Okay, I’ll admit it… I had never ever heard of this product until today. Nada. Nothing. Zilch.

Apparently Microsoft Math launched quietly in June 2007… here’s the link to the article.

I was complaining to my Calculus class today about the fact that graphing calculators have always cost around $100 and don’t appear to be dropping in price like everything else with microchips, and one of my students said… well, you could use Microsoft Math… for the record, I think my student learned about it because he was home-schooled for most of his life and his math skills may have outpaced his parents.

The program costs $19.95 and includes, not only a graphing calculator for your computer that is capable of graphing 3-D, but also has Solver features that show students the steps to work through algebra problems.

Hmm. Of course, it won’t work on a Mac… which is a problem. But could it be a viable alternative to a $120 graphing calculator? (you may remember my calculator rant from a few weeks ago)

I have mixed feelings about these “solver” features. On the one hand, it was a very good student that is using this, so he obviously finds the step-by-step features helpful. However, I can see the possibility of misuse in the hands of less conscienscious students.

What is cool, however, is that you can write your mathematics into the program and it gives you a list of choices that it interprets to be your mathematical desire. Perhaps this would encourage better handwriting?

Another thought… this might be an excellent product to have installed in our math tutoring centers, especially for those times when a tutor is not available.

Have any of you used this program? I’ve downloaded the trial and I’m going to check it out, but maybe some of you have some experience with it already?

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