Homework Help App, Socratic, Launches Math Features


Socratic math stepper

​Just six months after launching the Socratic app, founders Chris Pedregal and Shreyans Bhansali announce the next major step in making learning easier and more accessible for students on their phones: a student-first math experience that breaks down math problems into easy-to-understand steps, and teaches underlying concepts.

The Socratic app, where students can snap a photo of a homework question and learn how to answer it, launched in July in the App Store. Now, with a brand new math experience, Socratic is changing the way students learn one of their hardest and most popular subjects, on their phone and for free.

“Again and again, we hear that students struggle with math. Every student takes math, often for multiple years, and it can be hard to get help from parents and friends,” says Shreyans Bhansali, co-founder and Head of Engineering at Socratic. “We wanted to create an experience that walks students through their problems, and teaches the concepts behind the problem.”

We're really proud of the experience we've built. Students can now break down their question into small steps, allowing them to gain confidence and learn how to solve similar questions on their own. We hope to provide an experience similar to working with a tutor, except it's free and on your phone.

Shreyans Bhansali

Founder and Head of Engineering

Socratic is bringing its magical photo input to math by reading math questions—even handwritten ones—and giving students step-by-step solutions and bite-sized “Explainers” that teach them the underlying concepts and help answer all types of math problems.

To build this experience, Socratic’s pedagogy team looked through countless math questions asked by students and categorized them by the steps required to solve them. Then, they wrote high quality Explainers to teach these concepts, and tested them with hundreds of high school students.

In parallel, the engineering team built algorithms that allow a computer to solve math problems step-by-step. They incorporated the lessons learned by the pedagogy team so that steps closely match those a great teacher or tutor would provide to a student.

In addition to step-by-step solutions and custom “Explainer” content, the app also shows graphs, curated videos, and relevant definitions, helping students reach a deeper understanding of the problem.

Watch a short video of the app in action.

“We’re really proud of the experience we’ve built. Students can now break down their question into small steps, allowing them to gain confidence and learn how to solve similar questions on their own,” says Bhansali. “We hope to provide an experience similar to working with a tutor, except it’s free and on your phone.”

In support of bringing free math help to students everywhere, Socratic is open-sourcing their work and inviting others to contribute. They’re also extending coverage to teach students Calculus, Trigonometry and other math subjects.

“We know a lot of people care deeply about excellent math education. We believe our code has applications outside the Socratic app and we’re excited to release the core step-by-step solution code as open source so others can extend it and use it as they see fit,” says Bhansali.

You can read about some of the technical work that went into creating the math steps engine here, and contribute to expanding the kinds of math questions students can learn here.

With the launch of math and increasing coverage across other major subjects—Science, History, Economics, and Humanities—Socratic continues to make great learning content more accessible to students worldwide.

About Socratic

Socratic is an education startup on a mission to make learning easy for every student. Their app and website answer student questions with simple and high-quality learning content. Socratic is powered by a blend of cutting-edge AI technologies combined with expert educators. They’ve helped over 30 million students, and have their sights set on the next billion.

Their team of 10 has raised $7.5 million from Spark Capital, Shasta Ventures, Omidyar Network, betaworks, Box Group, a16z, John Maloney (former President of Tumblr), and Andrew Kortina (co-founder of Venmo). Socratic was founded by Chris Pedregal and Shreyans Bhansali and is based in NYC.

Chris, CEO, graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Journalism. He was a product manager at Google where he worked on Gmail, Google Maps and Google Now.  

Shreyans, Head of Engineering, was the first employee at Venmo. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Computer Science and Engineering and a BA in Economics.

Media Contact:

Rosie Talcott
Phone: 510.755.9842
Email: rosie@socratic.org

Source: Socratic

Categories: Educational Technology, Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems, Education

Tags: AI, edtech, education, free apps, machine learning, math, math education, mobile learning, tech

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