Online Learning: What Khan Academy Means for 21st Century Learning

khan academy_online learning

Want a platform that allows students of all ages to play games, learn exam preparation strategies for tests like the GRE, and much more for free? Enter Khan Academy.org. Education has always evolved with society, and this website is now an amazing digital tool that stands out as an accompaniment for learning in and outside of the classroom.

online learning_khan academyOriginally founded in 2006, Khan Academy is a non-profit website that offers step-by-step instructional videos for subjects ranging from linear algebra to art history and everything in between. Students as young as kindergarten aged can watch these instructional videos, take interactive quizzes based on what they’ve learned, and look at a map of their progress in whatever subjects they choose to interact with.

Khan Academy.org contains over 5,000 instructional videos, and in February 2014 alone, the website had more than 10 million registered users from all over the world. Khan Academy additionally offers test prep for the SATs and AP tests, and there’s even a section dedicated to navigating the college admission process and balancing one’s personal finances.

The truly great thing about Khan Academy is that it can be used as an additional tool to supplement school lessons at home, and as a resource for teachers to include during class time. Teachers across the country use the website’s practice problem sets and quizzes to monitor their students’ progress and incorporate step-by-step instructional methods to ensure students know the exact path to success.khan academy_future of learningKhan Academy has also been a major tool in a revolutionary new method of education called the flipped classroom, in which students watch instructional videos at home, and come to class with their questions and concerns the next day.

Students then come to class knowing exactly what they need help with, and teachers are not rushed trying to incorporate both instructional and interactive time. In essence, the website allows students the opportunity to learn flexibly and at their own paces.

Additional practice problems are always available for those who need them, as well as more challenging ones for those who are ready to tackle the next challenge. No matter the student’s age, grade, or interest, Khan Academy is sure to offer students endless opportunities for success.

Works Cited

“Research on the Use of Khan Academy in Schools.” Ed Week. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 7 Mar. 2014. Web. 29 July 2017. <http://www.edweek.org/media/2014-03-07_implementation_briefing.pdf>.

Online Tutoring Jobs: Pros & Cons of Popular Online Tutoring Platforms

Online Tutoring Jobs

Tutors have long been sought after by parents to help their child work through a subject or problem when they themselves may not have the tools necessary to help their child. With internet access, students today have a wealth of knowledge and opportunities at their fingertips, but they still need a guide. The wonderful news is that as a tutor, you have the same wealth of information when you are looking for online tutoring jobs.

If you Google “Tutoring Online,” you immediately find yourself overwhelmed with possibilities. With all of the choices, how do you decide which tutoring company best fits your needs? In this article, we’ve reviewed the top tutoring companies to better help you compare what is available to you and what will best suit your needs.

Online Tutoring Jobs: Chegg Tutors 

online tutoring jobs_cheggSome may remember Chegg as being a good source for used college textbooks. This was how the company got started in marketing online education resources to students. As advances in internet speed and accessibility have progressed, so has Chegg. ConsumerAffairs.com lists it as one of the top online tutoring programs for students.

Pros:

–    Flexible schedules: For tutors who need flexibility, Chegg is entirely online, and tutors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This allows tutors to create their schedule, taking on as little or as much as time will permit.

–    Chegg offers a free trial period that allows students to test the website and tutoring service, meaning you get the opportunity to cultivate repeat business from the very beginning.

–    Reputation- What’s more promising is that the company has a long-standing reputation in higher education. This offers tutors the chance to work with a company whose name is recognizable and can provide the advantage over businesses that are not well-known.

Cons:

–    Lack of client continuity: While Chegg offers a lot of flexibility to tutors, the trade-off is that you have a lack of customer continuity. You may not get repeat clients, and a tutor has to work hard to cultivate repeat customers who will log on when they are available.

–    Sticky Subscriptions and Subsequent Payout Policy:  To get the most benefit from the service, users have to subscribe. The lowest package will cost $15 a week for 30 minutes of tutoring, with a charge of $.50 every minute after that. That means if the subscriber is paying by the minute, you will also be paid by the minute, not the hour. While the pay for tutors is $20 an hour, you are paid by the minute after the first 5, meaning if you set your schedule to be available for tutoring 10 hours a week, but only log 2 hours and 30 minutes of tutoring, you will make $50, not $2000.

–    Limited Client Audience:  This website is for college students who may need a little bit of assistance with a class or subject that they need guidance in. If you are not comfortable tutoring higher learning individuals or have not had experience or education at this level, it will be evident to students. This tutoring site is best for those accustomed to assisting peers, have quality writing, math and communication skills.

Online Tutoring Jobs: Sylvanonline tutoring jobs_sylvanSylvan Learning Centers have been around for decades and has services available to students through its many national franchises in the United States. The company has had to evolve to the digital generation and has developed a hybrid model for students who are short on time, and who are more adept at navigating digital and online education forums. As a tutor, this will mean you will be able to work with a student in person while also guiding them through applications when they are not in front of you.

Pros:

-Flexible hours and small group teaching allow you as the tutor to focus on building the skill you are teaching your students.

The Sylvan Model is wonderful for students who need interactive and in-person tutoring services. This offers students a personal connection with their tutors, which could enhance their learning experience. As a tutor, you will have the capability of working evenings, weekends and summers.

-With Sylvan’s companion technology, SylvanSync, you will learn tools to help you work with students through technology.

– Pay is reasonable, according to glassdoor.com, the average pay for tutors is a little bit more than $13 per hour. Many teachers may find it beneficial for supplementary income to work at these centers after school.

Cons:

– Sylvan still holds mostly to the model of face to face learning inside a center.

-According to job postings on indeed.com, most of these centers want certified teachers with a Bachelor’s degree or better. Those who do not possess a teaching degree, certification, or Bachelor’s degree need not apply.

Online Tutoring Jobs: Kumon online tutoring jobs_kumonKumon is a program geared toward building math and reading schools for children in preschool and grade school. It is nationally franchised and is a brick and mortar tutoring service aimed at the increasing the students’ math and science skills.

