Being situated in Berlin, Skype means that I am still able to teach children back in the UK, across Germany and around the world as easily as I can those who live in my own area. I have many students who I currently work with online and I love using Skype; for some students, I even find it works better than face-to-face tuition. However, I do often find that parents are worried about signing their children up to Skype lessons, as they are not sure if or how it will work for them. So, if you are considering Skype, here are my top seven reasons why Skype is a fantastic tutoring resource!
This makes lessons cheaper and often far easier to schedule. As both tutor and student are working from home, it is usually much easier to find a convenient time for us to work together, as commuting doesn't have to be taken into account and there are no extra costs for fuel or public transport tickets.
I often find that ICT skills and fears about technology are the biggest barrier for parents in signing their child up to Skype lessons, but, more often than not, children are much more capable with the technology than their parents expect them to be! During Skype lessons, my students use websites, file-sharing websites, word processors and all the tools Skype offers. They pick this up so quickly and I really enjoy seeing how their ICT skills progress; by week 3 or 4, most of my students can share screens, send and receive files and save documents in our shared folder as if they have been doing it their whole lives! These are also useful skills for school, as children become more confident with word processors which they may use in class or for homework, and file sharing means that they know how to save their work somewhere where they can access it both at home and at school.
Many students find it a lot easier to organise themselves via Skype, as they don't need to remember to bring everything they need to a lesson. As long as what they need is at home, they always have it available during our time together! When we work on documents on screen, this can be done on their own computer and saved there and then, meaning there is no need for anyone to remember to email anything. I always use file-sharing sites like Dropbox or Google Drive with my students, which also takes away the worry of having to remember where they saved the files they need; everything always goes in the same folder so that we can both access it between lessons if we need to.
Screen sharing via Skype allows my students and I to be so flexible with how we work on documents, allowing either one of us to scribe ideas so that sometimes the focus for them can just be on getting the information they need to use out of their heads and onto paper, leaving the editing until later. The fact that I can see their screen allows me to provide instant feedback as they write, which makes it much more useful, memorable and effective.
I use the Skype chat with my students all the time to record notes from the lesson. This is so useful, as the notes remain there after the lesson, meaning that they can log in to their Skype account and use them for homework any time they like. Either of us can add information to the chat, meaning they don't need to worry about how well they have copied down what we have been working on, as I can add an explanation myself for them to revisit between lessons if they need to.
Sometimes my students want to show me a website they have found which they thought was especially helpful, or one they have been using which they found confusing and would like me to look at with them again. As the student is working at their own computer, they don't need to worry about remembering the web address to give to me; they can show it to me from their computer on shared screen, pass me the link through the chat function or even look back in their own search history to find the website if they can't remember the name or web address. It is also really easy for me to quickly search for online resources and activities which might help them with something we are working on and send them through the chat function, so that, again, they have the address to access on their own at home.
7. Being in their home environment
This can be a huge benefit for some students, as they are working in a space which is familiar to them and where they feel comfortable. This can also be helpful if your child is a little shy, as they don't have to worry about somebody new coming to invade their comfortable home space for their lesson time. Being in their home environment often helps students to come to their lessons feeling relaxed and at ease, which puts them in a great frame of mind for learning something which is challenging for them. If you think Skype lessons could be something which would work for you or your child, please send me a message! I am more than happy to chat with parents about how Skype could work for you.