Now everyone is fully settled into the new academic year, it seems the perfect time to discuss tutoring options. With technology being comfortably at home in everything we do, a rapidly increasing number of families are looking for online tutors. In this week's blog, I review the reasons why and explain some of the undeniable benefits of having a digital tutor.
You can fit tuition in anywhere, avoid gaps in lessons and take your tutor with you effortlessly (just don't forget the tablet). In my experience, I can be tutoring in Bermuda, France and Dubai all within one day from my home in rural Devon. Of course, it is convenient for me too and maximises the number of tutees I can work with in any given day. I'm not limited by school hours and can work in the morning as well as the usual afternoon and evening slots. I don't have to lose that time in a traffic queue or even plan the commute between family homes which, more often than not, restricts slots available for families too.It's efficient. With a digital lesson, busy modern families can fit things in at home and not have to travel to a lesson or "meet and greet" the tutor at the door. You won't need to schedule lessons in around extra-curricular activities or worry that your other youngsters will get bored whilst waiting for an hour.
There is obviously a lower CO2 footprint as there is less travelling for families and tutors. Much of the paperwork is kept digitally so there is nothing to print either.
If you need to reschedule a lesson, you are much more likely to be able to. An online tutor has more flexibility than a travelling one so can normally be more amenable to moving a lesson.
How do I know this? I've been tutoring since 2011, taught young people for a variety of exams all over the world and my success rate hasn't been any less or dropped at all with my online tutees. In fact, in some years my online pupils' success rates have been higher. This has included tutoring pupils in extremely competitive regions, for example London and the Home Counties.
It's possible to see more maturity in the young people tutored online. They have to be self-sufficient, know when, where and on what the lesson is happening rather than just waiting for a tutor to arrive. They need to make sure they have the right books and pens ready for their online lesson. Tutees also occasionally fix technical problems! Such independence and maturity is a lovely thing to see and will help them in the future.
With in-person tutors, parents are limited to tutors who are close by and are only familiar with schools in that area. If you look for an online tutor, you have greater choice and it's more than likely that your tutor will have wide-ranging experience with a variety of pupils, schools and exam boards.
They have to be as the tutor isn't sat by them. Tutees are also aware that they are responsible for managing their side of the communication channel, say Skype, so can't drift off or be too distracted! In many ways the use of technology channels them.
With marking, it's easy to mark the work digitally and email this back to parents (normally only for English as maths can be marked on the go). Parents are more likely to read the digitally marked work than the paper versions as I am emailing this to them, rather than handing the work back to tutees in the following lesson.
Yes, it's true folks and happens more than you would think. Tutees can be more comfortable at home behind a screen; it's completely different to the classroom environment and nervous pupils feel more able to ask questions or write down their working out without a tutor sat next to them with their beady eyes!
Tutees become independent learners and are more careful as they have to spot their mistake without being prompted by a tutor sat by them.
It's very easy to keep notes and these might be handy in the next few years. Through Skype or Google Hangouts, lesson notes can be stored for revision and parents can even keep copies for their younger children. In some cases, parents might even be able to record explanations (subject to a tutor's approval) and can revise the topics at any point.
The most critical part of any lesson is gauging whether a pupil has fully understood what they have been taught and are confident in their ability. One of the best ways to assess this is to get a tutee to teach. Through online tutoring, the young person has to think quickly and how best to explain the concept clearly as there is no opportunity to write it down. They learn to hone in on their communication skills and become talented digital educators in their own right!
Many in-person tutors charge more because they need to offset some of their travel costs and lost time. However, one caveat to this that due to the demand for online tutors increasing, many will be start charging the same and this will normally be a reflection of their experience and expertise. If universities are charging the same for their online masters' courses as their campus-based programmes, then there is no reason tutors will be any different.
If you would prefer your child to be tutored in a group then online in no way limits this. Using Google Hangouts, tutors can run lessons for up to 10 pupils and the cost of the lesson is split across the group. The added benefit is that there is no travelling to a study centre or packing lunches ready for a day course.
So there we go - fourteen reasons why everyone should try online tuition. The only thing I forgot to mention was about the rapport between online tutors and tutees. Yes, you guessed it, it's the same. I know this as I have taught pupils in person and then online when I relocated and nothing changed in the rapport I had built with my tutees. Over the years, there have been many families that I was unable to meet due to locations but still felt I knew them all personally. Never, not even once, have I felt tutoring online has adversely affected the rapport built between myself and the diverse young people I have worked with.So what's stopping you? Go and find your specialist online tutor and experience the wonderful benefits online tuition has to offer.