3 Reasons You Need to Use Digital Tutoring Notebooks

3 Reasons You Need to Use Digital Tutoring Notebooks

Working with my tutoring student Lyssa was a practice in patience. For me. I gave her a folder to keep all her tutoring handouts and notes. I think I saw it every once in a while, holding papers for her school classes. Sometimes I would see some of my handouts hanging out with other scattered papers. If I tried to review a past lesson, she never had the handouts. Sigh.

When schools closed, so did my in-person tutoring. Just like most teachers, I had to learn how to tutor fully online. It wasn’t the prettiest adjustment for me, but I made it through the spring.

When I started the fall semester, I knew I needed something that worked better for me and my students. And I found it in a digital notebook. I found a method to organize my students, keep their work in a single place, and allow us to work together – all online.

Thinking about digital notebooks for your tutoring practice or classroom? Let’s talk about why I think they are amazing and so helpful for everyone!

3 Reasons You Need to Use Digital Tutoring Notebooks

digital notebook

1. Consistency

Even before the pandemic, I’d been tutoring some students online. I often had several documents open at once – an agenda slide I shared with the student, a presentation, and a place for student work. 

But that could become unwieldy. I forgot to change sharing settings or my students would get lost amidst the various tabs. And my students could rarely go back to reference information I gave them.

With a digital notebook, all that is located in a single document. I share the file with my students at our first meeting and we use it every single session after that. They get used to opening it, working with information, and completing work all in one file. And since I own the document, it can’t disappear.

2. Transparency

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

I can always hold my students accountable for work completed in their notebooks because I can see what they’re working on in real-time. When the student types, I can immediately see their work. Both of us can make changes to the document.

Ever have a parent who wants to know exactly what you’re doing with their child? This is their wish come true. I also share the link with parents, so they can see everything I am working on with their child. 

3. Ease

I was already familiar with Google Slides, so there wasn’t much of a learning curve for me. Even if you’re not a Google Slides aficionado, you can do this! If you’ve used PowerPoint, you can use Google Slides. In fact, I think it’s easier to use and has a few really useful tools that PowerPoint doesn’t – like easily embedding YouTube videos.

If you use lesson plans over and over again for students, this is a one and done situation. I create the slides to work with one student and then can just copy them into other students’ notebooks. Teach a group class? Post the slides and have students copy them into their personal notebooks.

Most students are very familiar with Google Slides and digital notebooks, so they need little to no instruction on how to use the notebook. I provide a quick overview at the beginning and tell them where we are in the file on a regular basis. “Hey there – we’re starting on slide 16.” “Let’s move on to slide 33.”

Are you using digital notebooks in your tutoring? What do you love about them? Let me know in the comments below!

Related Posts: Becoming a Tutor: Why I Kissed my Gradebook Good-Bye, Writing in Social Studies

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