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Numbershark 4

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  3. KS 2,3

KS2 Professional Review by Marc Bowen

Your Professional Context
I have been working as a primary school teacher and Deputy Head for the past 10 years, teaching across Key Stage 2, most recently teaching a mixed class of Year 5/6 children. The school itself serves both a rural village community and a large military base; as a result there is a mix of a transitory population as well as more settled village residents. Following the review of Numbershark 4 it is sufficiently versatile to use across Key Stage 2.

Students’ Usage
Numbershark 4 is a versatile mathematics support and development package which could have a number of applications within a classroom. The range of maths topics covered by the program and the intuitive interface it employs would certainly allow children to make use of the software independently but it would be equally valuable as a consolidation activity for a small group of children with adult support. Many of the games also lend themselves to being used with the whole class through an interactive whiteboard. Once the teacher has set themselves up as an administrator, it is then possible to enter individual pupils, allowing them to develop their own learning profile within the software package. This makes it ideal for use of SEN children, as the route through the program can be customised to meet the individual needs and ability of children.
The facility for the teacher to generate further, topic linked activities is an added benefit, which could certainly help children to reinforce their learning away from the software itself.

Curriculum Focus
Users of previous versions of Numbershark will be aware of the fact that the programm programoffers extensive practice of different skills within the conventional ‘number’ range of the National Curriculum, including the four operations and basic number facts. Within Numbershark 4 you will also find the addition of a new set of activities focused on fractions, decimals and percentages, which certainly help to increase the usability of the software for the older children in the primary school. Once the class list has been set up, it is then possible for individual children to log in and follow either the standard set of activities or a set which has been customised by the teacher. This allows children of all abilities to access the software with possible uses ranging from introducing new steps in learning for more confident learners; reinforcing recently introduced concepts or providing opportunities for regular practice/over-learning of concepts for children with special educational needs. The broad coverage of the mathematics curriculum allows you to make use of Numbershark 4 throughout the year, in a variety of different maths lesson contexts.

*Value as a teaching resource*This is an excellent resource which offers a ‘one-stop shop’ of learning support activities for mathematics which I will certainly be incorporating into my weekly planning, as both a support and extension tool for users across my class. The easy reference materials and accessible style of the resource also means that my support staff will be able to make independent use of Numbershark 4 with their SEN groups.

The version reviewed ran from a USB memory stick, with the software and any student profiles running from the device rather than having to be loaded onto individual computers. This offers great versatility, as the programme program can then be used on any PC or laptop without breaching the licensing agreement. This is the first such use of this technology that I have encountered and it offers genuine benefits. The additional guidance within the teachers’ handbook helps to ensure that you get the most out of the programme program, including the customisable settings.
At first sight, the presentation of the graphics within the games can appear quite simplistic, especially when it is compared with other software packages designed to engage and motivate learners. However, the educational benefit of the software certainly outweighs any concerns over the animation of characters and games.

This resource offers great benefits to any classroom teacher and their pupils in the sense that Numbershark 4 can support the majority of areas within the National Curriculum for Mathematics, providing opportunities for reinforcement and extension within the subject.

Numbershark 4 is a versatile software package which provides a broad range of quick and fun games which are designed to support many of the areas within the National Curriculum for Maths, particularly in Key Stage 2. The resource can be customised to meet the needs of individual children, through the tailoring of the games that are on offer to the children and additional worksheet activities can be printed off to extend the learning beyond the software package itself. This resource could be used as an excellent tool to support learners with SEN, as the activities are fun, short and can be followed up by a fun ‘reward’ game which maintains the child’s enthusiasm and motivation to continue with the next activity. Numbershark 4 is an excellent resource for any teaching seeking to enrich their mathematics teaching with multisensory games that both children and adults will enjoy.

KS2 Professional Evaluation by Angela Holden

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