Like almost every other area of 21st-century school education, maths has gone digital, and in the process, it has become much more accessible and understandable to many more of our students, some of whom otherwise might not ‘cotton on’ to the subject.
Teachers have the choice of a wide range of innovative, curriculum-aligned digital programmes designed to both engage the students as well as enhance their own ability to assess students’ capability and progress on both a class and individual level.
As teachers, the team at Maths-Whizz continues to have input into the development of Maths-Whizz to ensure it is the best programme available in New Zealand says manager Ross Perkinson.
“We are passionate about Maths-Whizz and how it can be used in the classroom. As teachers we know what works in the classroom, and work closely with our schools to ensure the Maths-Whuizz is well integrated into school programmes.
Maths-Whizz is designed for primary and early secondary levels, and has comprehensive coverage of Level 1-4 and around half of Level 5 of the New Zealand Curriculum. Detailed progress and achievement data enables teachers to easily identify class strengths, weaknesses and trends. Individual student performance can be calculated and measured against each NZC Achievement Objective across all strands, with comprehensive data available at the teacher’s fingertips to measure class and individual performance.
Feedback from teachers on how Maths-Whizz is working in their school includes comments on how the programme creates a culture where learning maths is fun, and that learning is accelerated beyond what would be expected.
Extensive international data analysis has shown that with regular use, student achievement in numeracy is accelerated through all levels
Maths-Whizz ticks all the boxes:
• Online differentiated adaptive learning
• Proven to raise numeracy results (as measured against NZ standardized tests)
• Reduces teacher workload – assesses, sets and adjusts levels automatically
• Reporting against individual NZC Achievement Objectives
• Aggregates achievement data across all strands
Our teachers are our best advocates.
“Through ongoing Teaching as Inquiry, it is evident that active integration of Maths-Whizz fosters cognitive engagement and raises student achievement.
I have observed an incredible shift in attitude toward maths learning. Maths-Whizz creates a classroom culture where learning maths is fun – and if children are relaxed and happy, they’re a lot more willing to learn! I have taught for nearly 20 years and I have never seen such motivation for learning maths, and to be honest, I wouldn’t want to teach without it now.” – Fiona Hett, TIC Maths, Mangawhai Beach School
I just wanted to say how great I think the Maths-Whizz program is and how valuable it is for my programme. A highlight of the programme is that it adjusts itself to meet a student’s learning needs, I feel that this program brings together several successful elements of other types of learning programs and combines them into a one stop shop.
If I had to pick just one digital program for my students to have access to, then this would be it. Nga mihi,” – Cheryl, Rotorua Intermediate
“If there is one set of data that I trust it is the data I get from Maths-Whizz.” – Ted Barks, Pt England School
The term ‘rich task’ refers to a type of teaching practice in which a project connects different subjects (interdisciplinary) and involves a variety of teaching and learning methods. Within the maths learning programme Numicon, rich tasks are designed for learning in a variety of contexts, usually from everyday life, and reaching across the maths strands.
Stimulating problems, discussions and activities appeal to many learners. Tasks begin where all children can participate, and extend to complex problems drawing in the deep thinkers, challenged by possibilities and different outcomes. Children enjoy having time to think, experiment, create and imagine. Bright children, even if they are not successful at maths, thrive on this style of learning.
The Numicon Approach was written specifically to provide connections within mathematics, but also with the world around us. The sequence of learning opportunities, and many contexts for learning using ‘rich tasks’, provides a maths programme for all abilities with robust assessment.
Numicon 2 (NZ Curriculum L2) Pattern and Algebra 7 – ‘Finding all possibilities’ includes ‘rich tasks’ to teach problem-solving skills:
• Working systematically
• Keeping track of possibilities
• Reasoning logically
The rich tasks in the week include:
• Numeracy (addition and subtraction) – finding all the possibilities of finding five
• Logic and reasoning
• Measurement – how many ways can you pay for something with $1
• Communication – choices of pirate costumes for a party
• Problem solving – planning the number of costumes to be available
• Choices for purchasing ice-creams with combinations of flavours.
These activities engage children and teach them to think mathematically in a wide variety of contexts, demonstrating the ‘why’ we learn maths.
Learning the language of maths is a vital link in the connections of ‘rich tasks’. Words and terms for use in conversation are listed weekly, along with assessment opportunities. The words and terms include investigate, find out, combinations, all possibilities, all the ways, organise, system, systematically, prove, keep track of, table, “I know because… so…”
Research and evidence from around the world has shown this is an effective approach. Numicon is a hands-on programme with Interactive Whiteboard software that teachers and students can easily use for problem solving and illustrating mathematical concepts. Children say they “love Numicon”.
