This company pays kids to do their math homework | Mohamad Jebara


For as long as I remember,
I’ve loved mathematics. Actually, it’s not 100 percent true. I’ve loved mathematics for all
but a two-week period in senior high school. (Laughter) I was top of my class, and we were about to start
the Extension Maths course. I was really excited
about this brand new topic coming up, complex numbers. I like complex. My teacher was priming us for the concepts with some questions about square roots. Square of nine — three; square of 256 — sixteen. Too easy. Then she asked the trick question: What about the square root
of negative one? Of course, we were all over it — “Come on, Miss! We all know you can’t take
the square root of a negative.” “That’s true in the real world,” she said. “But in the complex world, the square root of negative one
is the imaginary number i.” (Laughter) That day, my entire mathematical world
came crashing down on me. (Laughter) “Imaginary numbers? Seriously? But mathematics is a source of truth, please don’t go abstract on me. I would have studied art if I wanted to play
with imaginary numbers.” (Laughter) “This is Extension Maths,
let’s get back with our program!” She didn’t, and over the next couple of weeks, I reluctantly performed
meaningless calculations, (Laughter) finding imaginary solutions
to quadratic equations. (Laughter) But then something amazing happened. We began finding elegant solutions to real-world problems
we previously had no answers to, starting with the complex world
of imaginary numbers. So some mathematician 500 years ago decides to have some fun
and make up these imaginary numbers, and because of that we can now
derive these amazing identities with applications in the real world, in fields like electrical engineering. Wow! I gained a whole new level
of appreciation for mathematics. And after my brief mistrust, I was now in love
with the subject more than ever. Francis Su, the mathematician,
sums it up beautifully when he says, “We study mathematics
for play, for beauty, for truth, for justice and for love.” But if you ask a student today, you’ll probably hear a different story. You might hear “difficult” and “boring.” And they might be right about difficult. But it’s certainly not boring. In fact, I’d say being difficult to master is part of what makes it beautiful. Because nothing worth doing is easy. So we need students to stick around
long enough through the difficult parts to appreciate the beauty
when it all ties together. Much like I did for that brief
couple of weeks in high school. Unfortunately, our school systems — we move students through mathematics
in a lockstep process. So those who fall a little behind find it near impossible to ever catch up
and appreciate that beauty. But why is this a problem? Why should we care? Well today, more than ever, our world needs every citizen
to be skilled in mathematics. With the advent of artificial
intelligence and automation, many of the jobs we see today
will either not exist or be transformed
to require less routine work and more analysis
and application of expertise. But we’re not producing
the extra mathematics students to fill these new roles. This graph shows the number of students taking Standard Mathematics and Advanced Mathematics over a period of 20 years in Australia. It’s clear that while we have demand
for mathematics skills rapidly increasing, supply is in steady decline. To put things in perspective, half of the students
completing high school today in Australia are not prepared
to understand any argument about rates of change in data. In this digital age where fake news can influence
election results, this is very concerning. Let me give you a concrete example. Let’s take a closer look at that graph. Can everyone see what I’ve done there
to stress my point? If you can’t, let me show you now, with the vertical axis
starting at zero, where it should be. There, you see it now, right? It’s the exact same data but I’ve manipulated the representation
to influence you. And that’s cool, that’s my job up here. (Laughter) But in all seriousness, unless we do something to drastically improve
student engagement with mathematics, we’ll not only have
a huge skills shortage crisis but a fickle population, easily manipulated
by whoever can get the most air time. So what’s the solution? There are a lot of things we have to do. We need curriculum reform. We need our best and brightest
encouraged to become teachers. We need to put an end to high-stakes tests and instead follow a mastery-based
learning approach. But all these things take time. And I’m impatient. See, I’ve been thinking about this
for eight years now. Ever since I left my job
as a derivative trader to build a web application
to help students learn mathematics. Today, our app is used
by schools across the globe. And we’re seeing big improvements for students who use
the program regularly. But here’s the thing — we’re only seeing it for students
who use the program regularly. And most of them don’t. So after years of developing
and refining the application, our biggest challenge
was not so much product related, our biggest challenge
was motivating students to want to work
on their gaps in understanding. You can imagine
in today’s attention economy, we’re competing against Facebook,
Snapchat and PlayStation to try and get these students’ time. So we went back to the drawing board and started to think about
how we could make it worthwhile for students to spend
some of their “attention budget” on their education. We tinkered with gamification elements like points, badges and avatars, and we’d see a temporary
spike in engagement but things would go back to normal
as soon as the novelty wore off. Then one day, my cofounder, Alvin, came across a study of students in Chicago led by the behavioral
economist, Steven Levitt, where they paid students
