Supported by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Maths4us initiative is being driven forward by NIACE and a number of key partner organisations across the public and private sector, including:

ALT, the Association for Learning Technology, together with partners, is working on developing an index of apps for maths as part of the maths4us initiative.

Apps, as we define them for this initiative, include a large number of online tools such as calculators or currency converters to apps that you can download to a mobile device or desktop computer. There are many maths apps that you can download onto your mobile phone for example to help with tasks such as budgeting to others that can provide scientific calculators or learn how to use data and charts.

The apps for maths index is going to make finding what you are looking for quick and easy, letting you get on with the task at hand.

The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) is the UK’s leading membership organisation in the learning technology field with 1200+ members from universities, colleges, schools and industry. We work to promote research, improve practice and influence policy.

Learning Unlimited believes that learning should be empowering for individuals.  Our part of the initiative is to design and develop three Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to help in the improvement of math skills. We will be providing courses in Financial Literacy, Everyday Maths and Helping My Child with Maths. These courses will be accessible from anywhere using the internet and each course will use real life examples, videos, games and assessments to review maths skills, hopefully, in a more practical way.  The aim is that by participating in one of the online courses, the power of learning is put into your hands, allowing you to learn at your own pace and when it is convenient for you.

The National Numeracy Challenge aims to reach 1 million adults over five years. This is against the backdrop of 17 million people of working age in England working at Entry Level 3 or below (BIS figures). Over 8 million of these have the skills expected at Entry Level 2 or lower. The equivalent figures for literacy are 5 million and 2 million respectively. One focus will be the workplace, but we will also work with the adult education sector and plan to expand into areas beyond the workplace and so reach those not in employment or education.

Employers will be asked to sign up to the National Numeracy Challenge, making a commitment to raise the skills of all their employees to at least Level 1. They will be offered a low-cost diagnostic tool to assess the initial skills and measure the progress of everyone taking part. They will also have access to a suite of online resources and advice on personalised learning in the workplace, at college or in the community. Colleges, training providers and organisations working with people not in training or education will similarly be invited to sign up – and there will also be opportunities for individuals to participate without any organisational backing.

The Challenge will also tackle negative attitudes to maths and numeracy – being numerate goes beyond simply ‘doing sums’; it means having the confidence and competence to use numbers and think mathematically in everyday life.

OCF (Online Centres Foundation) the organisation that manages the UK Online Centres network is supporting Maths4Us in several ways, over three different themes.

Theme one is well underway and it has seen Maths being introduced to the UK online centres network as part of the Start Something campaign which began at the beginning of February, and runs through to mid March.  The campaign challenges people to leave failed New Year’s Resolutions behind and start something new online instead.

We’ve asked the 400 participating centres to insert maths into whatever people happen to start – from calculating time differences in a Skype session to counting calories in a keeping healthy session.  Maths is included in every one of our Start something sessions plans, and a Start something family maths session has featured as one of our campaign releases.  We’ve also got a Start something maths film, showing how introducing maths through other, practical activities can get parents and children thinking differently about the subject.

Meanwhile, other centres have been sending us their case study examples of introducing maths through technology too. We’re building new pages on our learning website to help centres signpost their learners onto formal and informal maths courses and sessions including Maths4Us resources.

We have been busy planning theme two which is our Baking with Friends project which will see 500 centres using baking as a hook to get people interested in learning about maths without even knowing that they are doing so. From activities to shopping on a budget to get the best ingredients at the best price (the poundstretcher challenge)  to using measuring, weighing and slicing to practice maths skills ranging from adding, dividing and even fractions in a fun environment.  Baking with friends will encourage intergenerational learning too.

Theme three will see OCF working with a wide range of exciting Action on Adult Maths partners to promote the excellent Maths resources, tools, apps and MOOCs that will be produced and collated onto the Maths4Us website to the network of over 4,500 UK online centres based in communities across the UK.