Some interesting options for extension and consolidation
One of the most exciting web-based growth industries at the moment is with regard to supporting children on the mathematics front. I am always very curious about what resources are available and how we can possibly make the best use of them here at Hazlegrove so in the Spring term of 2012 we conducted an informal survey of two of the most prominent interactive web-based maths resources, namely; Conquer Maths.Com and Khan Academy.
www.conquermaths.com/home and www.khanacademy.org
Here is a summary of our findings…
Conquer Maths is an online support system consisting of multimedia tutorials across levels one and two, along with a selection of activities that are marked online. The tutorials consist of a tutor explaining the concepts while being demonstrated in a multimedia presentation that can be paused and replayed. An activity sheet follows each tutorial, the answer to which can be entered online. Worksheets can be completed more than once and progress is tracked by means of online-generated reports that list each of the activities completed and highlight recommended areas for further study.
The reports can be easily printed and kept for future reference. The software is designed as a tool for individual use at home in order to support the maths work they complete in school. Tutorials can be accessed in any order and completed as many times as necessary. The content is organised into each of the strands, arranged into levels one and two, and then broken down into topics. It should be noted that there is an annual subscription for a single user profile on this site.
Khan Academy, however, is a free web-based mathematical resource that offers an extensive range of informal maths tutorials (each approximately 10 minutes long) supported by a series of mathematical activities which are aimed at testing the breadth of the child’s understanding as regards a specific mathematical skill. When they have demonstrated adequate degree of mastery they can move on to any of the related topics. All the tutorials are given by Salmon Khan and this means that they are delivered in an American accent and occasionally involve the use of American units which can be a little misleading at times. You will note that Khan uses pretty basic digital graphic tools in all his tutorials and in this way the Conquer Maths tutorials are certainly clearer and presented in a more formal and professional format.
The benefits of either resource are obvious and as a school we are determined to make the most use of these facilities so as to create a truly dynamic and simulating learning environment without forfeiting the essential social forum of a traditional mathematics classroom. As a department we intend use these programme as one of a varied selection of resources we have at our disposal to support and encourage any child who has fallen slightly behind, or perhaps is ready to be extended further.
If you felt at any time that you wanted to support and extend your child from home I happily recommend both websites to you. You will find that both have certain limitations but they undoubtedly provide a very adequate and easily accessible way of reviewing any specific topics that their maths teacher has highlighted as needing attention.
“Let’s not forget….MANGAHIGH”
One of the really exciting interactive sites that we are already using extensively at Hazlegrove (for the last two years) is Mangahigh.com. This is one of the world’s first games-based-learning sites, where students learn Mathematics via purpose-built casual games that balance fun and learning. Each game covers certain learning topics and is designed to dynamically adapt in difficulty to the ability of the student in order to aid the student to stay in their zone of proximal development. All Mangahigh games have a meta-objective that the players strive to achieve by repeating a simple step (game mechanic) over and over again. By overlaying the game mechanic with the core learning concept, they have invented a new and efficient way of learning for the new generation. Games develop students' ability and curiosity to observe, hypothesise, test, evaluate, conclude and refine ideas that are not always possible with traditional pedagogic teaching. The games provide powerful contexts that often bring out the 'real-world' application of the topic at hand, thereby increasing the students' interest in the content and encouraging them to explore further.
Mangahigh is a free resource and all of the children from Year 4 upwards have been assigned a dedicated login account with a user id and password which allows their maths teacher to assign suitable mathematical projects each week and then carefully monitor their progress. In addition to regular sessions in the ICT suite during the week the students are strongly encouraged to access their Mangahigh user areas from home and the boarders can often be found on “BIDMAS BLASTER”, or one of the other equally additive Mangahigh maths games, in the evenings.
I would strongly recommend that you take the time to visit this site and explore exactly what is on offer.
Maths Tutorial Videos
Maths tutorial videos are now available to download via the Current Documents section of the Parent Area of the website.
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Head of Maths