In today’s episode, we have Yazan Tadros with us and he is going to share his journey from teaching mathematics in a classroom into transitioning to a digital space.
You will also get to hear his views on the importance of teaching math at an early age, his mathematical formula for the perfect learning experience and a great method for keeping both children and adults entertained when taking an online course.
In this episode, you will hear...
… Yazan Tadros’ journey from being a young boy with a gift for math to being 29-years-old and playing the math games his program offers.
… Tadros’ journey from classroom teaching into teaching in a digital space.
… expert tips on how to use gamification to make learning math fun for kids.
… how math formulas that many of us learned back in school can actually be applied in our real lives.
… Yazan’s personal formula for learning, that can help your students have a more engaging experience.
… Tadros' idea for opening up a whole new innovative digital learning space for kids to increase their math skills.
… real-world examples about how Tadros is marketing in such a way that Math Achievers can continue to grow and obtain new students while offering the same quality services.
… how Yazan and Math Achievers are working to broaden their reach not only online, but through buyer to buyer marketing aimed at selling their services to schools.
… where the organization plans to be within the next couple of years, and their personal plan for how to reach new users.
… tips and simple explanations of how a supplemental YouTube channel can help grow a digital business.
… expert advice on how to do business to consumer marketing to grow a business idea.
"Mathematics, it's that lovely art. It's that intersection between the imaginary and the real. It's when variables dance to that rhythm, trending with others, making predictions of future as clear as the sun rising tomorrow. Core of life, music and nature. Lucky those mastering that art." That quote comes from our guest today, Yazan Tadros, who is with us from the School of Math Achievers. Happy to have you on the show today. How are you doing?
I'm doing great. I'm happy to be on the show with you guys.
Yes, definitely. I'm glad you reached out, and I'm excited to hear about your story, and to online courses, and what you teach and just, I think it's going to be a great show today. And I always like to start the show at the beginning, just to get a little background from our guest, and so if you could just take a couple minutes, and just let us know, you know, what is your background? How did you get into online courses, and maybe what were you doing before you got into online courses?
Yeah, I would be very happy to share my story with you. I guess my story is, I'm gifted from God in mathematics. When I was five years old, I used to calculate numbers having three digits. So, they discovered that I have a high IQ in mathematics, and since then my love for mathematics began. You can know now that I've grown up. Now I'm 29 years old. I taught math. I've been teaching math since more than 11 years by now. I was enrolled, I worked as a math teacher, and I worked in the different digital products on mathematics subjects.
Now, what I'm doing exactly, I have had the Math Achievers since 2017. I started Math Achievers to teach mathematics to teenagers and school students. I believe that my mission was that I wanted to teach mathematics my own way. I started teaching mathematics in my country, in Jordan. I realized that the students, they really enjoy the classes, they really understand math better, and my dream was always to teach mathematics my own way to the whole world. So, I started thinking of going global by having my own digital academy for mathematics. And since I have a very rich experience in the IBDP program, I started the digital academy which is very recent, actually, for the IB Diploma program. It's for high school students.
And the latest release that I have, which is very new, it was a one week ago, we went live. It was a mental math program for kids, where kids learned mathematics through games. And I've done this because I believe that if you want to learn math: one, you need to have a very solid foundation since very early as a kid. So if you're a kid, you're three or four years old, you need to be taught math really well to have a great foundation. So that's why lately I'm focusing on that age group, because I believe that age group is where magic happens. And that's why I came up with my new release, which is a mental math program for kids, where it has six levels. Now, we came up with level number one, they learned mathematics through games.
This is my vision. This is what I want to do in my life. It started as a dream, it is still a dream, but with goals. Maybe we are starting humble at the time being, but definitely I believe that one day, Math Achievers will go global, that I can leave an impact on, on students and on the kids because I want them to learn mathematics joyfully. I want them to have joy learning math. And this is actually the pain where many students and many kids, they don't want to learn math because they don't enjoy it.
