New tutoring center at IUPUI aiming to change education

New tutoring center at IUPUI aiming to change education . (WISH Photo/Joe Melillo)
New tutoring center at IUPUI aiming to change education . (WISH Photo/Joe Melillo)

INDIANAPOLIS Ind. (WISH) – A new tutoring center at IUPUI is aiming to change the way we look at education. It uses an open space concept and student tutors to teach kids math.

Imagine you need a tutor for math; usually you only have two options. One, pay for a tutor outside of school which can be expensive or go to an in school study group. At IUPUI, one researcher has come up with a new method that’s cheaper and can help students earn a grade and a half higher by the end of the year.

Nico Cruz is a student at IUPUI but he’s also a tutor at the Math Assistance Center.

“What makes this place fantastic is the different amount of people you work with,” said Cruz. “People who have gone through these classes can help you with so much more than just ‘this is a problem and this is how you solve it’. We can teach different tips and tricks on how to go through different sets of problems.”

Cruz is one of 135 other student tutors that work at the centers.

It’s one of the best paying jobs on campus. Kevin Berkopes, the creator of the center, said that’s a main factor, paying kids for their work.

“We have professors and others who care about curriculum that are vetting this and training students, and I have an exhaustive tanning regiment that I put these kids through so I know it’s a good product,” said Berkopes. “I know it’s cheaper so a better product for a cheaper price that’s what we can do in education.”

For the past four years, he has been implementing this new educational tool to change the way students learn about math science engineering and technology.

Everything is made up of dry erase board from the walls to tables. They even have digital tutors for students that might not feel comfortable in this type of atmosphere.

“Even ask the teachers they know what happens in that short lecture isn’t enough,” said Berkopes “The way it’s been done in the past is that it’s on you. You got to go get the help, you have to go find the resources, you got to put them together, that’s asking a lot for a novice student. Here we know you are going to need the help so we provide it and then we offer jobs to 135 kids that are just like you to do the work.”

Berkopes said in America, our student’s rank 43rd in the world when it comes to stem education and he wants to change that by creating a space that’s inclusive and fun.

“We created an environment where they were doing this already,” said Berkopes. “We gave them a space to collaborate to help each other if you walk through here that’s what you see people helping each other.”

Kevin Burkopes said his analytics show more than 61,000 visits by students this year and its growing. The goal is to bring this model to high school and middle schools and utilize space already provided in the schools to change the way the younger generation learns.