Mathletics Case Study
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A brief look at the reasons why it would be wise to integrate Mathletics into every ‘laptop-friendly’ schools’ Mathematics curriculum delivery process.

There is a plethora of software packages available on the market today, all promising to deliver benefits to learning. Some have valid claims – many do not. Unfortunately, the cost of such software precludes many from using such packages but when you compare their usefulness with many textbooks the value becomes very apparent.

When I first came across Mathletics many years ago it was unique and innovative but suffered from the common malaise of many new technology ideas – the inability to seamlessly deliver what it promised. Technology in schools often trails the mainstream in terms of equipment and infrastructure and Mathletics needed the higher end of technology to perform at its optimum. However, there was enough in the package for me to persevere and I now use Mathletics weekly in my curriculum delivery, and indeed, make it compulsory for the teachers in the Department to do the same. Some initial reluctance to adopt the software has now been replaced with enthusiasm. Why?

  1. The record of student achievement is progressive and diagnostic – and permanent.

  • At any time (and every Parent/Teacher night) you can export all the data from Mathletics (if you want to) to a spreadsheet and by using conditional formatting get a very clear picture of what students have completed and what concepts they have struggled to comprehend.

  1. No ‘down time’ in lessons.

  • Students are set a number of tasks at the beginning of the week (and sometimes daily) and are expected to finish these tasks:

    • if they complete any set work in class or

    • need/require additional work at home.

  1. No “I’ve got no homework” excuse.

  • All students are told that they always have work to do even if no specific homework has been set. If tasks have been completed then students are encouraged to investigate other aspects of Mathletics.

  • Browsing through the ‘Dictionary’ or searching through ‘My Study’ regarding a particular mathematical concept can unearth a multitude of valuable resources.

  • ‘Live Mathletics’ is always popular with students!

  1. There’s no such thing as too much practice.

  • I think every teacher of mathematics would agree that errors made by students in class and in assessments are not always related to the work at hand but are often related to earlier concepts (think fractions here as an example).

  • Teachers frequently overestimate the connections students have made between related mathematical constructs. Maybe it’s because teachers of Mathematics have no personal experience in understanding what it is students don’t understand given they have probably never been in that situation themselves.

  • Even students in high performing classes find that they benefit from practicing concepts encountered in previous years.

  1. Help is on hand.

  • Students can use the ‘help’ button in the tasks to get an explanation of the process required to answer the question.

  1. No need to search for appropriate Booklets or worksheets.

  • Work booklets and Assessments are readily available through ‘eBooks’. The assessments at the end of each ‘Exam Revision’ booklet are ideal (mix of multiple choice and short answer tests) for in-class tests on progress.

  1. …..and there’s more!

  • The opening teachers’ page provides options for videos, interactives and ‘walkthroughs’ through the ‘Toolkit’ tab which are ideal for any classroom that utilizes an IWB or projector. These are excellent for demonstrating important concepts.

  • There’s a ‘Demonstrations’ option which lets teachers see what students see.

  • The ‘Lessons’ tab enables teachers to design lessons that incorporate and save different features of the software into one place.

This is a list of just a few of the many reasons why Mathletics can make teaching (and learning) a little easier in this time-poor world in which we live. It’s not the panacea to the challenges of teaching mathematics but it certainly helps, so why wouldn’t you want to utilize the benefits Mathletics provides?

Dr Phil Brockbank, Head of Mathematics

All Saints’ College, WA