MATHletes Challenge 2015 gearing up for record year

9 Jan 2015

Entrepreneur, inventor and investor Sean O'Sullivan with this year's MATHletes at the launch of the MATHletes challenge 2015

For the next four months, math-crazy students from across Ireland will compete in the MATHletes Challenge 2015 with their peers to see who makes the All-Ireland MATHletes Championship.

This year comes after an incredibly successful 2014 for the MATHletes challenge which saw 270 schools, 330 teachers, and 3,000 students compete and spend nearly 1m minutes improving their maths both in their schools and online.

With the help of the non-profit educational organisation, the Khan Academy, whose aim is to allow education be free and accessible to anyone in the world, 10m children and young adults across the world solve over 4m practice problems each day and Ireland remains one of its star contributors.

This year’s MATHletes challenge will be structured similar to a GAA-style tournament playoff, with the four-month challenge showcasing students on weekly online leaderboards, with top scorers advancing to represent their county colours at the provincial playoffs in April.

Exponential uptake in just one year

Those topping the leaderboards at the end of the four months will then continue on to the prestigious All-Ireland MATHletes Championship which will be held on 2 May.

In just over a year, the number of Irish students using the Khan Academy has increased from 3,600 to over 26,000 with a tenfold increase in the number of teachers in Ireland using the website as part of their class activities and will soon be brought in line with the Irish curriculum.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s challenge, entrepreneur, inventor and investor Sean O’Sullivan said, “The MATHletes Challenge and Khan Academy are innovative and free tools for students to build the strong foundations and confidence in mathematics that they will need throughout their lives.

“This initiative challenges schools and communities to demand rigor and award praise to academics the same way we do to athletics. There is no reason that Ireland cannot be number one in the world in maths, and MATHletes and the Khan Academy can help get us there.”

Disclaimer: SOSventures is an investor in Silicon Republic

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic