In this article, Superintendent Shane Ogden shares about his district's experience with TutorMe, and how on-demand tutoring increased access to enrichment opportunities for rural students.
Historically, tutoring has been seen as a resource primarily for struggling students. Often, schools elect to incorporate on-demand tutoring as a support for students at risk of failing a class or failing to meet graduation requirements. Recent interruptions to education related to the pandemic and falling test scores have only exacerbated this view of on-demand tutoring as an academic intervention.
While on-demand tutoring is a great resource to support struggling students, it’s also an avenue to provide personalized learning to all students. Personalized learning goes beyond academic recovery, to include opportunities for enrichment and individualized instructional support. In a recent EdWeek Market Brief, "The Critical Tutoring Needs of Rural School Systems," Wyoming School District Superintendent Shane Ogden noted that, prior to partnering with TutorMe for on-demand tutoring, his district teachers had to stay after school to tutor students.
These tutoring sessions quickly became more about homework help than about really evaluating the skills students needed in order to grow. His district needed an option that would allow students to access tutoring beyond after-school sessions, without burdening his limited staff with additional responsibilities and stress.
By choosing an on-demand model for tutoring, Superintendent Ogden observed the vast impact that such a program could have on all students, not just students struggling academically.
Instead of focusing on using on-demand tutoring to only support struggling students, districts can leverage this resource to allow for personalized learning for all students, increasing the capacity for student achievement across the board.
Using personalized learning to provide enrichment opportunities
In the brief, Superintendent Ogden described the limited opportunities for enrichment available in his small, rural district. He wanted to create an opportunity for students to explore perspectives and engage with experts that lived beyond their small community, allowing students the opportunity to improve their skill sets and ultimately enrich their community.
On-demand tutoring provides the opportunity for schools to connect students with expert tutors in fields and subject areas where the district may not actually have staff members with expertise.
While some students may not need to access tutoring for remedial help, students can increase their confidence and curiosity in learning through enrichment opportunities that challenge them academically and allow for real-world connections to their learning.
Superintendent Ogden shares, "If I have a student who wants to be an engineer, we can go in and select a tutor that is also an engineer to work with him." That offers a lot of advantages to the student.
- They get a real-life look at how to approach those problems
- They have the potential to explore math skills that are used in their future profession
- They’re able to get real-life answers to questions about which skills are most valuable and of most interest to the student.
This high level of connection and support helps open the door to considerably enhanced student learning. While that support is certainly valuable for struggling students, who can benefit from a real-life perspective on what skills they will actually need in order to pursue their future careers, it's also valuable for high-performing students, who may want to take that learning to the next level or get a better feel for where they need to focus.
Providing that key groundwork is essential for helping students connect learning with real-world scenarios.
Using personalized learning to increase confidence and curiosity in the learning process
In his conversation about partnering with TutorMe in his district, Superintendent Ogden reported that on-demand tutoring has also created opportunities for students to dive deeper into topics they were curious about, including computer science or a particular language – including languages for which their district might not have classroom teachers.
Ogden's district encouraged students to utilize on-demand tutoring throughout the regular school day to enhance learning opportunities and answer questions. As a result, students were able to experience those higher levels of learning in the classroom. They received one-on-one support, advice, and answers to key questions from an expert in the field throughout the day.
This is a solution that is only possible with on-demand tutoring, since in-person tutoring relies heavily on staff availability and generally only occurs during specific times, often at the end of the school day.
Curiosity, Walden University notes, is key to learning. Students who are interested in what they're learning or curious about key answers are more likely to remember the information they've been presented regarding that subject.
Igniting student learning can go a long way toward helping to improve overall outcomes. With on-demand tutoring, students are able to feed their curiosity and get answers to their questions in a one-on-one, personalized environment, complete with learning opportunities geared toward their unique interests.
As a result, they're better able to retain that information and often have better overall academic outcomes, even in subjects that may not relate directly to their chosen fields. It's important for school districts to provide those opportunities for students to explore topic areas that interest them so that they can increase their curiosity and skills across subject areas.
Use an on-demand tutoring solution to benefit your district
On-demand tutoring can be leveraged as a highly effective intervention for struggling students across your district, but it has the potential to be so much more. When used effectively, on-demand tutoring can help students who are already excelling go beyond the information presented in the classroom. It allows opportunities for students to take a deeper look at content that is interesting to them and develop skills that may not be offered in their current curriculum.
Are you ready to launch an on-demand tutoring program for your district that will help students increase their overall learning and skills? Reach out to the TutorMe team for more information about on-demand tutoring and how it can benefit your district.