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14 MHTTP/1.1 200 OK Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0 Connection: close Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 22:51:48 GMT Pragma: no-cache Content-Type: text/html Expires: Thu, 19 Nov 1981 08:52:00 GMT Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0 X-Powered-By: PHP/4.4.0 Set-Cookie: PHPSESSID=ea0e39021526c49b473d917763848048; path=/ X-Powered-By: ASP.NET ar 2013
E-Blocks Math in Review

Review E-Blocks is a hands-on resource for children who are beginning their first steps in the world of maths, or those who have missed a few steps along the way. It covers the key areas of mathematical development: geometry and spatial reasoning, sorting, classifying, number sense, concepts, operations, quantitative reasoning, measurement, addition, subtraction and mathematical reasoning. The learning activities are varied and include pictures, songs and animations. All interaction is completed through a panel where children place learning blocks, enriching the possible kinesthetic nature of learning. All activities are completed using the novel interface which motivates learning and all games simulate cooperative interaction, ensuring learning is a concrete and social experience. The portable panel connects using a USB connector, which plugs easily into a laptop or desktop computer. The set-up was very straightforward and caused no problems. The activities meet many of the objectives for the Renewed Primary Framework for mathematics - the resource covers all of the objectives for early maths development and can be used to complement mathematical teaching in any classroom. The product is trilingual (English, Spanish, Portuguese) and aims to teach authentic pronunciation within the target language, providing opportunities for children to reinforce their Maths skills in appropriate context across the curriculum. As soon as the program opens, the aims of the resource are mapped out in the form of a story. The title follows a young man through an adventure in Egypt where he becomes stranded when his transport breaks down. The children are encouraged to work their way through various activities to win car-parts to help out their hero. The children make their way through a map of 11 varied units which are all appropriate to the target age-range.HTTP/1.1 200 OK Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0 Connection: close Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 22:51:48 GMT Pragma: no-cache Content-Type: text/html Expires: Thu, 19 Nov 1981 08:52:00 GMT Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0 X-Powered-By: PHP/4.4.0 Set-Cookie: PHPSESSID=ea0e39021526c49b473d917763848048; path=/ X-Powered-By: ASP.NET The themed units include: The Ruins, The Market, The Secret Cave, Egyptian Boat and Pyramid. Within each of these units, containing between five and seven activities, the children practice the required key Maths skills using the blocks together with the peripheral equipment. As the units are worked through, students require 10 correct answers before they can move onto the next activity within the area – which acts as a great motivator for the children. As the tasks are completed, students receive credits in the form of car parts which are required to complete the final goal - to fix the Jeep as described in the child-friendly animations. Once all of the units have been completed the ultimate goal is reached - the ‘Jeep’ is once again in full working order! This program was well-received by the children; their response was very positive. The children constantly ask to go onto the computer as it really engaged their inquisitive minds. I have seen a noticeable improvement in the children who have been using the program. Their understanding of maths has improved substantially and they are much more confident in using numbers. There also appears to be less reliance on the use of fingers and more mental calculation occurring within the classroom. They really enjoyed the activities being set in the context of a story and felt at home answering questions to help out the characters. There are clear installation instructions, which are accompanied by appropriate photos. The pictures are really useful and help to contextualise the possible use of the product. Even people who do not feel particularly confident with the use of ICT within the classroom would be able to follow these instructions without difficulty. After installing the product, groups or individual children need to be registered to ensure that the pupil tracking options are effectively utilized. The instructions for this feature are also very straightforward however; if any queries are present a comprehensive troubleshooting guide is available which coversHTTP/1.1 200 OK Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0 Connection: close Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 22:51:48 GMT Pragma: no-cache Content-Type: text/html Expires: Thu, 19 Nov 1981 08:52:00 GMT Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0 X-Powered-By: PHP/4.4.0 Set-Cookie: PHPSESSID=ea0e39021526c49b473d917763848048; path=/ X-Powered-By: ASP.NET both installation and set up processes. Step-by-step instructions are given on the best way to introduce the program to the children. Only one session was necessary to familiarise the children with the program. This was done as a whole class group using the interactive whiteboard. Some of the less-able children needed some extra assistance to fully understand what was necessary for each activity, but were then able to work independently. To try to get children to take more responsibility for their learning, E-Blocks introduces a management strategy for the children to use whilst using the program in groups. The concept is to give each child in the group a role – one child is responsible for the mouse, another for the table organisation, one is a spokesperson and one is the supervisor. Within the program there is a Configuration Manager that allows the teacher to configure the general system settings, according to the needs of their students. This area allows the teacher to manage the groups, add and delete students very easily. The teacher can become familiar with the program without having to be plugged into the portable panel, by using shortcut keys to access a virtual keyboard. This allows the user to plan anywhere by being able to just click on the block that would be needed to answer the question. The design and navigation of the program is very user-friendly. There weren’t any technical issues experienced and the installation was very straightforward. The story which the resource is built around is appropriate to the target age-range and really brought the content to life. The story and the aims of the product are built upon with each unit. As a useful option it is possible to skip over the introductions to each activity if necessary which can save time when getting the children set up to re-try units. The general menu is clear and it is easy to navigate between the different areas of the program. All units are accessible from a ‘Main Map Menu’ which is very clear. Once an activity has been opened, manyHTTP/1.1 200 OK Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0 Connection: close Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 22:51:48 GMT Pragma: no-cache Content-Type: text/html Expires: Thu, 19 Nov 1981 08:52:00 GMT Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0 X-Powered-By: PHP/4.4.0 Set-Cookie: PHPSESSID=ea0e39021526c49b473d917763848048; path=/ X-Powered-By: ASP.NET more options are available from a detailed navigation bar, including; • take the user back to the previous screen • provide written instructions for the activities • allow the children to hear the instructions again • let the children hear the last sound, word or number presented • restart the activity • allow the user to see how much of the activity has been completed • allow the user to see which blocks are needed for each activity. The product was used in a mixed ability, inner London primary school. This is an underachieving Year 1 class with a number of special needs children. The program was introduced using the interactive whiteboard and then used on an individual and group basis by the children. The E-Blocks and a computer were set up in a quiet area of the classroom, where the children would not be disturbed or distracted when using the resource. Children were given time during the day to work on the E-Blocks program. Schoolzone peer reviews are written by teachers who have been using the resource for some time. We ask these teachers to write honestly about the resources, and we pay them for doing so. Publishers have the right to reply and you may see their comments inserted. Review link: http://www.schoolzone.co.uk/evaluations/review-detail.asp?id=250
 
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