Apt Apps – 1

I am a very big iPad user. I’m on my third iPad and use it all day. Some days I run the battery from 100% down to 10% without even watching movies or playing music. I have lots of apps, a few of which I have found to be very useful in doing and teaching mathematics. In this post and the next I will share some of my thoughts on those I find most useful. 

Disclaimer: I have not used or evaluated all the apps of any of the types discussed here. Nor am I familiar with apps for other tables. These are just the ones I have and like.

Graphing and Computing Apps

By far my favorite grapher is Good Grapher Pro www.graph-calc.com. The app includes a full scientific calculator, solver, 2D grapher (Cartesian, polar, parametric, and implicit) and 3D grapher (Cartesian, cylindrical and spherical). It will graph inequalities in both 2D and 3D. The screenshot below shows some of its versatility.

The graphs are of the functions \displaystyle y={{2}^{-x}}\sin \left( x \right),\ y={{2}^{-x}}\text{ and }y=-{{2}^{-x}}. Note the scales: A domain of about 6\pi and a range of only about \displaystyle 2\times {{10}^{-6}}. You can turn on any or all of the extreme values, intersections and intercepts and the points will be marked. Double tap on the screen and you go into trace mode. Tap the color coordinated equation at the top and run your finger along the screen to trace. The current point is shown with circle and the gray vertical line; the coordinates and the derivatives (plural) are in the upper left.

Apps pix 1

The 3D mode is also spectacular. The screen shot show a plane intersecting a cone.

Apps pix 2

The third screen shot shows the same graph from a different angle clearly showing the hyperbola.

Apps pix 3

Both the 2D and 3D graphs can have a black or white background. I prefer black, but white is easier to see here. Two improvements would be the ability to graph on a restricted domain and the addition of sliders. The not “pro” version is free but has less functionality.

The TI-Nspire CAS www.education.ti.com is the iPad version of the TI-Nspire CAS calculator. The functionality is the same as the handheld and computer versions. The screen is a huge improvement over the handheld whose screen I find too small and cramped. This has become my choice for CAS work and of course it also has all the calculator, graphing, geometry, spreadsheet, data, statistics and notes features of the handheld and computer versions. In the notes section it even writes properly formatted chemistry expressions.

MyScript Calculator www.VisionObjects.com/en/myscript/math-application/  is a handy app. With it you enter a computation by hand or stylus (i.e. not by typing) and it does the computation (including trig and logarithms, etc.). Very simple and easy. If you enter an equation with one or several question marks in place of the variable it will return the solution in place of the question mark(s).

My Script’s big brother is called Math-Ink. Enter any math object by hand or stylus (i.e. not by typing) and it is copied in symbols at the top of the screen so you can proofread it. Then click the button and it returns the full WolframAlpha results. There is a WolframAlpha app as well, but that requires one-line typed entry. With Math-Ink the results are the  same but the entry is much easier.

Of course there are many other apps and more being produced every day. These a re just a few that I am familiar with. Please comment or describe your favorites using the “Leave a Comment” link below.

My next post will show some non-calculator apps that you may find useful in teaching.


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