Everyone learns in different ways. Online learning has always been there, but 2020 really brought it to the forefront of education. Love it or hate it, it's here to stay, so why not make the best use of the opportunities the online environment can bring?
The internet is brimming with all sorts of maths courses, games and resources. As an adult, you can revise your basic mathematical skills and learn new ones, or you can find your child some help for their maths homework. If you're a student you can delve into maths theory, or use online resources to help you work on an assessment or prepare for exams.
If I were again beginning my studies, I would follow the advice of Plato and start with mathematics.
~ Galileo Galilei ~
Perhaps you have already explored some of the hundreds of online maths sites?
Young students become more engaged in learning when technology is involved. The next step would be to explore lessons with a private maths tutor online.
Computer plus Webcam plus Online Maths Tutor equals Success
Learning maths online, live with a tutor, requires a stable internet connection, a good computer or tablet, a webcam and a microphone.
Strong internet is essential because, as we all experienced at some point in 2020, frozen screens, glitching and dropouts are frustrating wastes of time.
Find out more about online mathematical tuition here.
Prior to your first lesson with your maths tutor, investing in a headset with a built-in microphone is a good idea.
These can cost anywhere from $8, up to $100 or more. You can use the ones integrated into your computer, but a separate headset will give better quality audio at both ends.
Investing in a webcam is also recommended, especially if you are planning on frequent lessons. They start from about $50, up to several hundred dollars. If you're not sure, ask your tutor or a teacher at school what they suggest.
Settling for poorer quality equipment is not going to be cost-effective. Instead, it may have a detrimental effect on the communication, and therefore lesson quality, between you and your maths tutor.
Software to Help You Communicate with Your Maths Tutor Online
Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams ...
Again, 2020 brought a whole host of online communication platforms to the attention of students, teachers and ... everyone.
Platforms like Skype, Zoom and Teams (and other similar ones) are generally free if there are only two participants. As mentioned above, you only need camera and microphone access, a computer and an internet connection to be ready.
The platforms are easy to download and learn how to use. As with most apps, you sign up with your email address and put in a password.
Your maths tutor will have all of this set up, though, and will probably send you a link before each lesson. All you need to do is click on it!
For students who prefer not to see themselves on video, you don't need to activate your camera. However, being able to see each your maths tutor online, and for them to see you, is the next best thing to having a face-to-face lesson. Also, you can share your screen with your teacher to show them your work.
Using one of these platforms is a perfect way to access the best maths tutors because they don't even have to live in the same state as you. Plus, there's the added benefit of being able to ask any questions you have and instantly access useful materials, support resources and even games to help refine your skills, understand the practical application of maths theory and complete assessment tasks — all in real time.
Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp ...
Popular among smartphone users, these apps (and other similar ones) are handy to use for quick messaging or a face-to-face chat using your internet connection — which essentially means they are free.
Why not use one of these apps for your online maths lesson?
Check the Superprof platform to find great maths tutors in Perth and elsewhere.
Teachers and students can easily share maths resources, images and videos for free using instant messaging software.
As long as you both have the app installed on your phone, you can also conduct your lessons through the app but on your computer. Just check your mobile data plan will support this, or connect to a wifi hotspot.
Google Apps (Meet, Hangouts)
Google has a range of apps you can use for your online maths lessons as well.
Like Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp, you can send messages, resources and files, and you can have a video call.
All you need is a PC, tablet or smartphone and an internet connection.
Practising Maths Online
In between your mathematics tutorials, you will want to practise new skills and put your theory into practice in a number of ways.
There are a huge number of interactive websites, covering every topic from basic number skills to university level mathematical concepts. Many of them are free or reasonably priced
Your online tutor or teacher at school may be able to recommend a few, but to get you started, here are a couple of our favourites.
Although it's American, this free website is one of the prime go-to sites for students, teachers and parents in Australia.
It contains instructional videos, levelled practice questions and step-by-step instructions for every maths topic from basic number concepts and counting through to calculus.
Teachers can set a specific topic for revision or students can work through a complete unit of work on any topic.
It is aimed at students up to middle high school.
Designed to align with the Australian Curriculum, Mathletics covers content from early childhood to high school levels. Often used by school maths teachers as a supplementary, revision resource, it is also accessed by parents to provide extra homework or consolidation lessons for their child.
The platform is interactive and play-based, particularly at the younger student levels. There is, however, a cost starting from $19.95 per month for families with one child.
Other 'Fun' Sites and Apps for Practising Maths Skills
Other apps and websites often used by teachers of primary school and high school, and popular with students, include:
- IXL Maths — aligned to the Australian Curriculum and covering preschool to Year 12, this site is similar to Mathletics but without as many bells and whistles
- Math Games (Australian version) — covers all levels to Year 8
- Education.com (aligned to Australian Curriculum) — contains work sheets, online games and guided lessons, primary school only
- Cool Math Games — it's a bit of a reach to see the maths link in some of the games on this site, but if you search through, there are some great games to practise skills (and it's free)
A great all-level website showcasing a range of calculation software, such as graphing and algebra calculators.
It also features a number of maths games for kids which, while they may seem a little 'outdated' compared to some of the newer websites, still offer solid practice.
A brilliant app for more advanced maths students, GeoGebra draws the links between one mathematical topic and another, including the connections between algebra, geometry and number calculations.
There are tools on the website which work with different numerical values to perform various functions.
The app can be downloaded to your phone, to work as a graphic calculator which is perfect for senior secondary and university students, as well as people who work in STEM fields.
Learn Maths Through YouTube
These days, YouTube is more than just funny videos, it's the young (and older) person's classroom. You can learn about almost anything on YouTube — from how to style a French braid through to a step-by-step guide to renovating your house.
Many teachers, and mathematical experts, create short video tutorials and upload them to YouTube where they can be viewed by students for free and are perfect resources for revision. The video might be something as simple as a song about ordinal numbers, or a more complex explanation of calculus concepts.
Without a doubt, Australian mathematical genius and high school teacher, Eddie Woo, has become a YouTube phenomenon. His Wootube series is known and loved throughout Australia by high school students and teachers alike.
The biggest difference between Eddie Woo's YouTube videos and other maths tutorial videos is that Mr Woo has uploaded videos of his actual lessons from his classroom. He is still a practising teacher, so when you watch his videos, you can feel like you're right there in the classroom with him.
The Wootube website also contains a comprehensive, and growing, file of resources and worksheets.
Stand-up Maths — Matt Parker
Australian-born and currently living in the UK, Matt Parker is a maths teacher turned stand-up comedian. He has combined his two passions into this YouTube channel where he videos explore the funny, quirky and downright weird side of maths — in the real world.
With subjects like Why is there no equation for the perimeter of an ellipse? and Calculating π by hand the Isaac Newton way, Matt Parker takes a potentially dry topic and turns it into something amusing while still teaching the concept.
Private Online Maths Tuition — The Benefits
While there are some great online maths resources available, at the end of the day they can't beat one-on-one tuition.
The bottom line is simple — no matter how comprehensive a website is, or how clear Eddie Woo's explanations are, if you have questions, websites and YouTube recordings cannot answer them for you in real time. Private tutors can.
Not only can they answer your questions, but they tailor their teaching to what you need and how you learn the best. They document your progress and adjust their program to fit.
Private mathematics tuition has four key advantages:
- the opportunity to build a rapport and an understanding relationship between tutor and student
- timely communication to deal with difficulties and questions
- complete and focused attention from the tutor
- greater motivation and confidence.
Of course, you and your tutor will still be separated by the screen, which can present a few obstacles but online maths tuition is still a great way to meet your learning needs if you don't have access to a tutor in your local area.