The following article was published in the TA News on 6/8/20
A Te Awamutu-based education provider is on the cusp of launching a set of new learning modules developed as a direct result of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Impact Tutoring, which is headed by former Pirongia School deputy principal and volunteer firefighter Jean McKenzie, is just weeks away from launching a new platform type of tutoring aimed at targeting specific areas of learning.
Ten percent of what comes in from the sale of the modules will go towards a unique award-winning programme that supports mathematics learning among young people who would otherwise struggle to afford it.
The learning modules grew out of Impact Tutoring’s expanded online tuition delivered during lockdown and covering a wide range of subjects. They are aimed at targeting subjects that recur during the business’s other tutoring sectors. “Algebra would be just one example, Essay writing techniques, plus wellbeing are others,” said Jean. “What we are doing is making use of the extensive intellectual property that we have here and create online learning modules that people can purchase.”
Jean started Impact Tutoring six years ago. She set it up after identifying a need in the area, certain it would knit together her interest in a more holistic delivery of education and a desire to run her own business. In January 2017, she added another initiative and started the non-profit Mathematics For a Lifetime Trust (MFAL), intended to transform the lives of underprivileged young people using mathematics tuition as the vehicle. It is the only Trust of its kind in New Zealand and has granted subsidies to numerous students across Auckland, Waikato, Waipā, Taupō and Taranaki.
Both ventures have gone on to win top regional awards and are attracting enquiries from as far afield as Christchurch, Nelson and Gisborne. Jean is a long-time believer that mathematics is the poor cousin of literacy in New Zealand, and that lives can be transformed if young people have access to numeracy tuition.
The interactive learning modules will be delivered by ‘authors’; others are keen to come on board.
“We started developing the platform about halfway through lockdown. One thing that became apparent through that time was that parents became more comfortable with supporting children with their online learning. Most kids were already confident in that space and knew it could be helpful.”
The modules will expand opportunities to learn online and offer flexibility. Jean said they are intended to fill learning gaps, cover students who might miss classes or who would benefit from revision in a particular subject, and could be useful for those needing to pick up subjects for a return to study.
Covid-19 forced new ways of looking at delivering education, she said. “We had to make a quick pivot to enable us to move our targeted learning online. I had an amazing team to deliver that, and support from the government meant families were equipped to receive the tuition.”