Atul Rana, of www.atulranatutors.co.uk, is an international online mathematics tutor specialising in Dyscalculia tutoring. Here he tells us how he uses the HUE HD Pro visualiser to teach his students thousands of miles away, working on the very cutting edge of online remote technology tutoring. He is also part of a global online tutors group of around 4,000 tutors.
“It was a real ‘aha’ moment for me. I saw the HUE HD Pro being used at a maths teachers’ professional development training event to show how physical algebra tiles can be used to teach students. The presenter was moving the tiles around on his table using the HUE visualiser camera to project it all on to a big screen. In that moment I realised that if an image could be projected onto a screen, then it could also be projected thousands of miles away to students in any remote location.
I bought the HUE HD Pro immediately and it has worked like a charm ever since, in fact I cannot possibly imagine working without it now.
So how does it all work, and what is Dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia is a maths-related learning difficulty that students have in learning arithmetic and making sense of basic number relationships. It is sometimes also described as ‘number Dyslexia’. Students who have it struggle with various other higher-level aspects of maths too. It is an area of teaching that really interested me, so I took specific training for Dyscalculia teaching 3 years ago.
In the first year of my Dyscalculia tutoring I used to turn up to student homes with various manipulatives. Dyscalculics learn best through concrete, manipulative material like dice games, Cuisenaire® Rods, dominos, etc. In person, it’s all easy to do, but not so much online. I already tutored maths and science online and that part of my business was not only very developed already, but it was also growing fast. I had seen that students were learning better online with reduced social pressure and a more relaxed environment online.
So, as possibly the first ever online Dyscalculia tutor, I took the brave and innovative step of getting the HUE HD Pro as my document camera and asked the parents of my students to buy a bunch of basic manipulatives and use anything they already had like coins, dice, LEGO® etc.
To replicate what I used to do in person, I use two cameras, my usual webcam that shows my face and then the HUE HD Pro as a document camera that shows the manipulatives on my desk. Thanks to a very handy shortcut on Zoom, I can switch between the two cameras with just one keyboard shortcut. It is almost like having a mini live TV broadcast studio at my fingertips. My students get their own set of hands-on concrete material as well. With my guidance they move the manipulatives around and we play different games.
Every week I have the unique opportunity to tutor students in locations all over the world: UK, US, Middle East, Asia and I’ve even tutored students on the islands of St. Kitts and Bermuda. Students who could never have found a specialist near where they live due to their geography found me online, so I could help them. It has been a godsend for my students, to first find me online and then to receive online tutoring.
When I first decided to tutor Dyscalculia online, I didn’t expect to get many enquiries, but I have been taken aback by the demand for it. Making a difference to all these students is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. And so much of that has been possible thanks to the HUE camera. I am still to explore the full capabilities of this camera and look forward to my continuing journey in online tutoring.”
I am Atul Rana, a full time online private tutor with 12 years experience, teacher professional development training, PhD in Mechanical Engineering and previous careers in Engineering, finance and software design. Based in London I have tutored students all over the UK and the world (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Switzerland, Spain, France, Germany, Kenya, Bermuda, St. Kitts, Canada, USA). Typically my students are at British or International schools.