program a calculated
is a well-worn science fiction cliche that in the future teachers
may one day be replaced with computers.
ridiculous as that idea seems one Sydney company is getting
better results from students with a computer program than
with a flesh and blood tutor.
software company Back to the Future (BTF) Education says that
the improvement they are getting from students using their
mathematics tutoring program have stunned parents, schools
and even the students themselves.
Tannous, head of BTF Education has been in the educational
software field for almost ten years and was surprised by the
struggle that children go through trying to tackle basic work.
part of the service they offer they send out assessments for
students to do to gauge their level of education and, he says,
It's quite surprising how poorly they do on them.
says that many of the parents are also surprised and are not
fully aware of how badly their child is doing. Yet it's
not an indication of their ability says Tannous it's
more an indication that they just haven't grasped that concept
when they should have.
then they've moved on, and as you and I know, most of the
work they do is ongoing, it builds on previous work. So if
they miss out on anything in previous years then it only tends
to get worse through school.
looking at the Board of Studies website he noticed that there
was an increasing number of students doing lower level mathematics
over the years. Tannous believes it is Because they
didn't have the confidence, understanding or the skills to
handle anything harder.
results that we've been seeing have shown us that most children
are pretty capable providing the appropriate help is given
at the right time.
says that the reality of the education system is that the
teachers have only a limited amount of time to teach a concept
before they have to move on, but some children need just that
bit of extra help or reinforcement.
those who do well in school generally only do so because they
get extra tuition. The number of students needing that extra
help, and parents seeking it, is increasing. Unfortunately
for many parents the costs of tutoring put it out of their
far too many parents tuition is not an option, it's too expensive.
looked around for a product to market to fill this gap but
found nothing suitable, so instead he encouraged people he
knew with the expertise to put together their own software.
Even the range of other educational material available, usually
distributed by direct selling, was prohibitively expensive.
Tannous got together with his wife Felicity Tannous (a primary school teacher), his brother-in-law Steve Dunn, a high school mathematics teacher and his colleague to provide affordable help, that's not going to take up too much time for the child, that will give the sort of results the parents are looking for.
result was a series of high school mathematics programs that
can provide two years of tuition for $400, each with an average
of 200 lessons. At the moment there are programs for year
7 and 8, 9 and 10, and year 11 and 12 general, advanced and
extension programs. The programs are relevant to other states
and even for New Zealand and Papua New Guinea and there has
been some interest from India and Britain.
programs also deal with another problem with tutors in that
they concentrate on reinforcement. At the prices tutors charge
most parents can only afford a tutor to come in once a week.
Tannous says Most kids need reinforcement, if a child
is learning something today that is not reinforced within
48 hours it generally gone.
use the program three times a week and the lessons are reinforced.
They can do them at their own pace and there are assessment
sheets that come with the software to gauge a child's progress.
Students watch the lesson until they get 90% on the assessment
sheet. The only students who don't respond to the program
are those who don't use it properly.
shows proof of some amazing results. Students moving from
C grades to A grades, or improving their marks by 50% to 100%.
Results that are verified by the parents and schools, some
of which have taken an interest in the program.
says that the students get excited about using the program
and need very little encouragement. For example he says that
renowned youth worker Father Chris Riley from Youth Off the
Streets uses the program with his students on the farm and
have taken on a whole new attitude toward maths work.
Riley says that on one occasion one of his teacher's aids
was starting a reading lesson and the students just wanted
to do maths.
are kids who haven't been in school for years. So for them
to complain about not doing maths is something unusual.
more information call Back to the Future Education on 1300
133 831 or visit the website at www.btfeducation.com.
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