When 1-1 distance education is better than f2f classrooms, by @DonaldClark

Donald Clark’s take on new, cost-effective models for providing personal tutoring, online and 24/7. On the conservative side, it’s still teaching; on the radical side, it’s outsourcing teaching to India. But Donald’s full post also explains how adults with poor literacy and numeracy are happy being tutored at home via the net, whereas they feel uncomfortable in classrooms — and this time the learndirect tutors are in Leicester.

I saw the BBC report on children being tutored in maths by highly qualified teachers in India via headphones and computers. The service is being provided to 7-16 year olds by Brightspark and is available 24/7 for both parents at home and in some schools.

Ashmount Primary School’s Rebecca Stacey, Assistant Headteacher and Head of Key Stage 2 in Islington, comments:

BrightSpark Education is effective because it provides targeted one-to-one maths help for students through online technology, which would otherwise be too expensive to facilitate. Each of our pupils who have used it have improved and become more confident in their maths ability. They have learnt to express their thinking and use mathematical vocabulary correctly…….It has also given pupils the perfect opportunity to work online and improve their IT skills at the same time. Many pupils intend to sign up at home to benefit from the service for their homework and revision.

Given the poor quality of many maths teachers and the shortage of suitably qualified staff, surely this is the way forward. In fact, this approach may well prove superior to the maths teaching in many of our schools, in terms of both quality and cost. The fact that the service can be used as a supplement, at home, is a big plus. Parents are already paying way more than this for tutors, many who are working teachers, so it’s a cultural fit. The reaction of the children (watch the BBC interviews with the kids using the service and you’ll see that they value it more than classroom teaching) says it all.

F2F free

Let me be quite clear here. We are now in a position of seeing learning delivered more efficiently to both children and adults that is free from face-to-face teaching, and altogether better because of that fact. We are not getting rid of teachers but positing an alternative to the classroom as the main environment in which teachers’ teach. Huge productivity gains can be offered by teachers who tutor online, handling multiple students, with good online resources that deliver much of the core content. The teacher can then focus on motivation, problem solving and feedback.

Read more at donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com

 
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