3 Teens. 1 Vision for a Math App.
The intuitive math reference
When Rune Højlund, Nikolaj Holck, and Frederik Filip Stæger of Denmark set out to create Math Interactive, a comprehensive reference for math students, the teens faced two daunting hurdles.
First, they had no experience coding. Second, they had yet to take the high school courses covering all the concepts and formulas Math Interactive would explain.
“We had to learn the curriculum a couple of years ahead to enable us to create the content for the app,” Højlund says. “We spent our summer studying more than full-time, not getting much sleep.”
Two years after coming up with the concept, they launched Math Interactive. Intended to serve as a reference for high school students, the app has over 200 articles explaining theorems and terms from basic geometry and algebra, as well as more advanced subjects such as calculus and applied mathematics.
In the end, they had more than an app to show for their efforts. “The process definitely improved our own grades and understanding of these subjects,” says Stæger.
With its searchable explanations of key formulas and terms, as well as interactive graphs with variables that can be manipulated, Math Interactive has helped thousands of students.
Stæger attributes the app’s effectiveness to teens’ comfort with their iPhones and iPads. “When you’re going to learn something, it’s easier when it’s in a way that’s familiar to you,” he says.
“We’ve had a lot of feedback where people say that they improved their math or physics grades after using our app,” Højlund says. “That’s the biggest motivational drive for us.”
The developers, now in their early twenties, are studying mathematics and physics at leading Danish universities. They look back on their daunting undertaking fondly.
“It took us quite a lot of time, but it was fun along the way,” Højlund says.
The barrier to creating an app has fallen considerably, he adds. “With Swift today and with the learning materials available, like Swift Playgrounds, it’s definitely become much easier for beginners to get into this field—and a lot more fun.”