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How to get up to 42% off your tuition

If you are an employee you will probably qualify for Childcare Vouchers

 

At Genie Tutors, one of our main goals is to bring quality after-school education to as many children as possible. We are opening new centres and expanding our services in an effort to reach more children. Another way in which we try to spread education far and wide is by accepting childcare vouchers as payment for our services.

What are childcare vouchers?

Childcare vouchers are the product of a government approved scheme, set up to provide an efficient way of paying for childcare. Working families that are paying income tax and national insurance are able to accept some of their income in tax-free childcare vouchers, which can be exchanged for childcare services. This is called a ‘salary sacrifice scheme’, and can result in large savings on childcare. Some parents could save as much as £933 per year, and it is worth noting that more than one parent per home can apply for the scheme. Childcare vouchers can prove a useful and efficient way of helping working families with their child’s education.

People often associate childcare vouchers with very young children, but a lot of people don’t realise that you can claim childcare vouchers up until the September following your child’s 15th birthday. Childcare vouchers are also available for parents on a wide scale of incomes. The vouchers are only available if there is an approved scheme with your employer, so it is worth checking if such a scheme exists at your workplace.

All of our OFSTED registered centres accept childcare vouchers as a form of payment for tuition. At Genie Tutors, we believe our tuition gives children a fantastic opportunity to achieve their goals at school and reach their potential. Childcare vouchers could help you mitigate the cost of quality education for your child. As well as accepting childcare vouchers, we are also participating in the KalliKids ‘Sponsor a Child’ campaign, which again shows our dedication to bringing highly regarded after-school education to as many children as we can.

If you are interested, take a look at our centre finder to see where your closest Genie Tutors centre is!

 

*reduction correct as at 20-5-2016. Basic rate tax payers will get up to 32%, higher rate tax payers up to 42% and additional rate tax payers 47%. The amount is capped at £243, £124, £110 respectively per eligible parent.

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Live by numbers: 4 ways to incorporate maths into every child’s life

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We probably all know someone who, at some time, has uttered the words “I’m not a maths person”. The attitude that you either ‘get’ or ‘don’t get’ maths is so prevalent in society that it must affect some children’s impressions of the subject. Indeed, a lot of children that come to our centres do have difficulty with maths. They have often lost hope of grasping the subject or see maths as too abstract to have real benefit on their lives.

 

However, a great way of teaching children the importance of maths is by showing them how regularly maths features in our everyday life. As well as giving children a regular chance to practice their mathematical skills, the small, routine numerical problems we solve every day also demonstrates the importance of maths in modern life. Here are four great games you can play to help develop your child’s mathematical ability.

 

Test children on car journeys: Here’s the perfect solution to the dreaded “are we there yet?” question – ask them to calculate how long they have to go! Car journeys are a great opportunity to provide little tests and quizzes to children of all mathematical abilities. Whether using road signs to inspire simple addition or incorporating speed, acceleration and miles per gallon into your problems, there’s plenty of information available on your dashboard with which you can present a fun challenge to your children.

 

Board games: Some of the most famous board games incorporate core maths skills into their rules. Obviously, a game of monopoly involves lots of addition and subtraction, but even letting your child keep score in scrabble requires strong arithmetic skills. There are a plethora of board games which incorporate important mathematical and strategical skills, like ‘Ticket to Ride‘, a favourite of one of our tutors. Board games provide fun and interactive ways for children to practice their maths, without feeling like they are being quizzed!

 

Use maths in the supermarket or restaurants: Buying food at the supermarket gives ample opportunities to involve your child in a range mathematical problems. Whether it’s calculating the cost of items at the deli counter, working out the change you are due at the till, measuring the savings available on different offers or a simple game of ‘guess the bill’, numbers and problems are all around us when we are purchasing things.

 

Cooking: There are a number of reasons to allow your children to explore the kitchen with you, but one that is not often talked about is the opportunity to develop their maths skills. Baking, for example, can be a really fun way to demonstrate the real life applications of maths, as successful baking requires the use of proportions, ratios and fractions. However, even the simplest of meals require mathematical skills to measure or time your cooking correctly.

