A new mobile application called Snapsolve, launching today, is offering a way for students to receive help with their homework, just by snapping a photo of the problem at hand. However, unlike automated tools like the clever PhotoMath app, for example, Snapsolve connects students with a tutor who then responds directly with customized answers and explanations.
The app is the latest development from a startup called StudyRoom, an online learning platform that first launched at TechCrunch Disrupt back in September. Originally designed for college students, the service aimed to take the concept of student-based study groups online, allowing students to help each other out, including sharing notes and other classroom materials. At the time of its Disrupt launch, StudyRoom became available to 100 schools across the U.S.
Today, says co-founder and CEO Emerson Malca, StudyRoom’s top universities have between 25 percent to 50 percent of their entire student populations using its platform. Right before finals week in December, the service was seeing between 30 percent and 43 percent weekly actives at these universities, he adds. And, in total, there are now over half a million students using StudyRoom.
A key component to the service – and the company’s business model – is the “peer mentoring” option, which lets students offer to tutor others for a flat rate. (Only those who have earned a certain number of “reputation points” through their work on StudyRoom could qualify to be a tutor, however.)
This tutoring program has now been expanded to include any grade level, and is also what’s powering the new app, Snapsolve.
To use the app, students simply snap a picture of their homework or question with their iPhone’s camera and hit send, optionally typing in additional information that will help their tutor answer the question. They also assign the question to a topic, which aids in matching their request with the right tutor. In around 15 minutes, on average, a tutor will respond with the answer and explanation. Students can then also comment on this answer if they need further clarification.
The service is available for any grade level or topic, and is priced based on the question’s difficulty and response time. Easy questions are free, followed by pricing tiers that range from $1.99 to $4.99, then up to $9.99 for the hardest and most time-consuming questions.
Currently, the app is available for iPhone only, but plans to develop iPad, Android and OS X versions of Snapsolve are on StudyRoom’s roadmap, the company says.
The app is a free download from iTunes.