FAQ

  1. Aren’t there websites that teach maths already, like for example The Khan Academy?
    1. There are amazing websites out there that teach maths, yes. What Puluwan sets out to do isn’t to teach maths – it’s a tool to practice maths topics once they have been taught. Puluwan is as much for maths teachers as it is for students – and we believe there’s no substitute for a great (human) maths teacher.
  2. You seem to be committed to openness and free content – did you consider setting Puluwan up as a charity?
    1. Yes, and indeed this was the initial idea. However, charity trustees (who are responsible for the oversight and strategic direction of the organisation) cannot earn an income from the charity, and as I (Yohan) would like to make a living through Puluwan whilst still being responsible for guiding it, I decided that this wasn’t the right model, for now.
  3. Making students work through the tests using pen and paper seems very 19th-century.
    1. It is – there’s no getting away from that! Puluwan was built in this way for two reasons:
    2. We believe the value in a student’s maths work is not simply in achieving the correct final answer, but in the method used to arrive at it. Puluwan is designed as a tool to help teachers and tutors review their students’ paper workings in a more efficient way.
    3. Secondly – whilst many students in developed countries have computer rooms, tablets, and mobile devices; this is not the case in the developing world. Puluwan is a global initiative to help deliver maths education to teachers and students everywhere, and the pen and paper approach is something that most parts of the world won’t do away for some time yet!
  4. Why does the website use a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) approach? This doesn’t effectively lend itself to maths.
    1. I totally, totally agree. The key principle behind Puluwan is to allow anyone anywhere to practice maths and get instant feedback on how they’ve done, saving time spent on marking. On this basis, we’ve started with a MCQ approach – rest assured that we are working towards having more flexible ways of entering and marking answers in the future.
  5. What if a student reviews the multiple-choice options and the answer they’ve worked out isn’t one of the options?
    1. Good question! We recognise this as a flaw in the MCQ approach and it’s certainly not ideal. The student would of course realise that their calculated answer was incorrect, and that they would either need to pick a random option or re-work their answer.
  6. Why aren’t the questions and options presented at the same time?
    1. Puluwan was structured like this to encourage students to work through the questions in their entirety, without being given an indication as to what the possible answers could be. In recognising that the MCQ approach was less than ideal, it was decided that a two-stage approach would reduce the impact of guesswork.
  7. Why does the website just cover maths?
    1. Because maths is what I (Yohan) know and love. There isn’t any reason that the process itself couldn’t be applied to other subjects, but for now, I plan to stick to maths because I believe that good education is a combination of passion for and knowledge of a subject… and I’m very very passionate about maths!
  8. What’s the point of all this if the content isn’t linked to or accredited by a national education curriculum?
    1. Good question. One of Puluwan’s objectives is to align our content to international educational standards – but not be linked to them. National curricula can change, but Puluwan shall remain an objective benchmark to assess global mathematical standards in a consistent way. In simple words – Puluwan should contain a comprehensive base of maths content which students of any age can use at any time anywhere, regardless of the exam qualification they may be studying towards, and the assessment levels and standards for each topic should remain the same.
  9. I’m a teacher/tutor and I want to use these questions as worksheets in my lessons. Can I?
    1. Of course – Puluwan’s maths content is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) License.
  10. Why is the content all image-based? There are markup languages for maths content you know.
    1. I did a lot of reading about MathML, LaTeX, Eqn and so on way back when I set out to put this together, and at the time there wasn’t really consistent cross-browser support for them. The image-based approach was first-and-foremost chosen to build a prototype as quickly as possible with the limited resources I had available. I (Yohan) am very keen to explore how the accessibility of the site can be improved by moving away from image-based content, as part of the next big upgrade.
  11. Are you planning to make a mobile app for Puluwan?
    1. Yes – budget-permitting. Puluwan is very much a ‘maths homework’ sort of application, and whilst we wouldn’t encourage using a smartphone to work through maths questions, a tablet or phablet app would be something quite cool.
  12. Woah woah woah Yohan – is it “maths” or “math”?
    1. Hmmm. I don’t know, and I’m not really too precious about it. ‘Tomahto tomayto’ I say!