6 Tips to Make Maths Fun!

Most children find mathematics interesting and to encourage their interest is simpler than you think, as mathematics is a big part of everyday life. In this article we are offering you some ideas, how to create a playful link between mathematics and daily routine.

Photo Credit: Kotatsu Neko 808 Flickr via Compfight cc

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Make Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia Testing Free on the NHS.

Photo Credit: KootenaiUrgentCare Flickr via Compfight cc

An important step has been taken by British citizens who started a petition aiming to make dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia testing free on the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.

Today a cost of such test costs around £500, which is not affordable for many British families. While schools may help with the costs of a test if they believe one is necessary, they are not obliged to do so. Therefore many young British children are not diagnosed at a young age, leading them to have difficulties while learning, feeling discouraged and in some cases being bullied by their classmates.

Diagnosing learning disabilities at an early age needs to be a national goal and would help many children and avoid mental health issues in the future.

If you are eligible, please don’t to forget to sign the petition here.

Discover the New Dyscalculia Blog!

We are excited to announce our new blog and resource for dyscalculics: Dyscalculia Blog!

After a year of writing articles on dyscalculia for our company blog, we realized this content would be better served on a platform of its own. This way readers searching for information on dyscalculics can find what they need quickly without having to hunt through the dyslexia and edtech articles on this blog.

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New Large-Scale Study Confirms Effectiveness of Calcularis

Calcularis, our software for dyscalculia, has been evaluated in smaller studies which clearly showed that the software was beneficial for increasing children’s proficiency in math. A large-scale study has now been completed in Germany with over one hundred children participating. The study looked at the software’s effects on students in general, rather than focusing on children with learning differences such as dyscalculia.

Child working with Dybuster software. Dybuster developed Calcularis, software for training math skills and to aid dyscalculics.

Child working with Dybuster software. Dybuster developed Calcularis, software for training math skills and to aid dyscalculics.

The results of the study determined that the software increased children’s mathematical abilities and were published on 2 June in Frontiers in Psychology.

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Our top 5 Blog Posts on Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a learning disorder that causes those who have it to struggle with numbers and math.

Our top blog posts on dyscalculia. Find out more about this learning difference that causes difficulty in solving math problems.

Our top blog posts on dyscalculia. Read on to find out about this learning difference that causes difficulty in solving math problems.

Though gradually gaining in exposure, dyscalculia remains less well-known than dyslexia, a learning difference affecting the ability to map written to spoken language. Our blog aims to increase awareness of dyscalculia and point readers to further resources and information.

This week we have researched which of our blog posts on dyscalculia have proved most helpful to readers. We would like to share our top 5 picks based on number of visits and what search terms led readers to a specific post, which tells us a bit about what information the readers were looking for.

1. Dyscalculics: the famous, the successful, the inspiring

Our top post focuses on well-known dyscalculics, leading us to think that there is a need for spotlighting dyscalculic role models. Singer Cher and actress Mary Tyler Moore make the list of famous people with dyscalculia.

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Educational Technology for Learning Disabilities: Dybuster LinkedIn Discussion Group

dybuster linkedin educational technology for learning disabilities

Looking for discussion and debate on educational topics? Like to keep up-to-date on educational technology? Or maybe you want to share your knowledge and experiences regarding learning differences?

We’ve launched a LinkedIn discussion group to addresses all of these needs and more. With new members added weekly, we hope the group will provide information and resources, professional networking, and food for thought.

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Video Tutorial for Calcularis, Software for Dyscalculia

Calcularis includes seventeen different learning games, all them designed to help students with dyscalculia improve their math and number skills. The software selects which games will help a student learn best, based on that child’s strengths and problem areas.

The games work to develop a user’s number processing abilities and grasp of a mental number line, such as in the Landing Game where a falling cone must be landed as close as possible to the target number on a number line. Other games allow students to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The Shelves Game, for example, breaks multiplication down into repeated additions.

For a quick introduction to Calcularis, check out the video below. You can also try the software for free on our website.

Signs & Symptoms of Dyscalculia

Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

Dyscalculia receives less press than does dyslexia. Parents and teachers may not even be aware that dyscalculia exists, much less recognise what could be signs of the learning difference. We’ve put together a list of things to watch out for if you think your child may have a learning disability in math.

Some of these signs are more established through research while others have been reported by teachers, parents, or dyscalculics themselves.

