Johnny Ball joins Londonderry teacher to make maths magic

TV personality and maths aficionado Johnny Ball has joined forces with a former Northern Ireland school teacher to inspire a new love of mathematics among children.

Wednesday, 1st June 2016, 1:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st June 2016, 3:38 pm
©/Lorcan Doherty Photography - 9th July 2015. Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography

The TV favourite, who is famous for popularising mathematics, instantly fell in love with Izak9 - an innovative resource designed to put play back into classroom maths while promoting confidence and competence with numbers among children. The former ‘Think of a Number’ host says the Izak9 resource engages children in mathematics in an exciting way which curricula don’t.

Izak9 is the brainchild of former secondary school teacher Franz Schlindwein, whose Derry-based company Qubizm has invested many years of research into developing the unique teaching resource.

The product consists of 27 cubes - with different combinations of colour, number and shape. It is designed to stimulate mathematical thinking and interaction among primary and secondary level pupils with the help of animated onscreen characters which are aptly named Helix and Abacus.

Mr Ball said he “loves” what the resource does for the promotion of his favourite subject to such an extent that he’s joined the Izak9 revolution.

He said: “For over 40 years I’ve been engaging young people in mathematics and I think I’ve found something now that can really deliver. In education, young people need to build their confidence and their competence in handling mathematics and I’m not sure the curriculum on its own can do that for them.

“What teachers need are materials and ideas that enrich their mathematics teaching and I think I’ve found them in Izak9.

“I’ve seen teachers and pupils using this product and they absolutely love it. But it’s not just them: universities and researchers of education in young people love it, curriculum authorities love it, school inspectors love it and most of all the kids love it.”

The TV celebrity began his love affair with Izak9 almost two years ago, says Qubizm director Franz Schlindwein who, as a child, was “transfixed” by Johnny’s puzzles and quizzes on the box.

He said: “Johnny paid a visit to my stand at the BETT Show in London in 2014 and was inspired by the great potential of Izak9. Within minutes he was in full flight, delivering a demonstration of how Izak9 worked to an enthusiastic audience.

“I was instantly transported back to my schooldays when I watched the legendary presenter on ‘Think of a Number’ - but this time he wasn’t on the television, he was performing live and using my cubes.

“Johnny helped inspire my love of maths as a child and my hope is that his continuing enthusiasm and involvement with Izak9 will resonate with my generation and encourage us all to engage our children in mathematics in a similar fashion to how he inspired us.”

Mr Schlindwein, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the teaching and learning of mathematics, said Izak9 was in development since 2009.

He added: “Children need a strong foundation in mathematical processes and communication, and Izak9 helps them achieve this by engaging them.

“Izak9 is a unique, radical and innovative maths resource which puts play into mathematics. It is a multi-media, active learning device designed for use by children in primary and post primary schools, and for the delivery of teachers’ personal and professional development training.

“Many thousands of children in schools across the UK and Ireland as well as in Scandinavia, the UAE and Australia are now benefitting from Izak9,” he added.

Anyone seeking further information on Izak9 can contact Qubizm on + 44 (0) 2871 867 621 or email [email protected]