 

We’re passionate about helping children develop the skills they need in school and the rest of their lives. These are just a handful of ways you can help them and maybe even brush up on your own skills! We’d love to hear your ideas for developing maths skills outside the classroom.

Want to find out more about Genie Tutors? Use our centre finder to locate the tuition centre closest to you.

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The subtle impressions children pick up from their parents

mother-child

 

You will be hard pressed to find a parent who doesn’t want the best for their child. If you’re reading a blog like this, then you are likely a parent who already goes the extra mile for their children and likely take an active interest in their education and development. Most, if not all, parents are supportive of their child’s progress in school and, in turn, children often find their own enthusiasm for school fuelled through their parents’ attitude to education. In fact, the attitude of a parent towards a child’s education is one of the biggest factors in how much a child achieves in school.

 

Whilst positive attitudes at home are crucial to success in school; there are other ways in which a parent can be supportive of their child’s education. These changes are often very subtle, but they can affect how a child views some of the core principles of education. For example, this new study highlights how children’s attitudes about intelligence can be influenced by a parent’s approach to failure. The study shows how parents who view failure (such as a low grade or a sporting loss) as a negative event tend to give children the impression that their ability or intelligence is something that is ‘fixed’ and cannot be improved. If a child accepts strict limitations on their abilities and talents, they will be less inclined to push forward and try to improve.

 

The quote, commonly attributed to Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” comes to mind. Using failure as an opportunity to learn and consciously focusing on the ability to progress from a disappointing result will not only help pick up your child’s spirits, it will subconsciously inform your child’s approach to future challenges.

 

Another great way to positively influence your child’s approach to work and education is in how you give praise to their work. Every parent has felt proud of something their child has produced, but it can be too easy to only praise the finished product. At Genie Tutors, we endeavour to praise the hard work and effort that has gone into producing work, rather than the final piece of work. This culture of praising effort is vital to children’s success, especially when they find something challenging. By rewarding a good attitude towards learning, a child is more likely to remain motivated when progress becomes difficult.

 

When the final piece of work is the only thing to receive praise, children may shy away from challenges, for fear of providing a ‘substandard’ piece of work. However, if a child is taught that hard work is what counts, they’ll be more accepting of challenges and hurdles in their life.

At Genie Tutors, we take the task of giving children a positive approach to education very seriously. Though these small tweaks may seem negligible, they can subconsciously enforce a child’s wider views and opinions on learning.

If you want your child to join Genie Tutors, use our ‘find a centre’ page to locate your closest centre.

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5 ways Genie Tutors help children prepare for exams

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It’s that time of year again. For both children and parents, exam season can create a stressful household and the pressure to revise and attain good grades builds as it approaches. However, stress is just one of a wide number of reasons children come to Genie Tutors in search of exam tuition. While some children need help focusing on specific problem areas, some need structure and to have time set aside to focus on their studies and others simply need emotional support to reach their potential. At Genie Tutors, we pride ourselves on our strong track record of helping children who wish to perform as well as they can in their exams. In this blog, we talk about some of the methods that enable such a high success rate.

 

  1. We are able to provide specific and targeted help.

 

One of the biggest advantages of private tutoring over revision classes is that we are able to address specific issues a child may have with a certain subject. Often children only struggle with small sections of the content they need to know for an exam. At Genie Tutors we provide a sharp focus on areas that have been identified as troublesome. Because our tuition takes place in small groups, children can build up a dialogue with their tutor more easily than they may be able to with a teacher, allowing us to be precise in the way we help your child.

 

  1. Our tutors offer fresh perspectives on established topics.

 

It may sound obvious, but some children will pick up certain techniques quickly, whereas others may respond better to a different teaching technique. What we often find is that when information is presented to children in a different format, they are able to revise more effectively and increase their overall understanding. Being able to tackle similar content from another angle engages a child’s mind more effectively than staring at exactly the same worksheet they completed earlier in the year. Our tutors come from a variety of different teaching backgrounds and, as this previous blog post shows, they learn a lot about different approaches to teaching from their time as a tutor. This allows tutors to be flexible and find the right approach to help exam preparation.

