We enjoyed reading two great posts from Tom Vander Ark over the past few days. One article focused on extending the school day in the Huffington Post and the other showed why teachers love blended learning in edReformer. As an organization that has been delivering education technology solutions for a decade, we know how powerful and empowering integrating technology into day-to-day learning can really be for students and teachers.
Here’s some annotation to Tom’s edReformer post from our point of view which comes from delivering almost seven million online learning sessions.
You Teach Students Ready for Your Lesson
Imagine how great it is for a teacher to walk into a classroom knowing that his/her students have mastered the skills they need and are ready for that day’s lessons. Vander Ark uses the inspiring School of One as an example. We were thrilled to work with the folks and students at School of One this past school year to provide online tutoring to their students. Our solution was one of the modules students could use to improve their math skills and stay on track.
Motivate Hard to Reach Kids
We’ve heard from many of the students using our services that online tutoring solved some of their major motivational issues – embarrassment and pacing. Many students who are struggling in a class don’t want to be embarrassed in front of their peers and ask “dumb” questions. They don’t know how to or want to ask a teacher to slow down because they aren’t getting it. This often leads to students just shutting down and becoming less and less motivated to learn the material. And learning this way isn’t fun for them.
Connecting to an online tutor solves these issues and can be a major motivator for a reluctant student. Our tutors live for “dumb” questions. There’s no one around to judge the student since the experience is completely anonymous. Tutors are happy to take it slow and work at the student’s pace until she understands the issue at hand. The lesson is customized to the student and pacing really matters. Students also tell us that learning is a little more fun when they’re using technology and “texting” with their tutor while learning in the online classroom.
Extend the Day
Blended learning with an online tutoring solution like Tutor.com empowers students to learn anywhere at any time. Our services are 24/7 and while we don’t advocate for late night cramming, an 8:00 p.m. tutoring session after other extracurricular activities are over can make a big difference for students. An 8th grader in a challenging algebra course can spend another 30 minutes working one-to-one with a tutor until they “get” that tough concept from class. No matter how dedicated a classroom teacher is, they simply can’t spend another 30 minutes of individual instruction time with every student that needs it. But using technology and a distributed network of tutors, we can accomplish this task. We also believe in the BYOD movement and launched Tutor.com To Go this past spring empowering students to connect to a tutor from their iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.
Every time a student has an online tutoring session, the session is saved, annotated by the tutor and mapped back to a standard. Teachers have access to all this information and can see by individual student, class or grade where students struggle the most. The analytics are real-time and can be delivered as often as required, including the very next day.
With all the data captured by Tutor.com from each learning session, it becomes much easier to track learning trends among students and deliver it to teachers and administrators.