On the 28th of September 2018, we had the privilege of talking to Olivia Noyce about how Maths Online had impacted her life…

When Olivia (18) finally turned to Advantage Learn for extra help with her Grade 10 mathematics little did she know her entire outlook on life, her self-confidence and her future options for tertiary study were about to take a dramatic turn for the better!

Olivia, who is hearing impaired, signed up with Advantage Learn towards the end of 2017 and is currently a matric pupil at St Anne’s Diocesan College in Hilton in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

From being advised to drop mathematics as a subject and take up maths literacy instead, Olivia is now aiming for marks at a level that will see her gaining entry to the University of Cape Town (UCT) which is her university of choice.

“I believe I was put on earth to pursue goals and to achieve everything I want to.”

She thanks Advantage Learn and the team, which includes well known Durban maths teacher, Trish Pike, for the dramatic improvement in her results.

“I had two one-on-one lessons with Trish in 2016. She showed me there is a method and a way to do maths. I remember it very specifically, we were working on analytical geometry – not my best section! She showed me a diagram and said: ‘Now look at this? What are you going to do now?’ I didn’t know where to start because it was all squiggles and lines on the page. But then she said: ‘Okay here is the process’. It was a five-step process. For number one you look for this, for number two you look for that and so on. And then I thought: ‘Hey this is not impossible, this is not brain surgery’. Trish gave me confidence.”

Olivia was found to be hearing impaired in Grade 4 after a set of grommets were inserted into her ears for the first time.

The damage to her hearing resulted from continuous ear infections which were believed to be caused by a “super bug” which her family believes, although it is not confirmed, she contracted while in hospital at birth.

“I was a very disobedient child because I couldn’t hear what was being said. When I was finally given hearing aids and was able to hear what was going on in class that was a big thing. Everyone said how I had changed and that was because I was hearing instructions. It’s one thing working really hard but if you don’t understand what is actually going on its pointless.”

And while the hearing aids were a positive improvement, Olivia was still missing out on a lot of what was being taught in the classroom and had done so for most of her school career.

“If the teacher turned away from me then I couldn’t hear what she was saying. Also, there are a lot of distractions in the classroom and during lessons.”

Finally, when the school’s housemistress discovered Olivia studying at 2am in a bid to try and improve her marks the youngster realised it was time for serious change.

And it was then that Lucinda – her mother – decided to give Advantage Learn a call which led to the initial one-on-one lessons.

“I was always searching for a more effective way of studying, specifically maths because that was where I was really, really struggling.”

Olivia spent the rest of Grade 10 and most of Grade 11 using the methodologies she had learned during those sessions.

It was only toward the end of 2017 that she discovered she could sign up for the Advantage Learn online video teaching tool which gave her unlimited access to the maths instruction.

“I was trying to approach and answer the questions in the way Trish had taught me. I was teaching myself through Grade 11 because I only found out about the videos just before the end of year exams. I watched a few of the videos – I can’t remember, but I think it was trigonometry – then I watched all the videos in that section and did all the quizzes.”

Then, Olivia started sending her questions to the Advantage Learn chat room.

“That is when I realised I had missed out on all the basics because of my hearing problems. When the team at Advantage Learn replied saying my corrections were actually right I felt so good about myself. Then I went onto the next section which was geometry and took it step-by-step. I was getting so much better and it was so satisfying. My teacher at school really thought I was going to drop to maths literacy, but I knew I was better than the marks I was getting.”

During the next Grade 11 holidays, Olivia spent hours and hours “binge” watching the Advantage Learn videos.

“I watched over 300 videos on full speed. I improved my maths two paper mark at the end of that year by 20%.”

And the result, she says, is her Grade 12 year started in the “right way”.

“Watching the videos, I wasn’t learning my Grade 12 syllabus, I was re-learning my whole high school syllabus from Grade 8 to Grade 11. I was revising everything, filling in the gaps.

“In Grade 10 I had big dreams, but I knew I had no way of achieving them because my maths marks were so terrible. Now I have conditional acceptance to study at the University of Cape Town next year with Economics and Information Systems as course options.  That is a dream come true for me.”

When Olivia looks back at her journey, she says she wishes she had started using the Advantage Learn online learning tools a lot earlier in her school career not only to improve her maths marks, but to help build the foundation so critical for success in the subject.

Advantage Learn’s Trish Pike built up my confidence. She showed me that I could do it.”

In this question and answer section, Olivia shares her thoughts about using Advantage Learn to improve her mathematics marks:

What are the biggest differences between learning online and being in a classroom?

The Advantage Learn videos give me a lot more control. I can fast forward or pause them or I can watch for 10 minutes and come back to where I was. In the school situation, a teacher may turn her back to me so I can’t hear her, or leave out a concept because the class has gone over it before.

What is the better way to learn, online or in the classroom?

I didn’t find the classroom more personal because it was easier for me to connect with videos. But the teacher in the classroom does know me better and is able to track my progress. However, I prefer the teaching style on the videos because it made me feel I can do it rather than just watching a teach put answers on the board.

How do you find the layout of the Advantage Learn site and how are you enjoying the Chatroom?

The layout is set out very logically. Each different grade is there and it is easy to go through the annual syllabus. The sub-sections really help and the content is the same as the syllabus we are using at school so that is really helpful.

When I ask a question in the Chatroom I don’t get a one letter or one-word reply. Instead the reply is how a teacher would respond in the classroom. The person on the Chatroom will also re-do the sum and explain why they are doing it the way they are.

I also really like the fact that I can go back to basics.”

Has Advantage Learn changed your outlook on mathematics?

Oh yes, definitely! My outlook has really changed – rather than me saying: ‘Oh no, I have to do maths again’, I am now excited by the challenge.

If you want to find success with Maths Online then sign up today for a free 14-day trial.

This article was originally published on 25 Feb 2019

About the author
Adam Kinder

Online learning manager at Advantagelearn.com. I help manage our systems to provide the best online learning experience for our Students. Besides that I am a passionate Mathematician and enjoy solving students questions on our site.

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