Tutoring over the Internet, and using technology to do it, can be tricky (difficult and challenging). An ideal (the best) tutoring situation includes a knowledgeable and skilled teacher working one-on-one (with one teacher and one student) with a student, with the tutor guiding the student over a period of time, similar to what our own Warren Ediger does with his students.
Recently, a new type of Internet tutoring service has become popular, and it has its advantages (good points) and disadvantages (bad points). These on-demand (get it when you want it) tutoring services allow parents and students to sign up (register) for the service, and either pay for a certain number of tutoring minutes in advance (before you use it) or have a credit card number on file (in their records) that can be automatically charged as needed.
Are you a high school student taking calculus (a type of advance math), a junior high student needing help with a history assignment, or a college student requiring help with an English paper? You can get on one of these tutoring services and find a tutor who is on call (immediately available to provide service).
Internet tutors generally use chat programs that allow them to type messages back and forth with students. They also use digital whiteboard programs that allow them to write or draw as they would on a chalkboard on the wall in a classroom.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, some parents say that this type of service is a godsend (very helpful and valuable), especially if the parents themselves don’t have the time to help their children with homework or don’t have the knowledge or skills needed to answer questions. However, while some who work for these tutoring services are retired (no longer working because of age) or moonlighting (taking an extra job in addition to your full-time job) teachers, some are not trained teachers, and the quality of the tutoring can be very variable (different each time). These services are not cheap, of course, and only students whose parents can afford them get this advantage – perhaps a case of the rich getting richer (people who already have privileges getting an added advantage).
Are these types of Internet tutoring services available and popular where you live? Have you or would you use such a service for yourself or your children?
Illustration Credit: Brack Vocabularius rerum from Wikipedia