Murray Morrison is one of the UK’s leading education experts. He is also the founder of leading edtech learning program Tassomai.com
We caught up with him to discuss how Tassomai can help students learn.
Tell us about Tassomai and how it works?
Tassomai is an app that students can use anywhere, anytime to improve their knowledge and understanding of key school subjects.
Every time a student uses the program, not only do they learn, but the program learns from them – where their gaps are, where they’re improving, and what needs to be done next. Very quickly, Tassomai builds a personalised learning program that helps every student to learn as effectively as possible.
For parents and teachers, we also show that data in a way that helps them to see exactly where a little extra help might be needed.
Tassomai is sold direct to private subscribing parents and it’s also used in more than 500 schools in England and Wales.
Who developed the technology behind it? It sounds absolutely amazing.
Originally it was just a way for me to help my students get top results (which they did, by the way!)…. So I designed the original version of the program, wrote the algorithms and made all the original content myself – I think I wrote the first 50,000 questions before I hired my first member of staff! In the last few years, we’ve grown quite a lot, and we now have an amazing team of brilliant, dedicated people designing features to improve the program, or directly helping learners, families and schools to get the most out of our technology.
Why is it called Tassomai?
It’s a word from Greek that means “I organise myself”, but it also has meanings to do with taking control of your problems and working through them by building healthy routines – all the ideas I wanted to get across for my own students. As a program, Tassomai is doing all the organising and planning, but it’s when students build Tassomai into their daily study routine that they see the fruits of their labour.
Who is it for and who can benefit from using it?
Most obviously, the benefit is to students who want not only to do well in school, but to feel confident about their knowledge and enjoy learning throughout the year. I found so often with my students that, because they didn’t have any effective means of practising their knowledge, they felt unsure about themselves and found learning quite stressful. For many students, using Tassomai wasn’t so much about filling in the gaps, but more about helping them appreciate just how much they actually did know!
But the other real beneficiaries are the student’s parents and their teachers. It’s often so difficult to know how we can help our children – where they need the support, especially when we may not be that expert in the subject ourselves. Tassomai gives parents a weekly report of activity and a really clear picture of what’s going well (and where the problems are) which they can look at any time on their own app. Their child’s knowledge is represented by an interactive tree that grows the more that the app is used.
It’s quite exciting to see your child’s “knowledge tree” growing and coming into leaf as they master the material – and you can pick out the problem areas and work with them where it’s needed.
Tell us about your grade guarantee.
We’re strong believers in education technology showing its impact – and we’re proud to have what we believe to be the strongest evidence base in the business. The reason for all that evidence is that we’d hate anyone to be investing their time and their money in a product that didn’t get them a result.
So, we basically say that for older children sitting national exams like GCSE, if you use Tassomai to cover the course and you don’t end up with a top result, we’ll give your money back.
What subjects do you offer and are you planning more?
We have courses for children from 7 to 17. We’re best-known for our 11+, 13+ and GCSE courses, and have been recognised at Bett (the education oscars) as the best home-learning software. The past few years has seen hundreds of thousands of UK students using Tassomai for GCSE science, but we do so much more than that with courses for English, maths and languages too.
We’re always developing our content – currently we’re creating courses to support a wider range of English literature texts. We’re looking at extending our A-Level science courses next, and some other modern foreign languages. but there are always lots of other courses in development.
What are your top tips for students to learn effectively?
I believe that effective study comes down to a couple of basic concepts: sustainable routines, and a focus on quality.
- Build sustainable routines, and have the discipline to maintain them. Routines become habits, and habits over time become behaviour. If you can make it your routine to practice and/or study in the same way on a regular basis, it becomes many times easier to keep it going and soon it isn’t a chore – and the quality of your work starts to improve.
- Focus on quality, not quantity. Working “too hard”, by which I mean exhausting yourself, or staring at the same book for hours without a break becomes counterproductive. So work in whatever way means that the time spent working is of the highest quality and focus. Incorporate breaks, rest and fun into the study routine so that the net effect is of effective, efficient learning that can be sustained as a lifelong habit.
How Tassomai can help students learn is a collaborative post