Sakura Quick Math
Sakura Quick Math by Shiny Things Software is an app which provides a fun, self-competitive environment for practicing math facts. It harnesses handwriting recognition to recognize the students’ answers as they race the clock to answer math problems in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division or a combination of all of these.
Quick Math is a fairly basic math app, but the interface makes this app very interesting to me. Math problems are presented and the answers are input by simply writing the missing number anywhere on the screen. The handwriting analysis seems very quick and very accurate. It rarely had trouble interpreting my handwritten numerals.Very cool interface…. but interface to what exactly?
The user can choose the operation they want to practice and the difficulty level of the problems. For example in the addition problem sets there are not just the standard find-the-sum problems, but a mix of those and problems with missing addends. A sample screenshot of the mixed operation menu selection is below.
Multiple students can save their avatars on within the app and their speed scores will be kept. When a game is completed the student sees the time for their latest round of that skill and level as it compares to other times they have tried to complete the level.
Students I watched use this app were between 7 and 11 years old. They were much more motivated to beat their own times than I would have expected. They continued to repeat levels working to improve their times, over and over again. When I asked them why, they replied they “want to beat my old score.”
Clearly this is an app that is for repetitious math problem solving with a goal of increasing accuracy and speed. The ease of answer entry (handwritten numerals rather than keying in entries) makes the focus on the problem solving. The thing which sets this app apart is that ease of entry and the motivating nature of competing against your own best time. Is this high-level mathematical thinking or problem solving? No. The seamless, engaging, easy-to-use interface provides a platform for practicing mathematical fluency in a way which may be superior to the more standard “one minute” math drills often seen in classrooms.
Sakura Quick Math
$1.99 (when posted on 7/19/2013)
Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.