21st Night: a tutoring app for you and your students

I developed 21st Night off of a spreadsheet I created for my own tutoring practice. It solved some of the problems I was encountering, namely:

  1. Keeping track of what my tutoring clients had learned required intensive note-taking on my part.
  2. My tutoring clients would frequently forget what I had taught them, even if they took notes.
  3. My clients would get demotivated and quit doing the homework that I assigned, slowing their progress.

This is how 21st Night solved each of these problems for me.

(If you want to just check out the app, here’s a link to the 21st Night website).

Keeping track of what your students have learned

If you’re working out of a textbook or strategy guide, it can be difficult to keep track of what your students have learned, especially if you’re not proceeding sequentially through the book.

Your options normally are to either take notes on what they’ve learned, or to rely on them to take those notes for you.

The former is time-consuming for you, the latter burdensome on them (and unprofessional).

21st Night presents a different solution. I simply have my students put all the problems and content we’ve covered into 21st Night, and assign them to review them for homework after we meet.

From there, if I need to look at what they’ve done, I can either review the Google Sheet that their problems and content gets entered into, or look at the overview screen in the app itself.

What the Google Sheet looks like. Green if they got it correct, red if incorrect, and proficiency marked. Hints and explanations are in the hidden columns between C and Q.

Better yet, because I’ve assigned them to review it for homework, they mark within the app whether they’re understanding it or not.

I can then glance at their proficiency score on the card to see if it’s something that they still need work on. I then assign them more homework, or revisit the question in a future lesson.

Helping your clients remember what you’ve taught

I teach a lot of complicated topics to my students. I frequently have this conversation with my students:

“Let me pause for a second so you can take notes on what I wrote.”

“Oh right,” the student says, as he pulls out a random scrap of paper.

“Do you have a notebook? It’s easy to lose track of loose pages.”

“No, but I’ll put it in my folder,” he says, placing it next to his mortgage and his college homework from 10 years ago, never to be seen again.

Roughly 2/3 of my initial tutoring sessions go like this.

That’s why I developed a different workflow. I teach topics in bite-sized chunks, through problems that illustrate the topic.

Then, the notes that I want them to take go into the explanations for the questions, as well as any hints that they want to leave for themselves.

This will make sure they see the explanation again. But, that’s not all.

Because 21st Night is based around a spaced repetition algorithm, this guarantees that the student will see the question more often if they have trouble understanding it.

Spaced repetition helps with remembering

That way, not only will they see your explanation more often, but they’ll be reminded of it periodically. The knowledge will then pass into their long-term memory.

Motivating your clients to keep working

If clients are getting tutoring, then the subject they’re learning is probably unpleasant for them to study for.

As a result, it’s easy for them to get demotivated and not do the homework you assign.

That’s why 21st Night is built around a streak system: users are encouraged to study consecutive days in a row in both the app and through automatic emails.

21st Night encourages your students’ studying successes. We’ll help them keep on track and working, so you can effectively help them achieve their goals.

If you want to check out 21st Night for yourself, you can try it for free.