Published by Conquer Maths
KS 3 & 4 (Years 7-11)
KS3 Content Evaluation by Peter Garner
This package has detailed coverage of the Secondary syllabus for Maths.It contains a vast selection of bite-size targeted tutorials for teaching the topics within Key Stage 3 and 4 for both SATS and GCSE, together with corresponding interactive worksheets to help students check they have understood the proffered information.
The website has a short demonstration section that helps the user get acquainted with the mechanics of logging on and using the website features. This helps the 'first time user' get a feel for the layout and content of the site. It also helps the visitor work out how best to navigate the site and which areas are to be prioritised for immediate consideration and which are less crucial for them. Each tutorial is supported with a printable page summary, a printable worksheet which automatically marks the work and also individual progress reports are available.
The website does have a facility for technical support. By clicking on 'Support' at the top of the page, you can fill in any queries online.
Purpose of the Program
The purpose of the program is to provide very detailed information and relevant resources within the whole of the Key Stage 3 and 4 Maths Curriculum, using short manageable lessons.
Each topic contains hundreds of audio, narrated tutorials, lasting from two - ten minutes each, a one page summary sheet, followed by an interactive worksheet which then records the students performance individually in the teachers database for later analysis. The pupils watch the tutorials, rewinding, fast forwarding or pausing where they need to, before trying the test for themselves.
The material is split into two levels. Level one covers the Key Stage 3 SATS and the GCSE grade up to C. Level 2 covers Key Stage 4 and the higher GCSE grades.
The website manages to cover all the topics in the Secondary Maths Curriculum with each topic having hundreds of lessons and in addition goes even further by including a one page summary of each topic lesson together with an interactive worksheet for completion.
The content of the website is excellent. For example there some four hundred and eighty different lessons. Each having a matching interactive worksheet which can be separately printed off and results recorded for teacher analysis.
The coverage provided by the product is quite sufficient for the whole of the Maths syllabus. Therefore the title could be used in the delivery of the entirety of the Key Stage 3 and GCSE Mathematics Curriculum.
Analysis of Contents
The content is wholly appropriate for the target audience. There is limited written material which is supported by clear audio output. Each lesson has sound supporting graphics.
The quality of the images, video and sound is good and the pictures on the icons are clear and help the user navigate easily around the site.There are no links to other websites though this is not unusual for a Mathematics website.
The publishers of the website do not make any direct claims that the materials are specifically differentiated. All the lessons have an audial component, namely a teacher talking through the technique, and each of the lessons has a good range of interactive diagrams and drawings that are clear and appropriate.
This subscription website contains some four hundred and eighty lessons that can be stopped and replayed at will. The lessons are in the form of a Maths teacher talking you through a topic whilst the appropriate numbers and drawings appear on the screen. Each lesson has a corresponding interactive worksheet and the students' scores and number of attempts are recorded for the teacher in their control area of the website. The lessons cover the Key Stage 3 and GCSE Mathematics Curriculum. The website is quite easy for pupils to navigate and presents the information in a clear format. In addition each lesson has a printable one page summary which is very useful as a revision aid and for note-taking. This website provides extensive resources for the entire Mathematics Curriculum.
KS4 Classroom Evaluation by Peter Garner
Installation & Access
This website ran readily and without any fuss when used on a stand alone or on my networked PC with Internet access. It ran quickly enough for ready use within the classroom and responded sufficiently speedily to keep the students from becoming distracted, and there was no delay when it was in use.
Planning Classroom Use
What This Product Offers
This title is unique in its ability to engage the disengaged, explaining and making Maths a simpler concept. It is possible to access any part of the GCSE Curriculum in Mathematics, using 'Conquer Maths', from anywhere pupils have access to the Internet. The extensive topic sessions are covered by hundreds of lessons, each having a summary page and an interactive worksheet to complete. The site can be used as a topic resource to visually and aurally instruct pupils or they can dip into it as part of a revision process. After receiving instruction the student can complete one of the many online worksheets containing a series of multiple choice questions, which are then marked by the website and recorded in a virtual markbook for reference by the teacher. The material is split into two levels. The first covers Key Stage 3 SATS and GCSE grades up to C, while the second covers Key Stage 4 and the higher GCSE grades.The title can be usd by the full range of abilites, as it covers both of the new Higher and Foundation Tiers.
