Socratic can be used for more than scanning math equations and calculating the answer. It can be used on mathematical word problems, to answer questions about science, or even to give you insight into a book.
The easiest way to see how Socratic works is to use the example questions that are built into the app. Each time you launch the app it’ll appear as if the camera app is open, with a yellow box near the top of the screen and a shutter button at the bottom.
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Just above that shutter button in the Android app you’ll see “Try an example.” Select it to view a built-in list of questions that the app can answer.
For iPhone users, you’ll need to tap on the menu button in the top-left corner of the screen to slide out the menu, then “Try an example.”
A page of four questions will show up, with a tool that looks and works a lot like an image-cropping tool. Drag the four corners of the tool to highlight a single question, then tap the Go button at the bottom of the screen. A few seconds later, you’ll get an answer to the question, along with an explanation of the steps taken to get the answer.
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That’s easily my favorite part of the app — it doesn’t just pump out answers, giving students a way to cheat on their homework instead of learning, but it walks them through each step, explaining how and why it’s taken each, and then gives the answer. (Like Wikipedia, Socratic is a useful resource rather than an infallible source of answers. See the end of this piece for more.)