Welcome back to school! In the next few weeks, we'll be posting some great tips from our teachers on how to use LearnBop in the classroom. In the meantime, we thought it'd be useful to go over what we had in mind when developing LearnBop. Studies have consistently shown that there are three areas to target that can have a great impact on increasing student performance:
Reducing class size
Let's take these one by one.
Reducing Class Size
Reducing class size has long been a goal of the education community. But unfortunately, the trend has been to cut school budgets across the country, not increase them. A recent Brookings Institute noted that “increasing the pupil/teacher ratio in the U.S. by one student would save at least $12 billion per year in teacher salary costs alone,”[i] an enticing statistic for lawmakers. But we noticed another trend - a startling 67% of teachers use technology in every class, and 85% use it every day.”[ii] This led us to develop LearnBop, a simple yet powerful tutoring program that we hoped would free up time in the classroom for teachers to do what they do best - teach.
LearnBop empowers teachers to create interactive problems, or Bops, with step-by-step guidance. If a student gets stuck on a problem, hints at each step help correct any misconceptions and further develop student critical thinking skills. Why is that important? Research shows that “even when students memorize scientific facts, they may not be able to apply them to solve problems, make inferences, or explain relationships among the facts.”[iii] One-on-one simulated tutoring is a cost-effective way to provide meaningful instruction to individual students while achieving similar results to reducing the teacher/student ratio.
No program, however intuitive, can substitute for a great teacher. So we wanted to find a way to support teachers in the classroom by giving them really useful information about their students. In the past decade, test scores and data have largely determined education policy. But here we saw an opportunity, because “having a top-quartile teacher rather than a bottom-quartile teacher four years in a row may be enough to close the black-white test score gap.”[iv] With this in mind, we introduced smart analytical tools to LearnBop in order to help teachers address common misconceptions in the class and easily personalize learning.
Share friendly and keep bopping.
The LearnBop Team
[i] Brookings Institute Paper 2011
[ii] “Technology and Effective Teaching," April 2012 - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
[iii] How Learning Works. Clement, 1982.
[iv] The New Teacher Project. Gordon, Kane and Staiger. 2006.