For most students who fall behind their math homework and class, there’s nothing much they could do but suffer until the entire syllabus is done. Especially for 16-year-olds, they just cope and wait until it’s all over. But separate Amit Kalra from the rest. He has a rather unique story on how he dealt being behind his math class.
Kalra was a freshman when he was transferred to a new school. He attended an algebra class that he already took in his previous school. Not having a choice, he stayed until he was able to convince his mother to put him back in his old school.
At the time he returned, he was already halfway behind the new math subject, which was geometry. Kalra struggled especially that he didn’t know anyone from that class. If other kids were in his situation, they would just give up or take a summer class; but he has resorted to a better solution: build an app to do all of his math homework.
The coding venture of Kalra started when he was just playing video games as a typical 12-year-old. One of his favorites was Roblox, which is a massive multiplayer online game that lets players explore a virtual world. Kalra got curious about building his own worlds and games inside Roblox. He eventually built Parkour City, which recently hit its 1 million visit mark and earned a spot in Roblox’s top charts.
Kalra had transitioned from being a gamer to a coder. It took him a while to change from fiddling with Roblox to developing codes. The first major app that he did on his own was a random lottery number generator app for his father. This was his benchmark towards making the math app.
Called the 6284 Calc, the math app was a product of Kalra’s intense self-taught coding. There wasn’t any formal training for Kalra but his learning through downloaded e-books and experimentation.
The app is designed to solve a wide range of problems in algebra, geometry, calculus and other math subjects. Its developer named it so because the numbers represent M-A-T-H on a telephone keypad.
It was first made in May 2015 and released roughly four months later. Kalra has been updating the app ever since. As of this posting, it is in its 1.0.5 version available in English, Danish, and French. It is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
After paying USD 1.99, all the users have to do is input the values through a given formula. That’s it. Students will never memorize a formula again for their homework.
There are now more than 30,000 downloads since its release, despite the minimum marketing Kalra has done. Other than a few advertisements, he only promoted the app to his friends through text.
Moreover, this iOS-exclusive app had earned Kalra an invitation from Apple to attend the Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this year. He went, and there he met Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Of course Kalra has used the app for his own consumption. He even said, “Every time I learn something in class, the first thing I do instead of doing the homework, I would actually go work on it in the app first.”
However, 6284 Calc is not exempted from criticism. Some, especially teachers, would say that this is a lazy way to deal with math assignment, and that the app will do the entire work for the students. Point taken, but Kalra has a response: this is better than skipping homework and turning in nothing.