Fast Maths v educational software:
1. There are many excellent software packages for teaching children number bonds. Like Fast Maths, they enable pupils to progress at their own pace, thus eliminating the need for lesson-planning and differentiation. However, they can't compare with Fast Maths when it comes to retention and motivation.
2. Retention: The Workbook exercises in Fast Maths provide kinesthetic reinforcement lacking in software programmes:
The regression model suggests that for the same pre-test score, at post-test, on average, a PPI [pencil and paper instruction] participant answered an additional 6.703 facts per minute compared to a CBI [computer-based instruction] participant. Thus for the participants of this study, PPI was a more effective method of improving recall of basic multiplication facts. 1
3. Motivation: When first introduced Fast Maths to a class of Year 9 pupils--many of whom had significant issues with behaviour-- we were surprised to find out how much they liked Fast Maths. They relished the competing against their own best times to achieve a clear and unambiguous learning objective. Far from feeling pressured by the stopwatch, it motivated them beyond all expectations. Taking the Progress Tests showed them how far they had come in a very short time.
4. Children spend a lot of time playing video games, and most educational software is designed to mimic them. In comparison to Minecraft or Call of Duty, software for number facts is pretty thin gruel in terms of entertainment value. When pupils are using tablets or other personal devices, it’s not always easy to keep them on task.
5. By contrast, Fast Maths involves personal interaction. It takes advantage of our social instincts: no one wants to let the side down. Unlike using a touch screen, what pupils are doing is highly visible. And with Fast Maths, you have proof of progress in the pupils’ workbooks.
6. Fast Maths has another great advantage: with dead trees, you never have to call in IT support!
1 Wong, M, & Evans, D (2007) Improving basic multiplication fact recall for primary school students Mathematics Education Research Journal, 19(1), 89-106.