Data-Driven Peer Tutoring (With a Bonus for Khan Academy Users)

September 19, 2016
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As the school year starts, check out Splor! Splor allows students to search for skills / concepts and find peers who’ve mastered them. Typically, I’d start by touting the benefits of peer tutoring and peer teaching, but the Peer Tutoring Resource Center already has. So, instead, I’ll share three benefits of using technology to facilitate peer teaching:

1. Splor makes facilitation of peer teaching painless

Any teacher who’s spent hours before class designing the perfect peer tutor pairings will agree that the preclass workload is huge. For some it’s a barrier to entry, for others it just limits how often peer tutoring happens.

Using Splor, once a teacher onboards their class, students do the rest. Simply log in, create a group, and give your students a group code.

If you’re a math teacher using Khan Academy, Splor uses students’ existing Khan assessment data to create pairings. If not, a teacher can upload custom skills and either assess mastery or ask students to self assess.

By removing teacher workload, we hope that we’ll see more classrooms implementing peer tutoring more often! For teachers who are already implementing peer tutoring strategies, the time saved by using Splor will free you to push the envelope in other ways, for example, teaching students to teach as effectively as you do!

2. Splor enables data-driven peer tutoring

There are some wonderful models for peer tutoring that I encourage all educators to study and implement. They all seem to include the question: “who should tutor whom?”

Should the tutor be older? Should they be generally “better” at the subject than their tutee?

Instead, Splor uses mastery data. When a student requests tutoring, they get a partner who has mastered that exact skill / concept. That student may know less about everything else that’s ever happened, and could be three years younger, but they have mastery of the skill in question. The results from this transformation are empowering, every learner has mastery to offer.

3. Splor transfers leadership to students

When implementing peer tutoring by hand, I, as the teacher, would create pairings for students based on what I knew that they knew. I’d use my own assessment (or Khan Academy’s) and start class by telling students who to work with and on what.

Instead, Splor lets students decide. A student decides when they want / need help. They then visit Splor and search for the skill. That’s it. Students pull help vs. teachers pushing it. This trains students to self-assess. To ask for and to offer help. These are skills that go far beyond the classroom.

Splor is a pivotal step towards transforming learning

The only way to reap the benefits of personalized learning without losing the support of great human teachers is by asking students to be both learners and teachers. Splor removes the roadblock of teacher time by using real time data and transfers leadership to students. Online content has led us to the age of information. Using technology to facilitate peer teaching will bring us to the age of mastery.

Here’s my ask:

Sign up for our pilot here as a student using the group code below. Share this with folks who would benefit. Keep challenging the misconception that more teaching always equals more learning. Share with us how you use Splor, how we might improve, and any success stories.

For help, join our onboarding group by entering (Copy and Paste) the group code DOUG-SWAM-BELT-KAHN-JERK-VINE.

P.S. I can’t help sharing my favorite benefit of 1:1 teaching: Bloom’s Two-sigma problem: “The search for Methods of Group Instruction as Effective as 1:1 tutoring.” I think we may have found one.

Author Bio:

mike-mendelson_spor-founderMike Mendelson left the classroom after witnessing the power of peer tutoring and the unbounded learning potential that could be unleashed by making its implementation easy and engaging. He launched Splor to build the next generation of ed tech products after having the fortune to work with wonderful teachers, students, and leaders at Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning, North Tahoe High School, and Roseland University Prep where he taught math and engineering and led technology charges and changes. He's excited to see what the world does with Splor both inside and outside of schools.

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