Pros:

-Jobs are listed as staff employed opportunities, which is a great option for those who like steady hours and a reliable schedule.

-Kumon takes care of their employees and offers a very nice benefits package that includes medical, dental, 401K retirement and tuition discounts.

-Since it is a brick and mortar business, Kumon is ideal for tutors who enjoy working with students in person.

Cons:

-Kumon is specifically designed for Math or Reading and many instruction options are offered after school unless you are willing to work with pre-school ages. This often means you will work evenings and weekends.

-The pay is below average, glassdoor.com lists the average hourly pay at less than $9 per hour, depending on location.

-Online reviews are mixed, stating that the company focuses on profit and strict guidelines, rather than individual student success. This can make tutoring more difficult for tutors who are accustomed to building individual success in the student.

Online Tutoring Jobs: Wyzant 

online tutoring jobs_wyzant

Wyzant was started in 2005 and acts as a referral service for students and tutors. The company is flexible in offering tutoring online and in person and is open to all grade levels from elementary school to college level tutoring.

Pros:

-Wyzant matches students to tutors who have strength in the skills they wish to improve. It’s a bit like match.com, but for learning.

-Regarding pay as a tutor, you are able to establish your own pay scale, rather than being limited to what the company offers.

-The beauty of Wyzant is that you can tutor in person or set up online tutoring and lesson plans for your students.

-Wyzant has options for students to select tutors for more than 300 subjects, which will allow for a larger customer base.

Cons:

-If you are unqualified, Wyzant may offer some stiff competition.  Many tutors are experienced teachers, grad students, and professors who are dedicated to the education of the individual student.

-According to glassdoor.com, Wyzant retains 40% of your pay rate from new tutors. You will to the have to log a set number of tutoring hours before you are able to receive a better pay ratio.

-Wyzant is a referral company that matches your skills and strengths with prospective students, so work may be slow if your skills are not in demand.

Online Tutoring Jobs: StudyGateonline tutoring jobs_studygate

StudyGate offers online learning for high school and college students to work with competent tutors who are knowledgeable in their subject area at affordable prices. The site specializes in math, computer science, biology, chemistry, language learning, and test prep options.

Pros:

-Pay is competitive since tutors can set their own hourly rates and commission starts at only 20%. Unless you set your rates super low, this will beat all the other companies on this list.

-There are no brick-and-mortar commitments, so travel time will always be zero. This is tutor freelancing fine-tuned to the effort of running your own business with all the freedom and responsibility, but none of the paperwork.

-Flexibility to provide homework help in a pinch via a bid system OR offer live learning services at your established hourly rate.

-Current tutors benefit from a long-term leveraging opportunity to establish accounts now while the company is still in its early stages.

Cons:

-This is still a young organization, so client flow is not as consistent as more established websites like Wyzant.

-There is some selling involved, so new tutors often have to establish a reputation with clients and ask good questions before engaging.

-New tutors must provide a recent transcript or diploma to validate their credentials so this can be inconvenient for experienced tutors who may not have this information readily at hand.

-Since minimal commission is taken, the site is built to pretty much run itself. If you have questions, it might be hard to talk with someone directly.

BOTTOM LINE:

Tutors looking for work can benefit from researching other tutoring businesses. It helps to decipher some of the tutoring businesses and the benefits you can reap. Tutoring is a career that offers flexibility and opportunities for educators and scholars to supplement their income and it can be both financially and personally rewarding.

Having options allow tutors to find the best fit for their abilities and schedules. But for the best outcomes, one of the most important things to remember about tutoring is to know your students and your abilities and seek the best company that meets your skill level and personal needs.

Tutoring Tips: The Basics of Tutoring Generation Z

tutorin tips_generation z

As a tutor focused on providing virtual education to students, you’re bound to hear plenty about Millennials. However, the demographics for young people seeking interactive education sites are beginning to change. Now, tutors are just as likely to help members of Generation Z as they are Millennials, which means it’s time to understand the nuances of this up-and-coming cadre of learners.

Generation Z was born right around the year 2000, and they collectively make up a larger percentage of the population than Millennials. Yet like every generation, they have specific tendencies that set them apart from prior generations. Your role as an online tutor is to become an effective guide for Generation Z students, and the best way to start on your journey is to understand how to create educational environments and opportunities suitable to their ranks.

Tutoring Tips # 1. Embrace everything and anything tech.tutoring tips_technologyThe members of Generation Z are growing up in a world where tech is not novel; it’s an everyday part of their lifestyles. Many sleep with their smart phones on or beside the bed, and have no problem navigating the latest apps. For them, technology equates to convenience, and they are well-versed in jumping from platform to platform without losing focus.

Still, Generation Z does not like to linger long if they see no benefit. Consequently, you must use technology appropriately and deliberately. For instance, if you find that Skype is not working for a student, you must be willing and able to adapt to another forum, such as Google Hangouts. Have alternative technical options handy as back-ups, and get comfortable with them before your tutoring sessions begin. The last thing you want is to be schooled by an impatient Generation Z pupil who knows far more than you do about the system you are using.

Tutoring Tips #2. Explain your mission upfront.

Generation Z, like their mostly Generation X parents, are highly independent. As such, they appreciate being given all the information they need to know at the beginning of your journey together. Tutors of this emerging group would be wise to create outcome-based syllabi with clear milestones. That way, students will understand the expectations from the get-go, and buy into the process with a deeper understanding of their expectations.

At the same time, be ready to vary your routes at times. Tutoring, like driving from Point A to Point B, sometimes requires detours. As you get to know your Generation Z learners better, you can veer off when needed to help them cement their knowledge.If you do this correctly, you’ll still end up at the same destination.

Tutoring Tips #3. Add critical thinking to the curriculum and your repertoire.

tutoring tips_critical thinking

Regrettably, Generation Z members often go for the “instant” answer rather than diving deeply into a subject. Though not all will have limited critical thinking skills, many will fall into this category. No matter what topic areas you tutor your Generation Z students in, you may find yourself dealing with this issue. The best way to make sure it doesn’t negatively affect your teaching and your students’ learning is to deal with it head on.

