Sumdog … playing with Maths online

Teachers and students may create a free account on This will allow them to access various online mathematics games which are designed to improve students’ numeracy skills.


The maths games website is designed to help students practice mathematics in an enjoyable way. This website provides free access for teachers and students to various online mathematics games which are designed to improve students’ numeracy skills.

When subscribing to this service, students may customise their profile picture, choose a level and thus be able to play games according to their abilities. Students may access 100 numeracy topics, split into 10 levels. Most games are multiplayer, so students can play against thousands of students worldwide. Moreover through the free login, students can track their progress through Sumdog’s games.  Through the free subscription, teachers can create logins for their students and set challenges and competitions for them;

  • Competitions generate a leaderboard for students. These allow them to play the maths games against each other or against any logged in students.
  • Challenges let teachers to set goals for students. Such challenges may include getting a set number of answers right or winning a number of these online games related to a particular topic.

If teachers buy a subscription, they will also be able to track their students’ progress. Whichever subscription is chosen (free or not), teachers can specify which topics the students will be working on, which games they can play, and when such activity starts and finishes.

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Sony reveal next-generation PlayStation Portable

During the “PlayStation Meeting 2011″ which was held earlier today in Japan, Sony have unveiled their new, upcoming portable device (which as you can see in the photo below looks very similar to the PlayStation Portable), which will be temporarily known as NGP (Next-Generation Portable).

Next Generation Portable

Next Generation Portable

Slotted for a Christmas 2011 release, this little ‘monster’ boasts some very high-end specifications, including:

- ARM Cortex A9 4-Core CPU
- SGX543MP4+
- 5 inch 16:9 touchscreen with OLED technology
- Rear touch pad
- Rear and front cameras
- In built microphone
- Built-in 3G + WiFi + Bluetooth
- Built-in GPS
- Software will come on a special type of flash memory
- Can produce graphics which are on par with those on the PlayStation 3
- Price: Not yet available

It seems that Sony have not cut any corners for this new system, not just as regards the processor and the GPU used, but also for the fact that they are pushing social gaming through the in-built 3G and WiFi connections. The built-in GPS combined with the fact that the NGP is always online (via 3G/WiFi) should provide opportunities for interesting programs and not just entertainment applications.

On a finishing note, considering what this machine has crammed into it, one cannot expect this device to be cheap, and I would be surprised if the retail price is anywhere lower than the €500 mark. On the other hand, the new, soon to be released Nintendo 3DS costs €270 – one wonders if the ‘raw power’ and wide range of features that come with the Next Generation Portable will be enough to win Sony a substantial market share.

Educational 3-D Cartoons

Create your own 3-D cartoon by logging in  This is a very easy to use online tool which allows you to write your own script and direct the action you want to unfold in your movie! There are various options to choose from such as characthers, camera positioning or facial expressions.

Such a tool may have useful applications when utilised in the learning environment. For example, the teacher may prepare videos for his own students to see in class or to revise specific themes at home. Else the students may be urged to create their own videos to present a topic which they researched themselves.

Do you have any other ideas how this tool may be used? Email me at


Robotics in the classroom


Using a robot in the classroom may sound too sci-fi. The truth is that these are being increasingly found in education. In Malta, robotics has been introduced in computing where students choosing this option subject will be using this tool as an aid for their form 3 studies. NXT Mindstorms kits are already available in all government secondary schools and more will be introduced this scholastic year. In form 3, students will be working on a practical task. Students need to see that they use a number of sensors from those available. Such sensors will serve as input and output devices which will help in the completion of the selected task.

Robots allow some autonomy of action based on their programming. Studies show that students engaged with robotics develop logical and programming skills. In mathematics, such a robotics kit allows students to do this through the computer screen instead of on paper. A physical robot is found to be much more engaging as through the use of such a tangible learning tool, students are working hands-on, thus being  engaged and stimulated.

For further information about robotics and help on how this tool may be used in lessons contact me; Keith Aquilina (elearning support teacher) email: or office tel: 29582144

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Scratch – Create your own interactive resources

With Scratch you can ‘create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music and art – and share your creations on the web’.  Thus students with the help of their teachers may design such creations. Students may also be involved in activities involving digital files created with this free software.


Check the website to see some ideas of what may be created or  dowloaded from