Outstanding Solutions, a Galway-based software developer, is offering higher-level Leaving Cert maths students a free two-hour demo of its Digital Grinds package.
The new company, which was formed by a small team of National University Ireland (NUI) Galway graduates, has just completed and released its first package, called Digital Grinds for Higher Level Leaving Cert. Maths Paper 1. The product is designed to emulate one-to-one grinds by combining graphics, audio and interactive programming.
To receive a free copy of the Digital Grinds demo, students must visit Outstanding Solutions’ website, www.digitalgrinds.ie, to either download the trial software or have a copy posted to them.
The demo contains full solutions to two exam questions from the 2005 higher-level paper. It also includes a section exploring why studying Algebra might of interest to students and their future careers, as well as six interactive question sections, each with a mystery prize to unlock. The package is rounded out by samples from other features of the software.
Outstanding Solutions claimed that Irish parents and students spend more than €50m every year on extra tuition and that maths is the most popular subject. Other figures show that more than 50pc of students taking higher-level maths for the Junior Cert drop down to pass level for the Leaving Cert.
The advantage of digital grinds, the company said, is that they allow students to go through solutions to problems in the comfort of their own homes, at their own pace and as often as they want. “This way they will be able to notice where they are making mistakes and after going through the solution really begin to progress through the higher-level maths course,” said Brian McNamara, CEO and co-founder of Outstanding Solutions.
The full software emulates a one-to-one grind by taking students through exam question solutions and the theory required to understand them, using graphics, an audio voice-over and interactive programming. The software also takes a holistic look at the subject, covering the psychological aspects of study and how the role of attitude and having a good reason to do maths influences the quantity and quality of the work that gets done.
“Taking the holistic approach has proven to be very effective with helping students to keep up and make great progress through higher-level maths which really means they develop even more confidence in their problem solving ability,” said McNamara.
By Gordon Smith