As you create a plan for tutoring each online student, consider the many “hacks” he or she might take to shorten the learning curve. Are all the hacks appropriate? What important issues do the hacks bypass? For instance, graphing calculators make getting answers easy, but they do not educate students in why a formula is essential to know and apply. Head off shortcuts by being aware that tutored pupils may want to get a fast fix, and add homework or classwork items that provide more insightful substance to the subject.

Over time, you will begin to amass new and innovative ways to make teaching Generation Z flexible, reliable, and rewarding. Just take it one tutored student at a time, and be sure to write down all the discoveries you make as you become a kickass online tutor. 

Using a Student’s Tech Prowess During Online Tutoring

online tutoring_education technlogy

As an online tutor, your goal is to know your topic area as well as possible. However, you should know your pupil as well, including his or her preferred method of learning. Most tutors today will be working with Millennials and Generation Z member which means a serious advantage for collaborative learning through a relatively recent vehicle: technology.

Millennials were the first generation to grow up with “native technology,” a term encompassing the notion that they have never known a world without some aspect of technology. Individuals who fall into the Generation Z category have even more prowess when it comes to being comfortable in a technology-filled environment.

How can you make the most of this reality? By utilizing the best video chat apps, interactive learning sites, and other web-based and offline – but still techy – platforms.

Seek out great learning apps.

online tutoring_learning appYour students will no doubt have smartphones, which means they’re app-ready. Educational apps abound, but some of the favorites for teachers at all levels are Edmodo, Kahoot!, and Remind. For instance, if you want to send out updates to a class through a secure system, rather than to them directly, Edmodo and Remind enable you to easily make it happen. Kahoot! is more of a fun environment where you can set up competitive games and question-answer sessions to promote excitement around building knowledge.

No matter the apps you choose, lean toward ones that are no cost to the student. Many pupils are unwilling to pay for online tutoring costs in addition to apps with one-time or monthly fees.

Find a trustworthy online chat site or app.

online tutoring_video chatAlthough your students might find Facetime an acceptable place to engage in conversation, it might not be well-suited for online tutoring. Tutors prefer to have the ability to share their screens and showcase illustrative documents. Consequently, all online tutors need to find a better online system that allows them to create an environment with classroom-style amenities.

A top freebie site is Google Hangouts, which has plenty of options for tutors to share information with students. In addition, the picture is relatively clear and generally glitch-free since the technology has been around for a significant amount of time. Another place to start your online tutoring sessions is Wikispaces, a locale that promotes instant collaboration.

Be sure to test out any online learning platform before you start your online tutoring service. Otherwise, you could wind up with problems during the give-and-take of tutored learning.

Ask students about the apps and places they use.

New to the world of Millennial learners and Generation Z students? During your tutoring sessions, feel free to ask if your pupils favor one site over another. You might discover new apps and sites that could open a world of opportunity for you as an instructor.

Technology has made it possible for you to tutor anyone, anywhere, but you must take the first step. Become a world-class online tutor with an outstanding portfolio of abilities and satisfied students with a little help from the not-so-simple gadgets we all have in our pockets.

 

Tutoring Tips: 8 Not-So-Obvious Things a Tutor Should Never Do

tutoring_tutoring tips

In an era where technology makes it feasible for people around the world to make money online based on their expertise and educational levels, Internet-based tutoring makes student learning more efficient, effective, and affordable. Yet when many educated individuals set out to become tutors, they think only of the big picture and not the details. Consequently, they often err as tutors in not-so-obvious ways.

If you want to become an online professor, or you are already knee-deep in the online tutoring realm, take the following lessons to heart. Not only will they help you drive more students to your preferred online tutoring platform, but they will help you increase your reputation as an exceptional teacher.

Mistake #1: Make far-reaching promises.

“Learn calculus in seven lessons!”“Improve your SAT score by 300 points!”“Sound like a native English speaker in two months of classes!”

While these taglines make great link-bait, they are guarantees you can’t stand behind. Why?They assume that every learner is at that same starting point. Will some of your mentees see their SAT scores go up? Certainly, if that’s the goal. But not everyone is capable of quickly integrating information and using their newfound skills to boost SAT and other test scores by astronomical amounts.

Mistake #2: Forget you’re a representative of your tutoring platform.

When you become an online tutor and use a tutoring community platform as your launching pad, you are not just representing yourself. You are also representing the platform. Consequently, everything you do reflects on both you and the site you’ve chosen as the vehicle to get tutoring jobs.

This is no different than if you worked at a company as a sales trainer. Every person you met would learn more about you as an individual and as a company employee. If you did something wrong, you would be putting your reputation and your employer’s reputation at risk.

Mistake #3: Ignore the parents of minor students.

tutoring_get parents involvedMost of the time, minor students are not paying for their online tutoring. Their parents are reaching into their pockets to get extra help for their children. This puts tutors in the position of dealing with both mentees and moms, dads, grandparents, and other guardians.

While you should always focus on the student first, you should never ignore the role that a parent can play. Parents can become your best allies, especially if your tutored student begins to slack off on homework or keeps missing tutoring sessions.

Mistake #4: Become too friendly with a student.

It’s easy to develop a rapport with some students, but remember that no matter how old they are or how much you have in common, you are not their buddy. While it’s fine to start online tutoring sessions with pleasantries about the weather, no session should devolve into friendly banter that’s simply inappropriate.

What happens if a student tries to veer off-topic repeatedly? You may have to firmly, but courteously, explain that this is a teaching experience. Don’t allow yourself to get caught off-guard by students who are great at making pals, but not good at accepting authority. Set boundaries from the first session, and you’ll be in a better position to lead the online tutoring session with ease.

Mistake #5: Take on too many students at once.

Tutoring allows you to make as much money online as you possibly can. This makes it very tempting to accept any students who could use your assistance. But it’s not fair to them if you can only give a smidgeon of your time, rather than your complete attention.

