How students ‘Friendsource’ their learning

Friendsourcing: (v) To ask a friend (a trusted source) to source information or people.

I remember my first traffic speeding ticket like it was yesterday: A newly licensed high schooler, I felt like a young Ferris Bueller on the road.

My car was not this nice.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have Matthew Broderick’s ability to evade the authorities. I was pulled over, ticketed, and ordered to attend a 12-hour driving class full of other students who drove their parents nuts.

Turns out a couple of loosely-acquainted friends had also racked up tickets and were summoned to the same class (call it serendipity… or the reason for sky-high teenage insurance).

We banded together, stuck it out, and learned about the importance of maintaining braking distance. It was like a scene out of the Breakfast Club (OKAY I’ll stop with the John Hughes references).

I think the law might have been on to something here, because six months later that same group organized itself in a classroom for an SAT tutoring session.

If any cliché is true, it’s that high schoolers crave the feeling of belonging. They can make a social situation out of anything — the five minute hang-outs between class periods, the sporting events — even being holed up in a classroom on a Saturday.

And if your kid was as socially insecure and incapable of striking conversation as I was, he might secretly look forward to those “forced hang-out” situations. The only problem is that in high school, 99% of the time you go to class, then go straight home to study.

Which is where EdTech comes in. Apps like MathCrunch are products of the platform high schoolers are obsessed with — their phones!

I’m sure you’re aware of the absurdity when you see a group of your kids’ friends gathered around a table and wordlessly staring at their smartphones. The crazy part is that they’re all watching each other’s snapchats! These devices have even further complicated the concept of organic human interaction. You’ve likely felt this discord at your own dinner table.

In this time of bizarre half-human-half-digital interaction, students can receive direct help without the stigma of asking the “dumb question” in front of their peers. Instead, they can beam the question to a MathCrunch mobile tutor. They gain confidence. Then they go to class and ask the right questions.

And if your kids are anything like I was, they’ll use that special knowledge to break out of their shell and become a tutor for everyone else.

When your kids get to college, they realize how absurd and beautiful real human interaction is, and shed the fear of reaching out for help — if they do it right. Study groups become an intimate entry point into friendships and relationships, or at the very least a casual head nod in class.

In the meantime, MathCrunch bridges that gap.

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