That's the gap that I want to bridge. And another gap that I want to bridge, I want everyone to know, what's the importance of mathematics for students and in our real life? Because many people, they just know that math is just doing calculations, and substituting in some formulas and so on. They don't realize the importance in real life. Many students, they are always asked me the question, what can I do with mathematics in real life? They just don't understand the fact that I always tell them as a sports player, he needs to exercise in order to perform well. Mathematics is the same as the exercise but for the brain. It makes you think better, it makes your imagination better, and it makes your life in general better. Even though you don't have to do direct mathematics in your life.
I believe that when we can teach mathematics in a joyful way, and teach mathematics while focusing on the skills of math, the deep skills since early childhood, this is where we achieve our aim. And having the students, having better imagination, but having better thinking skills, they can plan better for their lives, and so on. So, this is what I want to do. This is my vision. And I started my vision by having my very nice product at the moment, which is a mental math program for kids, it's a great academy. The kids will enjoy solving problems through games, through the animated videos, the storyline, and by the end of this product, we can tell them that, "Yes, you are a level one hero, you are a math genius."
Awesome. Well, thank you for sharing that with us. There's a couple things that I heard that I really want to touch on, and one of the biggest things that I heard in your story is the application of mathematics. And coming from the United States, and I'm a little older than you are, but going through, you know, middle school and high school here in the States, we were drilled these formulas into our heads, you know, you had to memorize the formulas and the equations. But no one ever really talked about the application of those formulas, or how we could apply them to our daily life.
And I feel like that's a major disservice to people because when, when students are just sitting there learning formulas and math, and they don't understand why you are learning these, I just think that it's a major problem. It wasn't until I got older, where I kind of realized some of the formulas I had learned previously in my childhood, that I could apply to things that I was doing. And so I think that that's really cool that you talk on that because I don't feel like there's enough of that. Would you agree?
Yeah, definitely. There is definitely not enough of that, because they teach mathematics in schools for the sake of scoring well in exams, not for the sake of preparing them for life. Students nowadays, they want to know the why, before anything else. And if you want to teach the math, and your why is so that you can score well in your exam. And you can have a better life. That's not a convincing why.
In school, many students, or some of the students will use the formulas and apply, apply them directly in their lives. Many will understand that everything happens around us. in data science, artificial intelligence, and economics. Everything just relates to math. But always, students, they ask you, "I don't want to become an economist. I don't want to have a career in artificial intelligence. I don't want to do data science." I tell them, "Fine, you don't want to do all of this. But even if you want to be an artist, and you want to have a clear imagination, you need to do math," because the math is the practice for the brain to have whatever the outcome that you want to do. The math is always the practice hologram.
I want to give it some detailed examples so I, I can explain my point. Because I watch soccer, I know in the US maybe it's about the NBA, right? It's basketball. Yes, that's I can't give this example about the basketball. I always tell them and the training of the basketball players, they not only do the shooting training. They run and they do the fitness exercises, and fitness has nothing to do with the basketball skills. Why would they do this?
And I asked them another question, if they don't have the right level of fitness, would they perform well? I asked them, if the player is tired, would he shoot properly, they will say no. So I tell them, it's exactly why you need mathematics for your brain. It's for the fitness of your brain. It's always in the back and it's hidden, but it helps you to take better decisions. To think well, that's why we do math. Even though you don't apply any type of formula, but mathematics creates the links inside of your brain. So you can think well in everything, in all of your decisions, to be a logical thinker. What's the fitness for the brain to do this? It's the math, it's what's going on inside. The way you're thinking that you don't realize, that's why we need math.
And this is why actually, we need math. The problem these days, in schools, they don't tell you this. They don't tell you why it is very important to learn math properly. In many applications now, many discoveries, it's just because of the discovering of the brain functionality. I can tell you another example about artificial intelligence. A.I. is very capable artificial intelligence and classifying data. And this relates when you teach kids in the kindergarten, to classify. If you give them a cube, and a sphere, and another sort of shape, once they classify, they can add the cubes together because they are cubes, or they can classify they are the red cube with the red sphere. They can classify them because they have the same color.