Be sure that you’re not overloading your calendar with your tutoring assignments. Start with one or two, and then move gradually upwards from that point. You’ll soon sense when you’re reaching a point of over-balance and can adjust accordingly.

Mistake #6: Offer tutoring in a subject you’re not comfortable with

tutoring tips_know the subjects

What happens if a student you’ve tutored successfully in two math subjects suddenly requests that you help with grammar? You may not have much background in grammar, but it’s hard to deny a student’s offer to pay you for more help.

At this point, you have two choices. The first is to take the job and hope you do more help than harm. Obviously, this is risky for everyone. The second choice is to help find a better tutor. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it may get you connected to another online tutor who can send students your way when they need tutoring in your areas of expertise.

Mistake #7: Go into tutoring sessions “cold”

No athlete would consider heading into a game without preparing ahead of time. Remember this when you’re diving into tutoring. Your pupil expects a teacher who has planned the session, not one who is “winging it”.

Spend at least two to three hours behind-the-scenes planning for every hour of online tutoring. That way, you’ll always feel in control of the situation and ready for anything.

Mistake #8: Allow students to make excuses

Do you have a tutored student who constantly makes excuses for why he or she cannot finish work, or understand something? If you sense that they are not 100 percent on board with the tutoring process, stop immediately and ask them point-blank for their commitment moving forward. This will encourage them to decide, as well as a personal pledge toward their education.

You do not have to be cold or rude to be candid. Explain that you are concerned they are not fully able to give tutoring their all, which is a waste of their time and yours. They’ll quickly understand that you are serious about their learning, and you may be able to turn them around by being upfront and honest rather than simply taking their money.

Are you ready for an amazing adventure? It’s time for you to share your know-how as an online tutor and do it superbly by getting started with the right mindset.

E-learning in the 21st Century: Khan Academy and Knowledge Economy

E-learning

In a world filled with learning options, and opportunities, it can be challenging to know where the most effective solutions to our educational problems lie. The post-modern student wants it all, and they want it now, so to speak. Yet the essential quandary for students in this day and age has become how to discern, decipher, and distill relevant information from the deep pools of disparate communications available to them. How do students sort out the facts from opinions? How can they orient their minds to the information so that they do not just become passive consumers of data and externalized discussions? How can they reconcile the information to their own understanding? Learning must still be personalized somehow. The marketplace of ideas and information challenges 21st century learners in ways that we do not yet understand.

Information has never been more available and accessible than it is in the 21st century. Knowledge is continually being re-packaged in novel forms and styles. Case in point: one Khan Academy astronomy lesson attempts to explain the scale of the universe in 13 easy Youtube videos. Even concepts within traditional academic disciplines are moving forward at breakneck speed, as older ideas are being challenged. Developments in linguistics, mathematics, science, and business—really all fields—are moving faster than traditional schools and textbooks can keep pace. Often this information competes for legitimacy with how knowledge is presented to students in traditional education systems.

e-learning khan academcy

Furthermore, public schools are being disaggregated and privatized, with charter schools experimenting with new ideological frameworks, for better or for worse. Yet despite all this, Howard Didsbury argues that charter schools have failed to improve student achievement. Despite some perceived progress, many students are not getting the special attention that they deserve or desire.

Our instant-access culture sometimes falls short on deep analysis or strong evaluation. Snippets and flash-points of info on a variety of topics may be creating a new consciousness. However, one might ask whether streaming video, sound bites, and memes will refine their skills of logic, critical analysis, and higher-order thinking. Students are still expected to perform on high stakes tests and exhibit some semblance of critical ability during their higher education experience and beyond. Can watching an astronomy video from Khan Academy truly help them understand the complexity of the universe in any comprehensive sense? It may be true that some cursory insight can be derived from short, stylized presentations. Interdisciplinary approaches have some validity in this era. Yet it is far too easy for students to breeze over complex topics in their eagerness for expediency and ready-made answers.

Many precocious students who have grown up in the information age have learned how to navigate through the sheer glut of material present at any given moment on the internet. But others remain overwhelmed by the velocity and volume of statistics, perspective, or advice. For example, they may simply want some Spanish help. Google Translate is an imperfect tool. Sure they can access unlimited PDF or PPT files or various articles geared to students or teachers of Spanish. But they may also spend hours online searching for answers to the most basic questions. They might be better served by asking an expert directly. Language acquisition is not necessarily something that comes easy nor will the average student be able to glean the internet on their way to fluency. Learning a language involves ongoing conversational practice. Students still need a human dimension to guide them.e-learning online learningStudents from across the world, no matter where they are located, are expected to compete in this terra incognita of the new knowledge economy. Although e-learning programs and online colleges have sprung up like weeds on the internet, they still lack the kind of credibility that institutions built of walls and desks still maintain in our societies. At some point in the future, perhaps all academic pursuits will be mediated through information technology. We can imagine a time without schools. Perhaps students will be assessed by elaborate computer-generated algorithms. But on a practical level, and in today’s world, students must perform according to more traditional academic channels. Khan academy is not going to replace Harvard or Oxford any time soon. Although Khan Academy-style education may be trending, it may not be so intellectually fulfilling. Shortcuts to higher knowledge almost never are. Students still need human contact, informed guidance, and practical people giving them real-world advice. They need personal help with their academic and intellectual challenges. There is a growing need for knowledgeable experts in the knowledge economy. Tutoring may allow you to engage in the emergent knowledge economy and at the same time influence students from all across the world.

References

Didsbury, Howard F. 21st Century Opportunities And Challenges. Bethesda, Md., World Future Society, 2003,.

Strauss, Valerie. “Separating Fact From Fiction In 21 Claims About Charter Schools.” Washington Post, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/02/28/separating-fact-from-fiction-in-21-claims-about-charter-schools/?utm_term=.50186923cada.

