New to Bounty?
Think back to when you were at school: notes were taken down on paper, not on iPads, and libraries spanned square metres, not bandwidth.
Indeed, it's true, our own children are now growing up in a digital world – one where they can send their typed-up school assignment to a printer via Bluetooth and access any SparkNotes' study notes guide by swiftly swiping their phones.
While some of us worry about how much internet consumption is healthy for a teen (all those in favour, say 'I'…), the reality is, without learning the ins and outs of everyday technology, as well as the importance of mathematics in a date-driven world, experts argue that our kids may be cutting themselves short.
And this is something ex-derivatives trader-turned-education-entrepreneur Mo Jebara hand-on-heart believes.
"Unfortunately, our school systems… we move students through mathematics in a lockstep process," he says in a compelling TED Talk. "So those who fall a little behind find it near impossible to ever catch up and appreciate that beauty."
Well, as Jebara asserts, now more than ever, our world needs every citizen to be skilled in mathematics – something Jebara says Australian kids are currently just not good enough at.
"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," he claims. "But we're not producing the extra mathematics students to fill these new roles."
So, with that, Jebara, along with the research of behavioural economist Steven Levitt, suggests giving our children pay incentives to help them get better at maths – a theory he has been (successfully) testing for the past six months.
"Many parents would pay their children an allowance or pocket money for doing chores in the house," he says.
"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."
This right here is the idea behind Jebara's brainchild MathSpace – an online maths education platform that spits out maths questions to students via a "machine learning algorithm" that responds to how a student performed last time they used the app.
Essentially, what happens is Westpac will refund kids the $10 app subscription fee parents pay each week into their Westpac bank account, if they complete three maths exercises successfully. So, kids are actually profiting $10 if they finish their Mathspace homework.
But what do you make of this? Should we be paying teenagers to do their homework like Jebara would suggest? Or put faith in the school system in that it is keeping up with educational, and motivational, demands society is putting on our kids? Tell us by commenting on our Facebook page.