I have taken the week to refine the version loaded in the Update 1 post. No impressive new functionality with this update but a worthwhile update nonetheless. Click here to play with the update in a new tab.
I fixed the rounding error. As a result of this, I’ve now added a “Decimal Place Accuracy” setting. This way, you can get up to eight decimal places of accuracy without having to increase the Variable Delta. I added some more helpful text to the responses you get from the program, which hopefully will steer people to where they want to go. I also updated the About and Settings menus to look a little more organized.
Overall, nothing too impressive. Still, I feel good about it and that counts for something, I’m sure.
Next, I will actually remove almost all evidence of what I’ve done so far. What will hopefully make this program special is that enable people to learn algebra heuristically. They will be able to actually do all the things that a teacher would call incorrect and prevent them from doing. Most of the “mistakes” students make in the algebra classroom are not violations of mathematical logic. They are just not solving for the variable in the fewest number steps. Basically, they are being robbed of the opportunity to do something inefficiently that they are learning. This seems like they are also being robbed of a great learning opportunity, which is something that this program will provide and maybe even encourage.
In the next update, the user will be asked to solve the equation they provided by telling the program what to do. A command could be “add 4 to the left side”. This would have to be followed by “add 4 to the right side”. Subtract, multiply, and divide will be the only other mathematical commands in the next update. I also plan to include a way to tell the program you want to simplify a side of the equation.
What I don’t want to do is to make the math any easier. What should be easier is doing whatever you think is best and seeing what happens after you do it. This is what the learning process is and I think that this program will make the learning process more efficient without sacrificing the academic rigor required to do it by hand. We shall see!
As always, please let me know what you think through the contact form.