Purpose of Using This Product
The software is designed to provide a ready method for students to access the full Secondary Maths syllabus, using short manageable lessons. It provides students with an easy way of receiving visual and aural instruction on all the topics within the entire Key Stage 3 and 4 Maths Curriculum, and can be accessed by the student anywhere they have access to the Internet.
The class included several members who were working in their second language and the software did not have any additional provision to enable them to process the written information. The title contains a fair amount of written data that requires processing as most of the links are described in writing. As is normal practice I allowed the use of language dictionaries and whenever practical extra time for those who needed it. There are a series of helpful balloon tips that appear when you hover the mouse cursor over a button.
The students were required to bring their laptops and earphones to the lesson and were seated in their normal order within the classroom. It was a simple matter for them to log on to the Internet using the airnet and thereby access the website. The website was used via the classroom's built-in data projector to direct the students to the topic that I wanted the class to learn. After taking the students through the process they were generally able to work unassisted. There were a few individual questions but these were from pupils with limited ICT confidence or those with limited reading ages. For subsequent lessons the students were able to access the part of the site they needed with minimal assistance. I would then circulate providing any assistance necessary, showing the whole class how to overcome any group misconceptions as needed.
Context of Use
I have used Conquer Maths for many topics. The one chosen here is standard form. This is a challenging topic as students readily get muddled between the exponent and the coefficient. The topic was just ready to be started and there was no need to prepare in any way before launching into use of the website. The resource together with its screenware fitted quite seamlessly into my teaching. As usual I followed up the work with textbook exercises, although it was possible to set a homework to be completed online where it was individually marked by the website.
Ease of Use - Design & Navigation
It takes a few clicks and no discernible delay to get around the website and it mantains this speed once opened. To access the desired part of the software takes little practice as the navigation process is fairly intuitive. The pupils were able to use the website with some help, once it had been demonstrated via the data projector. Those that needed assistance had limited reading age and were finding the mainly written monochromatic labels difficult to distinguish between. Notes and worksheets can readily be saved for later development or inclusion. A further section exists which helps students choose which material is needed for their target grade.
Monitoring & Assessment
The software itself provides an excellent facility to monitor what screenware the student has completed. It even monitors when and for how long they visited the site. These worksheets require the student to select from a list of about 20different answers which are then submitted. Their marks are recorded in a virtual markbook for access by the Teacher. This made the title excellent for setting and assessing homework. The students were also keener to complete online exercises.
Feedback from Pupils and Other Staff
The students that I have worked with while using this website, all commented on how it was very helpful to have instant access to an explanation. They also enjoyed working online out of the classroom. "It did not feel like work and there was no sheet to lose". The more mature members also felt it had the advantage that they could easily look up something they did not understand without waiting for the next lesson. It has been good to notice students using the site in the holidays to help prepare themselves for exams.
Ease of Use
Once we had browsed onto the website it was quite straightforward for most of the students to find the desired part of the site using the written descriptors. Here the students received individual instruction in a visual and aural format. They could go through this at their own pace. The site allows them to rewind and repeat different parts as required. They then had the opportunity to complete online exercises where their responses were marked and stored.
The website was available via our school network and the class were shown how to use it at the beginning of the first lesson. The class went on to utilise the resource as a tool that provided an alternative source of a instruction. It enabled them to go through this at their own pace repeating any parts they needed to reconsider. Once they were ready they were able to practise their new found knowledge on a series of screenware questions that were automatically assessed by the website with the students score being recorded in a virtual mark-book that I could readily access at a later time. A very useful addition to our school resources.