Amazing Strategies to Market Yourself as an Online Tutor

online tutors_online tutoring service

Personally and professionally we all want to shine in this world. Success is often measured in terms of recognition and exposure. We cannot all be famous, but some acknowledgment for the skills we possess and for what we have achieved go a long way toward filling the need we seem to have to feel accomplished, or even admired. In the digital marketplace, financial rewards also come from greater online attention.

The internet presents many opportunities to get your name out there. Yet without a clear strategy, it is just as easy to become obscured by the veritable flood of information and personalities online all clamoring for attention. Probably no magic formula exists beyond having endless financial resources, great agents, and publishers, or hiring an ingenious search engine optimist who can move your website to the top of Google’s queue.

However, having an agile method to improve your online presence can help you improve business as you gain financial independence as an online tutor. Here are some simply amazing strategies that may give you an edge in the world of online tutoring.

Recognize your value and potential

Confidence matters whether in person or online. Find an area to specialize in and build experience, credentials, and a personal appreciation for your own value. People gravitate toward those with competence, and from a charisma that comes from knowing what you are good at. This reveals itself in how you correspond and communicate online or in real life.

Exploit a niche market

The web can be mesmerizing and bewildering, but it is not complete. Look beyond the volume of information and find angles that differentiate you from the competition. This is where opportunities lie. People find success every day recognizing what is not available there, as opposed to what already exists. Do some research on your competition, and recognize how they market themselves. Seek areas to concentrate on that others have overlooked.

Network through various channels and social media sites

online tutors_social mediaMany social media sites exist beyond Facebook and Twitter, believe it or not. Wikipedia lists 213. Others might include Minds, which is free and secure, and Ning, which a paid platform, for general social networking. But also Upwork and even Craigslist posts can draw new clients in. The Italki platform connects language learners with native speakers. Individual countries and regions use specific sites if you want to venture into foreign markets. Renren, of China, Mixi, of Japan, and Twoo, in the Spanish-speaking world are popular. Using existing connections help, but also leveraging your current students to spread the word can move your name across different networks. Obviously, LinkedIn is a go-to site for business-related networking, but others are available. But beyond this, it may matter more what you post as far as content than directly soliciting clients on social media sites, which can be perceived as a put-off.

Create a website or blog site and promote it

If you have the computer skills to build your own site from WordPress or other sites, this is great. If you don’t, many online custom portfolio sites exist that will build one for you that is user-friendly. Portfolios are becoming valuable because employers ask for them. But also they can be a resource to show clients that you know your business. Publish articles and insights of interest in your field to let them know you are serious and engaged. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) writing is an art and science that can be acquired. Keep up on the latest development and strategies to improve your chances of staying up at the top of search engine. People normally do not scroll through multiple pages.

Publish in your fieldonline tutors_publish

Publishing opportunities are more available now than ever before. It may take some time to develop relationships with any of the top journals or magazines in your field. But other venues are easier to get your foot in the door. Publishing articles allows you the credibility clients and parents look for. Once you have a few articles under your belt, with by-lines, you can add them to your portfolio or send them along to potential clients to assure them of your expertise.

Create a series of tutorial videos on the subject

Youtube has a shortage of good tutorials in the academic fields. The ones online are often amateur in quality and not terrific, with a few good ones interspersed. Khan Academy YouTube videos have become a model for the potential of this type of work. Personality and quality presentations are a great way to grow your reputation.

Work for an established tutoring agencyonline tutors_online tutoring website

Registering for an online tutoring agency or academic services company will instantly give you credibility and allow you to hone your skills through the experience. Depending on your persistence, skill, and ambitions, it can become a solid revenue source. The advantage of working for an agency is that they take care of much of the marketing for you. You will be able to focus on building up your reputation and network within an established system. You will also feel like you are part of a community, while at the same still maintaining your status as a freelance or independent tutor.

Obviously, all of these strategies involve constant work and development. Yet money is out there to be made simply when students need extra science homework help. Reaching them, letting them know that you are qualified and available involves a bit more effort. But whether you tutor full time or as a side venture while you write your next great novel, or finish that Master’s Degree, opportunities are there for the taking in the digital tutoring world.

5 Money-Saving Tax Tips for Online Tutors and Freelancers

tax tips for online tutoring work

When it comes to work, many find that freelancing can offer freedom and flexibility that is not present in the everyday 9 to 5 job. Freelancing can be a lucrative source of second income or work well for travelers, work-from-home parents, writers, teachers, artists, and online tutors. The upside of freelancing is that you are only limited by the time and effort you invest in freelancing. The downside is that government still requires us to pay our share of taxes. Not only are you responsible for paying your taxes on your own, but you also have to determine the estimated percentage you owe each quarter or be penalized when it is tax time. Filing as an independent contractor can be daunting, so here are a few tax tips to keep you in the green with the IRS.

Tax Tips # 1.Keep track of your income

Taking an online tutoring job as a freelance contractor does not automatically come with a W2 at the end of the year. While you will be required to fill out a W-9 with the company you have begun working for, you are not necessarily going to get a 1099 or W-2 at the end of the year.  Here are a few programs that will help you keep track of your payments for your freelance work.

tax tips for online tutors

●PayPal- PayPal is one of the easiest money platforms for invoicing and receiving payment for work. With PayPal, you can track your invoice payments each year by searching your activity and entering the range of dates you wish to query. I used PayPal last year to estimate my income from a grant research contract after the person I was contracting with failed to send me a 1099. Had I not been receiving payments through PayPal, I would have struggled because I made the mistake of not tracking my payments. PayPal saved me time and the headache of searching through bank accounts and my files at tax time. The downside is that not every contract will allow you to use PayPal, but it is a valuable tool for freelancers and small business owners.

