Kids hate doing homework. Parents hate nagging about it. Teachers hate grading it. There are even ongoing debates among educators about whether all the assignments help students learn much. Here’s one way that homework might be more effective: crowdsourcing help from teachers.
Neil Heffernan, a professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, came up with the idea in 2016 after a Maine middle school math teacher, Chris LeSiege, uploaded hundreds of hints he had written for solving textbook problems to Heffernan’s free online homework help website, ASSISTments. When LeSiege’s 7th grade students felt stuck at home, they could click on a help button for each problem and get a tip or a reminder of something LeSiege had discussed in class.