A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
SOCRATIC BY GOOGLE is a homework-help app and platform that gives students answers to and complete explanations for almost any problems you can throw at it. Take a picture of a problem or question on paper or on a computer screen and search a variety of sites for an answer, from its own crowdsourced web portal to Wolfram Alpha, Cymath, and the web at large. In most cases, results also include work shown, explanations, and discussions between other students, experts, and professionals. It supports answers for math, science, history, English, economics, and more. If the camera doesn't correctly capture the problem, kids can type the question in directly and use the included math keyboard to enter equations with ease.
Is it any good?
This tool finds answers and explanations about a wide variety of math, science, and social studies questions quickly, but some kids will only use it to get easy answers, and learning will be lost. The answers from the database included in Socratic by Google in-house tend to be very high quality, and those found on the web very but usually are helpful in some way and much more focused than an open internet search. Especially for math and science, where typing in specialized symbols can be tedious at best, it's nothing short of a miracle. For many families, this free app can provide some homework help in those instances when a parent's knowledge falls short or a tutor is too expensive; however, kids need to have good study skills and self-motivation to persist through assignments, so it's important to use the app as a supplement and not an easy solution. Parents can let teachers know that their kids use the app and make sure homework and test grades truly reflect what a kid is learning.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Socratic might fit into a healthy diet of assisted practice and the occasional struggles of independent work. Sure, it can answer just about every homework question you throw at it, but are you learning anything if you do that every time?
Also discuss academic honesty in general. Why is it sometimes OK to look for help online, while in other cases doing so might constitute plagiarism or cheating? When can and can't you copy someone else's work?
It's also a good idea to mention the value of working with others to get help. Socratic offers easy help but very little social learning experience. Working with others helps solidify information in the brain in a very different (and sometimes more effective) way than working alone.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading comprehension
Math: algebra, arithmetic
Science: chemistry, physics
Social Studies: history
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: asking questions
Self-Direction: academic development, identifying strengths and weaknesses
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: October 28, 2019
- Category: Education
- Size: 120.00 MB
- Publisher: Google LLC
- Version: 5.1
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 12.0 or later; Android L (5.0) and up
- Last updated: September 4, 2020
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