Mp3 - easy as one, two, three...

March 10, 2006

Salvation is at hand for academics exasperated by students' feeble grasp of mathematics.

Students will be able to download free tutorials and exercises to their iPods from a website called "Mathtutor" explaining everything from Pythagoras' theorem to simultaneous equations.

This week, academics at Leeds, Loughborough and Coventry universities launched www.mathtutor.ac.uk, dedicated to alleviating the suffering of both staff and students struggling with maths at university level.

The problems are animated and explained in tutorials that students can review at their leisure. They range from GCSE level to the kind of maths students might need to brush up on in their first-year university courses.

Standards in maths are sliding, according to a recent report by Oxford University's educational studies department. And it is the transition between school and university that often stumps students, according to Peter Cooper, executive secretary of the London Mathematical Society.

"Those who can't hack maths at university find it almost unbearable. (On this site) they can pick the areas they need to work on. Hopefully universities will find it an effective way of delivering transition training," he said.

"The mix of subjects is unique, and it will enable students who do not have fluency in maths to get to grips with them and flow on to the next stage more easily."

David Saunders, who helped develop the software for the website, said: "I was on the train the other day and iPods were everywhere. Rather than listening to music, students can revise."

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