My answers have more detail than most since I am working out the math as I enter it.
I think I do OK since I have over 60,000 reputation points.
I have memorized its keyboard shortcuts and for most problems I'm faster with it than with pen and paper.
You do certainly need to memorize the shortcuts and access keys for your notation, but then I can very quickly write out mathematics that I can still read a week later.
My brother on the other hand does everything by hand. I even saw 7 pages of matrices & wave functions all in biro which was apparently "one equation" - I think even he thought that was a bit too much though and he finally started doing things in Mathematica.
The biggest problem with pens is palm rejection, which some recent hardware has gotten right. This actually works find on a screen you can only write on with the pen, like a graphics tablet, but people love their mobile games, so even laptops get capacitive touchscreens in most cases these days.
I cannot wait for good tools for managing mathematical work like we have for prose today, I think it will be a real productivity boost for students as well as professionals. So many workflows get forces into Excel and Word because they are the tools that people know. While they are great at some things and pretty good swiss-army knife products, they just don't work for managing a bunch of floating diagrams/images and lots of equations.
Wolfram Alpha is a beast when it comes to inputing farily complex math problems
This said, my context is always data-analysis/modeling. I’ve never felt intimidated by code, though I spent many years being intimidated by certain formulae. I’m fairly certain that I’d have pursued math to a much higher level in school if the symbolic expressions were pseudo code I could mess with, but this may just be my odd learning style.
Every process that has moved to computers has seen immense productivity enhancements. Production of written text, audio editing, video editing, engineering drafting, all of these things involve producing a ton of unique information in a workflow. Copy/paste, versioning (even primitive versioning saving old docs), undo/redo, and re-arranging large groups of content are just so powerful that you can't go back to life without them once you can use then second nature in a given context.
I’m merely saying that in terms of symbolic representation of math, I’ve personally found code or pseudo-code the fastest to understand (but I’m not a professional mathematician!).
Computers are okay at deciding if an answer is correct, but they are not good tutors. Teachers can use Free Math to find the gems in their students work that demonstrate their misunderstanding. Currently there is no way for them to process all of the data and work produced by their students every day and have access to this granularity of information.
I considered having an app that would take pictures of student work, but OCR just seemed unrealistic for math. Bad handwriting and symbol ambiguity are almost guaranteed to make any automated transcription of math work buggy. Unlike with natural language, which you can produce on your approximate mobile keyboard, there is no way to auto-correct a symbol or number based on the context.
Math online handwriting recognition: https://github.com/MyScript/myscript-math-web ?
> checking [...] students work
On the edX platform: http://edx.readthedocs.io/projects/edx-partner-course-staff/... ?
Also I'd be wary to trust the similarity metric, IMO it is best to assume good faith until you have evidence of cheating.
Anyway I think this can turn out great, like other have said, if it gets some polishing here and there.
I think one of the major problems with other products, is that they come out swinging with an accusation that all students cheat. Most tools these days have unique problems per students, which can make it harder to go over an assignment, because no one did the same problems.
I know there are varying opinions for what constitutes technology for improvement of a process, vs tech for the sake of tech. I think the world needs a digital way to represent symbolic math, it's one of the last complex processes done daily by millions that is locked out of a computer. Making something digital allows you to have undo/redo, and could eventually lead to a lot of interesting productivity enhancements. Nearly no one writes large amounts of text with pen anymore, because there is just so much more flexibility with a word processor.
One of the few things that forces people back to pen and paper is if part of what they need to write involve math formulas, because the current editors that include equation editing aren't fast enough. This platform isn't currently designed for mixing text and math, but it isn't too hard to add soon.
On a different note:
I think for grading purposes of student math home work which is done on a paper, Deep Learning neural network programs will be advanced enough in 5 years that is by 2023
- we will have a $200 flatbed scanner in every class room, as student finish his school work/home work, she can put the papers on scanner, it will sent scanned image to school server which is running Deep Learning software which Grades and home work and record scores in Database for teacher to view .
Even if you could make a computer understand how to solve a bunch of problems, I'm not certain that blind machine learning would produce a good feedback system for getting students back on course when they misunderstand something. They could probably find some likely candidates where students may have made a mistake, but I don't think anyone has tech anywhere near this right now.
I have kids in high school and 90% of the time when they ask me for help because they are stuck, it's usually due to small arithmetic errors.
With a little polishing, this could be better/faster than solving homework on paper!
It would be really interesting to somehow connect the homework notebook with other "homework tools" like http://live.sympy.org/ as calculator, or geogebra for geometry, or just a generic diagram editor for doing diagrams (a bit like the scratchpad in khan academy exercises).
On tools like Geogebra, I think we need more interactive tools, but they need to exist alongside the symbolic work that everyone needs to do in most of their classes. Managing a classroom full of students working on computers (which can be distracting), is hard to justify if it is only displaying supplemental material and you also need to transition to "normal homework time".
I definitely need to add a generic diagram editor to make this useful for classes like physics.
The project is a bit messy, I still need to set up proper dependency management and a build system. For now the app all lives in the index.html file.