Online Tuition Singapore

Online Tuition Singapore

What’s So Great About Sponge ME’s Online Tuition

At Sponge ME, our online Maths tuition and English tuition classes are known as remote learning classes. Whether one-to-one or small group, remote learning classes are available for secondary school students who may wish to save travelling time and cost, and learn remotely from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

So… one might ask – What’s so great about Sponge ME’s remote learning classes? Can you tell me more?

Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions:

1. What is remote learning and how does Sponge ME conduct it?

First, let’s make a clear distinction between:

  • online streaming
  • e-learning
  • remote learning

Of the three, online streaming is the least interactive. It is like watching a tutor conduct his/her lesson in a classroom on Youtube. Communication is usually one way as students are unable to interact with the tutor and ask questions to clarify doubts or appease confusion. Also, if the tutor uses a whiteboard or projector, the content might not be clearly visible for students to read comfortably (e.g. too glaring or small), affecting the overall learning experience.

In contrast, e-learning is software-based. There is no human interaction and it is best used as a complementary learning tool. An example of an e-learning platform is Singapore’s Student Learning Space (SLS), an online portal initiated by the Ministry of Education. Often assigned as homework to students, SLS online packages are developed by school teachers to complement classroom lessons.

Remote learning, what Sponge ME offers, is the next best alternative to traditional classroom learning as it is by far the most interactive. Besides being separated by physical distance, everything else remains the same – students can ask questions, and the tutor can respond instantly and even monitor if they are paying attention. In fact, all learning aids and tools used during a traditional classroom lesson can still be effectively employed during a remote learning lesson. The tutor can give a multi-media presentation and even use a virtual whiteboard to “chalk and talk” by simply using the screen share feature.

2. For remote learning, will homework still be assigned and marked by the tutor?

Yes, for sure! As mentioned, besides physical separation, everything else remains the same for remote learning, including assigning, marking and reviewing a student’s homework. Of course, since the student and tutor no longer have physical proximity, the transmission of all classroom material will have to be done digitally. Homework is submitted, marked, digitised (into PDF files) and sent via email or other communication channels.

3. Compared to traditional classroom learning, will my child’s level of concentration drop when learning remotely?

Any form of learning including traditional classroom learning will have its challenges. Distractions are unlimited but thankfully, it is totally within a tutor’s control to eliminate them. To ensure learning is optimised, we would strongly recommend the following best practices to students:

  1. Create a distraction-free zone, e.g. pick a quiet and comfortable spot at home, mute your mobile phone, no TV or family members talking in the background, etc.
  2. Be well-prepared and have your tuition file, foolscap paper, notebook, stationary, scientific calculator and basically everything else that you bring to class with you. You don’t want to constantly find yourself walking away from the screen looking for things.
  3. Screen-size matters, so pick a tablet over a mobile phone. Even better, use a laptop or a desktop.
  4. Set up and login 5-10 minutes before the scheduled class time. This will allow some buffer in case you face any technical difficulties with your equipment or Internet connection.
  5. Sleep well the night before. Stating the obvious here! 😜

4. Everything sounds good, but doesn’t remote learning have its own share of limitations? And how would I know if remote learning is suitable for my child?

When compared to traditional classroom learning, remote learning does have its limitations, which boil down to these two main issues:

  • Internet connection and video conferencing equipment
  • maturity of student

Effective remote learning is only feasible if the student has a good Internet connection and video conferencing equipment, i.e. built-in or external camera, speakers and microphone. If the equipment is faulty or the Internet connection keeps dropping, it will inevitably affect the quality of the entire learning experience. Thankfully, this has become less of an issue since the advent of broadband Internet and the affordability of a myriad of personal IT devices.

The maturity of the student must also be taken into account. Those who are not fully independent and require constant supervision are probably not the best candidates. We hesitate to specify age limits as we know there will always be exceptions, but as a general rule of thumb, we can safely say that remote learning is better suited for secondary school students and above.

5. Does Sponge ME use Zoom? Is it secure?

Yes, Sponge ME uses Zoom for all our remote learning sessions. Prior to launching our online tuition service, we had tested out quite a few other popular video conferencing platforms such as Skype, Google Meet and Cisco Webex. At the end, we found Zoom to be the most reliable and user friendly of the lot. Zoom is a well-established, US-listed company with a local support team here in Singapore. In our opinion, the interface and features of Zoom are the best suited for education, making tutor-student interaction a breeze!

At the time writing, Zoom has been getting a lot of attention from the media due to security related issues. We can understand if parents are worried about Zoom and we would like to address two concerns:

  1. The Zoom security concerns that government and companies have do not quite apply to us – there isn’t anything confidential or secretive about a tuition class.
  2. What does apply is the possibility of an uninvited intruder who “gatecrashes” our session and disrupts our lesson. However, the possibility of this happening is close to zero if the host (that’s us) knows how to use Zoom securely. This involves using a private Meeting ID (not public) with password protection, enabling waiting room (where only registered students are admitted) and disabling the screen/file share for participants. We’re happy to say that since our very first Zoom session, all the above security settings (and more) have already been in place. 👍😉

For a limited time, we are offering an early adoption discount for our remote learning classes. And just like our physical classes, no deposit or registration fee is required. Contact us now to find out more!

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