With a bit of research, we quickly found a platform we wanted to use more than any other: Bramble. So why did this platform stand out from the crowd?
Safeguarding and standards
The big one. As our programme switches to 100% online, we find ourselves having to think very hard about the procedures we need to put in place to ensure students’ and tutors’ safety.
Bramble automatically records each session from start to finish. This gives us total oversight of every interaction that takes place on the platform. We can use the recordings to review sessions for quality and efficacy, giving feedback to tutors to support their growth. We can share them with school to show what’s been happening in lessons and we can build up a comprehensive library of evidence to refer to should there be any specific safeguarding concerns about a student or tutor.
Bramble also allows us to operate an ‘open door policy’ for every session. Because only one link is needed to connect to the classroom, our contacts in school are able to drop into sessions as and when they see fit. Students and tutors are both aware of this, avoiding the unwanted ‘privacy’ that tutors are trained to avoid when working in schools.
As well as giving us extremely useful oversight of the sessions, Bramble has a number of features that make the tutoring itself fun and interactive.
Alongside ‘pen’ and ‘text’ tools, there is a document upload function. This allows tutors to instantly upload any work or resources they need to support learning. This feature is extremely useful as a tutor – making it easy to prep for lessons and use tailor-made resources without having to fiddle around with clever camera set-ups or invite the student to collaborate on other platforms.
Unlike many face-to-face video platforms, the cameras on Bramble are turned off whenever working in the shared notebook. Before using Bramble, I hadn’t thought this would make such a difference, but it means there are far fewer distractions, with both student and tutor completely focused on the work at hand.
Finally, the platform automatically emails the student a PDF copy of the work completed during the session. This means they can refer to the help at any point between lessons and they can easily complete any resources that weren’t finished during the lessons. We can also share this with teachers at schools so they know what topics are being covered. This feature would take a lot of admin to deliver manually, so finding a platform that does it automatically was a very pleasant surprise!
Ease of Use
Finally, Bramble is just easy to use. We can set up as many classrooms as we need and there is no sign-up process required for students or tutors. The only technical requirement is that devices need to connect via Google Chrome (which is free to download) and this hasn’t yet presented any significant difficulty for delivering the programme.
Students and Tutors are sent a link just before their lesson begins and three (I counted!) clicks later they are connected to their classroom and ready to begin. This, combined with the automated administration features make Bramble an outstanding platform for setting up and managing an online tutoring programme.
If you would like to know more about our online programme, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to tutor, sign up here. If you’re interested in arranging tutoring for any students that you think are eligible for the programme, let us know here.