Technology should not make learning easy

We have been working hard over the summer, focused on making the site the best it can be. Despite being tucked away in our Hammersmith office for the school holidays, we have benefitted hugely from the insight of top teachers and tutors who have come in to lend a hand. Having taken all of this advice on board, we now have a first version of the product that we are  testing with students themselves.  These tests have enabled us to see how students of varying levels and mindsets engage differently with our problems and exercises.  Challenging and engaging all types of students equally is at the core of what we do.

However creating one platform that engages students of all abilities does not mean matching questions exactly to the level of each student.  That would be too easy.  It is more important to probe each student with challenges which are just a little bit too difficult for them. 

In other words, we think that technology should not make learning easy.  What do we mean by this?

Two things:

  1. Many online learning resources for students, for example video-heavy sites focused on revision, too often focus on reaffirming what students already know, or worse still…reaffirming what they think they know.  We think this is a missed opportunity to really challenge students and facilitate the satisfaction of solving a problem and improving understanding through tough interactive exercises.
  2. Closely related is one of the key pillars of Carol Dweck’s work on the “growth mindset”.  This is her campaign to encourage educators everywhere to transform what difficulty and effort mean to students.  A problem too difficult to solve has often been seen as the end of the road by a struggling student.  Dweck insists that it is the responsibility of the education system to encourage a “growth mindset”.  Specifically: rather than concentrating on the celebration of talent or intellect of students, we should instead be focusing praise on the required extra effort that signifies improvement and growth.

Our approach to engaging students of all abilities and mindsets embraces these approaches.  We want students to feel that every time they are pulled out of their comfort zone they can improve and enjoy it.  Carol Dweck’s work demonstrates that this approach creates hardy and resilient students with more perseverance and confidence.  This obviously has benefits that go well beyond A level maths into a healthy attitude to self-improvement for the rest of their lives.

If you are interested in becoming a Brix partner school with free access to early versions of the site, or are up for testing our latest developments, please get in touch at info@brixlearning.com.

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