All of this, maybe it sounds to be a very simple exercise. All of our sciences today is built on these practices. So, it's a thin line that matches these simple exercises to our very complex algorithms that is running our life today. So that's why we learn mathematics, and it's very important for the students to understand the why, because that's what they want to hear, and they are not getting sufficient answers.
I totally agree with that, and you're absolutely right. Mathematics, I believe, you know, has been around forever and has affected us in so many ways. But even as technology increases, you know, it just seems like it's becoming more important. And it's funny, you reminded me of a story where, I teach my kids music once a week. So, we homeschool them, and they go through their normal homeschooling program, but we wanted to teach them some music, and I come from a music background.
And so the other day, it was like a week or two ago, I was helping my son and I had the whiteboard out. And I was teaching him you know, the notes on the staff. And I started showing him the, the steps and the intervals in mathematical terms. And he goes, "Dad, I thought we were learning about music today. I didn't know we were gonna learn about math." And I said, "Well, son, you know, music is math, it's the essence of music. It's all, you know, frequencies and intervals," and it's just amazing how math does play such an important role in our lives.
And I totally agree what you said, practicing these skills can really just increase your brain activity, and the ability to just solve problems in general. I never knew at a young age that one of the things that I would be good at would be just solving problems, and I never correlated math with that until I got older and I realized, you know, it takes kind of a mathematical brain to be able to look at problems, whether they're just, you know, everyday regular life problems, and be able to solve those from a mathematical standpoint. So that's really cool.
I wanted to go ahead and talk about your mental math for kids course that you've created. And I like that you said that it's evolved around using games and things like that to help teach. So can you talk a little bit more about how that course is structured? And particularly, how do you use games to help teach math? Because I feel like this could help other course creators, not just in the mathematic or scientific realm, but just course creators in general.
Yeah, I have just my own formula for learning. If you want to, for the learner, to have the best learning experience, I can formulate it like this: the learning experience is simply equal to the willingness to learn, times the content. So, this is my formula for a learning experience, it's willingness to learn times content. And if you do the simple math, if you have a great content out there, just a great written content, and there is no willingness to learn, let's say, we have for the great content, it's 100%, and the willingness to learn is only 5%. Just do a very simple math, and you can find that the learning experience outcome is just the 5%.
What I want to do here is, you asked me about the games, I want to level up that willingness to learn through the games. So, if the kids they see games, they want to finish up this game, so they can have the rewards through this game. And that will increase the willingness to the highest levels. So that's why we need to find very, very, very innovative and creative solutions to enrich or elevate that willingness to learn. And that's why the parents, they are suffering. Especially with what's happening today, because access to games and access to media is very high.
How could you convince your kid not to watch a YouTube video or something and go learn math? Because learning math is extremely boring for them, and it's not their fault it's boring. It's our fault. So we have to do our best so that the learning experience won't be boring for them. So it's fun and learn. It's not only learn, they have to enjoy their time. If they don't enjoy it, then that is a big problem.
And I believe that not everyone has that gift, because I can relate from my own story that I'm gifted in math, I had an extraordinary curiosity and love for math. That's why I learned my math my own way since I was a kid, but I don't believe all people they have this. They don't, so they find math boring. They shouldn't find it so. So we have to put our efforts, we shouldn't make it boring. How we can't make it boring? Through a gamified approach. Through a storyline, they see a story. They learn math through games, and that's all what I'm trying to do with math achievers. We need to make the learning experience very fun for the kids.
Yeah, I totally agree with that. There is actually a game that my daughter and my son play. It's a mathematical game that the school gave them, and it's one of these games, it's like a role playing game where you have a character and you fight monsters and stuff. But to to beat the monsters and beat the levels, you have to do mathematical equations. I thought that was kind of interesting, but what types of games are you including in your course, and how are you going about putting those in your course for the students to learn. What is, what is the actual games themselves look like?
In the course we have, we have actually 10 games. One of them is like, a coin fishing game. You fish for the coin, you take it if you solve the question properly, and you have a score. Another game is like, you have to shoot the dragon. Another one you have to save a character called Subtract from the dragon. Another one you have to shoot the math ball. So in order to score a goal, so this is this one, this one was very nice, actually. Because if you if you solve the question right, and you shoot at the goal it scores. So this is great, I like it. Trust me, I'm 29 years old, I enjoy them.
