Australian pupils are not doing as well in mathematics as some of our neighbouring countries, according to research into maths learning trends around the world.

While pupils in science programs in Australian schools are doing better than ever, the same can't be said for our maths programs.

And this isn't only limited to kids or teenagers.

According to an OECD study, while Australian adults are ranked fourth in the world (of the participating countries) for literacy, we only reach 13th on the numeracy rankings.

This can make basic life skills, like filing taxes, a nightmare for some!

So why is this happening?

Well according to some experts, the problem is that the maths teachers in our schooling system, especially at primary levels, aren't really experts, or simply don't like teaching maths.

This, of course, has a massive effect on the enjoyment and progress of pupils, and continues to affect them as adults.

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Why is studying maths so important?

Across Australian state schooling, maths is a compulsory subject for pupils all the way from grade 1 through to Year 10.

From algebra to calculus, some pupils might not be able to see how their maths program can be useful in real life.

Let's have a look at why it's so important to have a developed understanding of different types of mathematics.

  • Analytical thinking: When we start looking at maths equations as a child, we start to develop seriously important analytical skills. Solving maths problems involves looking at the different parts of an equation, seeing how the components work together and how to reach the correct answer. These are essential problem-solving abilities and the more we practice the better we can become.
  • Mathematics helps us understand the world: Whether we're trying to understand how quickly a river flows, or the reason why kicking a ball in a certain way puts it in a certain place, maths can help. Studying these principles can bring maths into the real world and allow us to appreciate things we might have never noticed.
  • It's a universal language: Most places in the world use the same set of characters to represent numerals, and even two people who can't speak the same language can work together on the same math equations. In this way, math can connect people from around the world.
  • We use it every day: Although we may not notice it, the abilities we pick up in math classes can be applied in a variety of real-world situations. If you have a recipe for 8 but you're only making it for 4 people, you'll need to use some fractions. Working out how much a piece of clothing works out to with 40% off involves understanding of percentages.
  • It's important for a range of careers: Other than the most obvious things like engineering and economics, a range of jobs need maths. A policymaker needs to know about trends in population, which involves reading data and statistics. Nutritionists need to be able to calculate the amount of energy a certain diet could provide their client.

 

Why take lessons with a maths tutor online?

Online lessons are another way to learn maths
Learning maths on the web can be engaging, convenient and fun! | Source: Pexels - Katerina Holmes

Great Superprof math teachers can be found across Australia, and can aid every student, from children to adults to enjoy maths again.

Their aim is to aid pupils in any way they can, whether it's explaining complex concepts that they didn't understand in class, to working on difficult algebra homework, to preparing for high school exams.

Every lesson is tailored to students

Superprof teachers want all of their pupils to get a little closer to their goals with every lesson and can fit the course to the pupil in a variety of ways.

They won't just throw a bunch of worksheets at you but will consider the type of learner you are and search for materials that fit you best.

For example, auditory learners, they can integrate materials like podcasts and videos into classes.

Your tutor will get to know you lesson by lesson, and can explain concepts in ways that make more sense to individual students.

They can also identify any gaps in your knowledge, and provide explanations and exercises to get you to the level you need to be.

No set curriculum

Teaching classes in schools and universities usually involves following a pretty strict curriculum with set timeframes for studying and assessment.

This is meant to get pupils through to set levels by the end of the year. However, there can be some pretty big disadvantages to this method of teaching.

In large classes, some pupils may grasp different concepts faster than others.

Maybe you understood Pythagorean Theory really easily, but you just can't seem to get the hang of calculating probabilities.

This has happened to all of us at some point, and it can be extremely frustrating when a teacher keeps moving ahead while you're still stuck on the point before.

This fast-paced studying can also mean that learners don't feel prepared or ready when it comes to taking a test.

With private classes, this can all change.

Not only can your teacher use a program to support you with the concepts you're studying in class, but they won't move on until you're completely confident.

Teachers know when their learners have really gotten the hang of something, and because these classes are one-on-one, they can really spend the time it takes to allow their pupils to get it exactly right.

This leaves pupils feeling confident and who knows, they might even start enjoying the subject (gasp!).

You can start your search for a maths tutor online straight away!

An online course can get you ready for any exam

Across Australia, a huge portion of learners in the final years of schooling are getting ready to take their final math exams.

According to publications from research organisation AMSI, around 80% of all Australian Year 12 students take at least one math subject.

