||Educational Technology & Society 2(1) 1999
E-Tutor Connected Learning for K-12
Reviewer: Andries du Plessis
Department of History, Vista University, Mamelodi Campus
Pretoria, South Africa, Private Bag X1311, Silverton, 0127.
||E-Tutor Connected Learning for K-12
||Objective of the site:
||E-tutor was developed by Strategic Studies (Park Ridge, Illinois). The
original programming for this initiative was completed in November 1997.
In many ways E-Tutor's site can be regarded as a showcase for web-based
schools. E-Tutor covers five curricular areas, namely Language Arts,
Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Integrated Studies. Two
curricular areas are currently offered, namely Language Arts and
Mathematics. Lessons are closely aligned with the national goals and
objectives applicable in the USA. Primary, intermediate, middle
school/junior high, as well as high school levels are covered.
||E-tutor is a multi-functional electronic platform and are being used in
a variety of setting, including:
- Home schooling
- Additional exercises for enrichment purposes
- Programs for gifted pupils
- Remedial teaching and for those students who might be intellectually
- School libraries and school information centres
- For use in ordinary classrooms where teachers interact in a face-to-face
situation with their students.
||Main topics covered:
||Presently approximately 100 lessons are available. These lessons range
from kindergarten stories about the Three Bears to algebra for high
||Comments on usefulness and richness of each topic:
||Lessons follow a set structure and are divided into 9 different
sub-headings. Sub-headings include the grade, a lesson's goals, the
vocabulary, Internet resources, and so forth.
Lessons are integrated with everyday situations and life skills. The
lesson about the Three Bears, for example, is linked to problem-solving
skills and folktales. The lesson about earthquakes for the Intermediate
level links students to another web site that reviews "the earthquake
of the day". Seemingly there is an earthquake every day somewhere on our
planet. In the lesson entitled "Algebra: Negative and Positive Numbers
Adding and Absolute Values", students are confronted with mathematical
problems related to everyday matters, such as keeping scores for
sporting events or buying hamburgers. Appropriate graphics are included
to enhance lessons.
||Extent, appropriateness and quality of external links:
||E-Tutor employs the capabilities of the World Wide Web (WWW) by linking
other www-sites to its lessons. These are found under the sub-heading
"Resources". These multiple links are not only for interest sake.
Students are required to use these resources in order to complete a
However, E-Tutor states that they "were unable to find any meaningful
structure to assist students in maneuvering through the vast resources
on the World Wide Web". E-Tutor is not alone in this regard. One of the
challenges facing teachers is to guide students in a meaningful way
through the maze of information on the WWW. Nevertheless, this
particular problem is not limited to web sites only, but also when
students are referred to books, articles, and other sources. The
difference is that web sites, unlike books, are not static. Changes are
being made on a continuous basis to the contents and/or sites' URL's.
Managing these continuous changes is a daunting task. Users of E-Tutor
might thus come across sites that would seem somewhat irrelevant or File
Error 404's. In reviewing E-Tutor, some links did return a File Error
404. However, E-Tutor includes a helpful e-mail notification feature in
order for students to report broken links.
An exceptionally useful link on E-Tutor's lessons is a link to
WWWebster. This site gives meaning(s) and the pronunciation of those
words and concepts in question for a particular lesson. This link could
be accessed under the sub-heading "Vocabulary". A useful feature that
could perhaps be considered is a sound clip so that English second
language speakers could listen to the proper pronunciation of a
||Apart from learning material, a number of other features make E-Tutor
stands apart from other on-line schools. E-Tutor's lessons are devised
by educationalists and packaged with the appropriate technology to
enable students immediate feedback on their exercises. After a student
has completed an exercise, an explanation for each question is provided.
However, E-Tutor took things a step further. Programs are customized to
continuously adapt to a student's progress. Another useful feature is
the opportunity for parents to have input in their children's progress.
Parents could, for example, cancel a child's mark if they are not
satisfied with their child's performance. In this regard E-Tutor has
taken care to ensure that students learn, but are not left on their own.
Parents are thus included in the learning process.