MathsPOWER - Software - made for Australian students by Australian teachers

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Future Education

IMAGINE, thereıs
that word again, one of my favourites. Imagine a lesson in which you explained
a concept from beginning to end logically, with a little flair, a few
insightful comments and NO interruptions.
No knock on the door, visit from the head teacher, collections for
charity, reminders about the Sports Carnival, loud speaker announcements,
giggles from the 2 boys at the back, pencils dropped, thrown, sharpened, pencil
cases opened, closed, dropped, recovered, no absolutely urgent questions about
the lunchtime activities for the junior school open day in 2 weeks time, no
emergency gossip, visiting parents, late notes, toilet requests, injury
reports; STOPı, she says, IF YOUR NOT ACTUALLY BLEEDING PROFUSELY NOW, then
youıll just have to wait till I have finished speaking, type of interruptions.
Imagine it, the power, the learning, the satisfaction.

The Maths Power
folk have given a teacher this opportunity, and it is brilliant. The voice over teacher explains each
Maths concept logically, in a consistent manner. He asks questions to provoke thought and engage the
listener. I enjoyed listening to
the Mr Chips type voice, not patronizing more informative, it makes you feel as
if you are being let in on Mathematics little secrets. Each mini lesson is
approximately 2-6 minutes in total.
Not to long, in fact a length ideally matched to the attention span of
most students. These small bites of information do enhance learning. Like any
good teacher, the Maths Power Teacher breaks problems down into smaller
components and consistently solves problems using the same logical steps. The
instructions are simple and clear and it seems as though the teacher is talking
directly to you. The lessons work from the simple to the complex in logical
steps, and with no interruptions, even algebra can seem easy.

So how does it
all work.

First you load in
the program and then login with your name and password. The first screen that comes up gives
the grade level access to the program you have purchased, in our case years 7
& 8. The next screen lists the topics. The program suggests you start with
some ³limbering up² exercises to practice speed and number skills. The speed skills are beat the clock
fast answers to the simple arithmetic questions and are completed on the
computer. The sound is quite addictive and Catherine and I wanted to beat the
clock. The number skills are done on the computer, and practice more complex
multiple digit calculations. . All
results are recorded to track progress. There is also a neat chart for
recording results of speed tests, to print out. The suggestion in the manual is
that you start each session with these limbering upı exercises, a great idea
and a great learning habit to train. You will need to use the Numbers Lock and
Numbers keypad for entry of answers to the games and speed sections.

Then itıs onto a
selection of a topic, and a sub-topic. My first choice was Algebra II, Indices
1. Lessons are figures/numbers
only, with areas highlighted as the teacher speaks emphasizing the lesson
points and concepts. This is most effective and you can watch videos as often
as you want, youıre in charge.

After watching the video, the you can print
out a set of questions with all the answers at the bottom of the page. I
thought the answers at the bottom of the page was a flaw, but no, these guys
have it worked out well. The
answers are in random alpha order, enough answers are tantalising close to make
it quite a challenge. Once the
questions are answered using good old pen and paper, the alpha equivalent is
entered into the results grid on the computer. Click OK, and all the incorrect
answers are highlighted, YOU CAN HAVE A SECOND TRY. This is great, you really
feel in charge, you have the power.
Correct those few pesky little mistakes. Click OK again and your results
are recorded, sans silly mistakes.
The program keeps a record of your results and progress, you can also
keep a written record on the sheets provided in the folder. There you have it,
Bobıs your uncle. Slick effective and NO interruptions.

The presentation
is simple, it doesnıt try and get too complex and uses predictable procedures.
Headphones are an advantage, a none interruptable clear concise explanation of
mathematical concepts is a dream.

This program
represents a new style of software.
It provides a comprehensive program covering the core mathematics
syllabus for most curricula. It
allows students to progress at their own speed and evaluate and control their
own learning, to repeat lessons as many or as few times as they need. Students who learn quickly are
accommodated, students who learn slowly are accommodated. Using these types of programs the
pressure is off the teacher to pitch a lesson to the whole class. Basic
mathematics can be learned individually by students at their own pass in their
own time. Mini lessons can be given in an ordered logical manner without
interruption. Once basic skills
are nailed by a program such as this teacherıs can get on with the real
business and enjoyment of teaching mathematics:-

Like discussing the lives of some the great
mathematicians, Erdos, Heptia, Pythagoras, Euler, Mandelbrot, http://physics.hallym.ac.kr/reference/physicist/mathematician.htm

discussing some of the great mathematical problems
like, The Bridges of Konigsberg or The Value of Pi or Puzzle of Primes or The
Problem of Points or A Proof of the Pythagorean Theorem http://mathforum.org/isaac/mathhist.html

and discussing some contemporary mathematical
problems, why are their traffic jams, why do buses come in threes, how can we
solve the canteen queues and get lunch quicker.