If you are one of those students, and you're worried about passing your exam, taking some support classes could be a good idea.

The majority of our tutors have gone through high schooling in Australia, and some very recently, so they're familiar with the different examinations you'll be taking.

Of course, examinations can change from state to state, so if you're a pupil looking for exam help, it's a good idea to double-check exactly what exams a tutor specialises in.

It's not only these pupils that need to prepare for math exams either.

If you're planning on taking a teacher training course, you'll be required to take the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students (LANTITE), usually before the end of your second year of study.

Preparing for this test, while also taking on a full load of university courses, can seem like a daunting task.

Luckily, there are some great tutors who are ready to prepare you so you can face any exam with confidence and pass with flying colours!

 

What can you learn with your maths online tutor?

Geometry is one type of maths study
There are different fields of study in mathematics, like geometry or algebra | Source: Pexels - Olia Danilevich

Of course, mathematics isn't just addition and subtraction.

The state curriculums all include complex math concepts like algebra and statistics, all of which you can dive deeper into during a lesson.

Here are a few of the concepts that are essential to your mathematical schooling, with a basic question after each so you can grade yourself (and you can check all of the answers at the end):

  • Arithmetic: This is as basics as mathematics gets, and deals with the real number systems. We look at this as a child, studying concepts like addition, subtraction, long division, percentages and more. It's an extremely important foundation for more complex areas. Can you figure this out? 2.25 written as a fraction is 9 / 4. True or false?
  • Geometry: This is one that we usually start getting to know in primary school, using blocks, legos and more. We examine the features of 3D shapes, looking at the different faces, angles and measurements. While this might seem basic at first, it can be important in areas like product design and architecture. Here's a question: How many sides does a nonagon have?
  • Algebra: This is the one that usually sends people running for the hills. It's nearly 4,000 years old and deals with different symbols and the rules for manipulating them. Basically, we use it when we don't actually know the numbers in the equation, so we use letters to represent them. Try to simplify this problem: x3(x4 + 5a)
  • Calculus: Another subject dreaded by most students, this is the idea of how things change, like how quickly things move in real time. It has applications in everything from astronomy to engineering and economics. Do you know the answer to this? True or False. The equation y = | x | , with y >= 0, represents y as a function of x.
  • Statistics: This discipline is usually taught at the end of high school and during university. It concerns the collection, organisation, analysis and interpretation of large amounts of data. It can be extremely helpful in everything from predicting consumer trends to analysing the effects of medical treatments. Here's a question for you: For her calculus class, Marie has scored 8878, and 95 on three of her tests so far. What is the minimum score Marie needs to receive on her 4th test in order to have an average of 90?

Did you answer all of our questions? Here are the answers so you can check if you're a whizz, or if you need a little extra help.

  1. True
  2. 2. 9
  3. x3(x4 + 5a)
  4. True
  5. 99

If you got all of these answers right, you're doing well, otherwise, you could consider starting a private course with a  Superprof maths tutor.

Now if our little quiz didn't quite convince you, there are a range of online quizzes that you can do to check for gaps in your mathematics knowledge.

Open Colleges Australia provides a numeracy test that tests your readiness for certain university and TAFE courses.

Different newspapers like the Guardian also provide quizzes to see how you rank against some of the best teenagers in the UK and Australia.

Trying out one of these tests without the pressure of an exam might show you how much you actually know about maths.

Who knows, you might even surprise yourself!

If your tests show you that you aren't quite at the level you were hoping for, don't stress.

You can easily get a great tutor to give you online Maths classes.

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Why start studying maths online instead of in-person

Some people might believe that it's much easier to learn in a classroom, or through in-person one-on-one classes.

While it's true that distance classes can at times be a little frustrating when your connection doesn't work or you keep forgetting to turn your microphone on, there are also some really interesting advantages to online courses.

Take a lesson from the comfort of your home

When you're studying online, you'll never have left your book at home, or forget to bring a pen!

You'll always have all the materials you need, and your tutor can send you any extra materials to print or save well before the class so you can be nice and organised.

Some students also feel stressed or nervous when they're in official environments like schools or colleges.

With this type of studying, you can be much more comfortable in your own environment, which might take some of the pressure away, allowing you to relax and enjoy the class.

You can also forget about stressful rides on public transport or searching for that elusive parking spot, knowing that you're probably going to be late.

With an online class, all you need to do is sit down, connect to the meeting and voilà! You're ready to learn.

