In this occasional feature, we’ll be sharing profiles of some of our outstanding tutors. 

The first thing you notice about Margie Speer is that she sparkles.

As she shares enthusiastic stories about her work in education and her family, it’s easy to see that she’s high energy, 

It’s easy to hear how her experiences shaped her passion for math.

And it’s easy to see why she would inspire students to love learning.

She’s made that difference as a tutor for Back to Basics since 2011.

Speer’s background is not the traditional path for an educator. Her degree is in mechanical

How do we measure what matters in learning?

So many measures of student success are calculated in test scores. But many school leaders now seem to doubt whether standardized scores measure whether schools are effective.

A recent Gallup poll found that nine in 10 of U.S. K-12 public school superintendents say that engagement with school, student hopes for the future, and graduation rates are very important measures of school effectiveness. But only 9% of those superintendents described standardized test scores in the same way.

The Gallup Poll underscores that school leaders, as well as other school stakeholders, agree that it is vital for schools to assess …

5 Ways to Encourage Critical Thinking About Technology

As early as 2012, teens between 14 to 17 years old were sending a median of 100 texts a day, according to Pew Research Center. Have you ever stopped to consider how different teens’ communication via smartphones and social media is from the language they are being taught in schools?

Some linguists might suggest the language of texts and emojis to be a sign that language is evolving. We didn’t always have contractions; maybe the same process that changed ‘you will’ to ‘you’ll’ is changing ’shaking my head’ to ‘SMH.’ But these changes are happening so fast that we …

Are teens getting smarter about social media?

A new Pew Research study of U.S. teens reports that how teens are using social media platforms is changing— perhaps for the better. The majority of teens associate positive outcomes with social media, and may be using it for constructive outcomes.

Roughly eight in ten teens say that social media makes them feel more connected to what is going on in their friends’ lives. Around two-thirds report that social media platforms make them feel as if they have people who will support them through tough times.

Teens say social media helps strengthen friendships, provide emotional support, but can also lead to drama, feeling pressure to post certain types of content

Close to half or more of teens report that they rarely or never share …

Are “learning styles” worth learning?

A new study suggests further evidence that designating students’ “learning styles” may not be a reliable way to categorize students.

For many years, one of the most popular learning styles inventories suggested that teachers categorize students into their sensory approaches to learning: visual, aural, verbal (reading/writing), and kinesthetic. Other schemes for learning styles might group students into categories such as logical, physical, social, or solitary. Many teachers have learned in their educational training that best practices involve presenting information to each student according to their learning style or preference. For example, kinesthetic learners would learn best if bodily movements were …