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New app to help kids learn maths uses Facebook as a reward

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Dublin start-up Aftermath has come up with new e-learning software that aims to get kids studying maths online by blocking online distractions and then rewarding them afterwards with time on sites such as Facebook.

The company, led by brothers Ronan and Pierce Higgins, has developed the app in alliance with Trinity College Dublin to help address maths literacy, while also tackling online distractions, such as the social networking site Facebook.

The parental-control software instead aims to use online time as a reward for kids learning maths. Once parents download the app for their operating system, children who attempt to access sites such as Facebook will be redirected to the Aftermath site.

Apparently they 'earn' time online by answering maths questions in a game-based online learning environment.

According to the founders, the maths challenges are suitable for students aged 11-16 and have been designed by maths teachers to meet international standards.

Aftermath is offering a free one-month trial of the software. It has also filed a patent application for its e-learning software in the US.

"We want Aftermath to change the way kids think about the time they spend online and that it is seen as a reward, rather than an access-all-hours activity," said Pierce Higgins.

The company has been shortlisted for the Electric Ireland Spark of Genius Award in alliance with the Dublin Web Summit, where it will be exhibiting this week.

Carmel Doyle