Challenging students to play algebra – for fun!

AlgebraImageCompendiumWe’re not all Maths teachers – so many of us remember sitting in a stuffy classroom and struggling to concentrate as the teacher switches between enthusiasm and exasperation while explaining algebra concepts.  It can be just as challenging today to motivate our students to embrace algebra and to practice problem solving.

Xorro-Q provides a very simple game-like setting that can help you to motivate your students to practice any learning material.  It’s designed to be freely available for schools to use Using any browser (Xorro’s great on a mobile phone) your students can access algebra problems set by you.  You can set up the activity so that students receive automated scoring and feedback as they progress.  You get insights into which questions are proving most difficult generally, and which students are struggling most.  In the classroom, the optional leaderboard can add competitive spice to the game…

Try this sample Linear Algebra activity….

I’ve prepared a short, simple sample activity on linear algebra.  I’m hoping that enough people will give it a go so that it’s fun for everyone.  Stretch yourself, and see if you can reach the top of the Leaderboard!   (Incidentally, leaderboard placement relies on the speed to correct answer as well as on your great score…..)

Don’t worry: We won’t publish any personal results! (but I might ask you what you thought of it, since we’re always looking to improve).

Are you ready to try this out with your class?

It’s simple, quick (and free!) for teachers to prepare activities and run them with groups of less than 33 students. Students are free.  Reporting is free. (The catch: To keep it fair for everyone, Free Facilitators are limited to asking 100 questions per month – that’s potentially 3300 auto-assessed responses for free!)  So…. if you’re keen to give it a go:

1. Become a Free Facilitator:  If you don’t already have one, get a Free Facilitator login to Xorro-Q.  Get it here….

2. Log in to your Xorro Facilitator Home Page at  Notice your Participant URL displayed at top left.

3. Set up your class: In “Participants” tab, import a csv file with first name, last name and a unique code for each student (this could be an email, or a student id, or any other code that’s easy for the student to identify with).  It’s not essential to do this, but it’s easy, and it will really make all the difference in terms of the value for you later.

4. Create your activity:
– In the “Activities” tab, press the “Create an activity” button.  Give your new activity a title.  You’ll probably want to start off with a “self-paced” activity rather than a Real Time (in class) one.
– Next, either press “Import Questions” to hand-pick the questions for your activity from our Question Bank, or else choose “Add Random Block” to set rules by which Xorro will automatically choose the questions.  (You can make your own questions too and share them through the Q-Bank if you wish).
– In the pop-up form that follows, set the Search scope to “global”, and find the Maths>>Algebra categories (there are ten available sub-categories).  You can add any other filters you might want, otherwise just select the desired categories and enter the number of randomly selected questions you want in the “block”, or hand pick the questions. …. and press “import” (or “add block”).
– You’ve returned to the activity page and it is – ready!  You can re-sort individual questions by simply dragging and dropping, and you can of course add another block or import questions – or if you’re ready, have a go at creating your own questions.

5. Run your activity: Once you’re happy with the activity, press the blue “Run” button.  Check the settings (we strongly recommend “ID only” access), and press Launch.  Invite your students to visit the activity at your Participant URL.

Need help?

As always: please feel free to contact me (Pablo) with your questions, appeals for help or any suggestions!

(NZ): 0800 200 121 ext 701; (AU): 1800 246 808 ext 701