who improved on their test scores. He started telling me
about some of the things they tested for and the interesting findings they had. For instance, they found
that incentivizing students for inputs, like effort, worked a lot better
than incentivizing for outputs, like test scores. They found that for younger students,
you could win them over with a trophy but for older students, you really needed cash. (Laughter) And the amount of cash mattered —
10 dollars was good, 20 dollars — even better. But perhaps most importantly, they found that the rewards
had to be instant rather than promised at a later date. They went as far as to give
the students 20 dollars and say, “Touch it, feel it, smell it –” (Sniffing) “It’s all yours. But if you fail,
I’m going to take it back.” And that worked really well. I immediately got excited about the possibilities
of implementing this in our program. But once the excitement settled down, there were a few concerns
that crept in our minds. Firstly, was this ethical? (Laughter) Secondly, how would we fund this thing? (Laughter) And finally, would the results be sustained
if the students were no longer paid? Now, let’s look at the ethical part first. I’m a bit of a mathematical purist. So I’d be one of the first people to say
that we should study mathematics for the sake of mathematics. Remember — for play, for beauty,
for truth, for justice and for love! Not for money! (Laughter) As I struggled with this,
I came to see that, while it’s a way I look
at mathematics now, it’s only because I studied it
long enough to appreciate it. It’s very difficult to tell a student
struggling with mathematics today to work hard for a payoff
in the distant future. And it’s not so much bribery
that’s at work here, because I could bribe students by telling them about my big bonuses
in my derivative trading days as a reward for doing well at maths. But it doesn’t pay off
for a very long time. So it’s practically naught. Behavioral economists
call this hyperbolic discounting. And Levitt goes as far as to say that all motivating power vanishes when rewards are handed out with a delay. So, from a purely economic point of view: if we don’t use immediate incentives, we are underinvesting in student outcomes. I took heart from that,
and came to see that as a society, we’re actually quite used
to financial incentives. Whether it be by the government,
by employers or at home. For instance, many parents
would pay their children an allowance or pocket money
for doing chores in the house. So it wasn’t really
all that controversial. As I thought about that, it started to answer that second question
of how we were going to fund this. Naturally, parents are the most invested
in their children’s education. So, let’s charge them
a weekly subscription fee to use our program, but — if the students complete
their weekly maths goal, we’ll refund the subscription amount
directly into the child’s bank account. We chose three exercises completed over a one week period for a 10 dollar reward. That way we’re incentivizing effort
rather than performance over a short enough period and with a substantial enough payout
for the students to care. Now, I remember when I first told
my wife about this new business model. If she had any doubt left
that I’ve gone completely mad, that pretty much confirmed it for her. She said to me, “Mo … you realize that if everybody
does their homework, which you want, you’re not going to make any revenue,
which you don’t want. Great business model.” (Laughter) I say it’s more like
an antibusiness model, it’s free if you use it,
but you pay if you don’t. Now, I knew from experience that not everybody in the country
was going to jump on and do their maths homework every week. And if they did,
sure we’d go bust pretty quickly, but hey, we would have solved
the country’s maths skills crisis. (Laughter) As a company, we’ve always run
a double bottom line, looking to both make
a return for investors as well as improve student outcomes. We know that our path
to long-term profitability is through improving student outcomes. So our dual objectives
should never be at odds. So we’re always looking to make our product decisions around helping students reach
their weekly maths goal, effectively ensuring that they get paid and not us. Now you must be wondering:
How is this crazy business model going? You’ll be glad to know
we’re still in business. We’ve been testing this now
for the last five months on just our personal
home users in Australia before we think about
rolling it out to schools. And here are the early results. The green represents students
who are completing their weekly maths goal and the red those who aren’t. You can see a lot more
completing their homework than not. In fact, as our user base has grown, we found the percentage
to be pretty steady, at around 75 percent. So on average, we receive
our weekly subscription fee once every four weeks, and the other three weeks,
we’re rewarding the students. Now of course we’re leaving
some money on the table here, but guess what? It turns out these students are 70 percent more engaged
than students not on the reward program. Check. From a business perspective, they are less likely to churn and more likely to refer friends, so we’re hoping to trade off
a lower revenue per user for a bigger and more engaged user base. Check and check. Now for that final question. Would they keep coming back
if they were no longer paid? Mathematics is so much more
than just a subject you study at school. It’s a human endeavor. It’s what helps us to understand
the world around us. And the more you know,
the more you want to know. So yes, we’ve triggered initial engagement with a financial reward. But in the long run, the money won’t matter anymore. Because in the long run, the wonder of mathematics
will be the incentive and understanding it will be the reward. Thank you. (Applause)

