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Former teacher launches AI-powered Blutick maths tutor for home or school

Former maths teacher turned entrepreneur Rob Percival is today (Wednesday) launching an artificial intelligence-powered maths learning system.

Billed as bringing the benefits of private tuition to all secondary pupils, Blutick can be used in schools or at home.

Rob Percival, founder of Blutick. Picture: Elodie Giuge Photography (18203346)
Rob Percival, founder of Blutick. Picture: Elodie Giuge Photography (18203346)

It has been developed over two years in collaboration with The Perse School in Cambridge, and is being backed with investment from Cambridge Angels.

The innovation, compared to other AI maths systems, lies in giving students intelligent, line-by-line feedback in real time as they work through maths questions. As each line of working is checked and mistakes are corrected, the system offers advice, such as highlighting a better way of completing a calculation like a personal tutor would.

Cambridge-based Rob said: “As a teacher, it was always a challenge to give pupils enough individual attention in class – there were never enough hours in the day.

“Blutick is designed to take the pressure off by distilling the techniques of the best teachers into an AI system that can help share the load in the classroom.

“It can also be used at home to give every child their own personal tutor at a fraction of the usual cost – it's cheaper than a Netflix subscription.”

Blutick in use. Picture: Elodie Giuge Photography (18205086)
Blutick in use. Picture: Elodie Giuge Photography (18205086)

It is priced at between £600 and £1,200 per school, depending on the number of pupils, or can also be purchased for £5 per month by parents.

Launched ahead of World Teachers’ Day on October 5, Blutick enables homework and classwork tasks to be set with a single click, and these are marked automatically.Teachers get detailed and intelligent feedback, which includes details of what topics a pupil finds difficult and what kinds of mistakes they are making.

This is designed to help teachers focus their time where it is most needed, while parents can also see their children's progress.

Covering the full UK maths curriculum for 11 to 16-year-olds, used by all major exam boards, Blutick’s content has been developed by maths teachers at The Perse.

Headteacher Ed Elliott said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Blutick to create this extra tool for teachers and students to use in class or at home.

“We think Blutick will help children who find maths particularly challenging, as well as those who wish to explore more advanced areas of maths.

Blutick in use. Picture: Elodie Giuge Photography (18203344)
Blutick in use. Picture: Elodie Giuge Photography (18203344)

“It's proving a real hit with our pupils – they like being able to personalise the system by choosing their preferred teaching characters and they find the friendly, interactive interface very easy to use.

“We can see them growing in confidence as they are guided through solving even complex maths problems.

“Blutick is a very efficient and effective learning tool which supplements good classroom teaching to maximise pupils' mathematical confidence, progress and attainment.”

Jonathan Escalante-Phillips, a maths teacher at Sancton Wood School in Cambridge, said: “The Blutick program has been an absolute hit with my bottom group Year 10s. I couldn’t believe how much work they did on it last lesson. It really enabled me to get around and have some quality one on one time with them, whilst not having to worry - as much - about them distracting each other as they are a particularly lively group!”

It has also earned praise from educational resources provider Hodder Education.

Tom Le Bas, senior commissioning editor for secondary maths at Hodder Education, said: “We are very impressed with the approach of the Blutick system. Blutick’s intelligent, line-by-line feedback in real time provides valuable feedback, boosts student progression and gives teachers valuable insights into the topics to focus on for further work. The platform is incredibly easy to engage with.”

David Cleevely, co-founder of Cambridge Angels, believes the attraction lies in its scalability.

Blutick in use. Picture: Elodie Giuge Photography (18203342)
Blutick in use. Picture: Elodie Giuge Photography (18203342)

“Blutick is a great example of how combining traditional teaching experience with the very latest AI technology can really make a difference for both teachers and students,” he said.

“At a time when there is a STEM skills shortage, this scalable intelligent maths learning system offers schools more teaching time for little extra cost. It also has the potential to revolutionise maths education around the world – in remote areas of developing countries, for example, where children might struggle to access a traditional classroom.”

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