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Online one to one tutoring for school children

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On the BBC news last night, I saw a brief extract of what was supposed to be online tutoring.  It all looked quite slick in terms of the quality of the picture and the tutor seemed empathetic but it seemed to be an example of the constraints of using a tool that provides a webcam of the tutor rather than a Whiteboard as in Adobe Connect.  The tutor held up a piece of paper that had a sentence on and asked the school pupil what mistakes there were (some words that should have been in capitals were in lower case).  She had to check the learner could see and it probably was not very clear.  With Adobe Connect, this can be put on the whiteboard, which would be clearer.  She then asked the learner how to correct it.  Again Adobe Connect might look less slick but would have the affordance of allowing the learner to be able to correct it themselves by using the "draw" tool.

It seems worrying that money is being spent on online tutoring tools that seem superficially "modern" but a less spectacular looking platform like Adobe Connect (or OU Live and Elluminate - previous OU tools) would be better in terms of pedagogy and allowing learners to do more themselves.

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Muenster, Germany

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Hi Patrick, I didn't see the article that you are referring to but I have been interacting with some MFL teachers recently.

There might be a few reasons why the teacher/tutor is using the 'low tech' approach even though the high tech is available. Here are my observations:

A lot of teachers/tutors are having to adapt their manual teaching resources for online teaching and either haven't had the time to do so, or experiencing an extremely high learning curve getting to grips with tech they've never used before.

Until Zoom gave free access for educational use, the teachers were restricted to using the collaboration software that their schools already subscribed to; some of that software didn't have the features for online teaching/whiteboards at the beginning of the pandemic.

But by far the biggest reason is that the children (especially the younger ones) themselves prefer the low tech approach and want to see their teacher's face. The children are experiencing a massive loss of social contact and whiteboard working creates a barrier.

Patrick Andrews

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Thanks for the comment, Deborah

I can see the affective value of being able to see a teacher's face but the interaction seemed so "clunky" in the way it was shown on the news item. There seemed to be a great deal lost in the pupil needing to tell the teacher what to correct rather than being able to correct themselves.