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Teacher writing a Maths Website and App - Need feedback!

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by SparkMaths, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    Hi, I'm a Secondary Maths Teacher but my undergraduate degree was in Computer Programming. I've been taking a break from the classroom this year to write some resources using my programming skills to try and make some solutions to problems that wasted a lot of my time in the classroom.

    If you've used things like MyMaths, Maths Bot or MrCarter Maths you'll be familiar with the concept I'm going for but I wanted to make something with more types of activities. I posted a similar thread last year and got some great feedback so I'm hoping to get some input again!

    I've made a website with activites to show on your interactive whiteboard, there's randomly generated questions, starter tasks on prerequisite skills, multiple choice questions, matching questions/answers and a self marking worksheet:
    http://sparkmaths.com/index.html
    My aim is that this would make a complete basic lesson on each topic, saving planning time for everyone to produce the more interesting parts of the lesson such as problem solving. Because the questions are randomly generated, each activity is reusable if a class needs more time on something.

    I've also made an app for smartphones with the randomly generated questions for students to use and an area for them to write their working on, here is a test version that runs in a web browser but I'm planning to put it on googleplay:
    http://sparkmaths.com/appindex.html
    My aim here is that students can use this for homework, revision or differentiation. Eventually I want to link Youtube videos on it to teach each topic too.

    Only Number topics are ready so far, so Ratio/Algebra/Geometry/Statistics are locked for now. The links should work in Firefox/Chrome/Internet Explorer at least.

    Thanks a lot for reading, please let me know what you think!
     
  2. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah New commenter

    I have looked at your website and I can see what you are trying to do. I think there is other sites which do similar things so their isn't really a gap in the market.
    The issue is only having one question on the board could work for mini whiteboard questions or examples but it would be better if there was an option to put multiple questions up.
    I think there is a place for 'random' questions but I think there is a move away from that with teachers wanting to show sequences of questions for progression. Maybe it would work better in an app for revision. Also creating random questions for number is easy and many maths teachers have excel spread sheets which do this. It would be more useful to have the other topics such as geometry. I fear you are wasting your time as you haven't made anything new.
     
  3. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    Thanks for having a look! That's really good feedback. I've spent nearly a year on this off and on so the time is already wasted :)

    I actually do have most of Geometry done, I have randomly generated 2D diagrams for Trig/Angles/Area and 3D diagrams for Volume. I've also got most of Algebra done including Graphs. Sounds like I need to get more impressive examples online, so I'll get that done next.

    What I'm aiming for is more suited for consolidation and revision, particularly when students need more time on a topic but you've used up all the carefully chosen examples you have. I don't think it's going to help much with initial exposure to a topic, there's better ways of doing that.

    The single question format is more impressive on a phone or tablet I think, with students using it for homework/revision. I'm going to add a feature for students to download their working, with things like MyMaths you don't usually know how they did the questions.

    With competitors, I do need to think carefully about what gap in the market I'm filling. I've found other websites lacking as a teacher as they tend to do only one activity type, so I wanted to try and get a full lessons worth in one place.
     
  4. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    Just giving this an update, I've now put all of the topics I've done online rather than just Number. So you'll find lots of questions on difficult to program things like Angles, Area, Graphs, Trigonometry and Volume.

    I'm going to add another question to the Whiteboard activity as suggested but that'll take some time, I'm also eventually going to have topics start with a preset sequence of questions before going random.

    http://sparkmaths.com/
     
  5. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    A few points:

    Changing the subject should not be under "expressions", an expression does not have an equals sign.

    I think the times for answering multiple choice questions need to be adjusted depending on the difficulty. 15 seconds, or even 60 seconds, is probably too short for a cosine rule question but too long for finding the mode from a list of numbers.

    The questions most pupils struggle with are long wordy questions. This doesn't help at all with these type of questions.
     
  6. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the feedback!

    I'll move Changing the Subject over to Equations. I'm trying to avoid having a long list of lessons it's hard to find things in, so I'm grouping lessons under broader topic areas to make navigation simpler. It's not always easy to group things accurately that users will intuitively know though.

    The multiple choice times are placeholders, I actually forgot about this so thanks for bringing it up. I'm going to scale the time by how many marks a question is worth, but I haven't gone through and assigned those values yet. I want everything ready by September so I'll just remove the timer if I don't get to it before then.

    I'm going to do wordy questions eventually but for now, yeah this isn't for that. The idea is that you can get all of the basics on my website then use the time you saved to make/find your own wordy questions and problem solving resources.
     
  7. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

  8. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    That's embarrassing! I cut down the length of questions to make them fit in the text boxes and I've cut too much! I figured out how to make text wrap this week so I can increase the question lengths again.
     
  9. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah New commenter

    I have looked at the updates to the site briefly I am impressed! I like the harder to program elements. I will start using the site with students and will provide feedback if I notice anything that can be improved.
     
  10. AVDBA

    AVDBA New commenter

    I would like to suggest improving the UI. Regarding APP, it seems You have the intention of using WebView object and, being the case of using this object, a care about security is important, specially due to scripts.
     
  11. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah New commenter

    Hi,
    Just some further feedback. I like the idea of a starter linked with the topic and the ones I have looked at so far seem pretty good. With the multiple choice questions in addition to the colours could you also introduce A, B, C, D as some schools have these multiple answers in the back of there planner or 1,2,3 4 so students can hold up fingers to show which answer they pick. With the match cards on some of the topics e.g. like terms as different letters are used on the questions and answers it is obvious which answer matches up. If only one of the questions and one of the answers have an m in it then they must match.
     
  12. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    I did find with some of the questions it was more about entering the answer in the correct way rather than actually getting the right answer. For example "Find the value of 2^-1", neither 0.5 or 1/2 were marked correct, you had to enter 1 / 2 (with spaces) to get a tick.
     

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