Editorial Note: This article was written 3 years ago, obviously, well before the world, en masse, had to become very familiar with this type of technology, at a pace that placed many of my colleagues outside of their comfort zone. It is interesting to read this back, as my position is and was clear. I thought Online Tuition was the better option before Covid-19, back when we had a choice, and back when a lot of people thought it wasn’t as effective. During Covid-19, my position is that it STILL IS the better option. Poor online tutoring practice was rife before the pandemic, which went some way in confirming peoples’ bias. It is even more rife now. That is why I want to share, again, my reasons why online tuition is the most efficient way of tutoring there is. Not because I have been backed into a corner, and forced to work this way, but because this is the way I have always chosen to work.
It is my firm belief that online tuition is faster, easier, and more beneficial than traditional face to face tutoring.
With the pace that technology is improving, combined with the innovation present generally in the technology sector – things are looking very exciting for the future of online tutoring. (Actually, if you are interested, I wrote a blog post about that very thing! – How convenient!)
Below are a few reasons why I passionately believe that online tutoring is better than face to face tutoring.
When I used to tutor face to face, I couldn’t have possibly carried every single one of my resources with me. Well I could, but it would have been ridiculous. With online tuition, I have every single resource at my finger tips ready to use in the lesson if needed. Online sessions with me are a perfect time to consolidate weaknesses, and having the right resource at hand, ready to use at the right moment, is critical to that consolidation and the success of the tutor time. If this was face to face; time would be lost searching through folders to find the sheet in question – not to mention the fact that I may not have enough copies of said sheet. (I still can’t believe I used to do this! How inefficient!)
Bitpaper (the whiteboard sharing software that we will use) is quite frankly, brilliant. It is an infinite whiteboard space with fantastic drawing features that makes writing on it, and drawing on it, great fun. Students love drawing diagrams to demonstrate their mathematical understanding, and if you combine this with a graphics tablet too – well, then it’s a maths match made in heaven.
Using computers should be fun, and with the right resources they are incredibly engaging. Bitpaper also has the ability to upload images and PDF’s too – so we can easily markup exam papers, worksheets or graphics that we have chosen on the internet. Also, a well timed copy and pasted well done sticker doesn’t go amiss either.
Additionally students have the freedom to only write on the whiteboard when they feel comfortable with their workings. This allows the students to concentrate on their work without me pouncing on them every time I have spotted a potential mistake. This is a far more relaxed atmosphere. No one likes working under that much pressure. This gives the student freedom to properly think, using pen and paper, before they undertake any writing on the board.
It’s actually not that scary – especially for little people
If you a small person, a private tutor, in your home, could be a scary thing. With online, all I am is a moving face on a screen that writes in fun colours on the whiteboard. Relaxed students = potential realised.
Develops Computer Literacy and Tech Skills
Computers are now a massive part of our society, and being able to comfortably use them is all so important. Video calling too, is becoming huge. Online tuition is a great way of promoting and developing these soft skills that employers will be finding valuable in the future. I have pupils as young as 8 being able to comfortably manage the session whilst learning maths at the same time. What better way to help teach digital skills for the future!
Access to the Best Teachers of other subjects
You are not restricted anymore to who the best tutor is in your local area or the ones that will travel to your home. Your pick of the best is unlimited. There are tutors of other subjects who tutor online too – and now it really doesn’t matter where any of you are, you can pick the best tutors from, literally, anywhere on the globe. It is not just academic tutors that are offering lessons online either – I know of plenty of musicians who offer instrumental lessons over the internet. It never has been easier to learn new skills!
Digital means less waste
Back in the day, when I used to tutor face to face, if I needed to repeatedly use a worksheet I would have had to photocopy as many as I would need. Online tuition enables us to use as many copies as we need, without the worry of running out of copies.
Also this means I can upload homework or examination past papers to bitpaper too. Students can then complete the past paper or homework in their own time. All they have to do is click on a little link that I will send them. The interactive classroom will remain open and students can complete their work, with full workings, directly onto bitpaper. This means an end to the endless printing of exam papers and worksheets. This is much better for the environment and those awesome trees.
It is so easy to be punctual – those pesky late marks are a thing of the past!
If we book a time for say 6pm – all you need to do is make sure that you are ready in front of your computer ready for the lesson to begin. Say goodbye to sitting in traffic and panicking about getting to a session on time. Say hello to one of the shortest commutes ever. Well, I guess we have to take that 10 second to the computer into account! In all seriousness though – No more late tutors, and no more 45 minute sessions due to those never ending road works.
The internet is ready to go and ours for the taking
With our lessons being online, this enables us to have access to the amazing wonders of the internet. There are a myriad of exciting, interactive resources that we can use that are just a click away. I make heavy use of mathematical graphing software such as Geogebra and Desmos, and regularly demonstrate mathematical relationships using these two applications. Google Earth is a wonderful resource and students usually gasp in awe when I show them the worlds largest hexagon (it’s in Australia if you wanna find it) or take them on a tour of the International Space Station.
There are also loads of true two way collaborative web apps that we can use too. The possibilities are limited by your imagination.
No snow days! (Is this really just a UK thing?)
I’m writing this just as the UK has had a bad spell of snow. If you know anything about us Brits, it is that when it snows – the country grinds to a halt. Bad weather isn’t going to effect our ability to have a session. If it snows before that all important exam, no problemo! Especially where I live (in the North of England) I used to have to cancel trips to my tutees houses due to the weather. Not anymore!
Location, Location, Location? (erm, not really)
It doesn’t matter where you are. It does not matter where I am. Sessions can continue! You want a quick weekend break but don’t want to miss your session. Perfect. The freedom and flexibility this gives us both is immense.
No filler – All Killer
I never fully noticed how much time vanishes during face to face until I started tutoring online. You really do get a whole lot more done in an online tutoring session than you would face to face. The passing backwards and forwards of books is a thing of the past. Waiting for a student to finish writing before I can mark and evaluate their work is a thing of the past. The interactive whiteboard that I use, bitpaper, has true two way functionality making it possible for both of us to write on the board at the same time without any adverse performance issues. My student can be answering a question whilst I am commenting on their work in real time, without having to be learning over their shoulder or trying to awkwardly read upside writing! In fact one student commented, “I can’t believe how much work we get through!”. This was his first lesson online after I had previously taught him face to face.
Multiple sessions in a week is a breeze
Want to arrange an extra session during the week before that exam. No problem. There is no need to block together sessions to make it efficient for either the students or a tutors travel time. Just find a mutual free spot – and voila. And, remember, we can do it where ever you are. It is not uncommon for me to tutor a student when they are at a relatives house instead of their own, or when I am at a relatives house instead of my own. It really is excitingly simple to schedule.
Need to rearrange? No problem, because there is no travelling involved, like above, it is just a case of finding a mutual free time. Just make sure you let me know in plenty of time.
So, if you are interested in booking some tuition, feel free to get in touch with me here.