 

tax tips for online teachers

●Excel- Excel has been around since before Microsoft gave us an animated paperclip as an assistant. But it has more bells and whistles, and you can use Excel to not only track payments received, but also business expenses. As an online tutor, you will have business expenses like printer ink, internet access, and pens and pencils and other miscellaneous purchases. Keeping track of those purchases on an Excel sheet will help you when it comes time to file your taxes since you can write these off (more on that in a minute).

tax tips for freelancers

●QuickBooks- This program has a plan for everyone from large corporations to small business owners. As an online tutor or contractor, you are self-employed and can benefit from QuickBooks programs to help track payments, invoices, profits, your bank accounts and even estimate tax percentages each month. As a freelancer, it can be one of your more helpful tools, especially if you prefer a one-stop destination that keeps you more organized and tracks it all for you.

Tax Tips # 2.  Have a savings account or fund set aside for taxes

According to thebalance.com, it is advisable to set aside 25-30% of your freelance income to cover your taxes. The best way to ensure you save toward your taxes is to make a payment into your savings account as soon as you receive your payment. Another way to do this is to set up a bank account strictly to receive your freelance pay, separate from your household account, with bank transfer capability established so that you can transfer 70% to your household account, leaving the rest for taxes. Doing it this way will keep you from putting off depositing your tax percentage.

Tax Tips #3. Be aware of how your income will affect your tax bracket.

tax tips for work at home freelancers

Freelance income could increase your tax responsibilities. Income tax withholding estimations can be found on irs.gov to help you determine your tax percentage liability. Another helpful website is smartasset.com which has a Federal Income Tax Calculator.

Tax Tips #4. Keep track of your expenditures

tax tips for freelancers_expenditures

You can write-off part of your cell phone plan, your internet and Wi-Fi plan, office supplies, printer ink, paper, and even your laptop can be considered deductible expenditures. Just be sure to properly estimate the amount these things are used for business and not personal use when you are filing your taxes. For example, if you use your internet about 25% of the time for your work, you would enter 25% of what it cost you for the year when deducting it as a business expense. Also, if you travel for work, keep track of your gas receipts and mileage, those are deductible as well.

The best way to keep track of these expenses is not only to track it in Excel or a program like QuickBooks, but also keep a file of your receipts and invoices. Scan them or take a picture and keep them on your cloud, just in case your originals are lost or misfiled.

Tax Tips #5. When in doubt, seek help

tax tips for online tutoring jobsTax time and finances can be confusing and tricky for many freelancers. The days of EZ file and quick estimations are gone once you go into business for yourself or incorporate a side hustle. An accountant can assist you through the process and tracking so that you can continue to focus on your freelance work. If you are at all in doubt when it comes to taxes, pay a professional to help you through it. It is simply another business expense you can deduct, and it will help you maintain peace with the IRS. Tax penalties and fines add up. Having an accountant will ease the stress of trying to manage your finances without knowing what you are doing.

As the saying goes, the only sure thing in life is death and taxes. You don’t want to end up in the same boat as Wesley Snipes, Martha Stewart, and Annie Liebowitz. Unfortunately, the responsibility ultimately lies with you. Follow these tips to be well on your online tutoring way to being comfortable if the tax man ever rings your door.

The Future of Jobs: How Technological Innovation will Affect the Future of Work

the future of jobs

The robots are not coming; they’re already here. And they are changing the future of jobs market for your kids in ways you may not necessarily expect. Some analysts envision apocalypse where others see salvation, but artificial intelligence and technological innovation will likely affect the future of work somewhere in between. While not all the experts agree, there are some common themes that suggest that the best jobs and ways to make money in the future are counter-intuitive.

Nothing is more widely agreed upon than the accelerated pace of technological change that shows no signs of slowing down. Billionaire investor Mark Cuban observed that, “what took 20 years before, and then became 10, could be 5 or 3” in the near future.[1] Young people entering the workforce today will likely have multiple careers, engage in more freelance work, and will not have the job security their grandparents or even you have experienced.[2]future of jobs-effect of automationAutomation is also routinely recognized as a major catalyst of job market change. While the loss of manufacturing jobs is currently the most observable effect, today’s top jobs may be equally under threat in the future. Industries such as programming, finance, and engineering look like attractive career directions for your child now, but in 5-15 years, these fields will also experience major job losses due to automation.[3]

The accelerated pace of innovation and automation do not need to foreshadow future unemployment for your children, however. Their thinking about what job skills are valuable may just need to change. Harvard education expert Dr. Tony Wagner outlines seven “survival skills of the future”: critical thinking & problem solving, collaboration & influencing, agility & adaptability, initiative & entrepreneurship, oral & written communication, assessing & analyzing information, and curiosity & imagination.[4] Rather than competing with technology, students should be seeking jobs in areas where humans have a genuine competitive advantage with these types of skills.

future of jobs_critical thinking

With terms like data analytics, the Internet of Things, and blockchain technology regularly surfacing in the media, it can be tempting to drive students toward only technical or “practical” fields where parents imagine more promising job offers pouring in. But the jobs of the future will favor people with soft skills, critical thinking ability, creativity, and adaptability over those with narrow, technical expertise. In 2017, a philosophy major may be a more prescient, “robot-proof” choice than a finance major. Only time will tell.

[1]https://youtu.be/CxD4F3MQRDI?t=13m

[2]https://psmag.com/economics/the-future-of-work-we-have-been-here-before

[3]https://youtu.be/CxD4F3MQRDI?t=13m

[4]https://singularityhub.com/2017/07/04/7-critical-skills-for-the-jobs-of-the-future/

The Failures of No Child Left Behind and Teaching to a Test

No-Child-Left-Behind Failure

Let’s face it. Our education system has long struggled to reconcile the ideal of the “greatest good for the greatest number,” with the procedural needs of individual students doing math homework, for instance. Educators want to maximize the potential of all students, but often in this pursuit, they fall down on delivering the personal attention each student deserves.

For years now, America public education has been grappling with ideas about how to keep young people competitive in a globalizing world. Whether it was a valid notion or not, fears were that our education system was failing our children. An ambitious response came in the form of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This rather virtuous-sounding policy marked a fundamental reform of progressive education, creating great controversy and shaking up the education system to its core. High stakes tests like the SAT and various state assessments were now considered of preeminent importance. Even district funding became determined by student performance on these tests. This was supposed to motivate schools to raise the scores of American students across the board.

