New online tutoring site open to Farmington library patrons

Farmington Community Library (FCL) patrons now have access to a website that offers live tutoring, a writing lab, testing prep, and more for students from kindergarten through college and adult learners.

Kristel Sexton, head of the Children’s Department at the Farmington Hills library, said the idea to add Brainfuse Help Now came during a library consortium meeting. FCL chose a different tutoring website in spring as schools closed due to COVID-19, but found there wasn’t much use.

“I think at that time, parents weren’t sure what they were doing,” she said. “We did some comparison shopping to make sure we were getting the best option for our patrons and families.”

What differentiates Brainfuse, Sexton said, is its dedicated curriculum team.

“They have a robust offering and more resources to support learning even when the tutors aren’t there,” she said. “It’s all mapped to Common Core and Michigan Department of Education standards. Everything lines up the way it’s supposed to.”

Among the website’s features:

  • Lessons in computers and technology, English as a Second Language, and career preparation
  • Preparation for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), General Educational Development (GED), and multiple college entrance exams
  • Live help with Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms
  • FlashBulb, an extensive library of flashcards, along with the opportunity to create custom cards
  • Brainwave, which allows users to create and share work done on the Brainfuse whiteboard

“One of the things I’m really excited about is they have online meeting rooms for study groups,” Sexton said. “I think that’s going to be a very rich offering for students.”

The virtual rooms have screen-sharing and conference call capabilities, but not a video option.

Farmington Hills library manager Kelley Siegrist said users can work with a live tutor in the website’s writing center to brainstorm ideas and talk about projects.

“Or you can submit a paper, and they will mark it up and return it to you,” she said. “You can submit as many times as needed.”

Live tutoring is open 2-11 p.m. Users can save their work to the platform, download, print, and share. To learn more about this and other digital resources, visit farmlib.org.

 

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