As MyMaths celebrates its 20th birthday, our publisher Angela looks back on this resilient resource’s history of continuous development to ensure it supports the current needs of teachers and learners across the globe.
How it started
Although MyMaths turns 20 this year, it had its origins right back in 1999 when Alan Jackson started making digital resources to use with his classes. Alan had an interactive whiteboard in his classroom but didn’t have the maths resources he wanted to use, so set about making his own interactive lessons in Flash. Alan spent the next three years building resources for his own use and testing them out with his classes, before launching MyMaths.co.uk as a subscription website in 2002.
Teachers around the UK and globally loved these resources and wanted more, so that all their classes could benefit from MyMaths. The launch of the Assessment Manager area of the platform in 2006 – now known as the Teacher Dashboard – meant that teachers could use MyMaths to assign online worksheets to their students and monitor the results. 2006 is also the year I left teaching to work on MyMaths – my first task was to create the GCSE Statistics module, and then it was full steam ahead to create the homework tasks. Homework is so central to MyMaths now that it’s hard to imagine a time when this wasn’t a feature!
As well as developing the platform functionality, Alan and his expanding team added resources to support ever more students in various contexts. From the interactive lessons that Alan had originally started with, MyMaths expanded to include homework tasks, booster packs for revision, games for engagement, and tools for dynamic IWB use. And the coverage grew from the initial KS3 and KS4 content into A level and Primary.
How it’s going
MyMaths was acquired by OUP in 2011. We had a busy few years converting MyMaths out of Flash, alongside supporting teachers through curriculum change right the way from KS1 to A level. Adding in the curriculum selector tool meant teachers could see how resources they were already familiar with would be relevant to new curriculum and specifications. Of course, there was also a lot of new publishing needed to support these new requirements, from creating new booster packs for KS2 SATS and GCSE revision, to adding lessons and homework tasks for new topics.
Some fairly recent developments that I’ve found particularly rewarding to work on have included the improvement of the homework functionality so that students can save their work partway through, and we’ve also enabled teachers to see their students’ actual answers and give feedback on them. Thanks to conversations with teachers, we also became aware of how important video content is to our Secondary students, so we’ve added 200 videos (and counting!) to support them with their MyMaths homework.
To keep as close to MyMaths’s classroom roots as we can, we constantly gather feedback from teachers - whether via our customer service team, our Educational Consultants, or through our user surveys - and we use this feedback to focus on the features that will make the most difference in schools (if you ever want to send us your feedback, please don’t hesitate to email email@example.com).
What’s next for MyMaths?
We’ve got many more exciting developments in the pipeline, both for feature improvements and for new content – and, of course, all our upcoming plans are driven by what teachers and students have told us matters most to them.
It’s exciting to see how far we’ve come in the past 20 years – and I still get a buzz from knowing that we’re helping teachers and students across the world with their maths teaching and learning!
To celebrate 20 years of MyMaths, we’re running a prize draw for one UK primary school and one UK secondary school to win a year’s free access to MyMaths! Click here and fill in the brief form for a chance to win a year’s subscription for your school (open to both new and existing MyMaths users).