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Peer tutoring gets high-tech makeover

July 11, 2013

Source: azcentral.com

National Honor Society students at an Arizona school district’s five high schools host free tutoring sessions for other students in the district — entirely online. (FROST stands for Free Resources for Online Student Tutoring.)

Modernizing tutoring

Jeff Billings, director of information technology for the Paradise Valley district, said that he doesn’t think virtual peer tutoring will ever replace face-to-face tutoring but that “technological evolution” will make it available to those who may not be able to access it otherwise.

“You see a lot of (peer tutoring) in the classroom anyhow. Small, collaborative work groups,” Billings said. “All we’re doing here is trying to modernize it.”

Where before, logistical hurdles like driving distance or different dismissal schedules might have prevented a high- school student from tutoring younger grades, the online portal makes it possible for anyone to log in and ask for help, Billings said.

The youngest student they have ever had participate in FROST was a first-grader who needed help with her homework. She logged into the system with a parent, he said.

The district has already tested the FROST program with rural districts, and Billings said he expects similar programs to take shape in the near future.

“We’ve got kids who want to help other kids. How do we maximize that?” Billings said.

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