Yup connects students with professional tutors over their smartphones, 24/7 and on-demand

App of the Week
Formats: Mobile App on both ios and android devices

Website: www.yup.com

What does it help with?

Imagine this, you’re a freshman in high school, it’s 10 pm and you’re stuck on your Geometry homework. Your mom has already gone to sleep and your dad can’t remember how to even spell isosceles triangle. What do you do?

Option 1: Ask a friend if you can copy their homework

Option 2: Google the question or try using on-demand cheating apps to get a quick answer

Option 3: You just don’t do it!

These are the most common answers Yup staffers heard from students all across the country when asked what they would do. So that is what they set out to solve – How can students learn and build confidence (not Cheat) when they are stuck on their homework.

Yup is an on-demand homework help app. Students connect to expert math, chemistry, and physics tutors on-demand, 24/7, with a touch of a button. Yup tutors follow a best-practice pedagogy their education team developed in-house. This pedagogy focuses on 3 core dimensions:  (1) engaging students (2) using positive reinforcing language (3) having students demonstrate conceptual understanding.

To enforce this pedagogy, they not only have tutors working 24/7, but also their tutor managers grade every session using a specialized tutor rubric which codifies those 3 dimensions.

Tutor managers grade each session so feedback can be given to tutors and professional development opportunities had with tutors each week. Learning trajectories can be shared with teachers/schools based on the student’s improvements in sessions over time.

What grade and age range?  

5-12 grade. They have 8 year olds (whose parents have signed them up) and 28 year olds (adult learners) using the app.

Is this core/supplemental/special needs/extracurricular/professional development or what?  

Most students use Yup as supplemental to their in-classroom learning, especially since Yup tutors are available 24/7. However, they have started working with 3+ home-school charter networks.

What subject, topic, what standards is it mapped to?

Yup tutors provide support for all math concepts covered by the Common Core up to AP Calculus AB level, physics support up to AP Level 1 & 2, and chemistry support up to AP Chemistry.

What lesson time does it use?

Yup can be used anytime, anywhere 24/7. Most students use Yup to help with homework but they have also had students using it to study for the SAT, GRE, AP exams and even the ASVAB (Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery). Now that Yup has their full pedagogy in place and actively enforced, the avg. session length is 28 minutes with a few students doing sessions that last 2+ hours.

What is the pricing model?

As an early stage startup, Yup is still experimenting with different pricing models. The latest prices on their website are a Pay As You Go option starting at $0.23/minute (with a minimum requirement of 30 minutes per month) or an unlimited monthly plan of $49.99/month. However, Yup partners with schools offering bulk rates, which are as low as $0.18/minute ($10.99/hour) for Title I schools.

Are there services around it?

Yup provides on-demand math, chemistry, and physics homework help 24/7.  Yup tutors are a diverse group of professors, teachers and university students. They have years of teaching experience and have earned degrees from top universities including Stanford, Princeton, NYU, UVA, Virginia Tech, John Hopkins, UCLA, MIT, UC Berkeley, and many more. The core service students receive is the tutoring, however, they can also look at their session history to review past sessions.

When they partner with schools, Yup also offers data reporting which looks at the avg. usage of each classroom per week, total minutes used per students, categorization of sessions so teachers can review individual student’s learning trajectories as well as classroom learning trajectories. The three learning buckets they have are (1) gap in knowledge identified; (2) gap in knowledge bridged, and, (3) learning explained (i.e., the student explains the concept he/she learned to the tutor and applies it to a similar problem with different variables). This data allows schools to get a sense for their student’s engagement and effort outside the classroom as well as gage how useful Yup is to their students.  

What makes Yup unique?

