‘Khan do’ spirit reignites Irish students’ passion for maths

6 May 2014

Irish secondary school students taking part in the MATHletes Challenge 2014 spent 54,000 minutes working on maths over their Easter break. That’s more than 900 hours in just two weeks.

Launched in late January by tech entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan and the Minister for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon, the national maths tournament has caught the attention of educators, parents, and students from across Ireland.

“We have been blown away with the level of engagement with maths from Irish students,” said Kelly Kirkpatrick from the MATHletes Challenge.

“Kids are having fun with maths, and the impact it is having on learning both in and out of the classroom is staggering.”

Based on the Khan Academy method of teaching and learning maths, MATHletes compete as individuals or with their schools for the championship title and a piece of the €20,000 prize fund. 

Founded in 2006 by the American educator Sal Khan, the Khan Academy is a leader in free online maths education. With more than 10m users per month and 4m practice problems solved each day, the Khan Academy had been successful in accomplishing its mission to provide “a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.”

The top 500 MATHletes from across the country will compete in-person at Provincial Finals on Saturday, 10 May, for a place in the national final. The finals are being hosted by Dublin City University (Leinster), Tyndall Institute (Munster), Donegal Education Centre (Ulster), Colaiste Bhaile Chlair (Connaught). 

“The figures show that the MATHletes Challenge 2014 has really struck a chord with students and also with their parents and teachers,” said Kirkpatrick. 

“These figures prove what we have been hearing throughout the challenge: students are motivated like never before – they are eager to complete more and more maths challenges and are using technology to take control of their own learning.”

Girl coder image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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