The Death of DeltaMath

Yes, an overly dramatic headline.

If you haven’t already tried DeltaMath (www.deltamath.com) it’s a web-based math question site that generates a huge variety of questions based on a template. So, say you want students to practice finding the vertex of a parabola; it will ask an infinite number of questions. It’s kind enough to show the full worked solution after the student is done, it will offer hints and there are instructional videos for each type of question. It’s quite slick and we’ve used it quite successfully in our courses to encourage skills development. Quite frankly, we love it. We don’t use it for summative assessment but for homework and formative assessment, it makes life a lot easier for both teachers and students.

BUT.

The Edge browser (one of the most aggressively updated browsers around) has added on a mathematics-add-on that does a fair bit of elementary and high school mathematics. At the moment, it is not automatically turned on, but by going to Settings and typing “math solver” you can turn it on.

You will then find a button in the toolbar

that will pop out a sidebar

The options are to select a math problem … and here’s where suddenly DeltaMath is in jeopardy. WIth most apps, the student has to pull out their phone for PhotoMath, or take the time to type in the problem in order to get the worked solution. But now? It’s just highlight and click!

I took the example here and click on the SOLVE button that appears when you select something and the sidebar shows the worked solution. Like WolframAlpha, it gives more than you asked for — it gives the answer to the factoring but it also provides a graph, additional support video and more. It’s also kind enough to offer a Share Link (so that students can drop the link into their OneNote showing the solution).

When you click on SHOW SOLUTION STEPS you get what you’d expect — a step-by-step expanded solution.

Now the good news is that it still only works well with strictly algebraic questions. Reasoning questions, explanations, etc it does not recognize (yet). But any of the skills development areas it takes care of quite quickly (and nicely).

So does this mean the end of using DeltaMath? No, not really. Students have always found ways to subvert my best intentions. I will show my students this capability next year, talk about how to use it for learning and choose questions from DeltaMath strategically, testing them against this capability.

calarmstrong
calarmstrong
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