MathAmigo is a resource that assists the teacher in planning, providing activities and assessing performance of pupils at the primary level for mathematics. Because MathAmigo is such a large system, there are many short tutorials to assist the teacher and also, if requested, online conferences can be arranged.
The process begins with either importing class details or inputting them individually. After allocating pupils to classes within the school, the teacher is then free to quickly assign a whole year’s teaching plan that makes use of the National Numeracy Strategy framework. However, for those who wish to take a more hands on approach, MathAmigo allows the teacher to assign differentiated plans and/or activities for particular groups or individuals within the class. MathAmigo has a large number of appropriately challenging activities for the teacher to choose from. At present, most are directed at the delivery of AT2 but given the facility to upgrade on a regular basis, one would hope that more activities that relate to other strands of the curriculum would be available soon.
Once the planning process has taken place, the teacher is spoilt for choice in terms of how the pupils will access the activities. This can be through a standalone PC, connected to the school network, using a palmtop or, perhaps for infants, the classic MathAmigo hand held units. Data is transferred to the equipment of choice ready for the pupils to access their own set of activities. The children in my class have, at present, had the use of both the palmtop and the MathAmigo units. Both of which were hits!
When ready, data is transferred to the managing pc where results can be examined by performance in objectives, activities or by question. If required, this information can then be exported. Teachers can then amend plans and difficulty level on activities. From there, the process begins again.
This software has been well thought out and attempts to do a tremendous amount of work. At present, I, along with the pupils, am still familiarizing myself with it.
Some time ago a flyer for Valiant’s MathAmigo appeared in my pigeon hole at the school. As maths co-ordinator, I showed it to the Headteacher, who happened to be the ICT co-ordinator at that time.
We decided to express an interest, as Maths was a priority that year in the school development plan and this seemed to be a welcome opportunity to increase the children’s motivation.
St. George’s school then became part of a pilot project to help with the development of MathAmigo.
We have purchased 30 machines and have had an INSET meeting with additional support for myself from Valiant Technology.
MathAmigo is still undergoing development and at St. George’s, are still very much in their infancy. However, the children, without exception, are highly motivated when they use them. They are able to work own level and are so focused, that they are oblivious to the activities of others around them. Their work is marked and congratulated on. Help screens are displayed if problems occur.
The MathAmigo classic units are attractively designed, being easy to hold or place on desk tops and have bright, user friendly key pads.
I did wonder whether pupils might express a preference for the more animated or brightly coloured computer screen. But no comments were made about reduced size of screen or black and white display, as they were too interested in proceeding with their specific activity.
As maths co-ordinator, I like the way the activities can be selected by the teacher. They are presented on a grid resembling the NNS medium term plans. The children’s results, which map their progress can be printed off a designated computer.
MathAmigo can be used ideally in the mental starter part of the lesson, giving the children further opportunity to practice objectives already taught, test facts learnt or to increase speed in mental calculations.
We soon hope to have MathAmigo being used throughout the school, and look forward to receiving further updates from Valiant Technology.
Gill Maitland
Maths Co-ordinator
St George’s C. E. Primary School
Sept 2003
Other reviews can be found on the CurriculumOnline site