 

We are offering a ‘Try Before You Buy’ offer throughout May! See here for more details.

 

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  1. Our centres offer a fresh environment for learning.

 

Many parents find the simple act of visiting a centre allows children to focus on their revision in a way they might find difficult to at home or in the classroom. Whether it’s the flashing screen of a smart phone at home or the chatter of classmates at school, our centres offer respite from distraction, instead giving children short but intense bursts of revision. In these concentrated periods of revision, lots of progress can be made.

 

  1. A visit to our centres provides a concrete timetable for revision.

 

With lots of children, the very act of getting started with revision is the biggest hurdle to overcome. When a teacher or parent simply reminds a child to “revise”, they present an open ended request that relies upon a child’s willpower. However, by allotting time for a revision period in their calendar, progress can be made every week without the fear of procrastination. From this, our tutors will be able to build tasks and points of development for the next session, meaning that the effect of our tuition spreads throughout the week.

 

  1. Genie Tutors offer vital emotional support and confidence boosts.

 

One of the biggest factors in underachievement is a lack of confidence. Many of our tutors’ fondest memories are of helping children who have the intellectual ability to achieve their goals but need the emotional support of someone believing in them to help them reach their potential. The culture of large classrooms, target grades and paper based feedback can feel impersonal and might not inspire a child who may be lacking confidence. However, at Genie Tutors we are able to dedicate a lot of time to personal development and relationship building, which in turn will often give your child the belief to perform to their potential.

 

Do you want to enrol your child? Use our centre locator to find the most convenient Genie Tutors centre for you!

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Four tips to get your child reading more often.

Not the finest use of books, but it’s a start!
Not the finest use of books, but it’s a start!

 

In the age of flashing screens, computer games and constant distraction, making sure a child has a good attitude towards reading can sometimes be difficult. Some children seem to be totally against the idea of reading, believing it to be dull and associating books with work. Other children, including myself when I was a child, love reading once they get into a book, but are often reluctant to take the first step in choosing new reading material. What we know is that children reading as regularly as possible helps social and educational development in a plethora of ways. We also know that most parents want to encourage their children to read more, but often have difficulty in motivating them to pick up another book.

Luckily, we at Genie Tutors have some great tips to get children reading more often.

 

  1. Use real life activities to reinforce what a child has read.

 

If a child needs a push to read more often, bringing literary references to life can be a great way to encourage children to explore the world of fiction further. One of our tutors talks about taking his children ‘Gruffalo hunting’, where a walk in the countryside suddenly turns into living the adventure of one of their favourite books. This same walk in the park can easily become a bear hunt, fuelled by a child’s imagination. If a child has a passion for helping in the kitchen, making sauces can quickly be the subject of a ‘potions class’ at Hogwarts. A weekend away camping can turn the stressful act of putting up a tent into a Robinson Crusoe inspired survival experience. Bringing these literary memories off the page and into real life is a great way for children to become more engaged with what they read. The children will create positive memories associated with books they have read, and this will push them to choose to read more books in the future.

 

  1. Take an active role in their reading.

 

In order to be able to commit to the suggestion made above, a parent needs to already be actively involved. Instead of tasking a child with an hour’s silent reading, if parents show interest in reading and spend time with their child, this is likely to enhance the child’s enjoyment of the text. As adults, we often associate reading with privacy and silence, but a child might need quite the opposite to experience the magic of a book. A lot of children’s literature relies on the cadence and flow of the words to bring it to life, so hearing a parent read out loud, even at ages when children can comfortably read by themselves, is often a great way to develop interest in a story.

 

  1. Make book purchases specific to a child’s interests.

 

While the internet may well contribute to a child’s reluctance to read, it can also be used advantageously. The internet gives everyone access to a mind-boggling amount of literature, so there’s no excuse for not buying a hesitant reader the perfect book that will interest them. If you have a football-mad son, you no longer have to settle for walking into a book shop and buying the first football-related title you can find. Use the internet to find a book or magazine with, for example, their favourite team or player on the front cover, so that they are more likely to be excited about the purchase. Allowing a child to choose a book also increases the chances that they will read the book once it is purchased, and it is certainly a less intimidating experience for a reluctant reader than being dragged to the library!

