For Interactive Whiteboard/Projector or PC/Laptop
Tested with Chrome, Firefox and Edge on Windows
Not compatible with Internet Explorer
10th September 2018 by Spark Maths
So for any teachers finding this website early and wondering if it's worth checking back later, there are a few things I want to achieve with this website:
Sometimes I find a great resource and there are either too few questions so I need to hand write more, or an overwhelming amount of questions so I need to find a way to get rid of the extras. Then if students find a task difficult and need more time, any activities you did need replacing. All planning time wasted.
So I want to create resources with randomised questions, that way I can just focus on getting a readable amount of questions onto the screen and refreshing the page will create all new questions. This way you could even do the same lesson twice but have completely different content the second time, which is differentiated so students still make progress.
It's really interesting teaching computers the acceptable parameters of a randomised question, I've really had to think carefully about what makes a question higher or lower difficulty to achieve three levels of differentiation. I'm still working on it, but having credible incorrect answers for the multiple choice questions is really pushing my thinking on common misconceptions too.
While there are some great resources out there, often they only do one thing and cover one part of your lesson. It's quite rare for me to find something that will last for an entire 50-60 minute lesson. That's more planning time wasted as you try to piece together mismatched resources and fill in any gaps yourself.
I want to have complete lessons all in one place so that a teacher can have a good quality lesson can be planned and delivered with no work required. That then leaves planning time for creating outstanding resources, CPD or marking. Probably a lot of paperwork too!
I'm going to focus first on multiple choice questions, match cards, whiteboard games and differentiated worksheets as these all use the same code. Later I'm planning on teaching videos, starter tasks, scaffolded assessment questions and timed exam questions.
Lots of otherwise good resources have space taken up with unnecessary references to things other than the maths being covered. Powerpoints can have multiple sets of lesson objectives or learning skills on every slide. Websites can have large parts of the screen taken up with menus and control buttons.
I want my resources to be as readable as possible for students with as little space dedicated to menus and controls as possible. I'm also focusing on having the website work on interactive whiteboards, desktop PCs, tablet PCs and mobile phones.
I've got a way to go yet on making the website as attractive as possible to potential users, the fonts and colours being as legible possible and it being obvious and clear what all the buttons do and where they are. Just try clicking on things if not sure! My current thinking is not labelling too many of the teacher controls as that will distract students, perhaps having a "how to use" video instead.
Students can spend an incredible amount of time teaching themselves to do all sorts of things outside of their studies. The amount of time I spent in computer gaming when I was younger makes my shudder to think what I could have done if I harnessed that time for something with more transferable skills! So why not maths?
Students can also miss lessons and fall behind, or be particularly motivated and talented and need more challenging work. I want my website to also be usable by students, so they can repeat things they found difficult or move ahead if it's too easy. Learning at their own pace.
Given the disruption and innovation technology has caused in all sorts of industries, I'm excited about what will be possible in education!
I belive that education should be free so I really don't want to be selling this work if I can avoid it, especially given how many free resources I've used myself over the years. In fact I started this project because a similar website became subscriber only.
Hopefully I can keep hosting costs down and not need too much funding. I'm thinking I could potentially do things like adverts on some pages with a small subscription cost to remove them, especially if it starts costing serious money to have this online.
I think the dream is getting some government funding and some staff to help me, but I think it's important that I always remain a classroom teacher because it's more fun than sitting in front of a PC coding and I need to be in touch with what students and teachers need.So, thanks for reading about my plans. Please check back every now again to see what I have added. Check the contact page if you want to give any feedback or request any features!