Free online maths resource for students and teachers goes live

21 Feb 2014

A free, interactive online maths resource for students and teachers in Ireland, which includes an option for live one-to-one tutorials, has been launched this morning by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny from his old classroom in Castebar, Co Mayo.

The online maths lessons have been developed by Galway company ALISON in partnership with the award-winning tutoring company Maths Doctor from Macmillan Science & Education.

The lessons, which are delivered by experienced maths tutors, are aligned with the Irish Leaving Certificate Project Maths Syllabus, for both higher and ordinary levels.

To access the video lectures, students simply register and log onto the ALISON site. They then choose a maths topic of interest to them from the course and can also link in with a maths tutor who is available to take them through syllabus lessons. The tutor uses an online white board, which allows students to follow problem-solving, as well as interact with their tutor. 

Students can also learn at a pace and time to suit their individual requirements.

“Ireland is very much to the fore of online learning and resources, such as those developed by ALISON and Macmillan, and has a significant role to play in maintaining its position as an international centre of excellence in education,” Kenny said. 

“The new Project Maths online tutorials provide invaluable support to Leaving Cert students and teachers, and are also a really practical resource for anyone trying to grapple with day-to-day financial maths. These resources, though simple in their execution, are revolutionary in their vision and will help to future-proof education for the next generation.”

Project Maths

Following a pilot programme, Project Maths was introduced to Irish schools’ curriculum in 2012 by the Department of Education and Skills, and has been designed to help students apply maths to everyday life while preparing them to work in the areas of science or engineering.

“Now more than ever before, educators need to place a huge emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and how they are taught in schools,” said ALISON CEO Mike Feerick. 

“To encourage greater participation in sectors such as science and technology that are critical to our economic development, we need to look not only at what we are teaching our students, but how.

“Young people are digital natives, learning through the web is a natural extension of their everyday lives and our hope is to encourage more and more students to enjoy learning maths in a forum that is natural for them – online.” 

The ALISON and Macmillan Maths Doctor programme has been developed in collaboration with teachers working with the Project Maths curriculum in Ireland, such as the Galway Education Centre, Athenry Maths Academy and Project Maths Teachers.

The programme aims to support the existing high level of maths teaching already found across the country. Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme has recently announced its support for ALISON’s maths programme and has today been unveiled as a partner of the educational group.  

Simon Walsh, managing director of Maths Doctor and a former maths teacher said, “ALISON and Macmillan have developed a resource that can be used by students and teachers not only in Ireland, but all over the world, enabling them to learn and study mathematics in a pioneering but really practical way. I think we can show students, through online learning, that maths can be fun and that in itself would be a major achievement.”

For students requiring additional help, the resource also features a low-cost option for one-to-one tutorials, with both student and teacher visible on screen simultaneously, enabling them to work through tasks together, in real-time.

“The free courses are as relevant to adults as they are to teens and cover areas including understanding compound interest, income tax, gross pay, investments and savings. 

Maths image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years