Numicon’s proven pedagogy raises achievement across all ability levels and builds confident teachers. The teaching resources are rich with activities, built-in assessment and professional guidance.
Pearson Mathematics is a primary-level, structured, whole-school maths programme – print and online – covering all strands of the NZ Curriculum, levels 1 to 4, Although there is an emphasis on Number and Algebra, the strands of Geometry, Measurement and Statistics are interwoven in the programme throughout the year.
Launched in 2010, it was written specifically for New Zealand schools by highly regarded mathematics specialist Charlotte Wilkinson, the facilitator of the Government’s Numeracy Project.
“Problem solving is an important part of it,” says Head of Sales – Schools, Jane Huston.
“Learning the language of maths also enables students to read it easily and understand the maths. With this programme there is a focus on real-life problem solving and investigation strategies in the form of activity cards and student books.
“The programme’s teacher guides provide extensive teacher support and with sample implementation plans it is easy for them to implement in the classroom,” Ms Huston says.
“A key advantage is that it offers a balanced yet flexible programme that provides consistency across the entire school, from years 0-8. Plus there is an assessment tool that runs side by side with the programme, with the assessment aligned to National Standards.”
Due to be launched next year, Edify Digital is a digital platform for delivering workbook and textbook content to secondary school maths students.
“Edify is collaborating with WERKZ Publishing to put these market-leading products authored by David Barton into a ‘best in class’ platform, to be launched in term 1, 2016,” says CEO Adrian Keane.
“Currently, New Zealand students have access to PDF versions of text books, but these have limited functionality and interactivity. The Pagewerkz platform is very dynamic and provides interactive, peer-to-peer learning, plus the ability for the students to interact directly with the teacher,” Mr Keane says.
“It enlivens content in a way that increases engagement, subsequently lifting performance. Engagement is a critical factor and this will be far more engaging for students, producing positive outcomes.”
He says this is the first time NZ Curriculum content has been available on this platform, and Edify is the only company working with the product.
“We hope to have the entire maths curriculum up to year 13 on Pagewerkz by the end of 2016. What we’re most excited about is that there’s nothing else like this out there.
New Zealand learners deserve better than PDFs, and in making this product available we hope to offer them a far superior experience.
“It will be available across multiple devices so will be flexible and as accessible as possible for students.”
Mathletics has been designed by a passionate team of educators to provide the right balance of stimulation, encouragement and support to allow students to achieve more, Mathletics’ NZ Curriculum specialist Mandy Bradshaw says.
Catering for Years 1 through to 13, Mathletics creates an individualised pathway for each student, working at their level, providing step-by-step guidance and rewarding student effort.
“Our Mathletics courses have been created for New Zealand students. Courses are available both in year level groups and by curriculum level. All new activities in our Mathletics courses are carefully placed according to the New Zealand Curriculum and the relevant Achievement Objectives,” she says.
Mathletics uses game theory as learning motivators – explorer, achiever, competitor and socialiser to engage students in learning that facilitates and enhances the experience for each one of the gaming types.
For example, competitor types are drawn towards Mathletics’ live mathematical races against classmates or other students around the world, achievers can master topics whilst collecting points and certificates, explorers might like to unlock hidden parts of the program and socialisers like to earn connector points through connecting with others.
Mathletics’ teacher centre contains a dedicated reporting tool that highlights student, class and school progression within the program. Through the single-click activity assignment, teachers can identify gaps in a student’s learning and instantly assign tasks to concentrate learning around the identified gap.
The grouping functions allow for ability-based grouping within the class, whilst the courses function provides teachers with the choice of assigning pre-created New Zealand year-level courses or using the Mathletics wide range of resources to create their own courses.
Mathletics can also be used as a front-of-class teaching tool. The range of interactive demonstrations, printable eBooks, and conceptual videos all work perfectly with a class projector or interactive whiteboard.
Mathletics looks at how teachers ensure they are getting the best from their students by using a maths programme.
A good digital resource ticks all the following boxes:
• Creates an individualised learning pathway
• Immediate feedback for both student and teacher
• Ability to review results and instantly identify gaps in learning
• Clear learning outcomes
• Assessment for learning
• Reporting of results.
• Caters for a variety of learning styles