In the news - John Enock

12th February 2010 at 00:00

John Enock, 55, is a maths teacher at Ardingly College in West Sussex. Having already written two maths puzzle books he has moved with the times to design his own Apple iPhone application - a game called Quaso.

What made you go into the tech world?

"A friend of mine saw my puzzles and asked if I had thought of doing it as an iPhone app. I'm very lucky because my wife is a journalist and author and has an excellent agency behind her. We took it to them and they thought it was a great idea."

It was that easy?

"Well no, I had to redesign it so that it starts simply and builds up - there are five levels. Quaso has similar features to KenKen puzzles, but it goes beyond basic arithmetic. There are brackets, factors, negatives numbers, powers and square roots."

It all sounds a bit mind boggling ...

"Once you've done it one or two times it's easy to see what's going on. I have tried it with pupils in Year 7 upwards and they like it. It's an alternative way to learn maths. Opening the mind to a world that is fun, it definitely has an appeal."

Where did the name come from?

"I knew you'd ask that. I just came up with it - there's no real reason behind it. I wanted it to have an international feel, and Quaso could be eastern, Latin or European. I want it to be played worldwide."

Do you think pupils will really use it?

"Some pupils have the iPod Touch but it's banned at school. However, I've read about schools and college issuing iPhones to their pupils, which isn't a bad idea. There's a lot more emphasis on your own research and learning. Pupils are taught in a less didactic way, it's the direction in which we're moving forward."

Where do you see yourself heading?

"I've already had ideas to develop more apps. I use my school holidays to create them - it's time consuming, but in a good way. My main ambition is to have a puzzle in a national newspaper; I have already had puzzles in The Times' The Listener, which is very difficult. I'm excited as the puzzle editor at The Times is considering Quaso as a suitable inclusion as a regular puzzle - that's my dream."

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