iPhone Tutoring App To Offer Live Help [Exclusive]


A screenshot of the DTMS website.

Help on those tricky algebra problems could be a touchscreen away thanks to a new iPhone app.

A company called Does That Make Sense? (DTMS, for short) plans to offer live help to students using Apple’s smartphones.

Billing itself as the eBay of tutoring, DTMS already offers a mobile version of its online help available at http://dtms.mobi/.

Here’s how the service works: stumped students put out a call for help to a live community of “Nerds” (that’s the official moniker) who bid on the project.

These Nerds, who according to DTMS, include award-winning authors, college professors, business professionals and graduates of Harvard, Stanford, Yale, NYU and Columbia, then bid on the request in real time.

In the words of DTMS: “Our Nerds will read your book, study for your exam and teach you what you need to know…” Prices are based on subject area, grade level, deadline and level of difficulty. If you what you need is more term paper than math problem, all materials provided are also scanned through software like TurnItIn.com to check for originality.

They hope to launch the iPhone app in March 2012, harnessing the Mac-heavy audience for the service. About 75% of DTMS’s students already access the service from Apple devices. The app will be free to download and students will bid on the Nerd expertise via smartphones in much the same manner they do now.

And what about those classroom cellphone bans we’ve been writing about?

“I agree with the iPhone bans in class, our main priority is for students to be paying attention and absorbing as much information as possible however,” Jonathan F. Kestenbaum, whose job title at DTMS is chief executive nerd, told Cult of Mac via email. “With the student version of the DTMS app, we are looking to create a more efficient and effective way for students to ask for help whether they’re studying, or on the go traveling from one class to the next.”

Kestenbaum doesn’t expect resistance from teachers or administration either, saying the service isn’t at cross purposes with school. The site’s section on academic honor codes reminds students that the explanations provided should “serve as a preliminary reference” and “supplement” a regular study regimen.

“I know teachers will embrace our DTMS iPhone app,” Kestenbaum said. “At the end of the day, our goal is the same – to better the learning of the students.  Not to mention most of our ‘Nerds’ are college professors.”