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Zero Our Hero

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Give children the opportunity to firmly establish their understanding of place value by letting them practise with this app.  Different exercises at different levels let children work on the skills that are right for them.

Teacher Review

Zero Our Hero, as the title of this app, refers to a character within the app and the importance of the role of the digit zero in place value. The app has been developed under the guidance of a teacher's PhD research.
 
There are four stages to this app named numerically.  For the British teacher, these should not be confused with the key stages that mark out children's progression through education.   Within this app, they are akin to levels of difficulty.  Each one provides a distinct and well-judged advancement on the equivalent activities in the prior stage.  The activities are categorised throughout the app as count, compare order, make/represent, calculate, rename, and name/record.  
 
Answers to questions are given by tapping the screen and typing the number in using an on-screen keyboard.   This method of interaction is consistent throughout the app and does not vary.  Its attention to detail, however, is better than most apps as it considers how children might answer the questions.  Most apps have a very fixed idea of how an answer should be given, whereas this app is intelligently forgiving.  With bigger numbers, using or not using a comma to separate digits does not endanger the correctness of the answer.  
 
On the whole, the layout and presentation of the questions are clear.  Graphical aids set out the task making up the question and give some element of guidance.  A couple of the graphics seem a bit less refined than others, particularly the counters on some questions.  Also, the vertical location of some of the text should be higher so that it remains visible when the on-screen keyboard pops up.
 
Educationally, the concepts and methods that the app covers are sound and promote the type of reasoning that teachers try to instil in their students.  How to answer one or two of the question types might not be clear in the first instance and could require a little trial and error.  Some sort of on-screen prompt or clickable hotspot would help with this.
 
The playing experience is a silent one.  The developer explains that this is to avoid demoralising effects and to prevent irritation.  Certainly, the sounds on some apps are both demoralising and irritating but it is questionable whether avoiding aural cues entirely is the right move.  The lack of effects makes the app feel a little empty, perhaps even unfinished.  Careful sound design could rectify this and benefit the app.  A few confirmation effects would enhance user interaction.  Reading the questions out loud would extend maths practice to those whose literacy skills are lacking.
 
Teachers will be pleased to see that the app allows multiple users to have a profile within the app.  These are defined by names and are quick and easy for children to access and continue their practice.  Their success is recorded on the activity access screens.
 
Zero the Hero is a well-focused app that addresses a fundamental part of maths education.  Its individual exercises zoom in further on highly relevant skills and, of course, being self-marking they let children practise without burdening teachers with further administrative work.   With four levels containing six exercises each, this app is excellent value.

Screenshots

  • Zero Our Hero-1Zero Our Hero-2Zero Our Hero-3Zero Our Hero-4Zero Our Hero-5

From the Developer

Who is this app appropriate for?

Zero Our Hero is a teacher-designed, research-based Mathematics app for primary school students aged 7-12.

What content is covered?

The app focuses on asking students quality questions related to the six aspects of whole number place value. The aspects are: Calculate, Compare/Order, Count, Make/Represent, Name/Record and Rename.


Who designed the app?

The app is designed by experienced primary school teacher Dr Angela Rogers and is based on her PhD research into the teaching and learning of place value.


What are the features?

-Includes over 450 different questions specifically designed to address common student misconceptions in whole number place value.

-Questions are sequentially presented so students work at their own pace through four stages of difficulty.

-Students are continually encouraged to see mistakes as learning opportunities and are provided with three opportunities to try each question.

-Students are able to work independently on the app.

-No distracting music or annoying sounds included.


Why should you purchase this app?

Zero Our Hero is designed to be the most comprehensive place value app currently available. It is a wonderful resource for both teachers and parents to support their children in this critical area of the Mathematics curriculum.

App developed by Yianni Software Pty Ltd
yianni-software.com.au

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Learning Outcomes

Key Features

In-App Purchases - No

In-App Advertising - No