Kids React To The Gender Pay Gap


Yes! Yes. Benji definitely. Yeah. It’s just weird. Pretty much, we’re just doing the same thing. Because he took his time? Maybe? He did it last? No idea. Did you know that? I did not know that. No. No one knows that. No one at all. Say if you were working together with a boy and a girl, and you were both doing the same thing then I don’t really get it why boys would get paid more than girls. I think it would make them feel disappointed really. Just because you’re a boy doesn’t mean you’re completely different, you’re just different because you look different. I get disappointed about that because boys and girls are the same and they’re equal, there’s nothing better than boys about girls. We could tell everyone in the world! You know? They’re exactly the same, boys and girls, you know that! Just get a company and then, if I do get a company, I’d get lots of people to join it and then I would just say “It’s unfair, why do boys get more money than girls?” We could just go around to the world and say “We should just pay boys and girls evenly because it’s all no point.” Even though I’m a boy and I get paid more, I think women and men who do the same job should get the same amount of money.

Pay It Forward | Celeste Brown – November 2019


A St. Charles mom wants to
give special needs children a safe and welcoming place to play. She sacrificed
her life savings to open such a place. Fox 2’s Dan Gray shows you how she is
our Pay It Forward award recipient. Celeste Brown felt it was so important
for her special needs son to play with children of all abilities, she spent her
life savings to open an indoor playground that is fun, safe, and
inclusive of all kids. More than 1,000 children have walked through the doors
of the We Rock the Spectrum gym in St. Ann since it opened a year ago.
Celeste’s mom nominated her daughter for our Pay It Forward award, a $500 gift
card from First Bank. Here’s how she surprised Celeste at the gym.
Congratulations! On behalf of channel 2 and First Bank, I’m here to
give you a $500 gift card to pay it forward. Celeste was
considering retiring from her job as an administrative assistant at a religious
organization a few years ago, but that changed after she adopted a six-year-old
boy who was on the autism spectrum. I met him and in 15 minutes, I’m getting choked
up, in 15 minutes I knew that he was going to change my whole trajectory and
he did. Now her son and hundreds of other children and all abilities have a
colorful, sensory place with soft equipment to play. Red letters on the
wall display the gyms motto “Finally a place where you never have to say I’m
sorry”. You’re not lessening play for your typical developing children, you’re not
you’re not placing play out of reach for your children with special needs. Our Pay
It Forward award is brought to you by First Bank. If you would like to nominate
a deserving person for the award, a $500 gift card from First Bank, go to fox2now.com and look for the Pay It Forward page. I’m Dan Gray, Fox 2 News.

Single mother & her 4 children all work in a Colombian coal mine


For a 16 year old girl like me, the mine is not a life. We have to sacrifice our youth in order to survive. I really wish that fathers would not have to force their
children to work in the galleries because it’s not human. But here there are too many starving
youngsters who cry because of this hardship. But the government doesn’t give a damn. They don’t realize how much suffering is going on here. I really wish somebody would start caring about us. It’s only thanks to God if we survive,
because around here everybody has to work. My husband left me with nothing when the children were very small. He didn’t even leave me a picture or just a few pesos. And that’s why I have to make my own children work. And the poor kids have not even been to primary school. It’s a sin to let children go down the mines like this. We live like animals and can’t even stand up straight. Have to stay bent over. makes it even harder. Because we suffered cramps in the legs. The coal seam is very hard. It’s very difficult to get the coal out. A coal mine is not a place for a woman like me, it’s too difficult. Look at my hands, how dirty and ragged they are. And I earn less than a man because, of course, I don’t produce as much. It really is like being a slave here. -Rosita, how much did you manage to dig up today? -A quarter of a ton. -Was the gallery safe? -More or less -And you, how much did you do? -Not much, a quarter of a ton as well. -Is it hard to break up the coal? -Yeah. But you’ve got to do it to earn your money. Let’s hope God looks after us so we can come back tomorrow. Make the sign of a cross and go down. My gallery is low because of the coal seam here. So you have to kneel to dig. It is very hard for these poor women and the other mines don’t want them. But they have to feed their children somehow. Gotta be nice to these people. I feel like I really need to look after him a bit.

