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Alberta unveils new tutoring videos but some experts find them 'problematic'

Alberta Education launched its new E-Tutoring Hub on Tuesday in an attempt to help students who have fallen behind in class, but concerns are already being raised after two days of tutoring.

"I could not understand how these could be viewed by anyone as a replacement for an actual tutor," said Carla Peck, a Faculty of Education professor at the University of Alberta.

The hub consists of six videos. Four are in English and two are in French.

The topics are adjectives, analog clocks, alliteration and the properties of triangles.

"If I was a student watching this I don't know if I would enjoy them," said Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers' Association.

Certified teachers on secondment created the videos, and live sessions are forthcoming. What is there now isn't wowing teachers, Schilling said.

"They see this as a further sort of erosion of public education in the province. Like let’s put money into videos and these kinds of resources, when they should be putting money into our schools for teachers, or even education assistants," he argued.

Funding for the site came from the Alberta Education budget, but a spokesperson for the ministry would not tell CTV News Edmonton how much this project cost taxpayers.

"School authorities provided feedback on student learning during the pandemic. This information is helping us determine what online tutoring services students need to recover from COVID-19 learning disruptions," press secretary Dylan Topal wrote in an email.

There are also concerns with what's being taught.

For example, adjectives can be found in the English curriculums for grades 2, 3 and 6.

The video online is for Grade 6, where the curriculum states that students should be identifying more complex adjectives.

But according to some teachers, the focus is more basic at the grade 2 and 3 level.

"Even the videos themselves don’t live up to the curriculum that is being taught at school. They don’t match, and that’s problematic," Schilling said.

"These videos do not meet even very basic standards on accessibility or universal design for learning," Peck said.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jessica Robb Top Stories

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