Technology integration in classes

As we'll discuss a little later on, there are so many amazing websites and tools that teach mathematics all over the internet.

The problem is, in a traditional classroom it can be difficult to give every pupil in the class the opportunity to engage with them.

It often involves booking unwieldy computer banks weeks in advance and losing minutes setting up, so often we just forget about it.

Online classes are different in that every pupil has access to their own connection and computer, which they're already using.

There are no issues with sharing or setting up, so teachers can much more easily take advantage of tools like Quizlet, Socrates and more to make the learner experience not only more varied and engaging but also more fun!

Show possible employers that you're committed to self-improvement

There's nothing more prospective employer love than a candidate that can prove their commitment to professional development and keeping their skills sharp.

While finding the free space to complete online courses can be tricky, if you're successful, you can show your employer not only that you have certain new knowledge, but also that you're organised and have great time-management skills!

Exciting ways to learn maths online free!

Using technology engages kids
Using apps and games can help kids to actually enjoy their maths lessons | Source: Pexels - Ketut Subiyanto

Studying isn't solely about the hours you spend in class.

You can also greatly contribute to your understanding by taking advantage of some of the excellent, free maths resources that are all over the internet.

By getting to know some of these sites, you're more likely to feel supported both in and out of your classes.

Materials for children

A parent may sometimes feel that they don't have the skills to aid their children when it comes to mathematics from the school curriculum.

A while has passed since they studied fractions themselves, and even basic equations can be daunting.

Kids love to learn, and there's no better way than through games and videos.

Finding these types of materials is such a good way for any parent to let their kids have a great time while having peace of mind knowing that they're actually learning something in the meantime!

Here's a selection of some of the best, free math sites for kids:

 

1. Math Playground

This website is for children aged 6-11 years old and features excellent games that can review what your children have learned in class, or go even further.

The activities are all separated into different grades, from 1- 6, and into different categories like expressions and equations, the number system or logic and problem-solving.

All of these different categories make it easy to choose games that aid kids with the skills they need.

And it doesn't stop there.

The site features great animations, which can explain everything from bar graphs to skip counting.

They can even be useful for any parents who might need to jog their memory a little so that they can be helpful with homework.

There are stories, visual materials and even a blog!

 

2. Oxford Owl

You might recognise Oxford University Press as the makers of the majority of textbook your kids use at school, but they also have some wonderful tools that are aimed at making studying more engaging.

Enter Oxford Owl!

This site separates everything by age, so even though it is based on the UK system, any parent will be able to find the activities they need easily.

Apart from games, they also have a huge selection of printable worksheets that you can use on a rainy day, as well as ideas for sweet projects you can do as a family.

 

3. ABC Education

Ah the trusty ABC!

The organisation has been teaching kids since the early days of Playschool, and it's come to a lot further in the past decades.

The ABC Education website features hundreds of games and activities, that have all been created in line with Australian curriculum standards.

These are resources that are carefully thought out and curated to challenge kids in a specifically Australian context. Animations, games and printables are all available for free to parents.

By taking children out of books when needed, parents and educators can make learning about mathematical processes so much more exciting and engaging, especially for young children.

It can contextualise information for kids, and related to it in a more memorable way.

Hopefully, it can even kickstart an ongoing passion for the subject!

Great websites for adults

Studying math with online apps is fun
You can find many websites and apps to make maths learning more engaging | Source: Unsplash- Jeswin Thomas

But who said online studying can only be for kids?

Teenagers and adults need to know maths too and want to enjoy themselves while doing it as well.

Of course, there are classic pen and paper puzzles that we can do to work our numeracy and problem-solving muscles.

Activities like Sudoku, Kakuro and Alphabet Code games are a great, cheap way for adults to get in some basic training every day.

However, there is also a range of excellent, online learning tools that can allow older pupils to get their heads around tricky concepts, and practice until they feel confident.

Here are a few of the most popular sites to check out:

 

1. Khan Academy

This website aims to offer free and accessible world-class teaching through video teaching.

Their resources are created by experts in the field who also have experience teaching.

Anyone can take classes in all types of mathematics, from basic numbers for young pupils, to algebra for more advanced years.

Even educators can use the resources for engaging classes, worksheets and tests.

 

2. BBC Skillswise

If you're looking for video classes with simple explanations, as well as matching worksheets and games, you can't go wrong with BBC Skillwise.

Specifically made for adult learners studying on their own, these resources are particularly good for those that have a lower English literacy level, but want to push themselves.

