16 January 2014

Daum Equation Editor - Polishing Students' Documents and Presentations

The biggest hurdle I've experienced to moving all of my students' math work online and to our iPads was related - I want them to create polished, professional reports and work, but kids were limited in their abilities to express the equations they had worked with.

For instance, showing the work for solving an inequality they had written for a short story ended up looking something like this:

It's serviceable, and if you know what they work is supposed to look like, you can translate it to know its meaning, but it definitely doesn't resemble what kids are used to seeing in any math text, much less the way they themselves would be writing it.

One solution I started accepting to work around this problem was for kids (and sometimes myself) to type out their narrative and leave space to write in their calculations. Writing in their calculations and formulas after printing is certainly easier to implement, but arguably looks much worse than the awkward result of typing them.

Making Equations

So, I'm excited to have found Daum Equation Editor in the Chrome Store this afternoon. According to the app details, here are all of the features:
  • Create formulas with the click of a button. 
  • Create formulas with TeX input editor. ( latex )
  • Changing the size and layout of the formula.
  • Images created with a formula to save to your PC. 
  • Text files created with a formula to save to your PC.
The tools are based on LaTex, and are identical to those available in the equation editor in Google Docs (my other favorite), but are nice and large (and obvious).

Why Do I Need Daum Equation Editor?

I wouldn't use it if I were creating everything inside of a Google document, but in any other Google product or interactive tools like Socrative, an editor is not present, so you must import equations as images. Here's why Daum wins:

Instead of using Alt + Shift + 4 for screenshots on a Mac, or the snipping tool in Windows Vista/6/7/8, Daum has 3 saving options right in the editor. 

I got SUPER excited at the thought of accessing my photos via Drive, but for some reason Daum saves the images as .PNG files and the embedded Drive option in Google Presentations will only recognize .JPG files.

The Bottom Line

Common Core standards and the demands of 21st century work demand that our students be able to create and publish digital work, so we need tools that are easy to use and share with our students. Yes, there are other equation editors, and one embedded in the programming of Word and Google Docs, but exporting those equations to multimedia presentations or other apps still requires taking a screenshot, so you may as well give your students a straight-forward tool that saves the image on the same screen they use to create it.

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Thanks for sharing!