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Combing New Technology and Academic Support

By Joseph, published on 20/06/2018 Blog > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > Tools for Online Tutoring

New technologies have turned the world of teaching upside down!

Digital resources and the internet have become an everyday part of teaching and learning.

In fact:

  • Most qualified teachers now use digital technologies to prepare their classes
  • They’re aware of the educational benefits of new technologies
  • Some teachers even use them to personalise learning

Of course, private tutors probably use technology even more, especially those teaching via webcam!

For those tech-savvy teachers out there, Superprof’s going to show you how to integrate technology into your private tutorials and online tutoring.

Whether you help with physics, biology, economics, or mathematics tutorials, you can get help with your tutorials online. Here’s what you need to know!

Where and How to Organise Academic Support Online

File sharing is one of the biggest advantages of using technology in private tutorials. This comes with benefits for both the student and the online tutor.

Some of the most common file-sharing and Cloud storage platforms include:

They’re easy to use and are free, for the most part. In Google Drive, you can create and edit files directly on the platform. In fact, several people can edit these files at once.

How much do digital learning resources cost? E-learning resources make sharing knowledge easier than traditional learning resources. (Source: Free-Photos)

Let’s take a maths tutorial, for example. You could:

  • 1. Create a multiple-choice quiz in a text or spreadsheet program
  • 2. Share worksheets with your student to print out at home in order to study a certain topic
  • 3. Make gap-fill exercises that your student can complete directly on their computer.

An English tutor, for example, can find plenty of private tutoring resources since language lessons are some of the most common tutorials.

Virtual Learning Environments

A virtual learning environment is a web portal set up by educational institutions (primary schools, secondary schools, six forms, or universities) that offers a number of services to students.

This type of technology can aid communication between students, teachers, and the establishment themselves.

They tend to include:

  • Messaging services
  • Digital notepads
  • News
  • Information on campus life
  • Remote academic support resources
  • Etc.

Virtual Learning Environments are mainly for students, teachers, and, in some cases, parents. They can be accessed by students at any time.

For example, a chemistry teacher could upload resources for their students to go back over some of the more complex concepts once the class has finished. By offering them tailored academic support activities and feedback, they can help improve their grades.

Of course, if you’re offering one on one tutoring services, you can also use virtual learning environments since they’re not just for online tutors. You can use these like a virtual classroom where students can submit an assignment, essay, activity, or complete exams.

Digital Notebooks

After each lesson, teachers can highlight study topics and which exercises students have to do. Perfect for academic support!

Their objective is to allow each student and parent to keep up to date with their work via a web page that can be accessed at any time.

What are digital notebooks? In the future, you’ll be able to replace your analogue resources with digital ones. (Source: Pexels)

Of course, this resource hasn’t replaced pen and paper yet.

Digital Whiteboards

Digital whiteboards have some interesting applications. They’re particularly useful for those providing academic support via webcam since they can be used to simply annotate documents.

Let’s take a history class on invasions, for example. You can take a map from the time and start annotating it with each of the conquests over time.

Similarly, a French tutor can correct grammar and spelling errors on a digital text right before their student’s eyes.

What are the benefits of digital whiteboards? With a digital whiteboard, you needn’t take notes. (Source: Pexels)

Videoconferencing

Distance learning now includes video conferencing. This allows a tutor to teach an online class to a single student or a whole class.

Amongst the tools at your disposal, you should check out BigBlueButton, which is free and opensource.

You have complete control over all aspects of your video conference:

  • Turn on or off the auditorium audio
  • Whiteboards
  • Digitising documents
  • Saving sessions

These new digital approaches are perfect for helping students catch up during the summer holidays, for example.

Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to record lessons. Thus, students can use audio and video resources. You can learn from podcasts anywhere, anytime. You can learn in your office, at home, or on public transport, using your smartphone.

While not as effective as supplemental instruction, podcasts are a great way for students to struggling with certain subjects as they can brush up on certain topics whenever they have a few minutes free.

Podcasts are one of the best strategies for learning languages. If you’re doing some exam prep, you may want to listen to podcasts either on a foreign language or in said foreign language. A learner can benefit a lot from hearing the target language whenever they can.

Multiple-Choice Quizzes

All good learning should include regular testing. When it comes to e-learning, you can easily integrate multiple-choice quizzes into your lessons.

With these types of tools, you can check whether or not your student has been studying or whether they’ve understood a certain concept.

Of all the tools available, the following are of particular interest:

  • LimeSurvey
  • KwikSurvey
  • Google Forms

These are a great complement to online exercises and a fantastic way to consolidate knowledge on particular topics.

Find out more about the disadvantages of online academic support…

Digital Textbooks

As the name indicates, digital textbooks are replacing the paper copies that you’re probably used to. There are 3 main types:

  • Simple Digital Textbooks (a digital copy of the paper version)
  • Enriched Digital Textbooks with greater interactivity
  • Pure Digital Textbooks which are designed to be used on computers, tablets, or smartphones.

Of course, it’s better for students to have access to the versions of the textbooks they’re using in class. They can work on what they’ve studied in class either on their own or with someone helping them like a parent or a private tutor.

Survey and Voting Tools

While still in their infancy, electronic polling systems are worth mentioning. Their goal is to allow students to participate directly in voting via a keypad.

These systems can use a simple box with a keypad that students can use to answer questions given to them by their teacher. When it comes to online courses, there are a lot of sites that use this type of technology. For example:

  • Socrative
  • Polleverywhere
  • Mentimeter

As you probably gathered, these voting systems are quite simply interactive real-time quizzes. They’re perfect for revision sessions and checking that your students have understood what you’re teaching them. You’ll instantly know which topics you need to cover.

Learning Through Play

While mostly used in primary schools, educational games are used less and less as students get older. However, learning through play can be really effective if used correctly.

The advantages of using games include:

  • Active participation from students
  • Instant feedback
  • Healthy competition and team-building
  • Weaker students can retry as many times as they like.

Of all the educational game sites, these few are worth a mention:

  • National Geographic Kids
  • BBC Schools: Games
  • Academic Skill Builders

Where can you find educational online games? Games are a great way to learn. (Source: Wokandapix)

For private tutors, games are a good way to practise certain topics or for doing homework. They can be really useful for subjects like maths, where students can learn to better understand concepts used calculus, algebra, statistics, geometry, and trigonometry without even realising. Games are some of the best free tutoring resources around.

That said, you don’t have to be maths tutor to benefit from games. Whether you’re a chemistry tutor, music tutor, or foreign language tutor, your supplemental instruction will improve with games.

Whether you’re a teacher at a school or a private tutor, you now have plenty of digital tools to help you encourage your students and lead them down the road to academic success. Digital technologies are transforming academic support at home. In addition to motivating students, they make sharing documents and finding resources much easier.

Feel free to mention the resources you use on your profile. It can help potential students to find a tutor. As an educator, your profile will point those who want to be tutored in the right direction.

With so many resources available, it’s also becoming harder and harder to find the right digital resources. Find out more about MOOCs, too! While they’re mostly for undergraduate students, there are more and more courses being made for secondary and primary school pupils.

If you want to become a tutor and succeed at it, preparation is key. You need to use all the tools at your disposal to make your teaching as effective as possible. Don’t forget that you can also use digital resources to help you with scheduling classes, sharing resources with students, and advising them with feedback.

Whether you’re offering one to one home tutoring or are an online instructor, remember that the best tutors are those that give their students the study skills to become flexible learners.

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