – using text-reading software – will solve the problem and show all of the work in the process. The app’s creators say it is geared towards students who may not have access to tutoring and to parents helping their kids out with their homework.
But critics say the app will soon be used by kids looking for an easy way to cheat. Students, they note, could easily copy down the steps to solving the problems without absorbing any of the information.
Students looking for an easy way out of homework shouldn’t get too excited though – PhotoMath currently can only solve relatively simple problems and the news site Slate notes that the app sometimes misreads characters.
A spokesperson for MicroBlink, the company behind the app, told the business news site Quartz that the program isn’t meant to be used to help students cheat.