Another one is finding dirty words. So, we try our best, even the games not to have only one game, different games. So the students, because in the, in the course you can see it, we have, we are teaching 27 concepts. So, we tried our best between one concept and another concept to have the kids excited because every time they will see a new game, they will hear new sounds, they will see a new mission. This is very nice for them, and it will never make it boring again.
And I actually I wanted to talk more about the course curriculum because many people once we talk about math, they think math is only about numbers, counting, adding, subtracting, and so on. But actually, it's not. Math is, especially in the early childhood, it's highly integrated with some sort of language. So, in the course curriculum, we can find counting, counting in two's, counting in ten's counting, counting in five's, couting in four's. But you can see another concept which is more or less, this is also considered as math. And the number lines number yes. Also, we teach them groups and sets.
So, this is considered within the mathematics skills. If you see an apple, and another orange, they don't refer to the same group. If you see an apple, a green apple and a red apple, and another red apple, then the red apples, they are classified in one group. This is also math. We teach fractions, we teach ordinant numbers. Ordinant numbers are like: this is first, this is second, this is third. Who comes first, who comes second, who comes third? Moreover, we teach greater than and less than, heavier, lighter, longer, shorter, taller, we teach also before and after.
Another very important thing that we teach also how to read the clock, read time, a clock half past, quarter past, quarter two, and we teach the calendar, the days. Because the days come in sequence, they have to know that the week has seven days. They have to know it starts from Sunday, then Monday, then Tuesday. And this is considered within the mathematical skills. So this is what we teach. It's like core for what the brain needs in order to excel in life. So it's just everything. We teach counting, we teach comparison skills, addition, definitely subtraction, the zero number, the place value, fractions, just everything. We are doing it in one course.
Okay, awesome. Yeah, that sounds, that sounds like a great course that you've put together. And I know that there are a lot of people out there that could benefit from this, especially for the fact that you are teaching it in a way that is applicable to life in general. And it's not just you know, formulas and equations, but you're actually showing kids and students how they can actually use this in their everyday life in their ability to read time and read the calendar and so forth.
So let's move into a little bit of the marketing. I would like to know, how are you getting students at this point? I know you said that this one program is a little newer, but when I think about a program for children, to me, I have this kind of roadblock because you know, for me, I've always sold to adults, and it was rather easy. But what are some of the methods or strategies that you've thought of to try to get people enrolled into this program?
Yeah, the most important method for me because I want always to ensure that there is equality in the marketing. So, already we have the affiliate program infrastructure embedded and everything. But away from this, we are going to focus so much on the content marketing. We want to focus on having the free added value for the moms, teaching them how to teach their kids in every aspect. How to enhance their imagination, how to enhance their thinking skills, why would they benefit from this course? So our media is mainly about the development of the kid. And I guess, this is what the real marketing is. Because the moms, they want to have an added value for them. They want to have a free added value first, then they can divert to the course. They want to understand you, they want to trust you.
You know, because in education, the parents have to trust you. There must be trust. You can't just buy any educational product out there. They need to trust that you are teaching their kids well. So there is a big focus on the content marketing. There are different marketing strategies which we will focus on, like the affiliate marketing of course. The affiliate marketing, because it's a great tool for B to C marketing. Because the reach will be much bigger. You might lose a big percent of the sales, but that's fine, that's fine. That's very fine for me because it ensures quality.
Another strategy is definitely Facebook and Facebook ads, it's targeting the moms and telling them why you should teach your kids this course. Another part of the marketing that I told you about is the content marketing, definitely our YouTube channel, and our articles. And all the articles will focus on the child development, and from there, we will be diverting the traffic to the course. That's what I believe is the right thing to do. And I know that marketing is very agile. So we have to keep pivoting, and we have to change our strategies once we have more data.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So that's a great strategy. So you are creating content aimed at the parents of the children and how these programs can help them. And then through that marketing efforts, then you can direct them back to your course and say we have the material available to help your child learn these, you know, mathematics and strategies and so forth.
