Numeracy Basics: The background.

Why release an app?

In an ideal world I would have continued with the free to access internet provided model that teacherLEd.com has used up until now.  In the last 5 years, however, technology has changed and the way people access the internet has changed.  The iPad is becoming more popular as a learning tool in schools and resource providers need to adapt to this.

Why not make the app free?

As described above I would have preferred to maintain the model used until now.  teacherLED.com meets its cost via advertising.  Doing this with an educational app does not seem appropriate.  The advertising on teacherLED is aimed at teachers.  No advertisement appears on a page aimed at children.  For example no IWB resource has a frame of advertisements around it as some sites do.  This cannot work with an app.  The website structure around the resources on teacherLED does not exist on an app so any advertisements, if they are to support the development costs,  must on an app be pervasive and constant.  So there are no advertisements but there is a fee.  In the apple app store prices ares are set according to tiers.  Numeracy Basics is set at the lowest tier possible except for free.  Hopefully this can support the development of future apps and not be prohibitive to those who would find it useful.

How is the app written? — Everything that now follows does not match the current version of this app which has been greatly overhauled and updated.

The app is written in HTML5.  Not, in my opinion, the best language to write an app in.  The resources were originally intended to be universally accessible from the site.  However an experimental release of some HTML5 apps in 2011 was not successful.  Every browser treats it differently.  Testing on one browser would give quite different results to another browser.  Some people thought the resources were full of bugs and this made the site look bad.  No doubt carefully working through all of  the issues would have been possible but the time that would take to check and rewrite on each platform and browser and then to do this again when a new browser version was released was prohibitive.  All previous resources were written in Flash.  These are written and tested once and just work.  Except on platforms it is not allowed on such as the iPad.  The app store model has seriously challenged the free to the user model that previously existed by fragmenting how people can access interactive content on the web.

As the resources were already written I ensured they worked optimally on the iPad and then packaged them as an app.  Fortunately the resources suit a one to one teaching environment that tablets suit.  I have used it myself sitting alongside a child working through questions on telling the time and addition etc.

Why doe the app suggest combining the old with the new?

The resources are, in general, iPad versions of traditional teaching resources. Number squares, clocks, times table lists, that teachers and teaching assistants have long employed in small group work.  As such the app provides these people, and perhaps parents, with the means to teach in a way they are comfortable with but using their school’s new iPad rather than old dog eared card resources and counters.

What about the rest of teacherLEd.com?

This will stay the same and new resources will continue to be produced for it.  These will tend to be resources that suit whole class teaching and can use the extra power of desktop machines to provide stimulating experiences.  All existing resources and new resources produced for the site will continue to be free to the user.