A Way To Recover From A Challenging School Year

What will be the permanent impact of the pandemic on our education system? It’s still too early to say definitively, but it will probably be significant. I expect it will be the end of snow days. Another impact could also be on how we arrange for tutoring.

In that regard, you may be familiar with Sal Khan and his Internet creation, Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/). Founded in 2006, Khan Academy is an American non-profit organization with the ambitious goal of providing “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” Best known for its short video lessons, the website also provides practice exercises and teaching materials.

Sal Khan’s latest venture is Schoolhouse.world (https://schoolhouse.world/), another nonprofit that’s designed to do for tutoring what Khan Academy did for instruction. To quote from the site’s About Us page, “Schoolhouse.world is a free, peer-to-peer tutoring platform on which anyone, anywhere can receive live help, earn shareable certifications in the topics they learn about, and have the option to become a tutor in the topics they master. The current focus is on high school math and SAT prep, with plans to expand to other areas soon. All the small-group tutoring sessions happen over Zoom.” I scrolled down to find 430 buttons identifying tutors with statistics on their number of followers, number of past sessions conducted, and how helpful they were.

The Explore page has a “Request a Session” button, an “Office Hours” option (“Every weekday from 4-7pm PT, join one of our live tutors who is ready to answer any of your questions or help direct you to the appropriate tutoring session”), a “Doubt Clearing” option (“Drop in between 7-9pm IST to meet one of our volunteer tutors … or direct you to the appropriate coaching session!”) and a list of upcoming sessions. Registration is required.

Is this the future of tutoring? I got a distinct Indian vibe from my recent visit to the site, but the potential is certainly there. If this takes off, it could help kids recover from a challenging school year, and hopefully prevent some family angst in the process.

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