I’m Simon Broadley and I'm the developer. I’ve been designing web sites professionally since 1998 and I’ve been a father since 2005. I'm not a teacher, though I do have a little classroom experience. I did two different A levels in maths - pure maths and applied maths.Other's involved are family and friends. My 11 year old daughter in particular has put in so much time bug (and explanation) testing that she's gotten way ahead of her class. She also designed the logo and certain question types.
What?
0maths is a bottomless pit of rapid fire, randomly generated practice questions across nearly 300 topics (at the time of writing) including addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, percentages, units, fractions, factors, time, money, units, geometry, area and algebra, available free, without sign up. The more you answer, the harder they get.Where?School level maths is not about genius, it's about practice. Some kids need more practice than others.
0Maths has the following innovations:
- No 'submit' button. Answers are accepted as soon as they are correct.
- No wrong answers, only not-yet-right answers. This was designed around nervous learners. It is better for them to learn that mistakes can be undone, answers can be checked and corrected rather than marked as irredeemably wrong. This puts them firmly in control. Hints are given in some cases (i.e digits transposed, units missing, read the question more carefully, etc)
- 'Show me' link. Learners can see the worked solution to almost any question. Sometimes a couple of refresher examples are wanted before starting work on a new topic.
- No timer. People learn best when they are relaxed, so no questions are against the clock. Times taken for each question are recorded, but there is no visible ticking clock, although questions answered within an appropriate timeframe earn a reward (ephemeral coins or wedges).
- Easier / harder links. Most questions (at the teacher's discretion) have easier / harder links. A child can, without shame, ask for an easier question and build up to the harder questions. This may involve easier (i.e. generally lower) numbers, or simpler technique, or the use of visual aids. In the same way, students can make a question harder. Many children complain that maths is boring, but what they really mean is that it's too easy or too difficult.
- No irrelevant inter-question games. The maths is the game. A maths question at the right level is innately satisfying; the presence of a 'sweetener' implies the maths itself is known to be bitter. Getting the brain engaged to the right way of thinking takes a little time and a few questions. It seems to me that irrelevant games break the pattern of concentration and exacerbate ADD. While the games are played, the student is still spending time in front of a screen, unblinking, and evidence suggests such time should be limited, so the benefit of it needs to be squeezed in to the time available.
We're based in beautiful Aberdeenshire, Scotland.When?
0maths began in 2013 or thereabouts. Having spent 20 minutes looking for a site my son could do endless times tables on, I gave up and spent 10 minutes making one instead. I added other topics over the years but it was still just for my own kids.Why?In lockdown 2019, it changed gear. Like many schools, our own was struggling with the cycle of work being given, pupils printing the work, work getting back to teachers, getting marked, and feedback returned to pupils. The school pointed us to the many online resources but ⅔ of my children found them stressful - wrong answers and visibly ticking timers increased anxiety and reduced learning. The third child got frustrated at having to play a pretty basic game between questions - a game that took longer than the questions. ("Can't I just do the questions?")
Since then I’ve been adding more to it. It’s been like climbing a mountain - every time the summit appears, it turns out not to be the summit. It’s now up to over 200 question types. It’s still labelled Beta version, and will be until I’ve covered every corner of the syllabus.
0maths has been designed to span the digital divide and be universally accessible. It should work fine on anythign from a brand new laptop to a ten year old phone. Once it has loaded, it can be used without an internet connection.
It was originally known as infinite maths because the questions go on forever. It’s now known as 0 maths because I couldn’t get the infinite domain name and 0 is (in some number systems) the reciprocal of zero, so it's pretty close. 0 is better anyway because it's easier to type, and kids are perhaps allured by the suggestion of not having to do any maths.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. I love maths. It’s the language of the universe. It speaks truth to power. It teaches objective thinking. It makes complex problems easy. We tend to take it for granted because it was there right through our childhood. Really though, it's a series of spectacular, mind bending, inventions which can be reproduced with a pencil and paper. The very idea of counting is not inate. We (along with some other animals) can observe numbers to 4; beyond that we had to invent the means to record them. The Romans did it, but badly. The Indians did it better, perhaps magically, with the place-value system (though we credit the arabs for it). Try long multiplication with roman numerals, I dare you. Other leaps forward came centuries later: zero, negative numbers, decimals... etc, and that's just the numbers. Without algebra, calculus, trigonometry, statistics, how much of the universe could we master?So, there you have it. maths is awesome, and I think everyone should be given whatever they need to understand it.
Currently, I don't need to make a living from the site, so I have chosen not to charge or run ads. It's free, and there's no sign up.
If you register, we will only use your email address for matters connected to your account, such as password resets and notifications about pertinent changes to 0Maths.com. We'll send you as many of the former as you need, and no more than 4 of the latter per year.
We do our best to keep private information private. However, for practical purposes, to keep things flexible in the classroom, teachers have the facility to view and / or change passwords for their students. Additionally, teachers who are administrators have the facility to reset (but not view) other teacher's passwords
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