Distance math made easy

A digital tool that is already boosting mathematics education in Sweden will soon launch in the United States after a successful test run in Florida. 

  • Henrik Appert and Arvid Gilljam will soon launch an app called Magma Math in the U.S.
  • Their math innovation is coming to the U.S. Former Chalmers University of Technology students Henrik Appert and Arvid Gilljam are the inventors of a new digital tool called Magma Math. Magma Math can be downloaded as an application on a computer or tablet and lets students draw their calculations with a pen. The app also automatically corrects answers and sends the information back to the teachers in real time.
    The founders studied industrial engineering and management at Chalmers University in Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden. Appert and Gilljam are childhood friends who always dreamed of developing something that would make a difference in the world.
    "At Chalmers, we learned how to improve systems through different types of processes. We also found out how modern companies make their decisions based on data,” says Henrik Appert. He went on to the Master's program in Entrepreneurship and Business Design at Chalmers, and Arvid Gilljam finished his master's degree at London Business School.

  • The application was initially developed for mathematics education in Swedish primary schools but will soon be launched in the U.S.
  • The 2015 international PISA survey worried Appert and Gilljam after results showed that mathematics was a great challenge for students in Sweden and around the world.
    ”We had to look for new solutions, for the sake of the students and from an economic point of view. We applied the system thinking that we had learned at Chalmers to try to solve the problem," says Appert.
    The app founders believed valuable data on how to improve education got stuck in the student's notebooks and worksheets. Their theory was that if the teachers could easily access and gather that information, they would make better decisions based on the data.

  • The founders applied the system thinking they had learned at Chalmers.
  • That was the starting point for their invention Magma Math which was initially developed for math education in Swedish primary school. After researching what digital solutions were available on the market, they realized there were not many available options on the market.
    “The digital tools that existed at the time were either click-based or meant that you could enter answers with your keyboard. But mathematics is best done by hand, where you have as high a degree of freedom as when you work with a pen and paper. Therefore, we developed a technical solution where you can show your calculation with a drawing tool on a tablet or the computer.”
    When the global pandemic flared up at the end of March 2020, the company quintupled its growth rate within only a few weeks.
    “We have fast-forwarded into the future due to the pandemic. It has been a catalyst that has accelerated digital development and forced everyone to go outside their comfort zone to find new solutions."

  • Magma Math can be downloaded as an application on a computer or tablet and lets students draw their calculations with a pen.
  • Today, their company is worth SEK 90 million and several European countries have shown interest in the digital tool, but the company has set its sights on a launch in the United States after a successful test run at a school fair in Florida.
    "About a hundred teachers signed up to test our application and told us it was exactly the product they were looking for. Mathematics is a global language and we can see the same needs and challenges in other markets. The U.S. has come a little further in terms of digitalization in education and there is a larger market for our product there."
    Magma Math is currently being tested as a pilot project in several states and will initially be used as a complement to school teaching. In parallel with the launch overseas, continuous development of the original idea is underway.
    “The tool we offer will never be finished. There will always be ways to simplify the learning process. We can develop the application for high school students - or even for studies at the university level. It is only our imagination that sets the limits.”

  • Vedrana Sivac
    Photos: Magma Math

  • For more info, see www.magmamath.com

  • U.S. Friends of Chalmers Scholarship
    • Chalmers University of Technology was founded in 1829 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The university focuses on research and education in technology, natural science, architecture, maritime sciences and other management areas. All master’s programs are taught in English.
    • The U.S. Friends of Chalmers Scholarships covers all the tuition fees for master’s studies at Chalmers University of Technology and will be awarded to citizens of the United States of America. The selection is based on an applicant’s relative academic excellence, which primarily includes weighted average grade but also home university's stature (including a position on global ranking lists) and priority order of the application for Chalmers master's programs.
    Application dates: Mid-October – Mid-January, 2021-2022.

    Read more here: http://www.chalmers.se/scholarships and Chalmers' Masters Scholarships