Apple never saw fit to add a stock calculator app to the iPad, but there are dozens of free calculator apps to choose from in the App Store. Unsure which one to choose? My recommendation is My Script Calculator. It’s one of my favorite new free apps, and was built to maximize the touch screen interface of the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. It’s also an app that can grow with your students as they move from elementary, to middle school and even to high school.
MyScript Calculator works different from other iPad calculator apps because there are no buttons. Instead, you simply write out the equation you wish to solve with your finger or a stylus. The app recognizes your handwriting, turns it into print, and solves it for you. Some of you might be dubious of this, as handwriting recognition apps do not have a great track record of success, but this one works very well.
Best of all, almost any grade level student will be able to use it. The app supports even the most basic math operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, but it will also do percentages, square roots, negative numbers, brackets and exponents. Need more? How about trigonometry, inverse trigonometry, logarithms and constants? Need to change part of your equation? Simply scribble over it to erase it and then write in your alteration and the equation will be solved again with the new values. You really have to see it to believe it.
If you are teaching Math at a higher level, this will obviously not be the only app you ever need, because as good as MyScript Calculator is, it does not graph equations but there are others out there that will. This app, however, is incredible at what it does do, and is ideally suited to a touch screen device like the iPad (an Android version is also available). Check out the tutorial video below, and feel free to leave a comment with your own experiences with MyScript Calculator, or other Math apps you love.