Critics of No Child Left Behind often feel that in the mad push to improve test scores across the board, the qualities, special skills, or deficiencies of each student are often overlooked or outright neglected. They argue that the range of human knowledge should not be reduced to a test score or two focusing almost exclusively on math and language skills. Certainly, these skills are valuable, even indispensable. Yet the pressures schools face to implement these high-flung policy goals, coupled with the realities of class sizes and differing levels of aptitude in the classroom, have forced many schools to abandon learning for learning’s sake approaches in favor of results-oriented ones. Individuated instruction is often sacrificed in this pursuit.

no child left behind_student performance

Since the turn of the millennium, American education has undergone further reforms and changes, including Common Core, a policy perhaps no less controversial. The private sector has also seen opportunities to fill the achievement gaps left by public education. Kaplan, for example, offers test prep services for SAT, ACT, GMAT, and even the GRE. These can be done online at the student’s own pace. SAT sample questions are abundant online, and various textbooks are available, which attempt to prepare students for these high stakes tests. However, what seems to be missing is personal instruction. They seem to want to resolve systemic problems by creating new systems.

Every student possesses a skill set from which they must build upon. A child’s development is not formulaic, and they often need guidance through the process of learning. Mastery of a subject does not often come all at once. Although groups like Kaplan or Khan Academy offer online programs where students can learn information at their own pace, they do not offer the kind of one-on-one instruction that many young people need to succeed. Reviewing a set of SAT sample questions, or even taking endless practice tests, will not automatically ensure that students understand how to solve these problems. Some learners are self-starters, while others need steady guidance, structure, and reassurances along the way. It is frankly difficult to find such help. Qualified people are hard to come by, and other academic services fail to provide students with the individual care they may not get in public schools.

No child left behind_child development

StudyGate aims to fill this gap. Our platform allows students to connect with qualified people who can provide the personal assistance that your child deserves. The social impetus towards high-stakes aptitude tests only seems to be gaining strength as the years go on. This means that whether we like it or not, students will be measured on such criteria. In some cases, their futures will depend upon the results of these tests. The Harvard educational psychologist Jerome Bruner maintained that “any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development.” Yet proper scaffolding needed to be constructed so that developing minds can flourish. This kind of intellectual support and nourishment seems to be a missing element in the way we go about the business of education today. Connect with StudyGate and ensure that your child builds upon their capacity and overcomes the challenges set before them. Whether they need extra homework help doing their math or seek some foundational guidance on essays, science reports, or more, sometimes students just need a little personal guidance from someone with a command of the subject.

Works Cited

Bruner, Jerome S. The Process of Education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002.

Food for the Brain: 6 Foods Every Student Should Eat for Great Energy and Concentration

food for the brain

There is no single, straightforward pathway to academic success. It’s a multi-faceted endeavor, a combination of multiple choices that you must make every single day, to achieve the outcome that you desire. The fact that you’re reading this tells me that you already know this and that you’re looking for an edge in the area of nutrition, a potential energy formula that will boost your concentration.

We’ve done the research, and we’ve come up with six food for the brain that will help fuel your body with what it needs to get your brain energized and focused on your academic endeavors.

Food for the Brain #1: Water

Water should be your best friend. Always. And while it might seem strange to think of water as a “food”, it is an abundant, affordable, and essential substance that we need to consume. Consider this; studies have indicated that people perform better on challenging mental tasks when they are adequately hydrated. So aim for those 8 glasses every day, and keep a water bottle handy when you’re studying or taking exams.

Foor for the Brain#2: Fatty Fish

food for the brain_fatty fishFish is among the healthiest of proteins available because fish contains nutrients and components that are both anti-inflammatory and boost the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, all of which are linked to brain health. Fish that are wild-caught (i.e., not farmed) and high in Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely the best for you. To boost that brain, go for wild-caught salmon, mackerel, and herring.  But for those of you who don’t cook or are on a tight budget, look in the grocery store or your campus cafeteria for canned Alaska salmon, Pacific sardines, and canned albacore tuna.

Food for the Brain #3: Eggs

Eggs are affordable, versatile, easy to cook, and available in every campus cafeteria.  Eggs contain high concentrations of the nutrients tryptophan and choline, which contribute to the neurotransmitters that affect mood and memory.

Food for the Brain#4: Berries

food for the brain_berriesBerries are full of antioxidants, which protect brain cells and stimulate brain function and memory. While the seasonal availability of fresh strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries can be short, these fruits are easily found in frozen form in grocery stores.

Food for the Brain #5: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil, when ingested, is absorbed quickly by your brain and has been shown to have positive effects on memory and mood. Because of increased demand, coconut oil has become less expensive and more readily available over the past few years and can be used instead of vegetable oils in cooking.

Food for the Brain #6: Kale

food for the brain_kale

Kale has antioxidants, Vitamin B, which is key in brain development, Vitamin C, which increases serotonin, Vitamin K, which helps with verbal memory, AND is one of the best plant sources for Omega-3s.Kale is another food that is very versatile; use it in juices or smoothies, throw some kale in salads, or even coat with coconut oil and salt and pepper and roast in the oven to make kale chips!

Food for the Brain——Honorable Mention

While we wanted to limit this list to six items, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two other brain-boosting foods: walnuts and avocados.  Walnuts are high in Omega-3, and avocados have Vitamin K, Potassium, healthy fats and folate, which is a nutrient that contributes to cognitive function.

With these six food good for the brain, plus the honorable mention items, you could create an incredible full meal to share (or keep the leftovers for lunch)!  But you could also choose just one, two three of the food to make your own energy formula to give your brain a boost.  Any way you choose, your brain will thank you.

