Alexa

November Special Edition 2022

Meteor Tutors was devised by one person and created by three, so it is a bit of a David and Goliath self-funded success story: Anita MacDonald (Founder & CEO) said while interacting with The Silicon Review

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“We designed this online learning system to integrate superb video conferencing, online safety, and admin functions.”

Meteor Tutors is a UK-based online education platform, leading the market in online safety for children and young adults. Meteor offers the right platform for students who seek international excellence and entry to the top schools and universities globally. The company hosts tutors that go through a proper screening process before being allowed to conduct tutoring sessions.

Meteor Tutors now leads the virtual education market in online safety with the highest security and privacy standards.

The company was set up in 2019.

The Silicon Review reached out to Anita MacDonald, who’s the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Meteor Tutors Ltd, and here’s what she had to say.

Interview Highlights

Q. Why was Meteor Tutors Ltd born? What are the Main market pain points you wanted to address through the inception of the company?

I owned a music school and would travel most of the time. During winters, I grew tired of snow days as cars would break down frequently. From my standpoint, it made financial sense to build a safe video conferencing system to deliver tuition classes. This is how Meteor Tutors was born.

We designed this online learning system to integrate superb video conferencing, online safety, and admin functions. Other pieces of software could do tutor admin, but weren’t monetised, and had to rely on Zoom, Teams, etc. for their delivery. There is an online safety bill being discussed here in the UK, and this was paramount.

There were also standalone video conferencing apps that tutors could utilise, while still having to give away bank details and personal information and risk safeguarding issues at either end.

We wanted to allow tutors to focus solely on teaching with everything else automated, and clients the safety of a site that would not contain the level of safeguarding risk that other participants in the industry offer.

Q. Both your tutors and students are located internationally. How effortlessly do you link them through your website?

We built a global scheduling system, so all lesson times are correct anywhere in the world, and open automatically. A tutor may have a lesson in London at 11 am but the student has just finished school in Dubai, so it is a very good system for tutors, to teach more students at times available to them, perhaps as a side hustle, or full-time.

Q. What can you tell us about your technology platform in place?

Meteor Tutors is both web and app-based, so any client can log on via two-factor authentication and learn on any device. They can book an allocated four-weekly subscription or an individual lesson if they are a busy adult with varying schedules. Finance is built into their booking, allowing safe transactions. They can have their own allocated slots with their chosen tutor, and automated reminders and countdown times (kids love these) mean they never miss a lesson. There is no waiting room risk, lessons open and close automatically, meaning that no one has to hang around and wait to start tuition.

About lesson delivery, we have so many functions on screen that don’t exist anywhere else that you will have to take a peek. I will mention the multi-camera function, screen share, whiteboard, metronome, and scientific calculator, to name just a few.

The lesson ends automatically, and opens seamlessly into the next lesson, maximising time management for all concerned.

Tutors and clients contact each other on an internal messenger system, again for safeguarding, so schools, universities, and organisations know they can read transcripts of 1-1 conversations for their own due diligence.

Meteor has a Live Video Support function and Livechat function for anyone wishing to contact the tech or sales teams.

Meteor also offers conferences and workshops. So for example, if someone wanted to have an online piano masterclass or a mathematics competition, they’d simply set up a workshop and invite say 100 students, and the monetised technology would be there to charge individually, yet meet collectively.

Meteor also offers a video teaching platform for passive income for its tutors. This means that tutors can record a video tutorial and again monetise their work, something that is necessary as a side hustle.

Q. What continuing learning opportunities do you have for your tutors?

Meteor is available globally, and as such, can be used to reach the poorest children in areas that have been difficult to reach by traditional schools. It can support those who are already studying at a very low cost to a sponsor.

Automated assessment and marking with instant results is paramount, alongside tech subjects that future-proof opportunities for the next generation.

Importantly, tutors are trained individually on Meteor live video to ensure their systems are up to date and they understand safeguarding legislation and know how to set up their timetables and profiles. Tutors are self-employed, so set their own hourly rate of pay, depending upon qualifications, experience, etc. This is usually around £50 per hour, but much higher for group workshops, giving tutors an excellent side hustle.

Q. Meteor Tutors’ popularity is growing by the day. What do you think are the reasons behind this sudden rise?

Meteor was devised by one person, and created by three, so it is a bit of a David and Goliath self-funded success story. Obviously, it takes time to compete against established software, but with our small team we implement things very quickly, and those who have used it, they always have the ‘wow’ factor, as it does so many things other video conferencing sites can’t.

Q. What new endeavours is Meteor Tutors currently undertaking?

We are bringing out a second app, which is a bit of a secret at the moment (laughs). Obviously, AI, Oculus and augmented reality is high on our list too, as we are all moving in that direction.

Q. What level of growth do you hope to see in the next five years?

With the help, our growth can be exponential as the online education market is growing fast. Schools will cease to exist in their current form, to be replaced by hybrid on and offline community hubs. Socialisation in person is still important, but that doesn’t have to be delivered via a school building anymore. Our challenge is to make the online education market as safe as a school system.

Q. Is there anything else you want us to highlight that we might have missed?

Have a look at our online resources page, which we offer to any creator, to publish their Educational resources and links to their sites. We love screen-sharing these and have our favourite apps too, so if you are one of those companies, please feel free to contact us with your products and we will put your links there.

Anita MacDonald | Founder & CEO

Anita MacDonald was raised by her grandparents in a mining town in Scotland. She was one of only a few working-class students to secure a place at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and studied piano and voice, performing widely as a concert pianist. She moved into High School teaching while raising her two children.

She was quickly promoted and spent more of her school career in senior management, particularly in charge of learning and safeguarding. She gained her Headteacher NPQH qualification in 2004, opened her own music school in 2008, and then transferred to an online provision in 2017.

“We are bringing out a second app, which is a bit of a secret at the moment (laughs). Obviously, AI, Oculus and augmented reality is high on our list too, as we are all moving in that direction.”

“We wanted to allow tutors to focus solely on teaching with everything else automated, and clients the safety of a site that would not contain the level of safeguarding risk that other participants in the industry offer.”