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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2008, 03:32:26 PM »

Hi David

Poppycock? Snobbery? Did I hit a nerve somewhere?   Huh

Of course not but you did trot out the lines about "fast food" and "serious educational content" which implied that the titles we were discussing in the context of Al's questions about investment in education technology were somehow less valid than other software including your own.

The point I'm making is that the titles running on devices such as the DS are selling in their millions. This isn't because they are "fast food" but because of the way they are designed and as a consequence of the amount invested in the their creation. Hence my question about what SUMS Maths might look like if you had access to a similar development budget as a commercial videogame and the team needed to design one.

Poppycock is just a friendly way of saying that I didn't agree with you and snobbery is a fair response to "fast food" IMHO  Wink No offence was intended.

You challenged me whether I had actually used the titles Graham. The answer is yes, I have access to and have played all three - and refreshed that knowledge last night. In terms of maths you'll find little beyond mental arithmetic and tables -
though it is put together very cleverly.

I'm delighted that you've played them extensively, surely this will provide some insights into the art of game play and why these titles are so popular. Maybe a game that included some of  the "nitty gritty" that you're describing could do equally well but without being perceived as edutainment?

Derek, Yes, of course, what you are doing creates tremendous motivation. You'll also find tremendous motivation in the many many schools using PDAs, Windows Mobile Phones, the RM Minibook/ASUS eeePC, Sony PSPs, and other, non gaming software. It is a great thing, and it is good that different areas champion different approaches.

I don't think Derek or I are denying the great work and motivated students that are working on other devices but this discussion isn't about this device vs that device as opposed to styles of teaching and how technology can be embedded within that practice. In Scotland and other parts of the UK I've seen first hand how some of the titles here have been used as contextual hubs where the teacher is leveraging the motivation gained from using the titles and devices that children already enjoy to introduce and explore the "nitty gritty".

As I mentioned in another thread it's not technology that will solve learning challenges but good teachers that can easily embed the right tools within their own practice.

To keep the thread on track, this was about investment not by schools in educational technology but by 3rd party investors investing in new educational technology companies to foster innovation. We seemed to have drifted a bit!

However I'm interested to see how Derek responds to your points David, I'm also very interested to see how this years Handheld Learning Conference unfolds as quite clearly we have touched on a very hot and timely subject.



« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 03:35:06 PM by Graham » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2008, 09:46:04 PM »

I think it's wrong to attempt compare SUMS with some of the titles that I have been using and in particular Dr Kawashima. They are in my opinion entirely different animals. What is at the heart of the Dr Kawashima intervention is that it is helping to make learners more numerate. Bottom line. Yes there have been added benefits that I could elaborate on but the impact on numeracy is hugely statistically significant. Forgive me but is this not desirable? Now it won't teach a number of other maths topics/concepts but at least we may have a whole host of children now more willing to engage with maths at a higher level because of their increased competence in basic numeracy which can make for a healthier disposition to maths. It's all about small successful steps for learners and creating a culture of achievement. If SUMS can do this then great. More for teachers to choose from. But we have shown that Dr K does the business.

Sorry to have contributed to the drift on this thread.
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« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2008, 11:52:26 AM »


Absolutely. I am in total agreement with you. Dr K should not be compared to SUMS Maths because they do totally different things - very much the point of my original post in response to Graham.

You said that if SUMS can create similar motivation, then great.  I'd like to think so, so if I may quote from the most recent Wolverhampton report by Dave Perry, available from the www.learning2go.org website.

The ease with which the children were able to compile a list of the applications they had used made an impression by itself. They were obviously familiar with numerous applications and able to name them and they nominated the following as their best applications:

* Windows Media player (for playing music)
* Sums Online
*The Internet

The inclusion of the second of these Sums Online must be an accolade for that product as Maths is not often nominated as a favourite subject.

Anyway, I agree with Graham that it is time to let the thread revert to its original track.  The general debate about games consoles and software v. other handhelds will I'm sure continue elsewhere, not least at HHL08. Grin

Best wishes,


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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2008, 11:06:02 AM »

I've been away for a while and it's strange to come back and read threads like this.
I think the orignial point in the article was to address the question of why their is such a lack of business start ups in education.
It is true there are very little start up's in education, specifically looking at innovation such as digital mobility. I started my business two years ago, leaving a well paid job along with my collegues. All of us have taken drop's in pay and to date have made very little money as commerically there are not sound markets. The mobile learning landscape is still very immature in commercial terms...the margins just are not there, hence the lack of new businesses. HOWEVER....I think it is fair to say that the few business which operate in this arena (some very notable in the article and a number of others not!) all embody a philosophy of innovating and improving teaching and learning and are not necessarily looking at short term capital gain...Christ knows if I was...I'd of disbanded a long time ago!!!
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