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Furbles

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“Furbles are the shape of things to come: this software is technology at its best and well worth the money.” John Dabell, TES Magazine

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Launch ’08 Furbles Demo

About

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Furbles started life as an idea for teaching statistics in an interesting way with children from KS1 to KS3. The original version was published in 2003 online, and its popularity spread. It has been downloaded and used over 20,000 times in the last five years. In 2006 Sherston Software commissioned me to write a commercial version. This was published in January 2007. Furbles received extremely good reviews from reputable teaching bodies, such as the Association of Teachers of Mathematics.

Furbles was originally devised as an innovative way of imagining statistics and the depiction of statistics. As a trainee teacher there seemed to be a clear difference between students’ ability to interpret graphs and their ability to generate graphs. My interpretation of this difference was that students were learning to create graphs algorithmically, but were not taking time to consider what the graphs actually represented; they did not see how a graph expressed an internal relationship within the data. The idea of Furbles was to bring the graphs and the data that they represented together in a very fundamental way.

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Launch ’03 Furbles Original

Pedagogy

Part of the idea of Furbles was also to encourage teachers to take a fresh look at how to teach the subjects. Rather than offering a large amount of content to place students in front of and a mechanism for recording their performance (though it had some of that too), Furbles offered the teacher a platform for their imagination to find new questions and problems within a framework which had charm and fun.

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This model of a Furble (right) from Ferndown Middle School is a wonderful example of some work that lead from Furbles at a primary school. If you have other examples of work based on Furbles, I’d love to see them and share them here, so please contact me.

Sherston Software

If you are interested in purchasing the 2008 commercial version, then please visit the Sherston Software website. I no longer have any stake in the commercial version, and cannot sell a version to you or broker with them for a version under any circumstances!

The original version and the demo version of the full explore mode will remain be available for free on this website for the foreseeable future.

  • ruth

    is there anyway to download the original version, I really like it?

  • http://alecmce.com Alec

    Sorry Ruth, I don’t offer either version for download. I know that the original version remains popular in classes, which is a shame because the more recent version is superior mathemaically, particularly when representing pie charts.

    I ask that people continue to use the software from my website. You could always save the page with either version on it for offline use, though increasingly online access is everywhere.

    Sorry not to be able to oblige you. Alec

  • marnie

    how do you get the real version of furbles I really like it

    • http://alecmce.com Alec

      Marnie, you will need to contact Sherston Software if you want to buy the software. Though I wrote the software, for various reasons, I do not gain anything if you buy the software and I cannot sell it or give it away. Hopefully you and Sherston can work something out.

  • ruth

    is there anyway to download the original version, I really like it?

  • http://dollarloancenter.org/ no teletrack payday loans

    Is it possible to get the original version of this..Is there a link I can follow?

  • Katie

    possibly a good idea for our impending maths task 4?! Great links to ict application in maths in general…

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  • Sfanconi2010

    They are soo cool and cute! x

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