Personalised learning is the future of education. With programmes like Via Afrika Tabtor Maths, we are seeing its benefits first-hand. But there are, of course, difficulties with personalised learning: Each child cannot have their own dedicated teacher who crafts a learning plan for them (at least not in the traditional educational model).
Technology, effectively combined with digital learning principles, could address the problems around personalised learning, and we are extremely excited to see South African companies take up the challenge of fixing education in innovative ways.
One such a firebrand is Hello Tutor. Have a look at the video below to see what they are doing – and how they’re doing it! This visionary company brings together the power of technology and the community in a meaningful, accessible way – we simply love everything about them!
We caught up with James West, founder of Hello Tutor, to find out what the motivating factors behind Hello Tutor are.
VA: James, why did you decide to start Hello Tutor?
Hello Tutor aims to assist learners from all walks of life, but was developed specifically in response to the education crisis which exists in South Africa and other developing countries around the world. Education is fundamental to the health of a society and the significant difference between the quality of education received by privileged and under-privileged learners is something which puts a lot of people on the back foot early on in life. We hope, through Hello Tutor, to be able to bridge this gap using a medium which is becoming more and more available to everyone.
VA: Where do you see the future of education in South Africa heading?
I think in South Africa, and around the world, there is a trend towards blended learning where technology is strategically employed by education professionals to enhance the way in which children have historically been taught. Nothing can replace one-on-one instruction by teachers and tutors, but the smart use of technology to augment learning is something which can benefit learners from all walks of life. In South Africa access to smart devices and inexpensive wi-fi is, for more and more learners, becoming a reality and once you are able to get people onto the internet, well, the sky really is the limit!
VA: We love how Hello Tutor works. For those who don’t know about it yet, what makes Hello Tutor such a unique offering?
Hello Tutor is unique in that all our material is crowd-sourced. In other words, teachers from around the country independently create short curriculum-aligned video tutorials using whatever resources they like. They upload these videos, typically 5 to 15 minutes in length, onto our platform for use by the general learner population. Hello Tutor has no registration or subscription fees. Instead, learners pay R2 to buy a video which they can watch over and over at no additional costs for 48 hours. Of that R2, 50% is paid out to the relevant tutor for each sale – it may not sound like much, but some tutors on our system have over 100 videos uploaded. If each of these receive 100 purchases per month that’s the equivalent on R10 000 passive income, every month forever!
VA: How can people who want to be tutors join the programme?
It’s simple. Register your profile, upload documentation showing your suitability to teach (qualifications, teaching diploma, academic record, etc.) and begin recording! We will check your first few videos to ensure the content is acceptable and the audio/visual of a certain quality and from then on it’s all up to you. What you put in, is what you get out.
VA: If you could make any piece of educational technology (existing or not) appear with the snap of your fingers, what would it be?
Simply connecting every learner to the internet and providing them with sufficient bandwidth monthly to adequately utilise available resources would be a massive step. There are a number of companies in this online learning space, each providing tremendous resources in one form or another. If we could make these resources available to the literally millions of under-serviced learners across the country, then we would be moving in the right direction.