21st Century Tutors: Online resources help students make the grade


Courtesy of Khan Academy.org

Can a online resource like Khan Academy help students learn more?

Whenever a student feels that they are ill-prepared for that upcoming test or maybe just want to build up general knowledge, no longer will they have to dig through their notes–they can power up their laptops and load up one of thousands of sites or Youtube Channels to assist them in their academic career.

Over the course of the past decade, various academic resources have risen up to exploit the growing commonality of the internet for America’s youth. Technically called Educational Technology, but considering the personal basis it has with each student that uses it, perhaps the more useful name is Online Tutoring.

Now, with the internet at people’s fingertips, this technology is more and more exploited, to the point where they are shaping the face of education.

Indeed, education is going through quite the revolution at the moment. While there has been experimentation with technological methods of education for decades, even as far back as the invention of the computer, according to the resource Knewton.com, only in the last fifteen odd years have things really picked up; online education has grown at a rate 14 times greater than that of conventional, class-room based education. In addition to personal technology, schools accelerate this process by purchasing their students laptops.

Related: School laptops are more trouble than they’re worth (Editorial)

This may seem handy in keeping up student grades and achievements, to the point where schools and teachers have an active interest in encouraging their use. However, at the same time, it can breed a sense of complacency and encourage students to cram, rather than attain a true mastery of the subject matter. The most famous example of this is Spark Notes: following the example of the Cliff Notes books of old, instead of reading a book, one can read an effective summary and analysis of their papers.

But then there are websites that are seen on a largely positive note- namely, Khan Academy. Founded by Salman Khan, he turned his personal passion for math into an online enterprise, that in many ways has trailblazed online tutoring. He is perceived as so effective that many teachers actively encourage utilizing Khan Academy, unlike Spark Notes.

Some students, such as Daniel Webb, 10th grade, believes that despite the integration and use by students,

“It really hasn’t affected school life much,” said Webb, when questioned about his thoughts on Khan Academy. Even with this resource, he feels that it’s not really an effective tool for kids to learn on its merits.

Regardless, online tutoring shan’t be going anywhere for a while, with its massive popularity and high growth rate. One can only wait and see to know how it will change education.