Desirable Difficulty

This is my first ever blog post, and I’m not really sure how to write a blog. So, starting with the subject of ‘a desirable difficulty’- a task that is outside your comfort zone – seems appropriate.

Is schoolwork worsening educational inequality?

The OECD education blog caught our eye (again) this week as it declared that “schools were making inequality worse”.  Though it received very little press coverage, it covered a report which was just as troubling as the main OECD report that caused such a splash last month. Studies have long questioned whether schools have the ability to overcome or mitigate students’ unequal background conditions.  Factors such as teacher quality, school funding and privatisation have been explored but in general, classroom and homework content and materials have been absent from these discussions.  A team from Michigan State University used the OECD PISA … continue reading »

The OECD is not impressed with schools’ use of tech

The first OECD PISA assessment of digital skills was published last week and for learning technology enthusiasts, the report was difficult to ignore.  We can’t do justice to the details of the 204-page document here but but we can have a look at how the report’s headline conclusions have made a splash so far. The report concluded that across 31 OECD countries “where computers are used in the classroom, their impact on student performance is mixed at best” and that there were “no appreciable improvements in student achievement in reading, mathematics, or science in the countries that had invested heavily … continue reading »

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 … continue reading »

Why is McGraw Hill declaring textbooks doomed?

We were as surprised as everyone else last month when we saw David Levin, the CEO of McGraw Hill effectively sound the death knell for textbooks.  Like a number of other publishing giants, McGraw Hill had long talked about a strategic change of direction to blend their digital and print resources in future  but this post felt altogether more final. Levin went into detail about the problem, describing textbooks (the company’s main money-earner) as expensive and outdated. He highlighted the company’s research into the potential benefits of digital resources, and how they are proven to improve performances and results for … continue reading »

Let’s break it down

Hello, we’re Brix and we’d like to introduce ourselves! We are a team of mathematicians, teachers, and technologists, who believe there is a better way to teach Maths than textbooks. Together we’re building Brix, an online learning platform that aims to provide a world-class maths education to Mathematics students worldwide. What we’re most concerned with is helping students use their time outside the classroom as effectively as possible. Even with the advent of some online tools, Maths homework is still pretty much one-size-fits-all. This is wrong: if students don’t all fit into one mould, then neither should their homework. This … continue reading »