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July 13, 2020
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Czech foundation introduces new online platform for tutoring services

24.4.2020 8:26
Talentify.me (PHOTO:  Albatros Foundation)
Talentify.me (PHOTO: Albatros Foundation)

The Albatros Foundation in the Czech Republic has launched a Czech-language verison of an online platform from Austria called Talentify.me. The press release about the launch says: "The tempo of classic instruction today is fast and demands on students are getting bigger and bigger from year to year, which means that tutoring is becoming a necessary accessory to the mainstream education system. Check out the new platform called Talentify.me, which offers aid with tutoring to all children across different levels of society. It's easy to use and what's more, it's now available online."

The platform supports peer-to-peer education, i.e., peers undertaking learning together and sharing what they know with each other. The platform motivates registered members to offer to tutor their peers either for free or for a minimum fee.

The important aspect is mutuality, which means children teach each other what they need to know and advise others on what they themselves have mastered. The platform does not just turn the children into aid recipients, but leads them to actively identify what they are good at and offer to teach it to those around them.

The pupils and students who actively offer to tutor others solidify their own valuable social skills and their own sense of responsiblity. "I'm quite glad that after many years of working successfully in Austria, Talentify.me is beginning in the Czech Republic as well. The application brings together children from different environments, enriches them, increases their sense of responsibility, self-confidence and skills," explains Silke Horáková, co-owner of the Albatros Media publishing house and chair of the board of the Albatros Foundation.

In Austria, Talentify.me is regularly being used for mutual learning by more than 9 000 schoolchildren between the ages of nine and 19. Direct collaboration with the schools is crucial to the effort, and currently 500 schools in Austria have joined the platform.

Given that the launch of the app in the Czech Republic has coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Talentify.me, which was built for organizing in-person meetings, has been augmented to include instruments for online instruction. Currently the social network therefore facilitates sharing valuable advice and tips, offers of workshops, and other diverse advantages accessible from the safety of one's home.

That's not all, though. The aim of Talentify.me is for tutoring to also reach children who are unable to access classic tutoring services.

Those reasons for lack of access can be purely financial, or they can be social in nature. What's more, Talentify.me will become open in the future to employers who will have the opportunity to offer internships through the app or to choose active young people involved with the platform to join their teams.

Tutoring during COVID-19

Given the current conditions of instruction, the platform is currently focusing above all on the group of children most in need who, because of their disadvantaging socioeconomic backgrounds, are losing out compared to their peers even more than under normal circumstances. "Many children have not had adequate conditions to prepare for school at home because of social exclusion and/or their family's financial situation even during normal times. All of that has become more severe under this crisis situation," describes Jitka Votavová of ROMEA, who is being contacted by Romani high school and college students who need tutoring or other aid.

Developers of the platform have responded to the situation by making registration easier. Talentify.me customarily devotes special attention to verifying the correct identity of users with the aid of confirmation from the schools the pupils attend.

Currently, however, registration for Talentify.me is easier so that volunteers who are college students, current or former educators, or adults from other fields can join the talent pool. While they cannot actively contact the registered users who are minors, they are able to offer aid through the platform.

The app also takes into consideration those schoolchildren who, for various reasons, are unable to register on their own. If an acquaintance of theirs, such as a social worker, for example, wants to aid them with finding tutoring, that person can register on their behalf.

The staffers behind Talentify.me will then personally aid that proxy with finding an appropriate volunteer tutor for the child. "In online (education) platforms that connect the social environment, I see the benefit both from the educational side and from the social side. I think many families would very much welcome this method of tutoring, not just now, but in future as well," says Zuzana Ramajzlová of People in Need, referencing investigations recently conducted among socially disadvantaged families and recommendations made to schools about distance learning on that basis.

"Talentify.me is not a short-term project putting out the fire of the current situation. Its entire essence focuses on long-term collaboration with schoolchildren, their parents, their schools and in future, with potential employers as well. Currently, nonetheless, it is concentrating above all on aid to those most in need, which will be even more important once the schools reopen than it is now," the press release states.

Nadace Albatros, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Austria, Doučování, škola, Vzdělávání



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