A LOW-cost website that can help children – and adults – improve their numeracy skills launches today (Monday, October 18)
Developed in Scotland, the ‘Maths on Track’ website offers video clips of numeracy techniques that have been successfully shared now in some 500 Scottish schools with 100,000 pupils and their teachers.
For as little as £10, anyone signing up to the website has access to a range of online support material, which can be downloaded for use at home or at school, including 165 video clips and around 700 practice sheets.
The site also has nearly 5,000 mental agility flash cards from the Wee Red Box (so-called because the original was a red shoe box) that can improve fluency in key mental agility skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and percentages.
Everything on the site – suitable for both school and home use – has been tailored to support the new Curriculum for Excellence for the primary stages up to S3.
“I want as many kids as possible to be as good as they can be at maths and numeracy,” said the site’s creator, Tom Renwick, a former maths adviser who has provided quality support materials for ten years to Scotland’s schools.
“Being good at numeracy means being good at maths and now, for the first time, parents and their children have direct access to successful visual numeracy techniques that I’ve been asked to share in so many classrooms with teachers and their pupils.”
Tom said these ‘old fashioned’ techniques are so effective he’s been asked to demonstrate them with a P5 class to be transmitted ‘live’ over the Glow intranet for many teachers and pupils to watch across Scotland on November 16.
“The Maths on Track website can help improve numeracy skills for as little as £10 and every set of Wee Red Box flash cards have pass marks of 20/20 – you either know it or you don’t, but it’s great when you do.”
The website also enables parents to seek advice on behalf of their children or any aspect of maths.
Tom, who changed career from Civil Engineering to teaching in 1977, became a principal teacher and then an adviser for mathematics with a local authority, and more recently was the on-line ‘virtual adviser’ for maths with Learning and Teaching Scotland.
Education consultant, Heather Reid – former BBC Scotland’s ‘Heather The Weather’ – believes the website could benefit many people.
“As a scientist, I fully appreciate the importance of good numeracy skills,” she said.
“This website provides an extensive range of numeracy supports with many downloadable for use by teachers in schools and parents at home with children.
“Like Tom, I believe that to be good at maths you need to be good with numbers – and that’s why I believe this website is so important.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
Glasgow-based Tom Renwick has been supplying quality 5-14 support materials to Scottish schools and parents for more than ten years and over half of Scottish schools now use some or all of them.
Over the past eight years, as director of Maths on Track, Tom has become a leading CPD provider, supporting some 2000 teachers a year at in-services on behalf of local authorities for their schools or head teachers for their staff.
He’s regularly invited into schools to work with teachers and their pupils to share interactive mental agility techniques as well as to give talks for parents and carers on how they can support their children with their maths.
He graduated as a civil engineer and moved into teaching, enjoying spells at Castlebrae HS, Deans Community HS, Linlithgow Academy and Drummond HS – he was PT at the latter before becoming an adviser in maths for Scottish Borders Council, a position he held for seven years. More recently, he was the ‘virtual adviser’ for maths for the successful Glow pilot with Learning and Teaching Scotland
During the mid-eighties he took time out of his career for three years to be a house dad, a job, he says, he would wish on any dad.
He describes the ‘Maths on Track’ website as his “contribution to the Curriculum for Excellence” and believes that if the learner is good at reading and with numbers they’d be excellent at any curriculum.
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