Monday, November 21, 2016

g(Math) just got smarter - and lots more fun!

g(Math) is a Google Add-on that I started developing back in 2013 that makes it quick and easy to create equations, graphs, stats displays and math quizzes to insert in Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms. Earlier this year, g(Math) became the newest addition to the Texthelp product suite.  As such, Texthelp’s expert developers and I have improved upon my original design to create a more simple and intuitive tool for creating digital, accessible math. Just like your students who have already grown so much since the start of the new school year, so has g(Math).

Continue reading to see all of the latest and greatest updates we’ve made to the g(Math) Add-on, along with some short demo videos you can use to share these updates with your students and colleagues.  Over the last several years, technology has become a critical learning tool inside and outside the classroom. However, the math classroom has largely been overlooked during this transition. That’s because it’s difficult to type math without the use of advanced code or programming languages. As a math teacher, I could see students disengage with the subject as soon as they were forced to put their computers away and take out their pencils and papers. That’s why I built g(Math), a tool that makes math digital.

With the latest updates to the g(Math) Add-on, creating digital math has become even more seamless, integrated, intuitive, and most importantly, accessible. 

Accessibility for Math

g(Math) now produces accessible math in Google Docs and Forms! Through integration with Texthelp’s award-winning literacy software, Read&Write, math expressions created in g(Math) can now be read aloud, just like any other content on the page . By making math accessible for the first time in Google Apps, we are transforming the way students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties learn and practice math. 

Simple Expression Entry

We have simplified the expressions entry in g(Math) to make it much more user friendly for students. Yup, you guessed it, no more LaTeX needed! However, if you loved the pre-populated buttons and LaTeX entry, have no fear. Just click on the Advanced tab and keep your geekiness flowing.

Watch the video below to see the Simple and Advanced inputs in action!

Intuitive Speech Input

The Speech Input feature, which can be launched from both the Simple or Advanced tabs, also got an update. It now has improved filtering capabilities so that it only picks up math terms - no matter what else you say into the mic. If you do have to make any edits to the math it interprets, you can do so directly after stopping the Speech Input.

Watch the magic of g(Math)'s Speech Input here:

Handwriting Entry Enhancements

For those that find it easier to handwrite equations, we have revamped the Handwriting Entry feature to easily integrate handwritten work into your digital Google document. The streamlined interface provides a more intuitive experience and now includes a variety of design options for advanced customization.

Check out the video below to see how the Handwriting Entry feature can help students show their thought process when solving equations.

High-Resolution Images

Another feature we’ve included in this release is the addition of high-resolution images that won’t get blurry or pixelated when you resize them in a document (finally!). Just insert an image and drag it to your desired size - always maintaining its sharp, crisp resolution. These high-res images also look great when you copy and paste them into a Google Slide for presenting math.

One More Thing You’ll Notice

When you first visit the updated g(Math) Add-on, you will meet our new math Texthelpers. They will ask you to identify yourself as a student or a teacher. If you are a teacher, they will ask you to enter your school district before you can continue on to the updated g(Math) experience. After your first visit, you will never be asked to enter this information again.

With this information, we will be able to let you know about all of the new and exciting g(Math) features and updates coming down the pipe. We’ve got some great plans for the future of g(Math) that we can’t wait to share with you. So stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.

In the meantime, if you have any feedback about the recent updates to g(Math), we’d love to hear from you! Simply fill out our feedback form or join our community of educators to share your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Exciting announcement: I am leaving the classroom to develop g(Math) full-time!

tl;dr: I am excited to announce that after the end of this school year (mid-June) I will be leaving the classroom to develop g(Math) full-time! In the meantime, please bear with me as it might take longer to respond to issues as the school year wraps up.

