While Language Arts is essential for every person, this subject has long been overlooked by edtech companies. The rise of educational technology has done wonders to advance classrooms, but it is unfortunate that Language Arts has not been a subject of importance. At the moment the major contenders in the realm of edtech for English teachers are focused on grammar and reading, which are important, but rarely push students to greater rigor with the realm of Language Arts.
The trend for edtech is to focus on S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math). They are not doubt essential to the success of the American economy staying competitive, but what is to be said of a community that can compute but can’t communicate. “I don’t know a single engineer or scientist that doesn’t need to lead presentations, run meetings, or collaborate on teams,” says Gonzalez, “effective communication is at the core of any human interaction and to to teach them effective communication would be to prepare them for any future job they may encounter.”
Adolescents don’t have 50 to 90 minute attention spans; it’s actually around the 20 minutes. For this reason, tutorials are broken down into micro learning. Essentially, students take a number of 2-4 minute segments that add up to the entire tutorial, rather than one long session. Gonzalez says, “It’s kind of like taking a huge bite. You don’t really enjoy it and you feel like you can’t breathe, but when you take small bites, you can enjoy it and you are more likely to savor it.” The bite-sized learning fosters student engagement by giving students control. “Learners control the pace. Based on an assessment, courses will be assigned to them, they move through interactive slides, games, simulations, and guided practices while watching a host of fun characters and being immersed in story. All of it is designed to with their brain in mind,” says Gonzalez.
What makes this program stand out? It is affordable. Traditional tutoring is expensive and inaccessible, Ye Olde Tutor doesn’t claim to replace teacher, but is trying to shake up at home learning opportunity.
The Kickstarter campaign runs through April 18, and the funding is ‘all or none,’ meaning that Gonzalez must raise the minimum of $4000 or the project will not be funded at all. “I chose Kickstarter because it is a platform that gives back. I don’t just want donations, I want people to have access to Ye Olde Tutor and to benefit from it,” say Gonzalez.