 

  1. Reward your child’s efforts regularly.

 

Finally, it is vital to reward children for their efforts when they try to read more often. It is important to do this while the child is still reading the book, rather than at the end of the book. This means that the reward is for the act of reading, not for finishing a book. The treat could even be related to the book, such as buying the DVD to see how the child’s impression of the book differs from the film, or doing a similar activity to those suggested in the first tip. What is important, is demonstrating the value in reading and giving reading positive associations. Hopefully, all a child will want is another book!

 

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Genie Tutors and Kallikids team up to provide free tuition!

We have 14 centres providing free tuition across the country!
We have 14 centres providing free tuition across the country!

 

We believe our tuition at Genie Tutors can offer a lot to children of all ages, whether they need help catching up with certain subjects or just want to progress as much as possible with their education. However, we are also aware that some children unfortunately don’t have access to this help when they need it. So when KalliKids opened up their ‘Sponsored Child’ campaign, we leapt at the opportunity to be able to provide quality tuition to children who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience Genie Tutors.

The KalliKids Sponsored Child campaign has entered its third year
The KalliKids Sponsored Child campaign has entered its third year.

 

The ‘Sponsored Child’ campaign from KalliKids aims to give children an array of opportunities, that they wouldn’t otherwise have, to participate in a new activity, learn a new skill and make new friends. The chosen activity will be free to the child for a whole year! We are very proud to be a part of this campaign and the following Genie Tutors centres are participating in the event:

 

 

Genie Tutors Basildon

Genie Tutors Bedford

Genie Tutors Benfleet

Genie Tutors Eastbourne

Genie Tutors Exeter

Genie Tutors Handsworth Wood

Genie Tutors Harrow

Genie Tutors Hitchin

Genie Tutors Leicester

Genie Tutors New Cross

Genie Tutors Prestwich

Genie Tutors Rotherham

Genie Tutors Sutton Coldfield

 

This means we are able to help a selection of children across the country by providing free tuition to those who need it. We tutor children from ages 5-18, for further details, see your chosen centre’s main page. To apply on behalf of a child, just visit the KalliKids website and find the centre that is most convenient for the child to attend. There are over 160 spaces available in the campaign which will help place deserving children into schemes and activities across the UK. The campaign will hopefully leave a lasting impression on the children who have been selected, and we’re over the moon to be a part of a charitable initiative that can do good for so many young people.

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A test tube triumph: making memorable lessons for children.

Experiments are a great way to create an interactive and memorable teaching experience.
Experiments are a great way to create an interactive and memorable teaching experience.

 

In our blog last week, we talked about how we strive to make learning enjoyable at our centres. We discussed how small groups, regular feedback and rewarding hard work can result in a child making rapid progress in a subject that they once could have been struggling with. This week, we wanted to share a story that really shows the power of enthusiastic learning and how a pleasurable experience can help imprint a memory onto a child’s mind.

This story comes from Emile of Genie Tutors Liverpool, Genie Tutors’ newest centre! There is 30% off tuition for anyone who wishes to sign up to Genie Tutors Liverpool before April 21st 2016.

Here, Emile reflects on an experience in which he had been teaching a year 7 physics class and how a potentially bad situation became a moment of thought and reflection for both child and teacher.

 

“I once had a year 7 class. We were testing the aerodynamics of different plasticine shapes, and to allow the shapes to drop slower we put them in large tubes of wallpaper paste so that the class could time how long it takes for the different shapes to drop. As we started the race I accidentally knocked down one of these tubes and wallpaper paste went everywhere. It was just chaos.

However, it was one of those moments when it wasn’t stressful because the kids were being polite, just giggling, and I was realising that this was really quite funny. What struck me was that weeks later you could hear them still talking about it, and more importantly still they were remembering the content because they were able to remember what had gone wrong. 

It left me thinking ‘how can I build that into my lessons?’ But it’s nice that even when things go wrong you have that little bit of camaraderie with the kids, when they’re really enjoying the lesson it doesn’t matter what goes wrong because it’s more memorable for them in a way.”

