Archives For July 2013

ImageAs an insight into the way DoodleMaths works, we thought we’d invite two guest bloggers to give their view on the app. But not just any old bloggers. We’ve asked a primary school pupil, Tabitha, and her mum, Sophie, to do a monthly blog on their experiences of the app. Here is what they made of their first few days with DoodleMaths.

The Pupil’s View – Tabitha, six-and-a-half

Hello, I’m Tabitha and I have just done my first sessions of DoodleMaths! I am 6 years old and I ‘m going into Year 2. At school, my favourite subject is literacy but I like numeracy too.

On DoodleMaths, first of all you choose a pet. I chose a cat. You have to get points for your pet by getting questions right.

Before I could get points I needed to do an assessment to see how good I was at maths and then I did the real thing! It was a bit funny at first doing it on my mum’s iPhone but I soon got used to it.

I had to sort out odd and even numbers into boxes and also I was tested on how to tell the time. There were fractions and they were hard.

When I got 9 out of 10 questions right, my pet cat smiled and fireworks exploded!!!!!

The best thing about DoodleMaths is that it’s a really fun way to do maths and it was exciting to get a Doodle star when I got a question right. I did a section called 7-a-Day and I got lots of stars. It was awesome doing DoodleMaths with my mum.

I learned a special way to take away 9 from a number and I am practising that.

At the start of August we are going to Wales to stay at my Grandpop’s on holiday and I am looking forward to doing some DoodleMaths on the way there.

The Parent’s View – Sophie, 33-and-a-half

I had never used an educational app before, so downloading DoodleMaths was a first for me as much as it was for Tabitha. Once downloaded, the app was simple to navigate and there was a really good Parents section that gave tips on how to get the most out of DoodleMaths.

We are fortunate in that Tabitha enjoys her work at school, but with the summer holidays ahead of us, we felt it would be good for her to keep her maths up. When we mentioned the idea of downloading the app to her, she was excited and that excitement grew when she was able to start ‘playing’ the app and choose her own character.

The questions in the initial assessment enable the app to understand your child’s current maths age. The child isn’t told this age but mum or dad can access it by going into the Parents section using a pin code. Over the coming months, it will be interesting to see how Tabitha’s maths age changes. Usefully, you can sign up to receive emailed updates on your child’s progress.

The system of ‘credits’ that your child earns by getting questions right is a smart one. The more credits they win, the sooner their character can receive accessories. Tabitha is already focused on securing a pair of sunglasses for her cat!

I did the first couple of sessions with Tabitha, giving her the occasional tip on what to press when, but she picked it up in no time. It was rewarding to see her work through problems and let out a ‘Yessss!’ whenever she earned another credit.

The only downside so far is that I’m having to exercise a good deal of self-control to stop myself reaching across and tapping the screen myself – it’s quite compelling stuff, even for grown-ups!

We are only a few days into the summer holidays but Tabitha is probably more excited about maths now than she has ever been. Let’s hope that continues and that the ‘Yesssses!’ continue to ring out.

Most respondents tend to answer this sequentially, rather than use PEMDAS* or BIDMAS** to ensure the mathematical operations are done in the correct order, that being:

  1. Parentheses or Brackets
  2. Exponents or Indices
  3. Multiplication
  4. Division
  5. Addition and Subtraction (not necessarily in that order – done sequentially left to right. PEMDAS sounds better than PEMDSA.)

So, 4 x 4 + 4 x 4 + 4 – 4 x 4

=      16   +   16  + 4  –  16       (do all the multiplications first)

=      20

The most common incorrect answer is 320. Can you work out how that might have been obtained?

* If you’re in the US or Canada            ** If you’re in the UK or Australia

From Illinois in the United States to our home patch in Bath, we seem to have struck a winning formula with DoodleMaths. We’ve had some great media coverage on both sides of the Atlantic of late, and it’s exciting to think that both British and American children are being helped through their studies by an app that we are so passionate about.

We really do live in a global classroom now – and it’s technology that’s breaking down the educational frontiers.

It was the playwright George Bernard Shaw who said that the UK and the US are “two nations divided by a common language”. But here at DoodleMaths, we are finding that our way of teaching the universal language of mathematics is going down well both here and in the States – even if we have had to drop the ‘s’ and name the app DoodleMath in the US due to the slight differences of vocabulary!

It’s still early days for us in the US, but we have had some hugely positive feedback since DoodleMath was launched at the start of the summer. We were interviewed by Illinois mom Alison from www.theimum.com – a fabulous website where real parents get to grips with apps and give their opinions. It was great to be talking about our app to someone living 4,000 miles away, but what was even more exciting was the fact that we were speaking to just the sort of person whose opinion we most value – a parent who wants their children to get the most out of their education.  You can read the interview here

Closer to home this month, we have also featured on the Bath Digital Blog – http://blog.bathdigital.com – a website that highlights all the exciting technological innovation and interesting start-up companies in our home city.  The guys behind the blog are the same people who run the annual Bath Digital Festival, so it’s exciting to be involved with people who really want to ensure that our city is high on the app agenda. Have a read here

The US and the UK may well be two nations divided by a common language – but it’s great to see children on both sides of the Atlantic doing their division with DoodleMaths.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s difficult to integrate the use of laptops into everyday classroom practice (slow start-up, short battery life, cumbersome)
  2. The resources that have been developed so far (and I talk principally in terms of maths here) largely aim to replicate or replace the teach–practice–mark cycle that remains typical of most maths classrooms, rather than supplement the good work that teachers already do. In other words, a paper worksheet is replaced by an online worksheet. A teacher’s explanation is replaced by a video explanation.

The innovation of Apple in creating the iPad tackles the first issue, but we need true innovation on the part of educational publishers and resource developers if we are to address the second.

*http://mashable.com/2012/04/09/one-laptop-per-child-study/