The Number Academy was founded in February of 2014 by web application programmer
and physicist B T Milnes. The intention of the website is to help students around
the world improve their abilities in mathematics.
What we believe, and how the website works
Revising for an exam is not something that human beings are naturally suited to.
This is because the 'reward-to-effort' ratio is wrong. Generally, human beings are
not comfortable putting in a lot of effort over three months, only to get the rewards
of that effort two months later. Most people like to take an action, and immediately
feel as though it was worthwhile.
How the website helps students
On our website, students are guided through their revision. They are given randomly
generated questions to answer - directly relevant to what they're learning in school.
The most important aspect of mathematics revision is practice. By randomly
generating questions, students can practise for as long as they need - they will
never run out of practice material.
The website's algorithm adapts to students based on their responses: it will seek
to challenge them. If a student is good at a particular question, the website's
algorithm will give them a slightly harder one. If a student finds a question difficult,
they can ask for hints to help them out.
The website also gives students points for answering a question correctly. They
will win more points if they answer the question faster and with fewer hints. The
points system adds an incentive to continue learning, and rebalances the 'reward-to-effort'
ratio; a student is instantly rewarded for their effort, and the more effort
they put in, the more points they score.
How the website helps teachers
It's often said that teachers need more. They need more time, more money, and more
resources. Our website can help them.
Teachers spend an extraordinary amount of time marking homework. If a maths teacher
sets a class of thirty students twenty questions to do, marking all of that homework
will easily take up a whole evening.
On The Number Academy, teachers can set their students homework. When the students
do their homework, The Number Academy's algorithm will mark it. The teacher can
then see how many questions a student got right, how long a particular question
took them on average, which questions they were better at, and which they were worse
at. This means that instead of spending an evening marking, the teacher can plan
the next lesson ahead, already knowing what each student needs to work on.
How we began
Initially, The Number Academy was known as Mathematics Revision, and was located
at the domain www.mathematicsrevision.com.
The website generated random questions, and calculated the answers, but did not
award points or monitor a student's progress. At this time, what distinguished the
website from other mathematics websites was that the questions it could generate
were much more comprehensive, covering a far wider range of topics.
From April to August of 2014, the website went into its first major development
stage. The aim of this development was to make the website more engaging.
Once the website had been redeveloped, the name was changed from Mathematics Revision,
to The Number Academy, innovatively making use of the new .academy domain name ending.
Development on the website continues even right now. The number of different questions
the website can give to its users is continually increasing, as is the number of
different topics. The website receives regular updates, all aimed at making it easier
for students to get the grades they want in exams whilst reducing the stress.