At the beginning of every new year whether it’s calendar or academic, comes renewed energy for forward and future thinking. This thinking not only comes from education leaders, teachers and businesses but also from parents and children alike.
My question this year is how will develop, and what route will its users be following? When looking for some educational support you can type into your search engine and up comes a zillion choices. How do you choose the one that is best suited to your needs and how can you trust that they genuinely deliver what you require?
If you’re a parent looking for the right support for your child or even if you’re looking to retake a subject firstly you need it to be up to date and following the curriculum, secondly it needs to be user friendly. Aside from that it’s mostly down to personal taste, however recommendations come highly rated.
With all the choice of support at our fingertips why do many parents still feel wary of using online learning support? I decided to chat to the Founders of Stuck Ltd (Stuck on Homework and Stuck for Schools), Teresa Watts Co-Founder & Managing Director of Stuck also ponders this question. “Are parents still nervous about all things digital and therefore not looking to the internet for resources or are there so many free resources online that they feel they don’t need to pay?” Personally from a parental point of view you need quality, and it has to be the right support with the same goal in mind, to improve on what you’re learning (in many cases the curriculum).
It’s clear that online learning is no longer regarded as being a new concept, which is why the market will inevitably go through the process of the sink or swim game.
However if you’re a parent trying to work out what support is best for your little angel then you sift through your search engine to find the right one (whatever that is!). You may choose an online support of sorts, or go the traditional route – a (human) tutor that visits your home.
Stuck on Homework for example is a website that specialises in maths for Key Stage 3, GCSE, iGCSE and A-level with bitesize online video lessons that you can play over and over again. There are test questions/quizzes and you have your own log in and can follow your progress. Many other websites are questions, answers and quizzes, but not many it has to be said, with good quality video lessons (like Stuck on Homework!).
Tutor Hub is a different offering again which is a site where you can go to for an online tutor using a webcam (a live scheduled lesson). You pay by the minute so this does not become as costly as a face to face tutor that you might pay twenty five pounds an hour for.
But it seems the lines are still blurry with regards to the potential of online learning for parents. Teresa says “It’s remarkable that there are so many parents out there that don’t understand what an ‘online tutor’ is, i.e. a tutor that you access online, not someone who comes to your door, and also not a book. Our business has been quite surprised at how long it’s taken the market to engage with online resources, and having sold DVD’s as well, we’ve had a lot of interest in the comfort of buying a solid DVD rather than an online subscription.” The old skool lives on!
As a parent I believe this is now ‘on the change’ this year, and will see more and more parents immersing themselves into other areas of technology, including using it to help support their children.
“With the flexibility and affordability on its side, online resources are hugely beneficial to students and adults, and deliver great results when students engage with them – 84% of our users say that Stuckonhomework.com offers full GCSE and Key Stage 3 support in the form of video lessons that cover the entire curriculum plus our online test yourself quizzes for just 1 pound a week (when you buy an annual subscription). That’s less than a cup of coffee from Costa! So, theoretically, it should be a no brainer for all parents who have students who need support with their GCSE Maths!”
From a Stuck Ltd point of view the founders have seen demands opening up that they didn’t quite expect. Although parents are a little slower on the uptake of online learning at home, schools are quickly catching up, and where schools go the parents will eventually follow. Helen Royle Co-Founder & Sales Director said “Although the business was launched initially to provide online video support to students and parents at home via Stuckonhomework.com, school and colleges quickly began to request the maths lessons to provide additional support for their students across the Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 maths curriculum as well as using an additional numeracy online video package which we subsequently produced. Given the ongoing shortage of maths teachers (25% of secondary school pupils do not currently have access to a specialist maths teacher).”
WHY?! With the government demanding that STEM subjects are priority surely this is a huge oversight. Well it’s true so these kids need the support that is so hugely absent.
“Teachers and tutors have found that the lessons are an extremely useful supplement to their in-class teaching, giving students support with lessons they may have missed or find particularly hard or which provide great revision support in the run up to exams.
Being able to access Stuckonhomework lessons via ipads, tablets and phones as well as PC has changed the habits of students, expecting support where ever they might be, on the move. Unlike some older generations, students are extremely comfortable online and happy to use digital learning – let’s face it, bright young things tend to eat and breathe technology now, it has become part of them. They are the Youtube generation, used to having information presented via an online video format, and teachers and tutors are keen to extend this digital behaviour into the school curriculum”.
Now that Computer Science and ‘Learning to Code’ is on the curriculum, the direction of learning online speaks volumes. It’s undeniable that more and more people desire and expect flexibility in life. Learning on the move, when, where and how you choose, it’s convenient, and cost effective. Where maths is concerned Stuck is filling a gap where support is clearly needed. The young generations have already embraced it, and are leading with it. It’s up to the parents to keep up!
Embracing learning on the move