We share evidence-based K-12 learning strategies that empower you to improve education.
I do some etutoring through my private business (www.harringtonwritingpros.com), and I have to say that the validity of the service really depends on the assignment. For long-term success, in depth essay writing skills, planning skills, and detailed lessons, there is absolutely no substitute for in-person tutoring, and I will not take clients for those projects. However, for once-off assignments like application essays and the like, I am happy providing feedback and advice through email, chat, and phone. It really depends on the level of depth and understanding required in the long term.
Some tutoring tasks are highly repetitive, e.g., reminding the basic pre-requisites of virtually any course or program. These tasks are boring for the tutors, are likely to generate irritation and thus a less than optimal learning atmosphere. This can result in inhibition and eventually in the basics being poorly digested.
Other tutoring tasks are more 'creative' because they allow more expression of the student's personality. E.g., essay composition, discussion.
By this I want to suggest a distribution of tutoring tasks according to the level of personal engagement. This might sound a bit theoretical but I believe that's what is happening in blended learning. This allows to 'economize' on tutor's attention and to focus it on the most personalized interactions.
I have mixed feelings...I have had students use several online tutoring services and get some really strange answers for questions...the issue isn't the desire to help but the capability to do it. I feel that too many folks are in the "tutor" position for areas in which they do not have the knowledge/capacity to be correct and effective. Unfortunately, this can also occur in person.
This is a terrific idea! As a parent advocate I am always suggesting accomodations and modifications to general educators. I battle at every IEP meeting, because teachers don't want to give up their power in the classroom, or try something totally new. As a guest speaker to future teachers at Colorado State University, I explained what the typical classroom might look like. Besides the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners, you will also have gifted students, children in wheelchairs, students diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, ODD, Bi-Polar, Tourette syndrome, and at least one child with Autism spectrum disorder. You will be responsible to teach every one of these students. Having e-tutoring as a tool to the learners who might need them is truely a gift!
Fair question, Sara, as many parents, students, and educators are figuring out how to benefit from new technologies and incorporate them into their learning routines.
At www.tutor.com, we know that thousands of students every night have figure out how valuable online tutoring is. We've served over 3 million sessions -- connecting a child with a live tutor for one-to-one immediate help, the moment the student needs help. In post sessions surveys, 94% of students say they got the help they need and would recommend the service to a friend.
Many student say they were unable to ask their questions in class or felt embarrased doing so. Others, including students with attention deficit issues, tell us how online tutoring allows them to better focus on the problem at hand instead of dealing with social distractions, and allows them to get quick help in productive 20-25 minute chunks instead of being forced to sit with a scheduled tutor for 60-90 minutes, much of it unproductive due to the length of the sessions.
I founded Tutor.com 9 years ago, and we run free services for students through our public library and school program in 45 states. Parents can now empower their children to get help any time, 24/7, from a qualified, background checked subject expert tutor. This is a revolution in the making, allowing kids to get the help they need the minute they need it so they don't lose confidence, struggle in school the next day, and fall behind.
Online tutoring does not need to replace face to face, in the same way phones and email do no replace good face to face conversations and meetings. But for millions of students doing their homework and preparing for tests each night, it is the only way to get help when they need it.
You can learn more about online tutoring at my blog, http://ceotutor.blogspot.com/, or at www.tutor.com.
George Cigale, CEO, Tutor.com
Sad that you even have to ask the question. Lots of educators still living in the distant past. What was done 50 years ago is still the primary way to educate. Hard to bring even young teachers into the present and use all the new capability available. Even some of it!!!
I have used online classes and I have used computer-assisted instruction (CAI.) I like CAI. With CAI you have a real teacher and a person with a real teaching license. The computer never gets upset when a student makes the same mistake for the fiftyumph time. The computer reinforces when the student finally gets the right answer. The guy, with the real piece of paper, steps in and helps the student set problems up or translates into peoplese what the computer is saying, but the computer consistently teaches the student in a tutorial manner.
Yes, I enjoy teaching students, and I once taught at an alternative school. I had to teach everything you could imagine. I started with CAI because it lays down foundations. It does it with so much more patients than I have ever shown. After CAI, I could have students work on projects. They had basic understandings that could be built from the obvious to insights. There was some real learning there. Today, I teach at an inner city urban big noise school. I wish we had computer assisted learning. Canned learning that kids could access and use is very uplifting. When students understand the basic operations of math, reading and writing as well as, the basics of science and social studies, they go far. I refuse to be rousted with questions like, “Whose ideas of social studies?” We all need to know longitude, latitude, capitals, countries, the declaration of independence and the like; I don’t subscribe to any of that being a political quagmire.
The point is CAI leads to good learning. If it is used with good teaching, the only winners are the kids. I think the teacher also wins. He or she does not have to scream, rant, or cry over repeated and repeated instructions.
As is so often the case, there are many qualifiers which reduce the value of an over-simplified poll such as this. What is the subject being tutored? Are there skills involved such as musical performance that need the direct response or interaction of a tutor? What are the students other needs or abilities?
How good a communicator is the student seeking help. With electronic media it can be daunting to write sufficiently well to convey what the issues are - - if the student even has the ability to diagnose themselves.
In my opinion, the more opportunities and methods we can make available to students, the higher the chances that at least one of these resources will help the student. Over my 35 years of teaching I've learned that one method almost never fits all.