Technology Provides More Accessible Routes To Mastery
tempting to mythologise the virtuoso performances of a musician like jazz saxophonist
John Coltrane, seeing them as purely the product of an inspirational moment.
is a factor, but such sublime music wouldn’t be possible without the practice.
It’s the constant repetition of arpeggios, scales, difficult passages and
fingering techniques that make the art captured on record possible.
a music student and then a semi-professional jazz musician repetition and
practice were everything; the idea was to make the reproduction of a score so
automatic that when it came to the performance it was almost as natural as
might seem a little glib to draw parallels between music and learning but I
think it’s valid. My own experiences certainly made me think more deeply about
how these approaches could be used to help students when I later became a peripatetic
teacher of maths and science, supplementing this with tuition. The way that I
could help all of my students best was to teach them how best to practice
worked with many hundreds of students during this time and the common thing
holding them back was confidence. I felt the key way to tackle this lack of
confidence was not pep talks or pats on the back, but through giving them a methodology
for practice that would prove to themselves that they could learn.
professional musician’s extremely rigorous method of practicing the basics can
be applied to teaching; if students do not have foundational knowledge of
equations or units then their ability to apply their knowledge will be really
compromised. These base concepts need to be practiced in different combinations
so that they can be embedded.
a student has a gap in their knowledge or a lack of confidence, then parents
will often go down the tuition route. Even though I once tutored myself, I
struggle with the concept of tutoring. It can be quite inefficient as a process
and it can be expensive. I think it can also create educational inequality. Tutoring
is inaccessible to the vast majority of people. I know, I was part of it. I
used the money I charged my clients, (the ones I did charge), to fund the
building of the Tassomai intelligent learning program, designed to provide a
level of support that tutors couldn’t.
if tuition is a possibility for families it is often not sustainable in the
long term. It is better to give the student the methodology and the tools so
that they can do the practice themselves. The Tassomai philosophy has parallels
with public transport; it’s better to create affordable mass transportation
systems such as buses and trains so that everyone can get to where they want to
be, rather than allowing the privileged few to move around in their Ferraris.
can provide an accessible and affordable alternative to tuition but in order
for it to really make an impact it is important that it learns what the student
does and doesn’t know. Tassomai takes a quizzing approach but it’s much more
than that. The algorithms inside the program diagnose where the misconceptions
are, and tailor questions to that student’s weaknesses, while at the same time exposing
the student to the course material and getting them to engage with it. In a way
it is an intelligent revision guide sliced into tiny, digestible chunks.
also important that the student witness the change in themselves. Fitness
enthusiasts always talk of their incremental gains, which they can see on the
apps installed in their watches or phones. These improvements spur them on. In
Tassomai we have built a learning tree which reflects the student’s learning
progress. The fuller and sturdier the tree the more secure that student is. It is a vivid visual representation of
progress that is key to a student’s motivation and a powerful reminder that we
are now at the stage where technology can give all students a way of practicing
towards mastery that is much more effective – and accessible – than traditional
approaches to tuition.
Learning and revision expert Murray Morrison is the founder ofTassomai, an intelligent learning program that raises attainment in secondary education. With a game-informed design, Tassomai works by giving students personalised daily practice activities that identify learning gaps that can be quickly closed by teachers through intervention strategies. More than 500 schools now use Tassomai as a homework tool, with over 250,000 students benefiting from the software. Parents can also sign up as private subscribers. www.tassomai.com/about-us