quarta-feira, 23 de maio de 2007

Educação - the last frontier

Indians offer personal maths tuition on the web

"Until now, private tuition has been the preserve of the wealthy, costing up to £30 an hour," he said. "UK parents spend millions of pounds a year for improving their children's grades. TutorVista aims to open up such services to the mass market." It is estimated that in some of London's poorest boroughs up to 50 per cent of children are having extra lessons, with the remaining half often too poor to afford the advantages enjoyed by their classmates.

Companies such as Transwebtutors and TutorVista are also hoping to exploit the fact that a quarter of all British secondary schools do not have a single physics specialist, while almost a third of GCSE physics teachers do not have an A-Level in the subject.

Those logging on for online tuition are typically offered a free trial and a "get to know you" session at which teachers can ascertain the level of the student and particular areas in which he or she is having difficulty.

After downloading the appropriate software, which takes a few minutes, children can then share a virtual whiteboard on which teachers hand-write in coloured pens exactly as they would in a conventional classroom.

Students then "chat" through lessons with their online tutors either using a "type-chat" program, such as GoogleTalk, or directly to the teacher via an internet telephone voicelink like Skype.

At the end of the session a transcript of the lesson can be emailed to parents who want to see how their children are getting on or check up on the quality of the lesson."

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