"As a teacher, I regularly re-taught the same topic to the same pupils year after year. On our scheme of work, the topic ‘straight line graphs’ coincided for all year groups and there was one occasion when I found that few pupils in any year group could remember what ‘gradient’ meant, let alone actually find one. So instead of moving on, we reverted to the basics. Of course, it wasn’t surprising given that it may have been a whole year since the pupils had seen it. I was a big fan of 10 quick questions at the start of the lesson, but I suspect ‘gradient’, like many other topics, rarely made it onto my questions of the day.
In 2014, iPads were introduced throughout our school and became a useful classroom tool, but I felt their potential significantly exceeded their use. At the same time, I was becoming increasingly aware of the educational discussions around memory and in particular the impact of retrieval practice on long-term memory. This was something that the iPads could administer far more effectively than I could. Furthermore, all the results could be recorded allowing spaced practice to be incorporated on a personalised basis. It struck me that the potential impact on progress was phenomenal.
The introduction of the new GCSE with a greater emphasis on problem solving also meant that it was imperative that teaching time was spent on these types of problem rather than recapping basic skills. Maths on our curriculum was moving to 4 hours a week, but I needed tools to teach more effectively, not just more time. I wanted an App that directly addressed the challenge of retaining prior learning.
This is Arc Maths.
It took 2 years to develop and is the culmination of a project involving leaders in their technology field, award winning App developers, respected cognitive scientists and, most importantly, experienced maths teachers. Throughout the whole process, the overriding driver behind any decision has been educational impact."
Teacher-led EdTech enterprise established in 2018
Market pioneer and leader in handwriting recognition and digital ink management solutions
Thank you to Dr Silke Goebel, Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of York and head of the Numerical Cognition Lab, for her advice on the application of the cognitive science and ongoing interest in Arc Maths.
Thank you also to the pupils and staff at Manor CE Academy, part of the Hope Learning Trust, for their feedback during classroom testing.
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