To improve one’s school results, to avoid falling behind the rest of the class or prevent being held back, taking private tutored lessons is sometimes the only solution for children having difficulties in school or moving from one country to another.
In 2016, The Guardian reported that more than 40% of pupils in London have had a private tutor at some time during the school year.
Outside the capital, the number fell to 25% of all pupils, and such a discrepancy between London and the rest of the country is worrying academics, teachers and parents alike since it is seen as an increase in educational inequality.
These educational inequalities have recently been put in the spotlight with a report on the top two Universities of the U.K.: Cambridge and Oxford (Oxbridge).
The report outlines that Oxbridge universities made 48% of their offers to London and South East England students while the North West, the North East, Yorkshire and Humber only received about 16% of all proposals.
David Lammy, the Labour Party MP in charge of the report said: “Whilst some individual colleges and tutors are taking steps to improve access, in reality, many Oxbridge colleges are still fiefdoms of entrenched privilege, the last bastions of the old school tie.”
Graduating from college marks the end of the school for most students. But should learning stop there?
But thanks to technology and distant education, bridging the gap of educational inequalities might be easier to do.
Here we will explain how to use online exercises as a standard school system support and to improve one’s results.
The main advantage of having online education resources is that it is quick and straightforward to access and often offer some form of customized interactivity.
It is also more accommodating than regular classes and will let the pupil or student progress at his or her own rhythm. It is also a way to break with the authority link existing with the school teacher or instructor and the student, point that may be a good solution for some children having difficulties in school.
These education reinforcing resources are many: quizzes, interactive exercises, learning games, video lessons, flashcards, sudoku, crosswords and more.
The other benefits and not the least; online active learning gives one the chance to break with the 9 am to 3 pm classic school pattern and not to have to be stressed about being on time for a private lesson.
Yet, according to educators, even the best online learning apps do not guaranty that the student will understand or assimilate the notions and concepts viewed online. It is also pointed out that it is vital that students learn how to use what they have discovered the right way.
That is why it is not recommended to leave a student to learn utterly alone in front of his or her screen. In that case who would keep track of the progress made or make sure that the student does not stray and lose focus because of the many temptations of the web (Facebook, Instagram, etc.).
These days, some online school platform offers an educational support to avoid children getting too isolated. These programs, often using higher education students as tutors, offer Q&A chat for students and any questions is usually answered within 24 hours.
Even better, one of the most trendy and considerable solutions for private tutoring in recent years has been remote distance teaching; tutors and students are linked together through their webcams using Skype or WhatsApp. It is a way for education to create more links despite the growing digitisation of the education system.
Computers and online lessons are more and more common in the classroom.
Even though online courses are deemed by many as a good solution, many people still think that despite simplified access to education, these online classes maintain the educational inequalities since they often cost a hefty price.
With the expendable incomes of middle-class homes stagnating in recent years, it is hard to see how the more modest family could afford to pay £20 to £25 per hour for their children to have a tutor.
However online classes are usually 3 to 4 times cheaper than home tutoring making it more accessible to students coming from more modest families and needing a bit of help with their homework or revisions.
In the U.K., this will correspond to children between the age of 5 and 12 years old. The national curriculum includes two Key Stage of education for those years, and as pupils go to secondary schools, National tests and teacher assessments are performed to test children in English, maths and science.
Where to look for Educational Resources?
Starfall has been teaching children to read with phonics for well over a decade.
The systematic approach that the website uses, in conjunction with audiovisual interactivity, is perfect for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, special education, homeschool, and English language development.
Starfall is an educational alternative to other entertainment choices for children.
The low-cost membership program expands the free content to include delightfully animated songs, mathematics, and reading activities spanning pre-kindergarten to Year 2.
Children will have fun learning essential reading, literacy and math skills through exploration!
@school is an easy to use and child-friendly website organised around the UK National Curriculum for primary education at home or school at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
@school provides online tests, interactive exercises, worksheets, pictures and much more based on curriculum subjects including Maths, Numeracy, English and Science.
The website is not free and will require you to register. But it offers many games, puzzles and quizzes alongside the support for classic lessons.
This website has been designed to be simple to use even for kids. A lot of colouring options will make every kid happy, and a lot of engaging exercises will be a plus for parents.
Even in pre-schools, computers and iPads have a more and more important place in the early learning process of children.
Enchanted Learning produces children’s educational websites which are designed to capture the imagination while maximising creativity, learning, and enjoyment.
All the online resources on there have been designed to be extremely simple to use. Children are given the most precise, most straightforward computer interface, and the teaching material is created so that the navigation and controls are intuitive.
The website’s drive is to produce the best educational material, emphasising creativity and the pure enjoyment of learning.
Keep in mind that this is an American website and some of the material, notably the SAT revision section will have to be adapted to a UK learner.
Also, to access the entirety of the website, a small yearly subscription fee ($20) will have to be paid.
This website offers a lot of resources for both Primary and Secondary education.
It includes a lot of subjects which are all organised in very well structured lesson plans and offer a huge amount of teaching and learning strategies with multimedia resources.
Materials which are quick and easy to customise and comes with a 24/7 help chat, making it easy for any learner to ask questions about parts of the online classroom.
Despite a cost of £9.99 a month, Twinkl can be a solution for children whose personality might not match the perfect pace and format of the learning experience.
This platform offers an inclusive instructional design with online classes ranging from improving vocabulary and grammar to counting and mathematics and science that are specially created to teach and playfully engage children.
The Radio and TV national broadcaster has a fantastic website offering all sorts of resources in the forms of games, video clips and link to all subjects of the national curriculum from French and German to Chemistry and History.
One of the best thing about the website is that the resources are divided into Primary (age 3 to 11) and Secondary (age 11 to 16+) education and that each age range has is split into the different Key Stage of Education (for every country of the United Kingdom).
As they are differences between the curriculums of Wales, Scotland, England and Northen Ireland, this makes it very easy for children, parents and educators to find their way around the right program.
The entirety of those resources is free!
Will book disappear with the advent of technology?
This website is not explicitly aiming at providing online course or classroom activities. Instead, it offers a huge amount of resources for teachers.
The International Children’s Digital Library was created to give children from all around the world, children’s books in their native language.
Their website states their mission:
“As families move from Kenya to Finland or Brazil to Mexico or Viet Nam to California, books published in their native country or in their first language often must be left behind.
In their new homelands, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to find children’s books from their cultures and in their mother tongue. Parents have little access to the books and stories from their youth to pass on to the next generation.
Many children must grow up without knowledge of their family’s heritage and first language. A fundamental principle of the Foundation is that children and their families deserve to have access to the books of their culture, as well as the majority culture, regardless of where they live.
According to a paper published in 2005 by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in preparation for the second meeting on the World Summit on the Information Society, “Denial to access to information in one’s mother tongue is equivalent to a denial of a human right.”
The report also concludes, “In terms of pedagogy, how do children learn best? In their mother tongue.”
The ICDL Foundation’s goal is to build a collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world. Ultimately, the Foundation aspires to have every culture and language represented so that every child can know and appreciate the riches of children’s literature from the world community.”
There is a huge amount of children’s book written or translated into the English language but this platform also gives children access to books in another language, a great way to start learning a new dialect or to learn about another culture.
There are no course design or lesson plan on the website, but this library should give teaching ideas and suggestions to educators especially since the stories and books are easily printable.
It is perfect to facilitate the teaching of reading and writing skills while providing familiar but still challenging texts and will make it easy for students and teacher to assess the progress that has been made.