We speak to Rob Percival, Blutick CEO about personalised learning, the growth of distance learning and what makes Blutick’s AI system work.
What’s behind the growth of distance learning and why is personalised learning important?
The coronavirus pandemic has rapidly sped up the growth of distance learning and teaching, as schools all over the world have closed their doors and made remote teaching a necessity. The result has been transformative; even the most experienced teachers have had to rethink their approach to teaching for this new way of working.
There are obvious challenges to overcome, such as variable internet connections, shared computers between family members, distractions at home and the difficulty of keeping students engaged when they’re sitting in front of a screen for a large part of the day.
But there are also advantages – teaching can become more personalised and adaptable when it’s delivered remotely, through technology. A system such as Blutick actively checks the progress of students and prompts them with intelligent feedback, encouraging them to show their working and not just give the answer. That is an enormous step forward and it is getting smarter all the time.
Lessons no longer need to be wholly ‘live’ – there can be pre-recorded elements or students can be allowed to work at a time that suits them best. Teachers also have a whole new level of visibility when it comes to their students’ progress.
Thanks to technology, teachers can watch learning happen in real time, seeing far more than they would see if the students were sitting in a physical classroom with paper books. In the traditional classroom, working was invisible until it was handed in, or until a student chose to raise their hand and ask for help (at which point other students could be left waiting for help too, or waiting to move on). In the new remote classroom, teachers can spot exactly where and when students are struggling and step in where needed, without disrupting other students’ work.
This ‘new normal’ of remote teaching and learning is an opportunity for learning more, more smartly, and an opportunity for learning to equip this generation for life’s challenges.
On a separate note, in recent years the quality of the teaching platforms available has improved immeasurably. EdTech products are moving beyond simple videos and multiple choice questions, and towards much more intelligent solutions. Blutick’s intelligent feedback is at the front line of this development, as it simulates the role a teacher plays as they interact with students while they are working, offering support, encouragement and advice.
How does Blutick’s AI-powered system work and what are the AI aspects?
Blutick uses a branched-AI approach, applying hundreds of tests to every line of working entered in the platform. It looks at the context of the question, as well as the specific mathematical task that the student is trying to perform, such as multiplying out a bracket or rotating a triangle, to give feedback highly specific to the student’s place in their answer.
We also constantly apply Machine Learning techniques to the (de-personalised) data that we collect as students complete questions. We use this to constantly improve our systems, identifying which types of feedback are most/least effective and how they can be improved. We are building a data set that, more than any other that exists, will allow us to understand how students go about solving mathematical problems, and how we can help them most positively.
In the long term, we believe this approach will create the most powerful feedback system that exists, offering exactly the right sort of feedback for each student at every point in the learning process.
Why does Blutick need the processing power provided by the cloud?
Of course, the processes above require both a huge amount of data and huge processing power. The Machine Learning aspects specifically run 24 hours a day, processing new information as it comes in, and providing actionable insights to Blutick staff as quickly as possible. All of this is done using Intel processors, which provide the power needed to create these insights, and ultimately benefit the students and teachers using the Blutick platform.
If you’ve read this far and would like to explore Blutick’s capabilities for your students, you can book a free Q&A demonstration for a time that suits you via our booking portal.