How to Prepare for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Assessment – Scope


Charlie: So Lorraine, what was it like when
you got the assessment letter? Lorraine: I was really nervous if I’m going
to be honest. I think for me, because my impairments are really hidden, I kind of thought: wow
I’m going to walk through the door, they’re going to look at me and think ‘oh there’s
nothing wrong with her’. So yeah when I got my letter I made sure that I looked at
the date, looked at where the assessment was going to be. It was about an 1 hour and 50
minute drive which was quite a long way away. So I was able to ring up and just see if they
had an assessment centre that was closer… Charlie: Did they?
Lorraine: Yeah they did. They kind of moved it to somewhere that was a bit closer because
part of my impairment is to do with my back so sitting for a long period of time is really
really difficult for me. So they did that and they were really really quite supportive,
I also made sure that I looked at the parking to see what facilities there were around the
area. Charlie: Because I made initial phone calls,
either with the department of work and pensions or with the assessment provider, it kind of
put my mind at ease in a way that meant that I could focus on what I was actually going
to say and how I was going to dress. Lorraine: Mmm yeah, I think the more prepared
you are the easier it is to relax and so therefore if you read the guidance, if you come prepared
and you bring your application form which is what I did and my supporting evidence.
So I made sure that a week before I’d read through everything, I’d brought everything
that was necessary and so that took off a lot of the pressure.
Charlie: I took along the form, I printed out a copy and I took along the form that
I had written all of my evidence on and I, at points during my assessment, was reading
it almost word for word because I wanted to make sure that I was covering every single
base. Charlie: So I think the biggest piece of advice
that I got was: don’t assume that the assessor knows anything about you and be as honest
and open as you can about how your disability really impacts on your kind of, your health
and your well-being and various other things. And really talk about the little things that
we don’t consider because we always seem to manage with our impairments.
Lorraine: Which is true. I think for me, I know my body better than anybody else so I
know how my impairments affect me. I think what is key to this though is really explaining
in detail. For myself I tend to be quite a private person so I don’t often share, because
most of the time you kind of get on with it so I don’t really share how these things
affect me. But at the assessment it’s really important to be very open, very honest and
go into as much detail as possible as to what it’s like to be in a day in the life of
Lorraine. Charlie: If you make it seem as if you are
able to manage doing something but normally you’re not able to do it, then they will
assume that you can always do that thing. Lorraine: That’s right.
Charlie: You don’t want to put on any kind of brave face around how you deal with your
impairment. Lorraine: It’s easier to do that sometimes
though isn’t it? Charlie: It’s so much easier to manage,
and actually it needs to be as honest a conversation as you can muster.
Lorraine: It’s like doing the complete opposite isn’t it? We’re taught how to manage the
impairment but at the assessment you have to show them how you don’t manage, so it’s
really quite weird. Lorraine: What’s really good as well is
that you can take someone with you to your assessment. So for me I took my daughter with
me for two reasons. One, because at the time I needed the support to help me to walk into
the assessment centre but also two, so that I could have someone else listening in and
filling in the gaps that maybe I’d not heard or not listened to or really for the assessor
to get a sense of what it’s like, as my daughter is the person who supports me the
most, what it’s like in my world. Charlie: And if you can’t get support from
a family member or a friend, maybe consider contacting an advocacy service or someone
that can just be there to support you.

Crazy ideas and hard work: The nuts and bolts of a fulfilling life | Nick Offerman