In the last decade there has been a rise in education services as students try to get any edge for success. Digital tutoring services are meeting this demand by tapping into the sharing economy. These range from apps that simply match students to available tutors to full curriculum MOOCs. But, the sharing economy has also created a market for cheating. Many tutoring platforms that allow students to solicit homework help have promoted the expectation that assignments will be fully completed by a tutor on the other end. Instead of learning, students hire ghostwriters to do their homework. The on-demand tutoring market has reduced tutors to problem-solvers who provide quick, easy and cheap answers. One news outlet correctly labeled this new phenomena the rise of the on-demand cheating economy! Yup aims to be the antithesis of that. They want to provide an on-demand service where parents and teachers can feel comforted that their students are learning and not cheating.

In order to be a proper learning service, they’ve developed a teaching framework which they call Personalized Inquiry Learning™. Personalized Inquiry Learning is the world’s first learning model over mobile chat. This four step formula is Yup‘s way of ensuring a quality experience for students by tracking tutor performance across all sessions. No other tutoring company invests as much time in training tutors on and enforcing pedagogy and creating professional development opportunities for tutors.

A description of the characteristics--how is it designed for user interface, user experience?

Yup is a mobile app that allows students to message specific problems to tutors and receive step-by-step help. The app utilizes mediums students are already comfortable with: text, photo sharing, and drawing.

Students snap a picture of a math, chemistry, or physics problem and are connected almost instantly to an expert tutor. Yup’s secure messaging and whiteboard create a 1-on-1 classroom which allows tutors and students to collaborate and solve problems together.

What instructional design principles are at work here?

Yup has created the first teaching strategy for mobile chat called Personalized Inquiry Learning. PIL is inspired by The Keller Plan, often known as the “Individualized Instruction Model.” PIL is an instructional method tailored to fit the educational needs and skills of an individual learner. It’s a four-step rubric that spells out how every tutor should interact with a student, from identifying gaps in understanding to asking guiding questions. This rubric is based off of principles from both Bloom’s Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge. For example, when a student has no idea where to begin on a problem, Yup tutors, unlike most of our competitors, will not simply give the answer and list out the steps. Rather, they will use the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model (i.e., I do an example, then we do an example together, then you try to apply the concept to your problem).


Teacher reviews:

Araceli Flores, Performance Management Coordinator, Friendship Public Charter School (Washington, D.C)

“When I was in the classroom, I tried to make myself available to my students as much possible- I spent time before school, after school, and even during lunch answering questions, reviewing material, and shoring up fluency skills. Still, there never seemed to be enough hours in the day to meet every single student need. I wish my students had had access to Yup when I was a teacher: Yup offers reliable, high quality access to tutors 24/7 which creates a partnership among student, teacher, parent, and tutor to ensure students are in good hands whenever they need assistance. What I love most about Yup is their philosophy of facilitative learning - Yup tutors never take shortcuts to just give students the answer like a lot of other on-demand tutoring platforms. Instead, Yup uses a targeted approach to identify student gaps and engage students in discourse that guides students to arrive at the answer themselves. I would encourage schools and students alike to give Yup a try!”

Drew Karimlou, Instructional Coach: Tech Integration, Synergy Quantum Academy (Los Angeles, CA)

Our school started using Yup this year and we were really impressed with what we saw. Students who were too shy to ask questions in class were actively engaging with tutors on the Yup platform. The students really loved that it’s a messenger service, and designed to feel like you're using Snapchat. Probably what excited me most was reading a struggling student say to a tutor during one of her sessions, “I get it now, I feel smart!.” So much learning takes place in the home and it's great to know that students who don't typically have access to tutoring outside of school can feel empowered to learn on their own with Yup!"

Peter DeCandia, Algebra II/Geometry, Woodlawn High School (Baltimore County, MD)

Recently, I noticed that some of my students who typically skip out on homework were turning in homework sets fully completed, with all their work shown, and their answers correct. I asked a few of them what was the source of this change and that’s when they told me about Yup. Skeptical that they were using an answer-giving service, I tried Yup out myself and was pleasantly surprised to find that these tutors were actively engaging with students and not just telling them the answers. Even more to my surprise was how affordable it was. I’m now a big advocate for Yup. I love that it’s mobile/instant tutors so students can always have access to it and that it seems to be one of the more affordable tutoring options out there. 5 stars :)

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