 

3. edX

This website offers practice courses in a variety of abilities from some of the best universities in the world.

Aimed more towards advanced pupils, you can look at Data Science with Harvard University, or follow a probability course created by MIT.

The program takes a more classical teaching approach, and have a bit of a price tag, but can give pupils a qualification that looks great on a resume!

Creative and engaging phone apps

In an attempt to improve grades and engagement in mathematics student across the board, many app developers have used their understanding of the subject, as well as their understanding of what makes a great app, to create some excellent revision maths tools.

Some are aimed at children, some teens and some adults.

Let's have a look at the 5 most popular math-learning apps:

 

Star Dash Studios

This excellent game is aimed at teens and young adults and encourages them to notice the usefulness and value of the subject in every day life.

Set in the film business on a movie set, the player starts as a runner, and needs to complete missions using simple maths.

They can even keep track of the abilities they've learned on their "CV" as they progress through each level, finally becoming a producer.

It's a fun way for pupils to realise that maths is not just something static that we can see in a textbook, but that, in addition,  it is a subject that solves problems throughout our lives and work, in a surprisingly varied way.

Photomath

Looking for an app that will help you with your calculations?

Well, Photomath is it!

This app is a Camera Calculator, meaning all you need to do is point your phone camera at any problem or formula that you've written on a piece of paper, and it will be able to find a solution.

But how is that helpful for pupils who need to know how to solve these formulas by themselves?

Well, the very best part of Photomath is that once it has solved an equation, it provides a step by step guide for how it got there.

This means pupils can see in real time how to solve any problem and learn from their mistakes.

Prodigy: Kids Math Game

As you can probably tell from its title, this app is great for any child who wants to do some extra maths at home.

Aimed at grades 1-8 (for the US curriculum, but it's still relevant to Australian pupils), Prodigy allows educators to give homework in the form of games and quizzes.

Doing homework can usually be a drag for both kids and their parents, but no more with this exciting app!

It's also excellent for educators as a teaching tool, as it offers built-in diagnostic tests to check your pupils' level and creates progress reports in real time for all students.

You can use it to identify strengths and weaknesses, fill gaps and in general have fun!

Geometry Pad

This useful app was made to aid in understanding geometric concepts more easily and helps them engage more easily in class.

Pupils can practice how to take measurements and form different shapes.

They can experiment with sketches and shapes, making more abstract concepts simple and practical through visuals.

Math- Riddles and Puzzles

Designed for ages 18 and older, this app provides a range of different activities to test your IQ and get you thinking about the subject in a different way.

The games focus on different areas of maths, such as hidden numbers, patterns and geometrical figures.

Each level is prepared in the same way as an IQ test and checks students' ability to analyse a complex problem.

We all know that this is a difficult subject and, let's be honest, is often hated by everyone from schoolchildren doing their homework, to adults filing their taxes.

But this isn't because maths in itself is a boring subject. In fact, it can be exciting and rewarding, but pupils are too used to classical (and boring) teaching methods.

By taking advantage of these amazing apps, Pupils can realise that solving puzzles can actually be a blast, through brain teaser and Sudoku apps.

You can understand how to use numbers in a clever and creative way, instead of wasting hours with your phone staring at Facebook.

Listening and learning- Maths Podcasts!

Will a podcast help you learn maths?
Listening to podcasts can be an excellent way to get creative with your maths education | Source: Pexels - Abhilash Sahoo

We all know that every learner approaches their studies in different ways, and needs different resources than their peers to really excel.

There are different types of learners in every classroom, kinaesthetic, visual etc, and knowing the type of student you are can be extremely useful in knowing which materials will take you further.

Apps and websites are great for visual learners.

Toys like Lego or objects like an abacus can really aid a kinaesthetic learner.

But what about those who take in the most through what they hear?

Well, the good news is there's an interesting solution. Podcasts! The podcasts in this list focus on teaching and understanding maths, but also enjoying it and seeing how it can be applied during our every day lives. Check out our list podcasts:

The Math Dude: Quick and Dirty Tips

For anyone who wants to leave behind the painful and confusing memories of their maths classroom, The Math Dude is the perfect way of improving your understanding of the subject.

Featuring heaps of tips and tricks, explained in simple and accessible language, The Math Dude could be a perfect choice.

Breaking Math

If you want to know about the more interesting and complex applications of math in an accessible and fun way, then Breaking Math is perfect for you.