Our society has become so clickbait-y and
superficial. It’s very seldom in interview situations
that you’re asked anything of substance – the thing I get asked the most often is,
“So tell us about this movie. Why should we go see it?” To which I always want to answer: Don’t
go see it, go fuck yourself. I’m not like – that’s not my job to
tell you why you should go see this movie! “Because you want to.” It just goes to show how lazy most media outlets
are. I would simply say ignore all of the channels. Ignore all channels of popular culture and
focus on what you like and what you and your friends and/or family like. Because the stuff that I grew up that was
like my weird bits that I did with my cousin and my sisters and brother, the stuff that
I thought was weird of that stood out to me, I focused on that and through my theater training
and then through my career it was always the counter culture weirdness that spoke to me
that made people – it’s interesting the jobs I get to do often come from like minded
people. There’s a very specific group of us and
we find each other and say oh, now we’re 47. Let’s make a TV show together. And so by focusing, if you just consume what’s
being fed to you then you never find out if there’s a really stinky cheese that might
be your favorite thing to eat. One thing that really attracted me to this
script, I had worked on the previous film The Hero with Brett and his cowriter Mark
Bash. But he makes these really thoughtful movies
about humanity. And I loved when I read the script and there’s
this element of the father-daughter relationship where they kind of take turns at who’s being
the parent and who’s being the kid. And I thought that was really attractive and
fun to play and realistic. It’s a strange thing to see a kid want to
go away and become a doctor and not only that but like we see her studying hard. She’s an erudite student. She’s very serious about where she’s going
and yet she has this musical talent that she doesn’t take as seriously. And to see the dad sort of saying, “Come
on, I really want you to think about throwing away all your responsible dreams and run away
and join the circus with me, your dad!” In my own life I grew up in a very conservative
small town in Illinois in a very conservative family. Every – it’s an amazing family of heroes. There’s about 30 of us now in this extended
family and I’m the only one that doesn’t live within an eight mile radius. And every single family member is either farmer,
school teacher, librarian, paramedic, nurse—and we have one craft brewer, my brother. He’s the king of the family. But I’m the only one, and I always had this
idea that I wanted to entertain people but I didn’t have the culture coming in to – I
never learned of the channels by which I might achieve that. And so when I was a junior in high school—and
you had to begin to declare what do you want to do, where do you want to go to college
if so. And it was pretty wild that I said, “I think
I want to become an actor.” And the whole county was like “No, I don’t
believe you can do that from here.” And I said “Well, but those other people
must have come from somewhere.” And really like all the channels, like the
guidance counselor at school had a list of the 36 things you could study. And not only was actor not on there, there
were no arts on there! The only one was musician. One guy from my town had gone to music school
and he became a band director at a college. And so that was their precedent, and they
said, “What do you want to do – go be a band director at a college?” I was like no, I want to like make people
laugh, or I want to be in movies and stuff. And so it was pretty crazy but here’s where
some serendipity happened. I was with my girlfriend who was auditioning
for a dance department at the University of Illinois. I met some theater students and I said, “What
the hell are you talking about? You’re ‘theater students’?” And they said, “We study theater.” And I said, “Well then what?” They said, “You go to Chicago and you get
paid to be in plays.” And I said, “You’ve got to be kidding
me. This is what I’m talking about!” I went home and I was like “Mom? Dad? I’m going to go do plays, and then I go
to Chicago and they pay me to do plays! It’s a thing, people do it.” And so that’s what I did, and my mom and
dad were very supportive. I was somebody who had crazy ideas but I worked
really hard. And they said, “You have some real cockamamie
schemes but you always do your best. And so we’ll get behind you and support
you in this.” And it took several years—from age 18 to
26. Those are formative years. That’s a tough, scary time for your parents
to say, “Okay, we’re going to trust you.” But eventually when they first came to see
me in a Shakespeare play in a very small part at a big theater in Chicago that was a big
moment for me where I was like “Well, see, this is something! Three lines. There are people in this show with no lines. So just watch me.” And, you know, it’s something that – it’s
a very personal thing, and you have to trust your gut. The world is always going to want you to do
other things that make them feel safe. Parents especially often have their own desires. And so to parents and children alike I would
say, trust your gut. Again if you’ve lived one of these lives
where you are in a household where there’s not, people aren’t using tools or people
aren’t that practical. There’s a lot of urban and suburban households
where people say yeah god, when I get a flat tire I have to buy a new car because I don’t
know what to do. Or if a light bulb goes out I have to throw
the lamp away because I couldn’t tell you how that thing works. I don’t think I have the right tools.” To those households (of which there are many)
I would say find a place to try making stuff. And there’s so many things you can do and
another great thing about the information age or the proliferation of technology is
that you can literally learn to do anything now on YouTube. You can become a blacksmith just from YouTube. You’re going to learn a lot faster if you
find a blacksmith to show you. That’s true of anything, if you have a teacher
there. But just try stuff. I love influencing the kids in my life, and
I just do my best to let them try stuff. And some of them like to paint, some of them
like to help in the kitchen, some of them – this one kid likes to just punch trees. He’s troubled, and we’re going to try
him out in sports but we’ll see. He might make a great lumberjack.

Po Pow Pay l Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs


Cool as ice! Yeah, bro! Pengies in the house! Po Pow Pay Fun to say Po Pow Pay It’s the way way way. Po Pow Pay Yipee Yay! Po Pow Pay Bipee bay bay bay! Po Pow Pay It’s the Pengie way. Po Pow Pay Have a happy day One, two, three Pengie, dance with me four, five, six This is meant to be Dance, dance, dance! Pengie, dance with me Dance, dance, dance Pengie, dance with me Dance, dance, dance Pengie, dance with me Dance, dance, dance Pengie, dance with me Po Pow Pay Fun to say Po Pow Pay It’s the way, way, way Po Pow Pay Zippy zay! Po Pow Pay Hippy hay hay hay! Po Pow Pay It’s the Pengie way! Po Pow Pay Have a happy day! One, two, three Pengie, dance with me! Four, five, six This is meant to be! Dance, dance, dance! Pengie dance with me. Dance, dance, dance! Pengie dance with me. Dance, dance, dance! Pengie dance with me. Dance, dance, dance! Pengie dance with me.