How Our Technology Helps Kids Be Better Virtual Learners

School is at home for the foreseeable future, and you may be wondering: Is remote learning really a viable alternative to being in a live classroom?

The answer is yes. Numerous studies have shown that learning remotely/digitally/virtually/online is effective, particularly in a live one-on-one setting. At Signet we’ve been proving this with our students for over 15 years. Over 40% of our tutoring was previously done online (now, like everyone else, we’re 100% virtual).

Signet’s approach to online tutoring is backed by high-quality technology and a flexible approach designed to meet students where they are. We hope current clients will find it reassuring to “peek behind the curtain” and see the full capabilities of our virtual platform. If you’re not currently working with us, you’ll gain some insight into what that experience would be like—and you’ll also understand key considerations for any student doing “school at home.”

A Platform Made for Learning, Not Working

Learning remotely is not the same as working remotely. There are different needs for conducting business vs. teaching and comprehending information.

All of Signet’s online tutoring sessions run on an education-focused platform called The Lesson Space. It’s a comprehensive platform that allows for seamless collaboration between tutor and student. Features include:

    • Video
    • Audio
    • Chat
    • File sharing
    • Shared whiteboard for uploading problem sets, doing annotations, and teaching
    • Screen capture options to record important visuals from a session
    • Robust features for handling academic materials
    • Word processor and integrations with Google Docs and Microsoft Office
    • Built-in tech support

When a student has everything they need for a session at their fingertips, it helps them stay organized and focused. Maintaining balance is especially important right now—many families are already feeling overwhelmed by the unexpected transition to remote learning.

When Signet clients work with our tutors, they don’t need to run multiple programs or constantly move back and forth between windows. Everything is housed in a single, easy-to-use virtual space. And there’s no complicated sign-in or download process required. The student simply needs to click on the link their tutor sends them to access the platform.

Note that if you’re doing schoolwork over a platform like Zoom, you probably will need to run several programs in order to address all of these components. We advise choosing one option in each category (e.g., Google docs for word processing; Google Drive for file sharing) using it consistently so you know exactly where you’ve stored all your work.

Embracing the Screen

One of the biggest concerns we’re hearing from parents right now is, “How can my student learn with a screen in the way?”

We know from working with thousands of students that screens do not have to be the obstacle that many parents believe them to be. Keep the following in mind:

    • Sometimes the screen actually helps. Many students are inherently uncomfortable with the idea of asking for help. Working virtually with a tutor or teachers provides a physical barrier–the screen–that gives students some extra space and a higher degree of comfort. When they feel a little safer, they have an easier time reaching out for assistance.
    • There is a generational difference. Unlike their parents, students are used to equating the digital world with real life. They’re accustomed to communicating through FaceTime, SnapChat, and more, so they don’t feel the loss of in-person interactions as keenly as an older generation might.
    • Screens allow for flexibility. With our learning platform, Signet tutors can tailor their lessons to the format students are most comfortable with. Video is standard, but we can also use audio only or only pull up our shared whiteboard on the screen. These options allow us to create the best environment for each student, session by session.

Supporting Our Students

During this challenging moment, we are proud to say that our commitment to and ability to serve our families is stronger than ever. Although our team is working remotely, we are fully equipped to continue meeting your needs and offering support.

To that end, if we can help with any aspect of a student’s educational planning, contact us today at for a free, helpful consultation. We’re happy to share resources and discuss what strategies might be useful right now.

Picture of Sheila A.

Sheila A.

Sheila Akbar is President & COO of Signet Education. She holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Harvard University and two doctoral degrees from Indiana University. She joined the team in the summer of 2010, bringing with her a wealth of experience teaching SAT, ACT, GRE, literature, and composition in both one-on-one and classroom settings.

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