Signs of dyscalculia

  • Slowness in learning to count
  • Difficulty in comparing quantities (larger vs. smaller)
  • Difficulty in recognising quantities, even small numbers of objects
  • Difficulty in understanding “math words” such as “greater” or “less than”
  • Lagging behind peers in learning simple arithmetic such as easy addition
  • Reliance on slow methods of performing math, such as counting on fingers for addition or adding up numbers for multiplication
  • Difficulty in telling time from an analog clock
  • Difficulty in keeping track of time
  • Inability to count out change or estimate costs
  • Anxiety when faced with number-related tasks; math anxiety

The presence of one or more of these signs does not necessarily add up to a dyscalculia diagnosis.

If you think your child or student may have a learning disability then an evaluation from a professional is a key step to getting a child the support that he or she needs. But with this list perhaps educators and parents can become more aware of dyscalculia and how it affects children at home and in the classroom.

More information is available on sites such as Understood.org, the Learning Disabilities Association of America, and the British Dyslexia Association. You can also contact us for information on our intervention software for dyscalculia.

Calcularis Learning Games: Helping to Solve Dyscalculia

Judging quantities, performing simple arithmetic, picturing numbers on a number line: all of these tasks can cause severe frustration to someone with dyscalculia. Math problems that pose no difficulty to their peers, can seem incomprehensible to dyscalculic children.

An inability to deal with numbers can leave dyscalculics with deep feelings of anxiety and inferiority when faced with anything math-related, such as counting out change or remembering the multiplication tables.

When children with dyscalculia play the Dybuster Calcularis learning games, the software gradually helps the brain to develop new learning channels and to automate mathematical processes. User studies have shown these games to be very effective: students using the software over a period of three months improved their addition skills by 30% and subtraction skills by 40%.

The games are designed to develop both numerical understanding and arithmetic operations. Students practice numbers as quantities, number words, Arabic numerals and positions on a number ray. Children progress from comparing amounts, to adding and subtracting with colored blocks, to multiplying and dividing. As their skills increase, dyscalculics also gain confidence in their own number abilities.

The results of the users studies involving Dybuster Calcularis were published in the following peer-reviewed publications:

Study about the neurplastic changes: K. Kucian, U. Grond, S. Rotzer, B. Henzi, C. Schönmann, F. Plangger, M. Gälli, E. Martin, M. von Aster. Mental number line training in children with developmental dyscalculia. NeuroImage, Neuroimage, 57(3):782-95, 2011

User adaptation, improvements in HRT (Addition/Subtraction): T. Käser, A. G. Busetto, G.-M. Baschera, J. Kohn, K. Kucian, M. von Aster, and M. Gross. Modelling and Optimizing the Process of Learning Mathematics. Proceedings of ITS (Chania, Greece, 14-18 June, 2012), pp 389-398, 2012

User adaptation, study 2011: T. Käser, G.-M. Baschera, J. Kohn, K. Kucian, V. Richtmann, U. Grond, M. Gross, and M. von Aster. Design and evaluation of the computer-based training program Calcularis for enhancing numerical cognition. Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, 4: 489, 2013

But our favorite reviews come from the parents, teachers, and students who use our software:

“As a mother, I am extremely impressed by Dybuster.” – Katharina, mother

“I like the fact that I can use Dybuster on my computer at home instead of having to visit a therapist.” – Jonathan, 12 years old

 

Like to test out the learning games yourself? Please visit the Calcularis website and download your free trial.

 

Dyscalculics: The Famous, The Successful, The Inspiring

As the condition is rarer than dyslexia, dyscalculia is less present when it comes to information and resources on websites and blogs. Dyslexics, for example, can find extensive lists of famous people who have or were reported to have had dyslexia. Dyscalculics are left more on their own when looking for such sources of encouragement and inspiration.

Famous dyscalculic: singer Cher.

Famous dyscalculic: singer Cher. Source: Wikicommons.

A search for famous dyscalculics does turn up a few names. American actor Henry Winkler is mentioned as having both dyslexia and difficulty with math. Singers Cher and Mick Hucknall are both dyscalculic. Actress Mary Tyler Moore is also included on lists of celebrities with dyscalculia. These lists however are much shorter than comparable ones dealing with dyslexia.

When faced with such a dearth of information, dyscalculics may instead have to look elsewhere for inspiration. Namely, among themselves. As awareness of dyscalculia grows, so too does awareness of the challenges faced by people with this learning difference and respect for how they deal with those challenges.

Learning about dyscalculics like Jack Harley-Walsh, who didn’t let his learning differences keep him from scaling either educational or actual peaks, can inspire other students with dyscalculia to push their own limits. It can be enormously encouraging to read blogger Savannah Treviño’s article on her own success as a student because and not despite of her dyscalculia.

To our dyscalculic readers: who are your role models and inspirations? If you would like to share your own story about what gives you motivation and encouragement please chime in via the comments below.

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