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Zumdahl Chemistry 9th Edition Slader Homework

Though the site was originally launched with answers written by math tutors and teachers, the plan going forward is to use the peer-to-peer model -- students helping each other on the site. The most useful answers will be rated with stars to distinguish them.

Of course, students have long shared their answers the old fashioned way --  turning to one another for help, sharing their answers and solutions -- whether over the phone or face-to-face, whether transcribed word-for-word from another student's paper or solved thanks to the help and support from a peer. And that will be the model used for Slader: homework answers for students written by students.

These are homework answers for students written by students.

Anticipating the criticism, the New York-based startup believes it's a mistake to dismiss this simply as cheating; rather they say the aim is to provide real-time help to students to work through their homework -- an online study hall, if you will. The startup is providing the tools for students to share their work and teach and learn with one another.

That teaching element is important to recognize, and co-founder Scott Kolb says the site is much more of a tutoring resource than simply a place to go look up and jot down the right answer. It's a type of "microtutoring," he says.

That "micro" element doesn't just mean simply that Slader offers help on a specific math problems rather than, say, hiring a math tutor for more generalized help with the subject. The Web site also features "microtransactions." In other words, there's an intellectual and a monetary exchange per answer, handled via points and via a per-answer access. While there is a free version of Slader, there are limitations on the number of answers users can view per day (two).

With a paid subscription, that limitation is still in place: subscription rates range from $2 to $4 per month with the ability to view 5, 15, or 30 solutions per day. Users can also purchase more views (in case of math emergency, I suppose).

It's worth pointing out here that the site is designed with the recognition that most high school students probably don't have credit cards to pay for these sorts of online transactions. As such, one can pay for points via parents' credit cards, but points can also be gifted to another person or offered as "bounties" to answer other questions. And most interestingly, users can also earn points that can actually be "cashed out."

One way to earn points: contributing one's own homework answers back to the Slader community.

Users can earn points that can be "cashed out" by contributing one's own homework answers back to the Slader community.

It's an interesting way to encourage students to help one another and to share their homework solutions: doing so allows them to earn royalties of sorts on the work they do. Slader pays points each time a solution is viewed. So ideally the better the solution, the more views, and the more earnings. Users can actually "cash out" too, withdrawing the money they've earned via the site.

The ability for students to earn money from their homework is certainly an interesting twist on "the work" they are doing.

In order to create a platform that can handle math homework (all that mathematical notation and such), the Slader team has created a number of tools, including an equation editor that captures the step-by-step process of moving through a solution. The team has also seeded the site with solutions to the homework problems in most high school level math textbooks. That's no easy task with approximately 100 textbooks in their various versions and editions (so roughly 275 textbooks in all). To create the answers (and it's worth noting too that there are multiple answers to the same question, demonstrating there are multiple ways to solve math problems), Slader enlisted the help of some 2,500 math majors and math teachers.

But the startup's demand for answers to every single homework problem in every single math textbook may be an obstacle that Slader will have to cross if it plans to expand. As is, it's incredibly challenging to keep pace with the ever-changing textbook industry. And right now, much of this work on Slader's part is done by hand. This isn't a mechanized system; this is the Slader team verifying correct answers as well as verifying the pages and exercise numbers in textbooks. Things will be further complicated if, as the startup plans, it expands beyond math to other subject areas.

And the startup also faces competition from a variety of other online homework help sites: Cramster, for example, or Yahoo Answers or Homeworkhelp.com. Googling "I need help with homework" makes evident that there are a lot of questionable Web sites out there, ones with questionable answers and questionable fees. That will make it challenging for Slader to win an SEO game against some of these sites so that the startup actually shows up in searches. But it's also a challenge on the "social" search aspect as well. After all, students want the "right" answer, but they also tend to want to hear it from sources they trust -- and oftentimes that's their friends.

As Slader expands, it will have to win over interest (and pocketbooks) of high school students to convince them to move their homework activities to its online community. It will also have to win over teachers and parents (something that the startup already makes a great effort to do), to help them understand that this isn't about cheating. Rather it's about students teaching and learning and sharing with one another. It's about recognizing that they've always done this. And as such, it's about helping students with the tools and a service so that they can benefit in doing so -- benefit intellectually as well as financially.

In the field of educational technology, some apps might be getting too smart.

More and more apps are delivering on-demand homework help to students, who can easily re-purpose the learning tools to obtain not just assistance, but also answers. Whether or not that’s cheating—and how to stop it—is one of the concerns surrounding a new app that can solve math equations with the snap of a camera. While the software has inspired teachers to create real-world homework problems that can’t be automatically solved, that strategy doesn’t hold up to other apps that tap into real-life brains for solutions.

