MIT students on a mission to tackle the education crisis created by Covid-19
The US school system is struggling to support all of its students during the Covid-19 pandemic, and many are falling behind. The challenges affect low-income communities most strongly. This is not a problem MIT can solve alone, but we can make a difference.
During the Fall 2020 semester we will be recruiting up to 100 MIT students as Tech Tutors, who will work with small groups ("learning pods") of students who need extra support during Covid-19. Tech Tutors will focus on offering creative STEAM activities and general support for digital learning (help with setting up Zoom calls, etc.). The program is open to low-income families anywhere in the US as well as members of the MIT community with school-age kids enrolled in grades 3-8. Becoming a Tech Tutor offers MIT students an experiential learning experience and opportunity to invest in positive social change in their communities.
Tech Tutors is supported by the Office of Experiential Learning and the Office of the Provost and coordinated by the Media Lab Digital Learning + Collaboration Studio together with the Media Arts & Sciences Program.
During the fall we worked with 5 MIT students ("tech tutors") who supported 15 children from 14 families in the MIT community. They engaged in a wide range of activities, including helping with basic school work, creating games using Scratch and python, and working through the engineering parts of a science fair project (which ended up winning an award)!
We received a lot of positive feedback from parents, who appreciated their children getting some extra attention and help (while they got to take a break). We also learned some things we can improve.
We also got positive feedback from the tutors, who appreciated the opportunity to put their own hectic lives on pause to help young students. All the tutors enjoyed the experience and said they would recommend the program to their friends.