It isn’t often that I get to post something that my good friend Dale Kirby posts (for those who don’t know, Dale blogs about post-secondary issues at Adventures in Canadian Post-Secondary Education). Anyway, on Saturday Dale posted a link on Facebook:
Click on the image or visit http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/21/education/21harvard.html?_r=1
While this article (which was about a Harvard faculty member who has been found to have done some questionable things with his research) was not germane to this blog, at the bottom there was a little note in the bottom right corner that read:
Click on the image or visit http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/21/your-money/21wealth.html
This particular article got me thinking because it essentially details how children who come from higher socio-economic brackets have parents who are able – and apparently quite frequently – are able to pay for additional tutoring to help their students academic achievement. While the article didn’t focus on online tutoring per se, it was only a month ago that I posted Guest Blogger – Online Education Takes Off In The UK. In this guest entry, Chris Jefferies of Squarko described how online education in the United Kingdom has primarily focused on private online tutoring thus far.
I was also reminded of the Cyber Home Learning System (CHLS) in South Korea. For those who are unfamiliar, apparently testing plays a big role for students and the kinds or quality of schools they are to attend and how gets into post-secondary institutions. The Government had found that those who could afford tutoring for their children tended to do very well in this system, but those without the economic means were hindered in their educational progress but not because of their ability or potential. Recognizing this reality, the Government undertook the CHLS to provide online tutoring for all students throughout the country – essentially attempting to level the playing field for those students who came from poorer families. If you are interested in more information, a good starting point would be this article by Dennis Normile in Science magazine (and you can listen to a podcast interview with Dennis, it is in the third segment)
While I can’t say for sure, I don’t think that online tutoring at the K-12 level is as extensive as what we are seeing in the United Kingdom, South Korea and other jurisdictions. However, with the continued decreasing rigor in the undergraduate degree (as it becomes more and more simply a credential, as opposed to a real quest for knowledge and skills needed to be a well rounded, educated citizen), I wonder how much longer it will be before online tutoring is used at the K-12 level at the same extensive level that we see in other countries?