Monday, September 04, 2006

Where to get additional academic help; homework-helping websites from the NY Times

"My first experience into the world of homework help sites left me bewildered and frustrated," writes Alina Tugend in the Sept 2 NYTimes story "If You Can Click a Mouse You Can Help on Homework." She continues, "How to choose among them? The Discovery Channel offers, while AOL has Then there is along with Ask for Kids ( Also,,, and"

Tugend explores 2 large sites that offer students real help from real people: and These sites' fees are often covered by school districts or library systems.

She also writes, "There are many I’ve left out and some I would never stumble across on my own. For example, Daniel McVeigh, a graduate student in computing education and cognitive science at Teachers College at Columbia University, has checked out numerous sites that help teach math.

The best one he’s found is the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives, part of Utah State University (

“It’s extremely effective, particularly in helping students in all grades understand fractions,” he said. “It was developed by math teachers for math students.”

With such an array of sites, how can any parent or student possibly assess what is most effective?

Some say the online homework-help sites are not solving a problem but contributing to one.

Sara Bennett, co-author of “The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It” (Crown, 2006), argues that there is serious doubt about whether homework has any real benefit."

Aha; there's a provocative title. Maybe we should check that site first.

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