The only downside to having a history lesson in the middle of a revolutionary battlefield is losing sight of your tutor amid all the charging cavalry.
Still, it’s better than the old way of being tutored, which amounted to spending an hour after school staring at the same books you’ve been looking at in class all day.
No, better to a little bewildered by a bunch of virtual Red Coats.
It’s much more fun.
So why aren’t your children learning about the birth of their country from General Washington through the possibilities of video conferencing and the remote tutor?
Virtual Tutoring Online
Virtual tutoring is already a profession, even if I’ve yet to come across one that specializes in virtual reality re-enactments of Revolutionary War battles.
You’ll find remote tutors online with even a basic web search–just remember keep “video conferencing” in your query to make sure you wind up with a real person and not some online game masquerading as education.
These are professional educators who use video calling to join the growing numbers of people working remotely across the internet. And they’re part of a $7 billion industry. You’ll typically find them employed within an online company, or simply gathered together in meeting places that let them advertise their services themselves.
They cater to the entire breadth of the educational system, from elementary school through to advanced college degrees, and they’ll help you, or your young ones, with all the major lessons, from math and reading and languages to algebra and history and chemistry.
And if you find one that’s a little forward thinking in their lesson planning, they can immerse you and yours in the most dynamic learning experiences available in education.
Online and Personal
What makes online tutoring so appealing is its flexibility.
You can draw on specialist tutors the world over, and meet with them from the comforts of whatever location you find most conducive to learning. The basic technology is accessible and affordable; in fact, most online lessons take place over humble Skype connections. That means all you need is an internet connection and perhaps a decent webcam.
You can schedule your educational booster for any time that suits, and if you’re able to reach out with a smartphone you could sit down with your new mentor at any location with a wi-fi connection. Log in as a third member of the video linkup and you could even keep a close eye on what’s going on without having to get in anybody’s way.
But who wants to stick with the very basics for their child’s education? Instead, let’s look for a way to get on that virtual battlefield and create a lesson that’ll really stick in their minds.
Virtual Field Trips and Virtual Heroes
Video conferencing is already letting entire classrooms go on virtual field trips to any destination–Earthbound or otherwise–that can be dreamt up, and it is saving schools money in the process.
There’s no reason why those same technologies can’t be applied to the tutor-student dynamic. And be pushed a little further.
Starting at the simpler end, many VC platforms now offer interactive whiteboard functions that let everyone on a video chat write, draw, and paint on a common canvas. Is it too hard to imagine we could animate these items, once created and let our flags ripple in the wind, and our horses gallop across a field?
Then there are the readily available virtual reality maps of real locations great and small that can be explored with a smartphone strapped to a basic VR mask. Given this, it’s actually not farfetched to imagine populating those places with historical buildings and people, and perhaps letting our online tutor supply the dialogue for a time-travelling tour of 18th century America. Or maybe a tutor could take his student to a battleground, and use augmented reality to put him in the middle of the action through the same technology that has made the game Pokemon Go so immersive and addictive. Who said history can’t be fun?
Even without going to such lengths, the online tutor can use video conferencing tech to create a bank of memory aids that increase lesson retention and make exam prep digital.
Remote Learning with Video Conferencing
Everything that is shared across a video call is easily recordable. Services like Vidyo have the function built-in, while others, like Skype, can import the function from third-party apps.
That means every aspect of an online tutorial can be saved and re-watched later. So you could create little memory stimulators from deliberate rhymes and riddles, or record the entire conversation and edit it down later as a bite-sized refresher.
You can’t do that with a regular in-person tutor, at least not without setting up a video camera. There’s a lot that you can’t do in person that’s possible over video conferencing. Doesn’t it make sense to take advantage of those things?
After all, what’s more memorable, a line of text or the sounds of musket fire?