Maths software comes in many different shapes and sizes. From apps on ipads, to online services such as Mathletics or MyMaths. From online KS2 maths games to installed software on your local computer network for KS1. As budgets get tighter and the choice of maths software grows greater every day, we need to really think carefully about the needs of the children and the school. To help with this I've put together a checklist of questions to ask when evaluating maths software.
Questions to ask when evaluating maths software
- Does it offer what you want, practice, learning (remediation) or production?
- Is it just a book on screen?
- Is the design cluttered?
- Is there mathematical structure?
- Is it just 'drill and kill'?
- Does it irritate?
- Does it have voice output (useful for children with special needs)?
- How does it motivate?
- Is it age specific in design?
- Does it address more than one way of learning?
- Is it good value for money?
- Can the learner use it independently?
- Does it have a record keeping system?
- Can the programme be individualised or at least differentiated?
- Does it include assessment and/or diagnostic features?
Secondary checklist - will the children enjoy it?
In addition to this checklist, you will also want to consider the 'stickiness' of the software too and how much the children will enjoy it:
- Will the children enjoy playing it?
- Can they play against their friends?
- Will they want to play at home to enhance their learning?
- Is there a community aspect to the game?
Advanced Features of Maths Games
You may also want to consider if the maths game has more advanced features such as points, levels, a leader board, avatars, a shop to spend points, a chat feature or items to collect. Some software allows you to play against other schools too which children find motivational.
Using this checklist will help to "seperate the wheat from the chaff" and ensure that you end up with software that really benefits the pupils and the school.