Technology Firm Makes Maths Add Up Online; EDUCATION

Article excerpt

A tiny Northern Ireland technology company which has developed a unique online system of teaching maths for the province's schools is on the verge of going global.

Interest in Queen's University spin-out company Alta Systems' Maths for Schools teaching method has blossomed in the months since it was licensed to Ulster schools.

It has already been adopted by about a quarter of all schools in Northern Ireland since being made available to them in September after a series of trials.

Now the company is turning its mind to English and delivering the teaching of literacy through its system.

"The assessment engine doesn't know what subject it is dealing with so it could easily do literacy," said director Brian Hagan.

And the days of the expensive maths tutor could also be numbered - the company has come up with a web-based companion product, Keys For Maths, that can be used from home by anyone with broadband for just pounds 25 a year, about the price of one hour with a tutor.

The company is even doing a discount deal - three school years for the price of two.

Since launching the maths teaching system in England and Wales in January a number of schools have signed contracts.

It is being trialled by six Scottish education authorities and just last week the Western Isles signed a four-year contract. …