Simplifying Complex Fractions

I took a few minutes last week to make a video for anyone struggling or needing a refresher on simplifying complex fractions. Usually this is covered during the first few weeks of precalculus, but it will come up in Calculus and even College Algebra.

The key, as you’ll see, is to think of these complex fractions as the division of two fractions. Dividing two fractions, you say? That’s easy! We just flip and multiply.

Watch the video yourself, and share with a friend. We could all use some more simplicity (even if it’s complex fractions) in our lives.

-Katie, the online math tutor

Polynomial Division and the Benefits of Online Tutoring

A precalculus student recently asked me if we could work on polynomial division.

“Of course!” I said. “Long division or synthetic division?”

She replied, “Oh, we’re learning the reverse tabular method. Can we do that?”

The reverse tabular method? I had never heard of this, but with a quick google search I learned a new method of dividing polynomials, which I want to share with you all today!

This is something I love about online tutoring. Access to the internet provides so many resources. These are helpful in many scenarios, and especially when students bring some of that “new math” that is being taught in schools today. I’m able to quickly see examples of what they are talking about and teach what they are learning in school.

The Top 5 Online Math Tutor Tools:

Some of the products I recommend below have affiliate links. Nothing will cost you a penny extra, but I make a tiny bit of money when you purchase through my link. I only review items that I use and love, and all of these online math tutor tools will help you to become a great online math tutor!

Share a Whiteboard: Bitpaper

Bitpaper is one of the most important online math tutor tools in my business. With Bitpaper I create “papers” for each of my students. The “paper” is a whiteboard with a unique link that has pen, highlighter, eraser, and text tools to name a few. The student and I can both see what the other is writing in real time.

What makes Bitpaper stand out?

(1) It’s free!

(2) Easy uploads of pdfs and it’s very easy to copy-paste any screenshots onto the whiteboard. (Usually I have the student text or email me their assignment, and then I upload it into Scribblar.)

(3) Multiple pages! You can have up to 40 pages in each paper, and since math problems can take up a lot of room, this is super helpful.

(4) Unique links for each paper. This makes it easy for each student as they just have to go to the link of their paper at the time of our session.

(5) A feature to export PDFs of the session notes so students can have a copy of the notes after each session.

Write on the Screen: Wacom Tablet

Before I got a tablet, I was writing out math problems on Scribblar using my computer mouse, and, well, let’s just say that it wasn’t always legible. The Wacom tablet allows you to write on the screen (via your tablet) just as you would write on a piece of paper. It’s easy to set up, and your hands (and students) will thank you. It’s a must-have online math tutor tool. I use this one (pictured above).

Stop Playing Phone Tag: Acuity Scheduling

One of my biggest pet peeves is playing phone or email tag, especially when coordinating a meeting time. To the rescue: Acuity Scheduling! As they say, “Never ask “What time works for you?” again. Clients can quickly view your real-time availability and self-book their own appointments—and even pay online, reschedule with a click, and eliminate 100% of the drudgery.” It’s one of the best online math tutor tools! I use it for clients to sign up for initial consultations and to sign up for one-time math tutoring sessions. (This is great for clients who have changing schedules each week, or for clients who have a weekly session time but need an extra session in preparation for a test.)

What makes Acuity stand out from the crowd?

(1) The calendar. I set up my weekly availability for my tutoring sessions and consultations (you could even customize this for each type of appointment). I can set starting times for appointments or limits on the number of appointments per day. It syncs with both my iCal and Google Calendar so that I’m never double-booked.

(2) Integrations with payment. It syncs with my Square account (but also Paypal, Stripe, and a few others). I require full payment at the time of scheduling for tutoring sessions, and Acuity takes care of this as the student is scheduling! By the time I receive the notification that I have a new session, it’s already been paid for.

(3) Customizations galore! Type of appointments, how far in advance clients can schedule (for me, I prefer just two weeks), what the receipt looks like, appointment reminders, coupons or gift certificates, color schemes.

(4) Intake form. I created an intake form for my New Student Consultations. This allows me to gather some information about the student (math class, goals, Skype or Google Hangout ID, etc.) that is helpful for me to know before the consultation. In the rare occasion that the student is not a good potential fit for me, I can cancel the appointment and email the student directly.

(5) Option to embed in my website. While you can just direct clients to your acuity page, I love how slick it looks embedded in my website for Scheduling Sessions.

Get Paid: Square

I’ve tried a few payment options, and Square is my favorite. Most people know it for it’s in-person swiping action for small businesses, but it also has a feature-rich online payment platform making it one of the most valuable online math tutor tools. I both use it to send monthly invoices to clients via email and to collect payment when students schedule one-time sessions through Acuity.

My favorite features:

(1) Customizable invoices and receipts that include my logo and business information. I even get to choose the color scheme!

(2) The option for customers to “save” their card. This allows me to directly bill the customer in the future instead of sending an invoice — talk about a time-saver!

(3) The ability to create “items” for my different tutoring sessions at different prices. It’s also easy to add discounts.

(4) The invoices page. At a glance I can see which invoices are unpaid and which are overdue. With a click, I can send a reminder to a client.

(5) The sales summary. I can quickly see my income for the month!

Square has rates comparable to (if not the same as) other online payment systems like Paypal. (It comes out to about 3%). Sign up with this link to get your first \$1,000 in credit card sales processed for free during your first 180 days.

Network, Connect, & Be Supported: The Ultimate Support Group for Online Tutors

Joanne Kaminski, an online reading tutor, created and facilitates the Ultimate Support Group for Online Tutors facebook group. This group has been my rock as I’ve created and grown my own online math tutoring business. The members are fantastic, offering support, advice, and encouragement. Joanne facilitate online conferences which give tutors a chance to learn and meet each other.

Starting an online business can be a lonely feat, and having this community to learn from and celebrate with has been a critical factor in my success. Join the Ultimate Support Group for Online Tutors.

This was a list of awesome tools, but do you want to learn more about how to actually tutor online? Check out this post about How to Tutor Online.

Yes, some of these are affiliate links. Nothing will cost you a penny extra, but I make a tiny bit of money when you purchase through my link. I only review items that I use and love, and all of these online math tutor tools will help you to become a great online math tutor!