One of the sites launched at the Bett Exhibition was Sarsen Education and I was hoping for big things from them. However, I have been somewhat disappointed. Despite some interesting graphics which children would really like, the program I looked at was not very original and costly.
Aimed at teachers this program has been designed to help with year 5 and year 6 maths. You decide which operator needs to be practised and how difficult the questions are. Then by using the onscreen interactive worksheet you can break down the problems and solve them. There is also a homework section.
There are three functions:
Allows the teacher to input their own questions using a calculator keyboard onscreen. Simple enough. The way this works is by no means new and there is little which a whiteboard from for example, Promethean could not do anyway.
The Interactive Worksheet
The teacher/parent chooses the operation they want to use eg addition, and choice of skill level (9 or 10 options using a traffic light system of green, amber and red) and it provides a wide range of questions which can be answered on the whiteboard.
The Homework Generator
Allows worksheets to be generated for the four rules. Pupil names can be configured so there are different worksheets for different children. Answers can be provided. This allows teachers to produce homework sheets based on their pupils maths skill level.
There are sites out there which will produce you a page of worksheet sums and answers free of charge.
A single user licence is £89 at the moment and a school licence is £199. This is outside the range for most parents and without an interactive whiteboard would be of little use. For parents the MathSphere Numbers 4 has a similar screen which can be written on with the mouse and has much more in the way of interactivity and games to play for just £11.75!
Even for a school with whiteboards I would be reluctant to invest my money in this program and I hope better is to come from them in the future.
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