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Tech review: Apps to help with kids' remote learning

The Photomath app.

The Photomath app. Credit: Newsday/Photomath

Just as work from home is becoming the new normal for employees, schoolwork from home is now a common component of many students’ lives. These apps can help kids find answers as they learn remotely.

Photomath

(iOS, Android; free)

Without a teacher always there to guide students, complex math problems can be tricky. And very few work-from-home parents have the time or knowledge to help with, say, quadratic equations. Photomath helps students work through solutions and find answers for everything from basic math to trigonometry. Photomath doesn’t need an internet connection to solve equation problems, so work-from-home families don’t have to worry about fights over who is hogging all the bandwidth.

Socratic by Google

(iOS, Android; free)

OK, as a parent you might not be great at quadratic equations. But what about questions on, say, prokaryotes? Maybe let Socratic by Google take a swing at it. This AI-powered app, aimed at high schoolers, lets students ask questions about algebra, geometry, trigonometry, biology, chemistry, physics, history and literature and see answers and explanations approved by experts. The idea is not just to give answers, though. Google says the goal is to "learn the concepts behind any problem."

Chegg Study

(iOS, Android; subscription)

This app from giant online textbook seller Chegg lets students get help for homework problems in more than 80 subjects. Chegg says its library has more than 26 million "fully solved homework questions" with step-by-step solutions. Can’t find your answer? Take a photo of the problem, submit it to Chegg, and an expert will have an answer for you, usually in less than an hour. Subscriptions start at $14.95 a month.

ABCmouse

(iOS, Android; subscription)

Designed to improve reading and math skills for children 2-8, ABCmouse uses a gamelike interface as it presents more than 850 lessons and thousands of learning activities. There are several lessons developed especially for kids about to enter kindergarten. ABCmouse also helps introduce kids to science, art and music, and there are hundreds of learning activities in Spanish. Subscriptions start at $9.95 a month.

Google Meet extends ‘unlimited’ use

Video conferencing app Google Meet has again extended “unlimited” use on its free tier. The 60-minute limit on the free tier was temporarily waived a year ago as the pandemic worsened. The limit was set to be reinstated in September, but was extended again until March. Google says unlimited use for Google Meet will now stay in effect until the end of June.

— PETER KING

Consumers get smart

Sheltering-in-place consumers snapped up smart home devices in 2020. Port Washington-based NPD Group says half of U.S. consumers own at least one smart home device, up from 35 percent in 2019. Security cameras were the most popular smart home device, although security systems, smart garage door openers and smart lighting logged the largest 2020 sales gains. NPD said consumers “driven by pandemic restrictions” focused on home projects.

— PETER KING

'Lord of the Rings' game canceled

Amazon Game Studios, unable to release a successful video game since launching in 2014, has canceled the online role-playing game based on the fantasy series "Lord of the Rings" after two years in production. Amazon owns the popular streaming service Twitch, but its video game division, floundering because of mismanagement and cultural clashes with game developers, has recently canceled or delayed several games.

— BLOOMBERG NEWS

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