Homework Help Network
Many teachers that I’ve worked with have maintained a homework help line either via phone. Increasingly, teachers hand out their e-mail address in order for more tech savvy students and parents to write for help when they have the need instead of waiting around for a designated time to call. The teacher is then free to answer questions on his or her own time, without having to sacrifice a block of time each evening. The teacher also demonstrates in quite clearly that he or she is eager to help students, and is even willing to speak their language (the Internet). However, an even more progressive option for help with homework comes from other students helping each other through a homework help site.
That’s where the blog comes in. Instead of students calling only people they’re comfortable talking to in class (or being reluctant to even ask another student for help at all) imagine having a student-run homework help blog. Using a blogging tool, students could post questions, answers, and even host discussions or study sessions from the comfort of their own computer. Students more prone to shyness could post anonymously, while more outspoken individuals could help establish themselves as resident “experts” within the classroom.
The best thing is it allows for multiple inputs at once (instead of just a two way phone call), doesn’t tie you up on the phone line for hours, and allows other students to model effective teaching and tutoring methods. The time involved is actually quite minimal as teachers can safely monitor discussion through automated administrator controls on a number of blogging websites. Set up is often as simple as a few clicks of the mouse, registering yourself on a blogging web site, and then inputting a few variables such as your e-mail, the name of the site, and choosing a template. No HTML knowledge is necessary! It would just require 5 or 10 minutes once or twice a week to introduce what’s being discussed in class to start a new discussion, as Larry Benson does with his math class. The workload is further reduced because you can continue to use the site from year to year, as students are able to draw from a previous class’ experience and add their own knowledge. Below are a few sites that can help you get started with creating your own homework help network:
Free Blogging Tools