Category Archives: Education Tips

New Teachers – Lecture Tips That Will Keep Students Interested

You’ve all seen the Charlie Brown episode where the teacher is lecturing and all the students hear is “wa wa wa wa wa wa.” We remember watching that as kids. Unfortunately, seeing this as kids taught us that this was what school was like. Now, as we are adult teachers, we are constantly afraid of becoming the teacher from Charlie Brown. Well, what if we could avoid this? What if we could use this knowledge to create inspiring and organized lectures using Best Practices? I have developed 6 tips for you to help you in creating fun and memorable lectures that will leave your students with long lasting knowledge.

1. Create an objective. We have heard this before from our administrators. Often times we hear this when the administrators come to observe us in the classroom. Write your objective on the board! Say it at the beginning of class! Say it at the end of class! Well, they’re right! By telling the students what they are to be learning and why they are learning, they are more apt to pay attention and way more apt to remember what you’re talking about. It will also help them when coming up with what they should actually be writing down.

2. Have your students do something productive. Your students should not be just sitting there. If you are engaged in best practices, your students should be doing something active with their learning while they are listening to your lecture. More often than not, this means that they will need to be taking notes. But give them structure. Maybe this meaning Cornell notes or maybe it’s powernotes. It’s your call!

3. Break it up. Break your lecture up into different segments. I would say no more than 4 or 5. This way, those who have difficulties processing long bits of information will be able to compartmentalize what you are telling them easier.

4. Separate the sections with different activities. Throughout your lecture, break up your talking by having the students do different activities. For example, have students turn to a near by partner and repeat the top 5 parts of the lecture they have heard so far. Doing this will help them to remember because they are actively participating.

5. Have them repeat through questioning. As you lecture, don’t just talk. Question your students. Question them on different background knowledge that they will know information about. Tapping into this will help them to succeed in acquiring new knowledge.

6. Wrap it up effectively. At the end of your lecture have your students do something with the information. Perhaps its a quick little quiz on the board. Perhaps they will write a paragraph summary.

Whatever you lecture about, make sure to follow these 6 tips to have your students remain actively engaged. This will increase their knowledge and participation. No Charlie Brown Effect here!

5 Great SAT Tips – What to Expect on Test Day

1. Start Preparing Early

To get the most out of SAT prep, you should start early. In fact, many National Merit Scholars-who usually score above 2100 on the SAT-begin preparing for the PSAT and SAT the summer before they become sophomores so they can make the most of the PSAT they have the option to take that year. Don’t start wondering whether or not third-order polynomials will be included in the math section the week before. Create a plan! If you need more structure or guidance, consider SAT prep classes, private tutoring, or an online course.

2. Dress Well

Think about this: the thermostat at the testing center on the morning of the test is likely to be set by someone just as groggy as you. You don’t want to trust them with your comfort-and shivering while you bubble is a sure way to “make a stray mark.” Avoid this by dressing in layers of comfortable clothing so you can adjust to your surroundings easily.

3. Be On Time

The College Board is not happy when you’re late to an SAT. To them, late is showing up after they’ve closed the doors to the testing rooms-between 8:30 and 9:00 am. In fact, their official policy states that late students will not be admitted to the testing center and will have to reschedule to take the test. Of course, there is a $24 fee for that. It’s fine if you don’t want to reschedule, but the fee you paid to take the test is nonrefundable. That’s $47 gone to waste. How do you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? Show up before 7:45 am, as the College Board recommends. A few days before the test, map out a route to your testing center and make sure you’re familiar with it. If you’re particularly bad with directions, you might want to practice getting there-just think of it as another thing to study.

4. You Are Getting Very Sleepy…

Falling asleep during the SAT: fail. You could nap during one of the five-minute breaks you get, but we doubt it would do you any good. Instead, be sure to get a good night’s sleep before the SAT. Caffeine in the morning-be it coffee or an energy drink-might be a good idea, but if you should avoid it if you aren’t accustomed to it. Too much caffeine can lead to jitters and, ironically enough, difficulty concentrating.

5. Oops! I Did It Again…

If you mess up, don’t worry: In 2009, the College Board introduced Score Choice, which allows you to select which test scores you want to send to a college on your score report. It is an optional service; if you do not elect to use it, all of your scores will be included on your score reports. Though it allows you to not disclose poor scores to the schools when applying, you should check your institution’s policy on SAT score reporting-often it is helpful to report all of your scores.

