Math teachers and students spend a good portion of class time writing problems on the whiteboard and figuring out ways to solve them. Students may get frustrated trying to remember how to input equations into their calculators, or input the wrong figure and have to start all over again.

Imagine if instead of students solving the problems themselves, the calculator solved them automatically. This is essentially what MyScript Calculator does. Instead of having to figure out how to input math problems into a calculator, students simply use the MyScript Calculator app to write out the problem, and it solves it for them. Essentially, the app is a free handwriting calculator app for student’s tablets.

At first glance, the app has the feel of solving a problem on actual paper. Students simply use their fingers to write out the problem and the app reads their handwriting and turns it into digital text. Even those of us with horrible handwriting should be able to write out recognizable numbers using the app. Make a mistake? With a standard calculator, a mistake would mean inputting the entire problem again. With MyScript Calculator, simply cross the number or operation out to delete it and write in the correct information. The app adjusts itself in real time, so students can quickly see how inserting the incorrect information or changing one piece of a problem changes the results.

While MyScript Calculator does not support graphing or extremely complex equations, it does support a wealth of basic calculations and is helpful for students taking all levels of mathematics. Basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are only a small part of what the app can do. It can also solve equations with decimals, exponents and brackets. For those taking more advanced math courses, the app’s functions also allow equations with sine, cosine, tangents, logarithms and constants such as π and phi.

Unfortunately, just as longer and more complex problems are difficult to put into a standard calculator, it is also difficult to write them out using the MyScript Calculator app. Users with large fingers or who are not used to writing with their fingers will have difficulty fitting all of the components of a complex problem on the screen. Those using the app on a smartphone should stick to shorter equations to make it easier to use the app. Currently, the app does not allow operations with multi-variables but it does allow single variable equation solving (i.e. x and y variables).

Having users handwrite equations is, however, the best part of the app. Because users have to write out the problems just as they would on paper, they may benefit more from using MyScript Calculator in place of a standard calculator. While the app solves the problem for them, they get to see how the problem is written out, helping them recognize similar problems on an exam. This app is a good addition for Math students with tablets, and can make redundant the use of clunky calculators in the classroom.