Bett Maths

2nd January 2004 at 00:00
Every few years at Bett you notice that many companies seem to have responded almost simultaneously to developments in technology. We have had CD-Roms, the internet and now it appears to be interactive whiteboards.

While much of this year's new software can be used conventionally, it is noticeable that many producers are emphasising its use on this relatively new medium.

If you are looking for inspiration for starter activities at either key stage 2 or 3, then make your way to the stand of Virtual Image. They have some excellently produced CD-Roms entitled Numeracy Lesson Starters and Maths Lesson Starters (from pound;35) containing a multitude of ideas, designed for use with interactive whiteboards or data projectors. Many of the activities will be familiar, but they are presented in an attractive and engaging way.

Another stand which will be worth visiting is that of Living Worksheets.

This small company produces an excellent resource in Secondary Living Worksheets (from pound;65). This compilation of interactive worksheets, puzzles and tools now includes interactive whiteboard starter materials.

The great advantage of this program is the immediate feedback and comments to students.

Smile Mathematics continues to delight with its imaginative and well-written programs. New this year are three CD-Roms: Exploring Geometry, Coordinates and Real Data. Exploring Geometry (from pound;40) consists of 15 short programs to help students develop geometrical concepts.

Coordinates (from pound;35) is an updated version of some of the most well-loved of Smile programs, including Rhino and Elephant. Real Data (pound;50) is an excellent resource for tackling data handling at KS3.

There are six projects in a photocopiable book covering topics such as sport and transport, with data files and a reference file that gives guidance on statistical terms and techniques. Smile is also planning to release Discussing Data at the show. This takes data handling further. This subject at KS2 has been covered by several programs, but one of the best is DataSweet (from pound;69) from Kudlian, and a much improved version is now available. Improvements include multiple user access, the ability to edit field types and automatic updating of graphs as data in the spreadsheet changes.

Teachers of KS1 have several new products to consider. Sherston has released Fizzy's First Numbers (from pound;39.95) for the early years. It provides help with recognising the numerals 1 to 9, reciting the number names and counting. Worksheets can be printed directly from the CD-Rom.

It is not often that we see interesting new resources, rather than teaching programs, but Granada and Letts have one this year. The Letts KS3 Electronic Dictionary 11-14 (pound;149 for site licence) provides not just comprehensive coverage of the keywords in KS3, but also offers the ability to cut and paste text and pictures. The examples and language level have been carefully chosen, and this CD would be an excellent addition to a school's intranet. Letts will also be showing its book Red Hot Maths Websites 11-14 (pound;4), which is a useful and affordable guide to mathematics websites. It follows the structure of topics in the maths framework and gives practical guidance on using the sites it lists. At the stand you will also be able to sample Letts' online version of its GCSE Success Courses (from pound;195 per subject), which can again be used with interactive whiteboards if you wish.

Last year I wrote about Headstart Software's impressiveFoundation Maths, which added provision at KS3 to its existing KS4 option, GCSE Maths.

Version 2 (from pound;2,500) of the latter has now been released and, despite its name, is a complete revision, with many innovations, as well as advances in content, design and technology. I am particularly impressed with the new facility, which allows schools to create lessons and send them to students at home, as well as receive performance data back over the internet. An interactive whiteboard tool palette means that the program is now easier to use for whole-class teaching. There is greater use of animations and interactivity in Version 2, and since the management system is now the same as that in Foundation Maths, the burden of administration has been significantly reduced.

Channel 4 has produced entertaining maths programmes on TV over recent years and it has made some of the material from the Maths for Real series available as five TV-Roms (pound;47). These contain video clips from the TV series, activities, test questions and tools such as a calculator and a word bank. The Number Crew discs (from pound;29.70), for KS1 pupils, are a good way of supplementing those programmes, and contain many useful activities and a linked website.

If you only see three things...

Smile's approach to Data Handling at KS3 - Real Data. A resource that takes the drudgery out of collecting usable data.

Smile Stand SW1 Tel 020 7598 4841

Headstart Software's new version of GCSE Maths. An excellent package that can be used or whole-class teaching, individualised learning, study support and learning at home.

Headstart Software M120 Tel 01978 810000

Virtual Image's Numeracy Lesson Starters and Maths Lesson Starters (from pound;75 each). A wealth of starter activities presented using superb graphics.

Virtual Image SW91 Tel 0161 480 1915

Other contacts Living Worksheets SW94 Tel 01508 538483

Granada Learning E40 Tel 0161 827 2927

4 Learning D42 Tel 08701 246444 www.channel4.comlearning Kudlian Soft M100 Tel 07000 583542

Sherston E60 01666 843200

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