 

Emile’s obvious bond with his class is warming. Having the respect of a group of children even when accidents occur is a sure sign of trust! This story also gives an important reminder of how society should try and educate children. We must be conscious that children spend a lot of time in classrooms and that the classroom experience can sometimes merge into one big blur. Exciting moments, even when they aren’t entirely planned like in Emile’s story, can shake up a child’s education and provide lasting memories.

At Genie Tutors, we pride ourselves on being dynamic and forward thinking to create a memorable atmosphere for a child to learn. When paint pots are inevitably spilled, we laugh with the children and try to pass on a relaxed approach to learning, without compromising on results. All of our centres are run by people who have years of experience in education. This means they can use their vast experience to create engaging, intense bursts of learning which will allow your child to absorb more information.

 

Find the Genie Tutors centre closest to you with our centre finder.

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How Genie Tutors get children enthusiastic about learning

How do we make smiles and school bags go together?
How do we make smiles and school bags go together?

It’s a tale heard all too often – talented children can often find themselves unmotivated to succeed in school. “Potential” is a word that gets uttered often in education, but realising a child’s true potential can be a challenging task. However, it is a task that our tutors revel in. All of our tutors have their personal successes in encouraging and motivating children to achieve and most of Genie’s tutors will tell you that this is one of the most rewarding things about teaching. Alongside the hard work of our tutors, we at Genie Tutors find the key to fostering enthusiasm in learning can be found in our bespoke approach to tutoring. This blog will talk about a few of the principles that allow us to get children to enjoy their schoolwork.

At Genie Tutors, one of the ways we get children to love learning is by emphasising the power of learning in small groups. When children are in small groups, we find they are more likely to bounce ideas off each other, compete with each other, interact with each other and support each other. This can make learning more enjoyable and productive than it may otherwise be in a large classroom or in a one to one situation. By sitting across the table from their tutor in an informal setting, children can’t help but share the enthusiasm of our tutors when they are teaching, and in turn the tutors can easily see what makes each individual child excited. This means that a personal learning experience, where tutors can give special attention to individuals if it is needed, is created that can’t be offered in a 30-person classroom.

We also try to create a culture where we reward the hard work that our children put in to their education. Rewards can include gifts of stationary and books that reward the hard work that goes into making progress. We try not to use them as a bargaining tool (we aren’t training puppies!), but use rewards to foster a genuine appreciation of the effort that a child makes. It’s similar to putting a child’s work on the fridge, in that rewarding a special effort gives children a reminder that their efforts are valued by the people who care about them.

 

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Rewarding a child’s efforts encourages them to see the joy in working hard.

Alongside the rewards system, we also make sure that regular feedback is given to both children and parents alike. When a child is told often about how they are progressing, it will enthuse them to try and learn even more. By also talking to parents every week, we are able to give personal and regular feedback about what teaching a child has received, allowing parents to also take an active role in a child’s education. This gives a parent the opportunity to understand how we develop children and lets parents to praise children for the hard work they do. When a parent praises their child’s hard work, it reinforces the importance of education and encourages them to see the value in learning.

Finally, we find that the Genie Tutors centres themselves provide an environment where learning can be enjoyable. Sitting in a fresh space, outside of the traditional confines of a classroom and in small groups, talking about the work they are doing can be very refreshing. Providing an environment in which children can come and have short bursts of intensive learning, where they know they’ll make important progress is vital to our approach. Often children may see their attention drift in a big classroom that they sit in for several hours a week, so visiting our centres can be a stimulating change of pace for many children.

 

If you wish to find out more about Genie Tutors in your zone, see our ‘Find a Centre’ page.

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The Genie Tutors approach – how we look to make positive change.

 

Many people have certain assumptions about tutoring. They often think tutoring is solely focused upon exam preparation, and tuition sessions may centre around endless practice examinations. However, the tutoring environment gives an opportunity for spades of other benefits to creep into tuition sessions beyond the strictly educational benefits. A previous blog post of ours, 5 benefits of learning in small groups, highlighted some of these benefits, including the ability to inspire confidence and allowing children to interact with people out of their usual social norms. Generally speaking, while tutoring has direct targets in terms of education, we try to use this opportunity to improve as a platform from which we can build and develop young people more broadly.

