Sharing a Screen, if Not a Classroom
Jan. 24, 2012
In a hushed first-grade classroom at Public School 55 in the South Bronx, Edward Muñoz, a bashful 7-year-old in scuffed sneakers and a worn hoodie, was sounding out tricky words with his tutor.
Together they plowed through a book about a birthday barbecue, tackling the words “party” and “presents.” Then they played a rousing game of word-based tic-tac-toe, with Edward eventually declaring victory.
Exchanges like theirs take place every day in classrooms around the country, now that links between early literacy gains and later school success have been clearly documented.
But Edward’s tutor was not in the classroom. His school, a 20-minute walk from the nearest subway stop in a crime-plagued neighborhood, has long had trouble finding tutors willing to visit. “It is hard to get anyone to volunteer,” said the school’s principal, Luis Torres, who sometimes cancels fire drills because of the gunfire he hears outside.
Now, newly designed software for the tutoring of beginning readers has bridged the gap, allowing volunteers to meet students online from a distance. P.S. 55 is testing the program with students in its four first-grade classes.
Edward’s tutor, Jenny Chan, was an hour away in Midtown, on a bustling trading floor at JPMorgan Chase, where she provides technology support. She was talking to Edward by phone and seeing the story he was reading with screen-sharing software on her desktop computer.
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Online Tutors - The Future of Volunteering to Make a Difference
DC Public Schools has partnered with Innovations in Learning to offer a unique volunteer tutoriing opportunity. You can help a child learn to read in only 30 minutes a week without ever leaving your desk!
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