Each 45 minute episode covers a particular topic in close detail, so you can gain a thorough understanding and learn something fascinating.

Women in Math: The Limit Does Not Exist

This podcast is an excellent source of inspiration for young women who don't really see themselves in the most famous mathematicians of history.

Each episode is an interview of a bio of a woman working in the field (and sometimes science) who broke the mould.

The hosts aim to increase the visibility of the women working in the mathematics field today and encourage more women and young girls to get excited about STEM subjects.

It's a great resource for any parent who wants to inspire their daughters to reach for the stars!

The Secrets of Mathematics

This series of lectures and talks was created by Oxford Mathematics and aims to demonstrate the power and beauty of mathematics in our life.

Each episode is hosted by a different expert in a range of fields, from science to history, art and more.

It focuses on how the subject can be applied in all of these areas to better understand them.

More or Less: Behind the Stats

We see a lot of statistics on the news every day from journalists, politicians, lawyers and more.

But have you ever taken a second to think about where this data came from?

How they were collected? How trustworthy they are? If your answer is yes, then you should definitely check out More or Less.

This BBC Radio 4 series analyses the applications of probability in our every day lives and considers current affairs data in more detail.

They fact check politics, consider possible reasons for changes in data like the increase in the average weight of newborns and so much more.

The idea of spending your free time listening to people talking about how much they love maths or explaining complex formulas might have you thinking "No way!".

But listening to podcasts, watching video lessons and playing games on your phone are important steps to turning around your relationship to maths.

Pupils may notice that actively seeking out these more interesting ways of studying can do so much more for their studies than spending hours staring at a black and white page in a textbook.

With all of these engaging materials, you can easily improve your abilities in mathematics without getting bored or frustrated.

You can even challenge yourself with tricky problems, and you'll notice that you concentrate more because the content is so much more engaging.

How to find the best tutor for you

There are tutors all over Australia from online tutors in Perth, to Melbourne, Sydney and even smaller cities like Geelong or Parramatta.

Just the idea of looking through all of these options can be truly overwhelming, but Superprof can make the decision so much easier.

You can browse their list of qualified, experienced Maths tutors from around the country.

These tutors can support their pupils with anything from homework revision to exam preparation, and provide materials to allow any student to reach their true potential.

Before you start looking for your perfect tutor, it's important to know exactly what you're looking for from your lessons, so you can easily get a tutor to match your criteria.

Here are some ideas to think about before starting your search:

The hourly rate of your maths tutor online

Of course, most families don't have an unlimited budget, and spending money on a private tutor can seem like a luxury.

Working out what you're able to pay per week, month or even year is a good way to make your search easier. Hourly rates can go anywhere from $20 to $200, depending on the type of classes, a teacher's experience and more.

Your first idea could be to go with the maths tutor that charges the least per hour but don't forget about your other criteria.

Quality tutors provide an invaluable resource for pupils throughout their studies, so consider how cost relates to the quality of each class.

Does your maths online tutor need to be a specialist?

As we've already discussed, maths isn't made up of just one field, but a range of different areas.

Tutors can specialise in anything from teaching basic numbers and addition to children to preparing pupils for final year exams to get the best ATAR possible at the end of the year.

If your goal is to prepare for an exam, make sure you read a teacher's profile carefully to check their experience.

A maths tutor from Brisbane would probably have a good understanding of QCE subjects an exams, but they may also be confident teaching VCE or WACE subjects as well.

No matter what you're looking for, knowing exactly what you need to study is an important consideration, so you can choose a maths tutor that has the specialist experience that can let you get the best out of your tutoring.

Contacting your tutor to start to learn maths online

So we've covered a couple of the factors that are important when looking for the best private teacher for you or your child.

While profiles have lots of great information, like teaching experience, location and reviews, you'll definitely need to contact your tutor to get to know a little more about them.

Then it's time to think about how to go about contacting your tutor. You can send them a friendly and polite message, and then maybe make contact by phone.

It's useful to have a checklist of questions so that you get all of the information you need to make the right decision.

Here are some questions that could be useful:

  • Can you tell me a little bit about your experience teaching maths?
  • Is there a specific age group that you usually work with?
  • What maths teaching qualifications do you have?
  • Are you a specialist in any particular area of mathematics?
  • Do you have adequate experience delivering a program online?

Using this method, you can find some good candidates and get started with classes with your maths tutor straightaway!

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Giulietta