In this issue:
Can a computer program tutor a struggling student as well as a human teacher?
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Discussion Point: Can a computer program tutor a struggling student as well as a human teacher?

As a master teacher for over 40 years, I firmly believe there is no replacement for working one-on-one with a good teacher that truly cares about the success of his or her students. The challenge however is that in subjects like science and mathematics, there simply are not enough experienced teachers to meet the demand and help every struggling student achieve real improvement. According to the NCES report, The Condition of Education, an increasing number of K-12 schools are forced to rely on new and out-of-field teachers to fill the gap for teaching these subjects, often resulting in a substantial decline in quality, depth and individual attention students receive. Furthermore, after-school tutoring sessions are not helpful late at night when working on homework or preparing for a test. While there are tutoring services available, there are no guarantees on the credentials of the tutor or who you will work with each session. Many tutoring services can be expensive and, therefore, unaffordable for many families.

Computer-based tutoring software like the Quantum Tutors is reasonably priced and available 24/7 for unlimited use over the Internet. A major breakthrough by Quantum is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide individualized intelligent feedback to each student based on their own responses. The Quantum Tutors actually help students problem solve similar to a live tutor. Students enter a problem, not a sample problem but their own actual problem, and receive step-by-step feedback on their work. With Quantum, the learning experience is consistent from student to student and the software never gets tired or makes mistakes.

Independent research shows significant increases in comprehension and test scores when the Quantum Tutors are compared to traditional learning methods such as studying from textbooks. Wexford, Inc., a non-profit independent evaluator of education tools, indicates that while students prefer to work with human teachers when first learning a topic, over 80 percent of students prefer to work in real-time with Quantum to practice problems and receive feedback because they can work at their own pace. This is particularly beneficial for struggling students that may be too embarrassed to ask questions during class. See research summaries available at www.quantumsimulations.com/research.html.

There is no question that teachers are essential for effective student learning and bring a very critical, and often under-appreciated, human element to education. At the same time, select computer-based software such as the Quantum Tutors have been proven to increase student performance, which, in turn, helps reduce teacher workload. The key is to identify software that is backed by research and proven to engage and challenge students, not just entertain. As educators, we should not be threatened by technology. Let's utilize what works in education to develop the most effective software tools to inspire both students and new and out-of-field teachers to achieve their fullest potential.

For more information, please visit www.quantumsimulations.com.

More Teaching Tips from Quantum coming soon!


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Al Renshaw Director, Education Programs
Phone: (724) 772-8014 Fax: (724) 772-8042

Quantum Simulations, Inc., P.O. Box 291, Murrysville, PA 15668