Monday, January 23, 2012

Online Learning Fills Void for Early Readers

While not every teacher is embracing the increase of technology in classrooms, other teachers would say technology is making all the difference. It’s not necessarily that the programs and apps found on computers and mobile devices are “better” than the face-to-face instruction in the classroom, it’s that technology is providing a solution where there was no solution before.

First-grade classes at Public School 55 in the South Bronx in New York are experiencing a technology-based solution firsthand. Because of a remote tutoring program sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, students at P.S. 55 are receiving reading help from volunteers online. While one could argue that it’s not as good as having a volunteer present in the classroom to help with reading, online volunteers offering to help gives more help to the students than no volunteer at all.

The program was created by Seth Weinberger, a 56-year-old former technology lawyer from Evanston, Ill., and the founder of Innovations for Learning, a 19-year-old nonprofit organization that has set its sights on raising persistently low reading scores among the nation’s poorest children. The tutoring software is being tried by over 550 volunteers in 60 low-performing classrooms in Chicago, Detroit, Miami and Washington, as well as at P.S. 55, where in 2010, only 15 percent of the third graders passed the state English exam.

To learn more, read the full article here.

Are online volunteers a step in the right direction for schools who struggle receiving help with tutoring?

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