Okay very cool. Now, quick question. Have you ever thought about marketing to say, schools? Like have you thought about taking these courses back to where you were teaching before, or any schools in your country and seeing if you would be able to provide this information for them at a bigger level?
Yes, definitely. This is one part of the marketing, which is the B to B marketing. We approach schools through presentations, and definitely for schools once, because they buy, for a big number of students at once. They get very discounted packages. Yeah and this is very important aspect. Yes, we have our own data, we approach them, we present the solution to them. And yes, we can move forward. This is also considered as a strategy, but the big part is the B to C which is already the platform, is business to consumer directly. This is where the vision is, and the big focus.
Gotcha, and you've already started some of these channels, like you already have your YouTube channel available?
Yes, I have actually two YouTube channels. One for the IBDB for the high school students, and a very new one for the mental math program for kids. And since you know, the product is very new, we started recently drafting some marketing material. And definitely we work more on our channel. I guess the YouTube channel is our asset today for the marketing, it will drive all the traffic from that.
Now, how do you come up with the content to put on that YouTube channel? I know, you're marketing toward the parents, toward the moms to help them understand why this is important. But when it comes down to really figuring out like, what kind of videos you're going to create, how do you figure that out?
My main focus in the video is to have really great content that can add value for the moms, and focusing on the development at that early stage. Like, how can you teach your kid how to classify? How can you teach your kid how to count properly? How can you teach him imagination skill? How can you teach him reasoning? How can you teach him some skills? How can you motivate the brain of your child? How can you make sure that his brain is healthy and is growing well?
All of that material is drafted because already at Math Achievers, we are working on this material. And already we have our own curriculum, and teaching kids from the ages four to six, critical thinking, logical reasoning, language processing, and so on, all in one curriculum. So already, we have the infrastructure and everything that we need in order to draft that content for marketing.
Yeah, that's great. That makes a lot of sense. Now, when someone goes to these videos, like say, a mom out there finds one of your videos and they watch that video. Where are you sending her from that point? Are you just directing her to the landing page of the course? Are you sending her to a website? Do you have some kind of free offer? What does that look like after they leave YouTube?
Yeah, most probably I will make them go to the landing page of the course. And I don't have any step before the the video and the course. They can go to the course, and through the course, they have a free preview, and I don't have another step before they are doing the course. Because that would be too much. Already, they are getting the added value from the content. So there is no sort of intermediary, no.
Right. Yeah, so they're they're watching this. You've explained to them in the video the importance of why they, they need to help their child learn these mathematical skills. And from there you direct them straight into that course. Now, is this course, is it like a single course with lectures, or are you doing a membership type program where you have multiple courses or multiple modules? What does that look like?
No, it's a single course. It has 27 mathematical concepts, which means it has 27 concepts explained in a very nice storyline animated video. After each concept in this course, there are 10 questions, 10 gamified questions. So the kids, first they, they learn the concept, and in the video we also solve an example on the concept. And then they practice the concept and 10 questions. So, by the end of this course, the kids will solve 270 questions.
This is a dense course actually, which is very nice. And then, at the end of the course, they will get a very nice certificate. So the kids, they will be joyfully sharing it with others. It's like you are a level one hero, you're now a level one genius and great job. You are our hero. You know, the kids, they like this stuff, and this is very encouraging for them.
Yeah, definitely. Now I did notice that you've mentioned the course having a storyline. You've said that a couple of times. So can you elaborate a little bit more on what you mean by the course has a storyline inside of it?
Yeah, we have the characters, it is Divina. Which is, I guess, her special skill is subtraction. That's Subtro. Yeah, Subtro, his special skill is subtraction. We have Multiplor who's special skill is multiplication. Divina, whose special skill is division. And there is a character about addition, I forgot its name. Also, these are the good characters. And there is a dragon, which is called Calculatron. And the whole storyline is becoming a math achievers hero, and to defeat Calculatron. So that's why you learn math in order to be capable of defeating him.
