Helpster Live Homework Tutor

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Helpster Live Homework Tutor App Poster Image
Sloppy tutoring service has more questions than answers.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Vague tutor references/ratings, unreliable tutor availability, and missing school subjects severely limit the app's usefulness.

Ease of Play

Few tutors are available, and many only allow for questions submitted by text -- no video chat.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

At $.32 to $.50 per minute, cost is equivalent to average per hour charge for tutoring.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Helpster Live Homework Tutor is a paid tutoring app that connects kids with live tutors. Registration requires a phone number and, after the free ten minute trial, a credit card number as well. The app's website states that tutors must complete an application process verifying two years of post-secondary education with good grades, but there's no way to verify this within the app. Users communicate with tutors via text and video chat. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

HELPSTER LIVE HOMEWORK TUTOR is a tutoring app that lets kids browse lists of tutors for help with their homework. Tutor listings contain tutors' photos, names, locations, subject specialties, online status, and short introductory videos of themselves. Once they've chosen a tutor, kids snap photos of their problems and submit them via text; tutors then respond via text or video chat (video chat is not available for all tutors). Kids can try the service for ten minutes for free; thereafter, it costs between $.32 and $.50 per hour, depending on grade level and subject. Subjects are currently limited to math, science, and grade school English.

Is it any good?

This flawed tutoring app has more problems than it solves.The first thing you notice upon examining this app's store page is its high rating; then you notice the rating's based on some pretty vague five-star reviews. Download the app, and you'll see for yourself – those reviews are highly suspect. Right off the bat you'll notice the limited number of tutors. No matter what subject or grade you choose, you seem to get the same paltry selection, even if the tutor doesn't teach your subject. Choose “English,” for instance, and your results include people specializing in Geometry and Calculus. It's not the worst, but it's sloppy, and this sloppiness extends to the app's overall interface. Tutors introduce themselves via introductory video clip, but these often play upside down. A five star rating system allows you to rate tutors, but there's no way to see how other users have rated them, and listings often indicate a tutor's online when they're actually not. Beyond the defective interface, the service itself is an issue. Homework's a timely thing, but since Helpster Live Homework Tutor lets tutors choose their own hours, they often aren't online when you need them, and it can take ages to hear back about questions submitted by text. The whole setup seems questionable for students and potentially for tutors as well. The “Become a Tutor” screen asks that you agree to Terms of Use but fails to link those terms so you know what it is you're agreeing to. That's just one too many red flags for a 'Net-savvy app user to ignore. So parents and kids—there are better, more reliable solutions to your tutoring needs out there. Give this flawed app a pass.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the right way to use a tutoring service like Helpster Live Homework Tutor. Can apps like this be helpful? Why is it important to do more than just get the right answers?

  • Think about what subjects are most covered by tutoring. Are there subjects beyond math and science where kids could benefit from tutoring?

  • Discuss the benefits of being a tutor. Does teaching someone something increase your own understanding of it?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Math: algebra, arithmetic, calculus, fractions
    Science: biology, chemistry, physics
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (first ten minutes free; $.32 to $.50/minute thereafter)
  • Release date: September 6, 2017
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 47.00 MB
  • Publisher: Issa Corporations
  • Version: 12.2.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.1 or later; 4.1 and up

For kids who love help with their homework

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