Is online tutoring effective?
The other day, I saw a post shared by a contact on LinkedIn asking, "Who led the digital transformation of your business?" The options: CEO, CTO, or COVID-19.
The surreal tragedy that is coronavirus is driving innovation faster than any dynamic executive could, and education is no exception.
It is disappointing that so many schools, especially here in the UK, are not taking advantage of the opportunities online learning offers. While a few are attempting to replicate an entire school day in virtual classrooms, complete with assemblies, form or house activities, and perhaps even communal meals (I didn't check that last one), others are doing the bare minimum.
In general, schools are putting parents in a very uncomfortable situation: while stuck at home, trying to keep occupied your kids, who would rather be outside in the sunshine, you're now expected to deal with their added stress of large amounts of homework and little guidance on how to do it.
I don't mean by this to criticise teachers, who are doing the best they can in a bad situation. But this does highlight the urgent need for the more flexible kind of learning that private tuition offers. Virtual tutoring, of the same quality as the "real life" alternative, has been technologically possible for about a decade, but take-up has been slow. To convince those of you who might be sceptical, here are few of the ways that virtual lessons can actually be the best option for you or your child, pandemic or no pandemic:
1. You are not limited by the tyranny of geography. The best tutor in the world could be anywhere in the world. Now you can access their help wherever you happen to be.
2. Or time. Are you a night owl, preferring to study deep into the small hours? With no travel to worry about, there's an online tutor who can help with that. There's another who rises at 4 am before the summer sun.
3. The web is a great visual medium. With popular video-conferencing apps like Zoom and Skype incorporating the ability to instantly share what is on your screen, learning can be brought to life vividly, with no thumbing through books required.
4. It's more interactive too. Online whiteboards like Bitpaper, AWWapp, and Conceptboard allow instant collaboration, feedback, and constant engagement.
5. The internet is infinite. Well, not quite. But it includes almost the whole sum of human knowledge and culture, and all of it is at your tutor's fingertips. Whatever your personal learning style, whether visual, auditory, or linguistic, there's an online resource that can help.
If you're still not convinced that online tutoring really works, you could always ask your son or daughter, who is likely your household's resident expert. They'll probably amaze you with the ways they use the internet already. If you have any questions about online tutoring, or would like to find out how we can help you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3731 0731.