 

This is why we find recent quotes from Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw slightly discouraging. Recent news stories have talked about a North/South divide emerging in education, as Southern schools, generally speaking, outperform their Northern counterparts in examination results. The Ofsted boss has said the “Northern Powerhouse” will “splutter and die” if current trends continue.

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At Genie Tutors, we don’t believe in a culture of finger pointing. Whilst it is important to recognise potential issues, the way in which the news story has been handled levels an accusatory tone at every school, every teacher and every child in the north of the country, which is unfair. Quotes like this may lead to cases of individual teachers feeling blamed for a regional trend, or even for pupils themselves (especially as they get older and interact with the news more) to feel disadvantaged because of their location, and in turn more likely to seek educational opportunities elsewhere once they leave school.

 

Much like how we treat individual children at our centres, an issue must be met with a positive solution for progress to occur. Looking to positive examples in the regions to spread their example, rather than focusing on those schools that are failing to meet standards should be the focus of our efforts. At Genie, we are proud to say we have a new centre opening in Liverpool, which will provide another avenue to success for children who may not have access to the education or attention they need at the moment.

 

There often seems to be a trend of pointing to the macro, of looking at statistics for whole cities and regions as a single entity, rather than getting on the ground and changing children’s lives for the better. At Genie, we believe the only way the nation can address any educational difficulty is with a proactive approach to create a better environment for learning, rather than simply pointing fingers at the issue.

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The balancing game of technology in education

The implementation of technology into education is a strange topic, in that it has been a point of discussion for a long time but also continues to stay relevant to the forefront of educational debates. As technology evolves, it is natural that fresh debate on its role in education will occur. Computer labs, now decades old in many schools, are treated by some with similar scepticism that the more recent introduction of e-readers received. What must be recognised is that technology will eventually have an ever closer union with education. But at Genie Tutors, we know we must also make an effort to use educational technology responsibly and effectively when we choose to use it.

 

There are, of course, recent successes to talk about. Last month UK born astronaut Tim Peake delivered a lesson from the International Space Station to around 300,000 excited school children across the country. It shows the capacity and scope of how technology could be used positively.

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Can an e-reader beat the real thing?

However, the use of e-readers is not such a clear cut success. There have been some benefits, with reports of children who were reluctant readers (particularly boys) becoming more involved in reading through the introduction of e-readers. E-readers can also be useful for schools stuck on space to accommodate a library, or for remote schools that have difficulty accessing local libraries. However, many e-readers only display in black and white, don’t display images or have small screens and fonts that are designed for more advanced readers. At Genie Tutors, we also often find that e-readers can sometimes be used as ‘babysitting’ tools, where a flashing screen can distract from actual learning and interaction with a teacher or private tutor. Because a child only has limited time with a tutor, we try to get the most out of those valuable hours as possible. There is also evidence that too much screen time for young children can be damaging and reading offers a chance to move away from those screens. This means that vital components of reading a book as a child are often missing from the electronic version. In short, it is very difficult to put a simple ‘good’ or ‘bad’ label on the use of e-readers in education. It shows that when technology is introduced to education, it must be done in a well thought out manner and for the right reasons.

 

Technology in a broader sense does, however, offer opportunities for children to learn in a new way. Namely, because technology is ever evolving, it creates a situation where both an educator and a student can learn about technology at the same time. At Genie Tutors, we really try to encourage an environment where children are able to bring their own ideas out and share with everyone, as demonstrated in this blog post from last month. However, if technology is used at our centres, we make sure it must also be a relevant and useful tool towards an educational goal.

 

What can be said for certain is that technology is bound to make more of an impact in education as time progresses. However, there must also be a sense of precaution. The solution is not to inundate children with technology at all times. At Genie Tutors we are very aware that technology has to be used in the right way to see noticeable benefits. With schools operating on ever tighter budgets, they must be sure that the steps they take to incorporate new technologies into education will be an effective use of time and money.