Friday, February 27, 2009

Inspiring Students with Peer Tutoring

The article "Inspiring Students with Peer Tutoring" by Brandy Smith, focuses on using students to teach other students how to use technology. The student participants were chosen by meeting criteria set up by the instructors. Some of the participants had behavioral issues that that kept them from traditional leadership positions, while others were chosen because they were shy but had leadership potential. Others were chosen because they had potential but had essentially slipped through the cracks when the teachers had to focus on the more needy students. These select students learned technology during after school sessions, which were for one hour, twice a week. Once they demonstrated mastery of the desired skill, a session was scheduled with the full class. Computers were brought in, they gave a lesson and then worked in small groups with their classmates. This also allowed the teacher to become more familiar with the technology without having to lose class time, prep time or free time. It made the students and teachers more comfortable with using the computers for research in the classroom. This particular program was done with 3rd grade students at a school with a large number of low income families. The computers were laptops which could be checked out and taken to the classroom. Before the peer tutoring program, the computers were rarely used. After the classroom sessions, the computers were being used 2-3 times per week. The school also scored higher on technology proficiency than it had before the tutoring program began. Overall, the program seemed to be a great success.

Q1. How were the students chosen to participate in the peer tutoring program?
A1. The students were chosen based on teacher recommendation and criteria established by the program director.

Q2. Who benefited from the tutoring sessions?
A2. The students who were tutors benefited by becoming leaders amongst their peers, the teachers benefited by having the technology explained to the students and to themselves without having to lose valuable prep time, and every student in the program benefited by learning to use technology to further their education.

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