5 Tips to Buy Children’s Apps

With the festival season not very far away, many children are about to receive electronic gifts from their family and relatives. The good news is that apps have emerged as a promising tool to support literacy in general, and science, mathematics and life skills. The challenge for parents is to pick up the right app, more so, if the child has autism spectrum disorder or has special needs.

#1 The education and entertainment combo

Kids learn when they’re engaged. Educational apps like Just Match or Math on the Farm forge a perfect balance between learning and engagement. The Math on the Farm app teaches mathematics skills in a fun way. Here, the child has to answer multiple-choice type questions to score points. The stories in the app are themed on a farm that has flowers, vegetables, domestic animals, and cattle. Bright colors and interactive animation are the highlights of this app. It’s important that the child learns by playing and the Math on the Farm app does just that.

#2 Play with your child

Studies have shown that children learn better if parents join the fun. Take an active role and choose and app that’s likely to hold your kid’s attention. The Just Match app could be perfect for you. This fun educational app teaches matching skills, where you’ll be shown to game figures and an outline which matches only one of them. You’ve to drag and match the figure with the outline. A lively animation will hail your efforts every time you match correctly.

#3 Select appropriate games

Determine whether a fun educational app is correct for your child. Not all four-year old will be equal. So, different apps would appeal to different kids at different times. Ask yourself whether your child will be able to follow the app’s storyline. The touch screen system is a major advancement in the field of communication. Make sure the fun educational app has audio cues and not only words.

#4 Set limits and encourage other playing and learning forms

Well, setting the proper “media diet” is important for your child. It’s almost like balanced food. The more variety, the better it’s for your child. Consider the number of hours the child will spend in front of a screen. A possible rule could be not allowing TV until the homework is complete. The same should apply to a touch screen, unless it’s required in school, which of course is increasingly happening these days.

#5 Download from reliable, trusted sources

Look for established brands that specialize in fun educational apps. Are you comfortable with the app’s characters? Kids imitate popular media characters. Make sure the language and behavior in fun educational apps are appropriate for your kids. Avoid apps that have a lot of violence or are frightening to play. Such apps may have an adverse impact on the child’s mind. The Math on the Farm and Just Match app can fit the bill perfectly. These two apps are sensitive to children’s needs, and are among the best fun educational apps around.

Fast Track Ivy League Admissions Tips

The Ivy League is an athletic union of American educational institutes based in the north-east of The States including Harvard, Yale and Columbia University. Many people mistakenly believe MIT and Stanford are members of this union. While we reference these institutes in this article, they are not.

There are a series of factors that will determine your acceptance to the Ivy League or other elite institutes. Here we’ll analyse the best approach. Let’s begin with your GPA.

GPA Requirements

Of course, your GPA is a pillar of your application. But is your application a house of cards without it? Not necessarily. Why is it that some students with 4.0 GPA’s are rejected, while others with sub-3 GPA’s are accepted? Because the value of the courses you took is often of equal value to your result. Because your application needs to demonstrate extra-curricular pedigree.

Your record at school needs to display academic rigor – don’t opt for the easiest courses. A prescribed high school path featuring 4 years of the cornerstone subjects, English, Math and Science, are best complimented with 4 years dedicated to History and learning a foreign language.

That brings us on to Extra-Curriculars.

Those Darn Extra-Curriculars

Meet John. John has a 2.7 grade point average and equally unremarkable SAT results. Although John was never the best student, he excelled in sports, holding the post as captain for his Baseball, Basketball and Football teams, winning awards for his sporting ability. It’s these strengths that secured his place at Harvard. Meanwhile many thousands of students are rejected every year with outstanding academics.

Stories of a sub-3 GPA turned Harvard graduate are the exception, but there’s a moral to this tale. If two students are equal academically, universities like employers, will opt for the candidate who has held leadership roles or displayed an extra-curricular spike. Without these traits, your application will be lost.

Financial Aid

Unfortunately, you’ll have to factor cost into attending your dream school. Fortunately, though, the world’s most prestigious schools are often in possession of the largest financial aid endowments. Consider Harvard which has a financial aid budget of $172,000,000. This aid is reserved for students whose parents are earning under $60,000 per year. The net result means the cost of attending actually matches or bests 90% of other universities. Before preparing your FAFSA application (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you’ll need to know where you stand.

What About Reach Schools?

Universities with low admissions rates, including Harvard and Yale are considered ‘Reach Schools’. A ‘Match School’ is one that has a high probability of acceptance. Identifying reach schools and match schools is smart forward planning.

