There are some really great math teachers out there. This includes Max Riley from Nayland College. Max has been honored by his peers for helping people to understand and engage with mathematics.
Mr Riley is the 2013 winner of the Ernest Duncan Award, issued by the New Zealand Association of Mathematics Teachers in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the in-class teaching of mathematics.
His website, maths.nayland.school.nz, started life quietly as an in-class resource – a private system within which he organized his lessons. “It was essentially a filing system,” Mr Riley said.
But, as other teachers started to use the system too, drawing inspiration and organization from his lesson plans, he quickly realized the broader potential for a shared maths teaching resource.
Maths teachers up and down the country constantly battle to teach their subject effectively, against a lack of government funding and resourcing, he said.
On top of that, maths was often seen as the black jelly-bean within the education lolly-shop, and was less popular with students than other subjects, he said.
“It’s a hard job to be in. We have got to help each other.”
Frustrated by an often confusing and inconsistent system, he taught himself coding and basic web-development skills.
In addition, he began adding resources and information to the site as a way to increase co-operation between maths teachers on the front line of New Zealand’s education system.
“Working together, sharing free resources between teachers and students. Download resources, use, modify, improve and share,” reads the mantra on the award-winning website’s home page.
It’s grown steadily since humble beginnings in the mid-2000s. Learners and teachers alike log-in daily, from countries around the world.
Fewer than 1000 page hits per month was standard for a few years, but now Nayland Mathematics gets that many clicks every day – sometimes that many in an hour, when exams and tests are looming.
Mr Riley said it’s been great watching the site grow, but the rewarding part was hearing how it has helped people in their quest to master mathematics.