Here’s a look at 7 apps that can do your homework for you, and what they have to say about cheating:

PhotoMath

Price: Free
Availability: iOS, Android app coming in early 2015

The new, seemingly magic app allows users to take pictures of typed equations, and then outputs a step-by-step solution. As of Wednesday, the app is the number one free app on the App Store. But the biggest issue, one teacher argues, isn’t if students will use the app to cheat, because many will. Rather, it’s about how teachers will adapt. A PhotoMath spokeswoman said educators have welcomed the app with positive reviews, but the software remains “quite controversial.”

“We didn’t develop PhotoMath as a cheating tool. We really wanted kids to learn,” said Tijana Zganec, a sales and marketing associate at tech company MicroBlink, which created PhotoMath. “If you want to cheat, you will find a way to cheat. But if you want to learn, you can use PhotoMath for that.”

iHomework

Whether you’re a high schooler with eight periods of classes or a college student tackling dozens of credits, there’s one thing you’ve got for sure: a mess of assignments. iHomework can help you keep track of all your work, slicing and dicing it in a variety of ways. Sorting it by due date, week, month, or by course, the app is more organized than a Trapper Keeper. And in integrating data from Questia, you can link your reading material to your assignments so you don’t have to dig through a pile of papers to find the right information.

A scheduling feature can help you keep track of those random bi-weekly Thursday labs, and you can even mark the location of your courses on a map so you don’t end up on the wrong side of campus. And finally, with iCloud syncing, you can access all this information on whatever Apple-compatible device you’re using at the moment — no need to dig for your iPad.

Google Apps for Education

Taking the search giant’s suite of free browser-based apps and sandboxing them so they are safe for school use, Google Apps for Education is an excellent alternative to the mainstream installable productivity software, but this one has a perk that almost school board will love—it’s free. Packaging together favorites like Gmail, Hangouts, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Drive with Classroom, a digital hub for organizing assignments and sending feedback, the goal of this collection is to make learning a more collaborative process.

Though Google Apps for Education is cloud-hosted, the programs can be used offline, ideal for when your student needs to escape the internet and work distraction-free. And since it works on any device, it also helps students avoid buying overly expensive hardware. That means more money for extracurricular activities.

HwPic

Price: Free, but some homework services require payment
Availability: iOS and Android

HwPic is a tutoring service that allows students to take send pictures of their homework to tutors, who will then respond within minutes to your questions with a step-by-step solution. There’s even an option to expedite the answers if a student is in a hurry. HwPic Co-Founder Tiklat Issa said that the app was initially rejected by Apple’s App Store, which believed it would promote cheating, but he successfully argued that just because someone uses the app in a way that it’s not meant to be used doesn’t mean the app should be punished.

Issa added that HwPic prohibits cheating in its terms and conditions. Tutors don’t solve homework that has words like “Quiz” or “Exam,” and they often know if a student is sending a photo during a test if they’ve paid for expedited answers, and if the photo is dim, blurry and taken under a desk. “We’ve minimized cheating,” said Issa. “We haven’t eliminated it. That’s kind of unrealistic.”

Wolfram Alpha

Price: $2.99
Availability: iOS and Android

Wolfram Alpha is similar to PhotoMath, only that it targets older students studying high levels of math and doesn’t support photos. The service also outputs step-by-step solutions to topics as advanced as vector calculus and differential equations, making it a popular tool for college students.

“It’s cheating not doing computer-based math, because we’re cheating students out of real conceptual understanding and an ability to drive much further forward in the math they can do, to cover much more conceptual ground. And in turn, that’s cheating our economies,” said Conrad Wolfram, Wolfram Research’s Director of Strategic Development, in a TEDx Talk. “People talk about the knowledge economy. I think we’re moving forward to what we’re calling the computational knowledge economy.”

Homework Helper

Price: Free
Availability: iOS and Android

Chinese Internet search company Baidu launched an app called Homework Helper this year with which students can crowdsource help or answers to homework. Users post a picture or type their homework questions onto online forums, and those who answer the questions can win e-coins that can be used to buy electronics like iPhones and laptops.

The app has logged 5 million downloads, much to the dismay of many some parents who argue that the students spend less time thinking about challenging problems. A Homework Helper staffer admitted to Quartz, “I think this is a kind of cheating.”

Slader

Price: Free, but some homework services require payment
Availability:
iOS

Slader is a crowdsourcing app for high school and college students to post and answer questions in math and science. While students can post original homework for help, many questions in popular textbooks have already been answered on the app, according to Fast Company. An Illinois high school said earlier this year that it suspected students were using the service to cheat on their math homework.

Slader argues that it’s “challenging traditional ideas about math and education,” and said that the ideas behind its app “aren’t a write-off to teachers,” according to its blog. Slader told San Francisco media outlet KQED that it shouldn’t be dismissed as a cheating tool, but rather considered a way for students to access real-time help.

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