Below is the badge we are using on Tutorhub to get tutors to direct traffic from their personal website to their profile on Tutorhub.
This is a video we shot last year for Tutorhub, enjoy. It includes some old technology, but gives a sense of what we are trying to achieve.
The bald man is me, the teenager is my eldest son, and the tutor is Bella Ferne-Heesom.
Okay I know its almost the end of February already, and if New Years resolutions are to mean anything then you should start them on January 1st. But here are my three resolutions for 2012.
1. Get fit. This means losing some weight and getting active. Progress report: Next to no weight lost, but I am seeing Ross Elliot, a personal trainer who has made me realise that this is an achievable goal. So I have joined a gym, and this year is the year that I will get back to my fighting weight and fitness.
2. Be there. This means being there more for my family. Not that I think that I am a bad dad you understand. The time was when I was rarely at home, and these days are now well in the past. I just need to try to be more understanding and supportive. Progress report: trying my best. I am really pleased that my eldest son is working really hard toward his GCSE’s this year, I can’t wait to be there and share his excitement when he opens his results letter and starts Sixth Form.
3. Make my business more successful. We are a tech startup, so maybe some of the usual measures of success e.g. profit, take second place to growing user and customer numbers. Progress report: signs are really positive. Our online tutoring website Tutorhub is getting traction in the market-place. This is the resolution that I am most certain of meeting.
Oh yes, there is a fourth resolution too – to blog more. Which is where I started this blog post….
Before I launch into my latest research into UK based online tutoring businesses, I should declare that I am a co-founder of the UK based start-up Tutorhub.
I blogged eight months ago, back in December about UK based online tutoring websites and the embryonic nature of the online tutoring marketplace. Since then we have seen three new businesses enter the market:
- MyTutor, which is interesting as it is owned by AQA exam board
- Itutormaths, owned by the educational publisher Nelson Thornes
- Tutorme, of which I must admit to knowing very little
For those of you that don’t know, Tutorhub is a new online tutoring and homework help service that makes it quicker and easier to find and access UK based, CRB checked tutors, whatever the subject. Tutoring takes place online, only as and when it’s needed and is backed by best practice child safety features. Designed for the Facebook generation, Tutorhub includes an open Q&A feature and archive of previously asked questions.
Back in 2007, Kevin and I set about developing the ideas that would ultimately lead to the founding of our online tutoring web start-up Tutorhub.com. I was struck at the time, but how difficult it was to get a business like this off the ground, at almost every level from getting a bank account, through to finding good advisers and engaging with the local tech community. Developing and growing our business continues to be a challenge, but I do get the sense that there are growing numbers of start-ups, and that networking events like SW Founders and Thirsty Thursday make it easier to network.
This may surprise some of you, particularly those who live here – how can it be this big? What evidence is there? Well Andy came up with this useful list of businesses, incubators, VC’s, support organisations, networks, meet-ups, conferences. I found this really useful, and have come across many of the organisations / events over time, and would recommend new entrepreneurs to follow the links – there is alot of help and advice out there to you.
Tech and Software Ventures
- Beanbag Learning
- Community DNS
- The Filter
- Icy Cow
- Love Honey (NSFW)
- Roman Cart
- Simple Web
- Tutor Hub
- Viral Ad Network
- List of ventures in the Set Squared network
Funds and finance groups
I am repeating my post on the Tutorhub website here, as I think it bears further exposure – maybe some of you will be as annoyed by it as me, who knows….
Students from high attaining comprehensive schools are far less likely to attend top universities than those from independent schools. So say the Sutton Trust in their report ‘Degree of Success’.
Just focusing on Oxbridge entrants, they found that:
“2,000 schools and colleges had two or fewer Oxbridge entrants over the three years… just under two thirds of all schools and colleges, and accounted for 5.6% of Oxbridge admissions over the three years. The total number of Oxbridge entrants from these 2,000 schools and colleges over the three years is less than the number from 4 schools and one college who produced 946 Oxbridge entrants over the period.”
What proportion of these applications are accepted?
“5.2% of independent school pupils were accepted by Oxford and Cambridge, compared with 0.8% of pupils in non selective state schools, and 4.2% in selective state schools.”
Sutton Trust conclude that “independent school pupils are nearly seven times as likely as pupils in comprehensive schools to be accepted into Oxbridge.”
The Times Educational Supplement commenting on wider university acceptance rates included in the report say “there is something terribly wrong when a comprehensive school with the same scores as a local independent sends 17% of it’s pupils to top universities compared to 66% sent by its neighbour.”
But what do we as a nation do to correct this? Surely bright children from poor backgrounds should be given the same chance as kids from more affluent backgrounds? Can we expect much to change anytime soon? My belief is that increasing tuition fees will only serve to reduce state school applications still further, and that without proactive selection procedures at Oxbridge, nothing is likely to change.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engines via “natural” or unpaid (“organic”) search results. It’s one of the areas that you need to get right when developing a website, and an area to tweak when you try and improve the rankings of your website, over time.
I came across this infographic, which set out all the factors as a periodic table.
It shows the things you have to get right – all common sense really, and unacceptable behaviour which you will get punished for.
Wish I had seen this back in 2007, would have made things alot clearer.
Jamila Uddin screamed “I played ping pong with Barack Obama! I can’t believe it!”. Ayo Osisami yelled back “He winked at me!”. His visit to the Globe Academy in South London, with David Cameron really went down well.
Apart from an hour out of the school day, what did his visit bring to the kids at Globe Academy? As a kid from, shall we say, a ‘more challenging’ inner-city comprehensive school, I believe that meeting people that have done something and achieved in their lives is really important. Getting a new perspective, seeing that they are really no different from you, helps raise aspirations and set a new outlook on life.
Did it really have that big an impact on these kids, well it’s over to Tanvir Khan who said “It was the highlight of my life”. Those wanting Barak to visit their school, should form an orderly queue.
Wonder what the kids would have said about their views on the visit of David Cameron – maybe these weren’t printable
Since entering the world of education, I have been following a small number of education journalists, who I rate. Mike Baker is one of these – a TV and radio broadcaster and journalist, who has previously the BBC Education Correspondent.
I was shocked to read that he has been diagnosed with lung cancer today. I guess that it resonates with me, as it was this form of cancer that took my father’s life.
The most natural thing for Mike to start doing is to write a blog about it. I would recommend that you read it.
For me, I was interested to read his plans:
- to do less work, but not to stop altogether
- to worry less
- to have positive thoughts and do more relaxation
- to sing, smile and laugh
- to move more slowly, to rush less, and to be more reflective
- to stop being obsessed with getting things done and ticking items off his ‘to do’ list
- to eat more slowly
- to absorb the lovely natural things, which always give him a lift
Sounds like a good outlook for life.
What else would I do, if it were me? I loved the film the Bucket List starring that old dog Jack Nicholson, and as an avid list-maker I could foresee a new list of people and places to see, and new experiences. The problem is, of course, that you might not be strong enough to do it.
Finally, I hope that the Doctors can work their magic, and wish the very best for Mike and his family.