long version: Back in 2013 (I only know based on my blogposts) I started to learn how to code in Google Apps Script. In the past 3 years, I have found a passion for developing g(Math). But this passion has only been my hobby. I have been a full-time classroom teacher and coding in my free time. For all you teachers out there, we all know that the students come first and like all of you I am super busy during this time of year (IB exams, preparing for the end of the semester, AP exams, coming back from Spring Break, etc...). I normally wake up around 3AM to code and provide support for g(Math) and pride myself on responding to help requests within 24 hours.
As g(Math) has grown, I have been humbled by the support and rate at which people around the world have used it! I must admit that it is flattering that some people out there think I am a Google employee and that Google actively supports g(Math) (they have an amazing platform, but all the coding has been done solely by me  :).
As a result of its popularity, I can no longer continue g(Math) as a hobby and will be leaving the classroom to develop g(Math) full-time. There are so many features that I want to implement, I am excited to finally have the time to work on them all. At the same time there are issues that pop-up in g(Math) that need my immediate attention and I don't have enough time to continue to teach as well. For example, I had another server issue tonight that broke the expressions for a little bit (I have transferred over to the Google Cloud Engine and have addressed (hopefully) the issue so it won't happen again) and I was working furiously to fix it.
So I hope that you will continue to support g(Math) as I work through this transition period. My students and my teaching do come first, so I can't really provide routine support during my school day hours. As I look back at the first iterations of g(Math) (which I am still extremely proud of), I am amazed how far g(Math) has come and excited to be able to continue to hone the g(Math) experience to become more professional and robust! It will be bittersweet to leave the classroom, my daily interaction with students and my co-workers, but I will always stay connected and have the teacher/student experience in mind when incorporating any features in g(Math)!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

g(Math) Handwriting Recognition!

After over a year of working on it, g(Math) now does Handwriting Recognition again! The biggest hurdle in creating math digitally is typesetting, g(Math) handwriting recognition helps overcome that hurdle!!
Just click on the Handwriting Entry and your handwriting will be recognized in the bottom right corner of the canvas. When you are satisfied with the result, click on the + button to add the recognized math to your Doc!
You can also edit the Create Expressions with handwriting! Create an expression to enter by clicking on the Handwriting Recognition button. Scribe your entry and click on the right arrow button to bring it back to the LaTeX box to edit further or insert into your Doc.

You can edit your expressions as well by using Handwriting Recognition: Just highlight the part of the expression you want to edit in the LaTeX box, click the Handwriting Recognition box, scribe your entry and then click on the right arrow button to bring it back into the LaTeX box, replacing your highlighted portion with the recognized math.

It will still insert the handwriting entry into your Doc as well. Scribe your entry and click on the gesture icon to insert the handwriting into the Doc.

I am super pumped about this feature and look for it to be rolled out across all flavors of g(Math) soon!

Friday, March 25, 2016

formRecycler and formCreator are now updated to reflect required questions!

My Google Add-ons formRecycler: (Get it here!) and formCreator: (Get it here!) have been updated and now will preserve required questions. You still cannot recycle Videos since there is no way to get the Video URL via Google Apps Script so I decided to eliminate that option and replace it with required questions in formCreator. Also, I have had a lot of inquiries about data validation for questions and there is also no way to get that information via Google Apps Script so I can't recycle it or set it from the Spreadsheet.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

formRecycler is live in the Google Forms Add-on store!

Did you ever want to just reuse a few questions from a Form in your Drive? Now you can! Just pick the Form in the popup window and it will populate with the questions from the Form. Select the questions you want to insert and the formRecycler will automagically insert them at the end of the Form!
formRecycler is a Google Forms Add-on that allows you to choose one question (or many) to copy from a Google Form in your Drive to the current Form. Just click on formRecycler in the Add-on menu and choose the Form you want to copy the questions from in the popup window. You can select as many questions as you want. Click insert and my minions will insert your chosen questions at the bottom of your Form. 
Currently, it will not insert Youtube videos from Forms!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

g(Math) new Expressions API is live!

The item at the top of my TODO list for the longest time has been to create a new API to use for the g(Math) Create Expressions. I had been using the Google Image Charts API (which was deprecated in 2014) and the underlying LaTeX was incomplete and had a limited image length. For example, you could not use a "normal" angle symbol for Geometry or render a basic matrix equation.

The new Expressions API is live! Beyond the much improved expression length (it is still limited by the Google URLFetch Quota of 2kb, but that is about 3/4 of a page of math and text; much, much improved!), you can now use pretty much a full LaTeX implementation. I have not found much that you cannot do LaTeX-wise. You can even use color by using the \color{blue} for instance! I will updating the pre-built buttons in the coming weeks to include colors and a more robust library of pre-built expressions. Look for an interface overhaul as well!

Here is an example of what is now possible! The new API will also be rolling out to g(Math) for Forms and Sheets!