Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Change Is Good or The Future of Forums

Math forums are great, people ask questions, other people reply (most of the time), it’s a community and communities are a good thing especially when used as a platform to volunteer and help others.

I started contributing to math forums using Symbolab. Students who need help with math problems get detailed step-by-step solutions instantly, they can try out variations of the equation, get a graph, expand their knowledge.  More important, they can learn on their own, no need to wait for someone to answer, or try to follow different styles.  They get what they need when they need it.  No brainer, right?  Well, I’m writing about this today not to tell you how great Symbolab is (you should know that by now), but because to my surprise, some forum contributors do not appreciate (to say the least) the use of automated steps as a learning tool over manual steps.

Change is hard, but we have to embrace it. A great math teacher told me when he first saw the site, “it’s out there, so we might as well learn how to use it in class”.

Forums still have an important role, sharing experiences, tips and tricks, sharing wisdom… that and Symbolab is still not providing steps for every question, but it’s just a matter of time.

Tell us what you think.


Friday, May 17, 2013

How to Symbolab Inequalities

Solving inequalities is very much like solving equations, but when solving equations you try to find points, when solving inequalities you try to find intervals.

Let’s start with an example of a linear inequality:

If you remember the inequalities properties, mainly that multiplication or division by a negative number reverses the inequality, you should be fine.

Another example, absolute value inequality:

Absolute value, one more thing to pay attention to…

How to solve quadratic inequalities?  First you bring the inequality to the standard form. You can factor it or use the quadratic formula, just like with quadratic equations, but then what? Finding the ranges is somewhat tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it is straightforward.

Let’s try to solve quadratic inequality:

Before you take a look at the steps, you can check the plot, that should give you an idea of where the graph satisfies the inequality, or what might be the range.

Now let’s take a look at the steps:

The table makes it more manageable, that wasn’t too bad, wasn’t it?

Until the next post,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Symbolab Solutions, Your New Best Friend

You must have noticed that we are constantly adding step-by-step solution to help you with algebra and calculus (If not, make sure to follow us on Twitter @symbolab and Facebook)

So what’s new?  To make step-by-step solutions easy to access, we’ve created a new page, Symbolab Solutions, http://symbolab.com/solutions  How simple?  As easy as it gets.  We’ve added a menu with a list of the topics, a compact pad with friendly must have symbols (if you’re math savvy, you might want to switch to the full pad), and examples per subject.

Simply select a topic from the menu, type in an equation using the pad or click on one of the examples… and Go.   You will get a step-by-step solution and a relevant plot just like that! 

For example (click here):

What else is new?  You can get Step-by-step solutions for System of linear equations, Factor quadratics, Expand, and Definite integrals.  Not only that, but also new and improved plots with an emphasis on the problem.

Check out this integral plot (click here):

Can your best friend do your math homework for you?  Didn’t think so, Symbolab Solutions can, just saying…