Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Montessori Tech - Review

For the record, none of my four children have attended a Montessori School. I have however used a couple of  Montessori based apps with them in the past with great success.Therefore I jumped at the chance to review these apps by Montessori Tech.

I was not disappointed! My prior experience with the Montessori Technique has been limited to literacy and spelling apps, so this is my first time using their learning method in a Maths Application.

Let's begin with Skip Counting. 

Skip Counting  uses the Montessori coloured bead chains to show the relationship of number multiples in a chain/number line format. It is designed to be used as a precursor to multiplication tables. 

This is the perfect app for Special Needs kids. My ASD boys use and struggle with the traditional number chart to learn "counting by" at school and I have spent ages trying to find a simpler and more visual way to teach them. This app is just what I was looking for.

Skip Counting is beautiful in it's simplicity and  although I was not familiar with Montessori Beads it did not take me long to understand the principal.

Upon opening the app you are presented with a blank page with a wooden "box" at the bottom of the page, containing vividly coloured bead chains, each representing a different numerical value from 1-10.

You can use the app in two ways...

There is a show me option that when selected creates a number chain with blank number tags. The empty compartment in the "box" fills with relevant numbers as the chain is formed. Those numbers then "move" onto the page in random order and then to the correct 

It then places the numbers on the correct tag.
This is the perfect exercise to use with your children to illustrate how the app works.

The other activity is to create your own chain. 
Again, the empty compartment fills with relevant numbers after your chain is complete. This time however the user has to move the numbers them self  to the correct tag. My boys found it a little confusing with all the numbers on top of each other in the "box" to figure out the correct order. I had to instruct them to copy the show me format of  moving the numbers onto the page before placing them on the tags. 

As your children get older or more advanced with this method they can progress to typing in  the correct number simply by touching the number tag. A window opens with a numerical keypad. I would like to see a visual response to a wrong answer included in the app...maybe a red cross instead of the green tick that is shown when a chain is completed correctly.

Overall I thought the app was fantastic. Montessori's visual learning method is perfectly suited to children on the Autism Spectrum and those with learning disabilities. Although there is not a huge amount or variation of content the $1.99 price tag is great value for an app that teaches such an important mathematical skill.

The second app I reviewed for Montessori Tech is Bead Facts  Plus Minus.
Again this app uses the Montessori Bead Chains but this time providing demonstrations and practice of addition and subtraction.

The wooden "box" with the Montessori bead chains also features in this app this time they can be manipulated to form addition or subtraction sums.

Once the sum is created you again use the beads to visually achieve the answer and complete the problem by finding the correct length chain to match the numerical answer.
It did not take long for my visual thinkers to learn which colour chain represents which number.

As with Skip Counting, Bead Facts also has a show me 
This provides not only a tutorial for the app but can also be used to check an answer.

This app is customizable via the settings tab. You can choose to concentrate on just addition or only subtraction and also choose which numbers you want to use. Parents and teachers can also create their own mathematical problems making this a perfect app for homework. My son hates doing his homework on his work sheet but was more then happy to complete it when I presented it to him using this app. 

My one wish would be that instead of having to manually progress to a new problem this would be automatic in both the show me and custom modes. I would also love to be able to  program  the app via settings to enter a number of sums that could then be completed consecutively.

Again the highly visual aspect of this app supports my boys learning style perfectly and I really felt this presentation of  addition and subtraction made a lot more sense to them then the more traditional techniques.
Another great value educational app priced at $1.99

I will definitely be using both of these apps regularly with my boys and will be recommending their teachers do also.
Kudos to Montessori Tech for creating simple but effective and high quality apps that teach basic but fundamental maths formulas to our children .

Montessori Tech have given us one code for each of these great apps.  We will be giving them away as a package to one lucky person. Enter via the rafflecopter  box below.

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