The Alberta government’s new e-tutoring hub launched as a resource to help students who may have fallen behind amid COVID-19 pandemic disruptions, but it’s receiving lacklustre support from educators.
Education Minister Adrianna LaGrange announced details of the website on Jan. 5 and it launched on Jan. 11 with six, pre-recorded videos meant for students in Grades 4 to 9 to strengthen their literacy and numeracy skills.
“It’s really disappointing frankly,” Carla Peck, a professor of social studies education, said.
Peck said education funding should instead be used to bring more human resources into schools such as teachers, educational assistants and other experts to help support students.
“They’ve instead decided to pump money into some online resources that, so far, aren’t that high quality.”
Some of the videos are also being criticized for not being geared towards the correct grade level.
The video titled “adjectives” is labelled for students in Grade 6. However both Peck and Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, said the content is more for early elementary students.
“How is this four-minute video going to be supporting students on this one very specific topic on ‘adjectives’ that is clearly mislabeled,” Schilling said.
“I’m extremely disappointed with what you see on this e-tutoring hub,” he said.
In an email, the press secretary for the education minister, Katherine Stavropoulos said, “the resources on the e-tutoring hub were developed by certificated teachers who are on secondment to Alberta Education from schools across the province.”
Stavropoulos said the tutoring services will be expanded later this year to cover more grades, subjects, and live tutoring sessions.
The education ministry is asking for feedback from parents, students and schools.
On Tuesday afternoon, a spelling error remained in the video titled “alliteration.” A line from the poem The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe used the word ‘week’ instead of ‘weak’.