Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Beat Summer Learning Loss with EdPlus

Summer learning loss is a thing. It even has its own Wikipedia page.

You've probably heard all about it anyway. Teachers (I used to be one) always worry about all the hard work that their pupils have been doing all year disappearing. Your children's teachers may even have set some holiday homework.

But try as you might it can be difficult to just keep the learning engine ticking over. Which is where EdPlus might come in handy.

Charlie liked it so much that he made this video about it. I like it because when the kids ask if they can play out/play on the Xbox/play with their friends I can easily say 'yes' then, 'five minutes of Edplus first.'

And, you know what? They DON'T MOAN!


About Edplus:

Oxford-based education technology start-up Edplus has launched a mobile app which allows children to learn their times tables for free in a new way, challenging and complementing traditional teaching methods. Developed by Francis Brown, a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, the technology uses an algorithm that creates a learning pathway unique to each child, adapting and improving as they play.

Children across the world have been learning their times tables for over 2,000 years, by various methods and with differing degrees of success. Times tables are typically learned by heart in a prescribed order but Edplus incorporates an adaptive algorithm developed by Professor Brown. This permits a more fluid and personalised approach.

The app is now available to download from Google Play Store, App Store and Amazon Apps:


Speaking about the app, Professor Brown explains:

"Instead of dictating an order in which children should learn their times tables, the Edplus algorithm takes a flexible approach. It takes into account the fact that a child may grasp one concept quicker than another without any predefined expectation of what that might be."

"It then builds out from this using the idea of ‘topology of knowledge'. A simple example is if a child shows that they know 2 x 7, the algorithm might introduce the related question 7 x 2. This might sound obvious but the national curriculum only expects children to know their seven times table by the end of year four, some two years after their two times table."

As more questions are answered through Edplus, the topology of knowledge of different children - in other words - a map of what they know and how they learn, is progressively built up. In essence, the software promises to get smarter and more effective with use. Professor Brown, who is more accustomed to the challenges of quantum field theory than multiplication, continues:

"Becoming a father has caused me to question conventional wisdom about elementary maths. I don't want my children to spend four years learning just 78 number facts. Times tables are a basic building block of more advanced mathematics and it is vital that children attain mastery in them as efficiently and enjoyably as possible."

The app coincides with the introduction by the UK government of a nationwide test for year four pupils (age 8-9), starting in the 2019-20 academic year, to assess whether they can recall their multiplication tables fluently.

Edplus - an Oxford University spinout company - has promised to make the times tables component of its app free worldwide. Toby Staveley, CEO at Edplus said:

"We combine a fresh approach to times tables with lots of features to keep children engaged. Times tables are often learned out-of-school where there is a sizeable inequality of opportunity. Our technology makes out-of-school learning easier for parents, more fun for children and can ultimately help reduce the attainment gap."

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