Don’t Put Down That Tablet Just Yet:Online Learning and Test Prep Are Right At Your Child’s Fingertips

online learning_technology

These days, it seems that everywhere we look, children are more likely to have an electronic device in their hands than to have a book. Many parents and educators lament the intrusion of technology and digital devices as a distraction. But technology, when used effectively, can act as a great learning tool by students, teachers and tutors. Technology advances beyond the traditional schoolhouse model by advancing integrative learning. The medium also enhances online learning and even offers a broad base of college test prep and tutoring opportunities. Standard teaching methods and test prep for college entrance exams are established as a one size fits all institution, which seems to be failing both students and teachers. Fortunately, online learning and digital technology can increase flexibility in education and offer the opportunity to reform the traditional education model to fit the needs of today’s student.

Parents all know that education is one of the cornerstones of success and one of the most effective opportunities to improving a quality of life by offering upward mobility. But children are individuals, with different temperaments, backgrounds and learning styles. The one-size-fits-all model that is reflected in the United States educational model leaves many students feeling left behind or lost in the shuffle. This article reviews the tools and learning models that are being integrated into the classroom to strengthen the learning capability of every child.

Online Learning: Interactive Learning Technologyonline learning_integrative learning technology

It’s no secret that students are more engaged with technology and more plugged in than any preceding generation. Interactive learning marries technology with education to allow students to be actively engaged with the lessons they are trying to learn. Educational websites and applications allow students to use interactive learning programs to gain strength in critical skills in Math, Science and Reading. Technology can also offer more opportunities for learning and understanding in the everyday classroom. Interactive learning programs can also make learning and homework fun. These are important factors for students who are often overburdened with homework and long school days in the classroom. Interactive Learning is a model that holds the future of education and should be a key factor when school districts and legislators are seeking ideas for reform that works.

Online Learning: The Future is Collaborative

 learning_collaborative learningCollaborative learning has become an important module of learning in classrooms. Parents may be surprised at how often their children are engaged in class team projects.  But is an important skill to master because many businesses require project collaboration. When students use technology like iPads, interactive SMART Boards, and teleconferencing, to complete their collaborative projects, they are able to work independently on parts of a project, while also learning to collaborate more effectively. As a matter of fact, a study conducted in Canada by SMART Technologies found that educators believed strongly that collaborative learning paired with technological tools like SMART boards in classrooms helped social and emotional development among their students. So if your child struggles with working in groups, it is important to know that with effective teaching practices, engaging software, and collaborative learning opportunities, students can work through solutions while learning from each other. Mastering such skills early on will prove to be a great benefit to children when they reach college age or when entering the workforce.

Online Learning: Technology, Tutoring, Test Prep

Not only do tools like iPads and educational applications open a world of knowledge at the speed of a double click, they also offer flexibility in learning and teaching techniques. However, funding, bureaucracy, and class sizes often limit the capability for schools to fully integrate these tools, or quickly implement changes in the classroom model. In such cases, parents sometimes seek a tutor for their students. Whether your child is a student that is struggling to catch up or you want them to learn effective test prep, tutoring stands as one of the best resources for parents and students. In a nation that has long cried for education reform, tutoring may be one of the most effective solutions in schools. This is backed by a study released in 2014 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which highlighted the benefits of tutoring for struggling students. In this study, a group of high school students learned three years of traditionally taught math skills in eight months with intensive tutoring and counseling. This offers hope to many parents who have students who are struggling in the traditional school model. For parents who are seeking local tutors, tutoring centers offer test prep classes for their child. When geography is a problem, online tutoring websites allow parents to seek help online from qualified professionals, regardless of where they are in the world.

Online Learning: Education Reformonline learning_education reform

With the challenges presented by the traditional school model, educators are reconsidering the future of learning through the use of technology and even integration of tutors in public schools. Some states, like Texas and Pennsylvania,  offer Charter School funding to online schools for students who need alternative education. These programs are often strictly online, but still utilize integrative and collaborative learning models for students. Some education reform advocates have argued that education reform should include tutoring in public schools. There are currently no federal tax deductibles for tutoring unless you have a student who receives special education. Such reform would benefit students and ease the financial burden of those parents who currently pay for tutoring out of pocket. States may not have the capability of placing tutors for individuals in public schools, but they do allow parents to apply state tax deduction to offset the cost of tutoring. For example, the Indiana Department of Revenue allows a $1000 deduction per dependent toward private and homeschooling expenses, which includes tutoring. In the future, other states could adopt similar deductions to include online tutoring programs.

The truth is that traditional educational model shave long been in need of reform. But more than any other time in history, parents and students have choices that are not limited to geography thanks to technology. Additionally, classroom teachers are finding that digital tools like tablets and SMART boards are increasing their capability to reach students better than rote learning and lecturing alone. Interactive learning and collaborative learning are becoming mainstream staples in primary schools as well as higher learning, and it is in the best interest of the student and the public school systems to have such tools available for the upward mobility and the individual’s future success.

References

ActivTable Changes The Way Curriculum is Delivered [Online] / auth. Promethean World. – https://www.prometheanworld.com/perspectives/activtable-changes-the-way-the-curriculum-is-delivered.

Back To School: Deducting Tutors & Special Education [Online] / auth. Erb Kelly Phillips // Forbes . – Forbes.com, 09 09, 2013. – https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2013/09/09/back-to-school-deducting-tutors-special-education/#7b58d12b1d35.

EDUCATION CREDITS AND DEDUCTIONS [Online] / auth. Indiana Department Of Revenue // In.gov. – August 18, 2014. – 2017. – http://www.in.gov/dor/5192.htm.

Intensive Small-Group Tutoring and Counseling Helps Struggling Students By MOTOKO RICHJAN. 26, 2014 Continue reading the main storyShare This Page Share Tweet Email More [Online] / auth. Rich Mokoto // New Tork TImes Online / prod. Times New York. – 01 27, 2014. – https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/education/intensive-tutoring-and-counseling-found-to-help-struggling-teenagers.html.

SMART Reveals Positive Results in Students’ Skill Development Linked to Technology-Driven Collaborative Teaching [Online] / auth. SmartTech . – 2016. – https://home.smarttech.com/about-us/news/media-releases/ttl-report.