Oh okay awesome. I love this. So, you are really tailoring this program in a lot of different ways. You're providing information, you have the storyline, which really gets you know, children and even adults involved. Because, you know, a storyline really helps drive, you know, this information across. And then you have this gamification aspect where you can actually get in there and have achievements and get a certificate based off your accomplishments.
And I just really want to emphasize that fact because when I talk to other course creators, they leave out those steps, you know. If I'm teaching a software, or if I'm teaching something that's, you know, technical, we don't think about a storyline, we don't think about gamification. And I think that those are important aspects. Not just for children, but for anyone of all ages, because I feel like it really helps drive the student from the beginning to the end, instead of me just sitting there teaching you how to use email marketing software, or how to use Photoshop or something like that.
Yeah, this is very important. And there are different gamification techniques even for grownups. Because maybe I tell it something nice, because I have a rich experience in edtech, because this is the domain that I'm working on. And even for grownups, there are different gamification techniques of course.
There is a very nice book, it's called Hooked. I don't know if you've read it. It's wonderful. It talks about gamification, and how to make any platform addictive. Yeah, Hooked is a very, very nice book. I just recommend anyone who is interested in gamification and how to gamify any type of product or even a service. If it can be gamified, to read this book.
Yeah, definitely. I have not read it, and I love reading. So I'll definitely check that book out, and we'll put the book link in the show notes. So if anyone wants to check that out, they can do that. And then say we're thinking we're talking to other course creators out there right now through this podcast. Someone's listening right now, and they have a course.
And maybe that course might be on something random. It could be, you know, woodworking or playing the guitar, or how to use a piece of software or programming. You know, it could be any number of niches out there that someone is listening to right now. With your years of experience in teaching, and coming into the digital world and also teaching, is there any advice that you could give other course creators out there that would help make their course better?
Yeah, they have to make sure that they digitize that experience properly. They have a big value, they have to make sure that their digitized form ensures that this educational value comes out to the learner. They have to make sure that this comes out, whatever it takes. They shouldn't have any type of compromise on this, they should do whatever it takes in order to digitize properly. And in digitization, there are different methods of digitizing your course, actually, depending on your need. So that's a big thing to consider.
And they have to consider one, one very important thing that, when you design a curriculum to write a book, or you want or you prepare for a session, which is face to face that's completely different than the digital world. Once you design a curriculum, or you design a learning material, which is digital, that's a completely different landscape. So they should get advice from someone who has experience of how to digitize your learning material and to ensure the educational value is attained through these digital channels.
Nice. I like that, and it goes back to your your formula for learning, right? Your willingness to learn times the content, correct?
Yes, the willingness is very important, because many people, they are not willing to learn online.
Awesome, perfect. So you mentioned earlier in the beginning that you wanted to go global and really reach a bigger audience. But just thinking a couple years out two years, five years, 10 years out? Where do you see your platform going? What would you like to accomplish in the next coming years?
My goal is to have 100,000's of users, especially in the kids, and I want also my YouTube channel to go viral regarding the child development. This is where I want to go. I didn't specify any country, but always, I've seen the US as a good space to expand. And I might be there somewhere, nobody knows. There are some small plans to have some branches there. I don't know what life hides for me.
Well Yazan, we just appreciate you so much. You are doing a great service to the world. Especially here in the United States I can speak because I live here, and I grew up with the the system here. And I just feel like that some of the schooling system is broken, and there are things that need to be adjusted and corrected so that we can teach at a better level so that people are getting a better education.
And like you said that, so the students understand that the things that they're learning has real world results that they can get through mathematics and through science and through all these different academia. So, we just really appreciate you coming on the show, sharing your story and your knowledge, and if people wanted to find out more about you and your business, where can they do that.
Maybe I can send you the link to the mental math course because I want them to enjoy it. I don't want to send many links. Moreover, I can send you the link to my LinkedIn, and by there, they can see my personal professional profile. And they can have also the link to the mental math course. I guess that would be great.
Okay, well, perfect. Well, we will make sure that we put those in the show notes for you. And just thank you for coming on the show today. We really appreciate you being here.
Yeah, I'm so happy to be with you. I'm really glad that I'm here on the show and we had a very nice conversation. Thank you for your time.
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.