A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

L4L Software Specs

Thursday, 04 June 2009 | 4 Comments

The NSW DET will shortly equip Year 9 students with a Lenovo S10e netbook as part of a program called “Laptops for Learning” (L4L). To me, if we are going to do this – then it’s time to include some good software on these machines and help out schools who cannot afford some of the more exciting applications.

Yesterday, the DET Intranet was updated to list the Software Specifications for these new machines. Under Maths Applications it lists:

  • WinKMT Chess

This list look a little short to you? Me too.

Shame, I had sent some of my suggestions through to the Maths Curriculum people… and was hoping we would see some applications across all the strands of the syllabus.

Microsoft Maths may be the answer, I’m not sure, I have no experience with it. But just looking at the screenshots, it looks a little bit complex for the students I’m dealing with. For instance, for a graphing application, I like the simplicity and clarity of Graph. Microsoft Maths seems to want to bundle that up in a graphics calculator interface.

Posted in • SoftwareTechnologyDigital Education RevolutionLaptops 4 Learning | Short URL:


Deb on  05 June 09  at  01:27 AM #
I agree, the list does seem a little short when you put it that way... but there are many other apps on the laptops (not listed under maths) that I would find very valuable for students to use in class and for assignments. Google Sketchup7 (3D work, volume, surface area etc from the very simple to the very complex), MS Maths (pretty simple to use & has many useful tools), Excel (now accessible to all, all the time), Smartnotebook (annotations, diagrams, sorting, etc), Photoshop elements (editing, annotating and recording work with photos), Adobe premier elements (editing their webcam video work), Word (using the smartart tools for tree diagrams etc), SRN (student response network - click type system for quick quizzes), audacity (podcasting), freemind (mind mapping tool), Geogebra (does similar to "Graphs" + much more now including spreadsheets, animated sliders, New tools: compass, mirror at circle, conics, best fit line, record to spreadsheet, Commands for statistics functions and graphs Matrix and complex number support). These are all offline programs - with connectivity, the possibilities become even more open. Specifics on ideas for how to use these programs in maths lessons is my job for the next 5 weeks, so any ideas are greatly appreciated.


Simon on  05 June 09  at  06:58 AM #
Deb, fair comment. However, I still think there's a missed opportunity to get competitive pricing on some of the nice maths apps out there which schools like mine cannot afford on their own. Also, do you know what the commitment to PD is for each teacher - in hours? Or is there an assumption that we will be learning all this through online tutorials in our own time?


Simon on  05 June 09  at  07:28 AM #
Also, I think that we also need to consider lower ability students who may not be able to access the functionality of Geogebra, but who I've seen love drawing a "footy team logo with Graph": I can't work out how to do that in Geogebra.
Deb on  05 June 09  at  02:01 PM #
for anyone following these comments, a lesson (using GeoGebra) similar to the one suggested above by Simon will soon appear on the [url=][/url] site

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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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