Perhaps your heart is set on attending Yale. You may dream of being published in Yale Law Review before one day running for Congress. Students negotiate a path towards their dreams every year. Equally there are who students fail to reach the school of their dreams without Plan B. Identify other institutes with a prestigious record of graduating the finest minds in your field.

Post-Graduate Success

When creating a shortlist of schools, it’s wise to assess the post-graduate success student’s are likely to experience. Let’s take MIT. While the US economy struggles and jobs are scare, MIT bucks the trend. Studies demonstrate just 20% of students find employment on graduation. MIT students however, fare better than the national average with on-campus hiring still prevalent.

The idea that your post-graduate success is purely dependent on your education, however, is mistaken. History is shaped by those who defy the rules and define their own route. Be they a Harvard reject Warren Buffet or Princeton reject Ted Turner. So, you don’t need to graduate the Ivy League to be a success… But it helps.

LSAT – 5 Great Tips For LSAT Success

1. It’s All In the Timing

As you flip through a practice LSAT test book, you read the questions and think to yourself, “Yeah, I could answer that question”. But can you answer 20+ of them within 20 minutes? And can you count on yourself not to panic when you hear the proctor shout, “5 minutes left!” Reviewing test-taking strategies and doing practice problems are undoubtedly helpful, but be sure to take full, timed LSAT tests for practice as well. Not only will timing yourself reveal which sections need the most and least work, but it’ll also help you inoculate yourself against the pressures of taking a timed test. The more like the real deal your practice sessions are, the better prepared you will be on your actual test day.

2. Learn From Your Mistakes

Taking practice tests and doing practice problems is a great way to prepare for the LSAT. But in order to get the most out of your practice, it’s important to know not only which questions you missed, but also why you missed them. After all, if you don’t know what mistakes you made, how can you learn from them?

3. One and Done

The LSAT sends a complete record of your LSAT scores to law schools to which you apply. If you’ve taken the test more than once, these law schools will average your scores together and use that score in considering your admission. Don’t try to take the edge off by telling yourself that you can always retake the test — do your best the first time around! Even if you take the test again and get an amazing score, any past, lower scores are going to dull its luster. No pressure or anything.

4. Always Be Prepared

You may have left the Boy Scouts of America behind long ago, but you will most likely never outgrow their universally applicable mantra. Don’t forget to bring everything that you need to bring with you to the testing center. Print out your admissions ticket the night before the exam, and make sure that all the information on the ticket matches what you think — sometimes testing rooms will change with little or no notice. Research and know the route to the testing center so you don’t let test-day jitters throw you off track. Mechanical pencils are not allowed on the LSAT, so bring several fresh No. 2 pencils and a pencil sharpener, as well as several good erasers. It may be helpful to bring a highlighter for close reading and an analog (non-digital) watch for keeping track of time. You can bring a ziplock bag (up to one gallon in size) with you, so cram all that stuff in there and be prepared for anything and everything!

5. Leave No Bubble Behind

There is no penalty for guessing on the LSAT. Obviously, you want to get the answer right, and an educated guess is always better than a shot in the dark, but if you find yourself out of time and with empty bubbles, just fill them in. Your LSAT score is calculated based on the number of correct answers you have, and there are no point deductions for incorrect answers, so leave no bubble behind!

Tips for Imbibing Ethics and Moral Values in Children

Going to school, listening to teachers, going home with a heavy head and finally end up with the roll of a mark sheet. Is that all? Are we among the ones in the rat race, chasing the rolls of certificates without realizing the responsibility that we owe towards the society at large? Certainly not.

We can always contribute our share towards the betterment of the society. Lending a helping hand can be imbibed at home through moral values as they lay a strong foundation in the child’s life. Children usually have the tendency of imitating their elders ( parents, teachers).This will also help you to mould your child as an ideal citizen.

These moral values serve as a magical potion to children as most of the times their parents are their first teachers. Herein, the parents need to have very strong morals in life to be a role model to their child. They need to help the child in figuring out the moral philosophies, moral and immoral nature of deeds, practices and the like kinds. This helps the child to have his/ her opinion based on the moral education imparted to him/her.

Using real life examples becomes an informal way of helping the child understand these ethical issues clearly.

Schools should also share an equal responsibility of inculcating these values in children as schools serve to be the child’s second home. These teachings in school are enforced through formal education that leaves an everlasting impression on the child.

Children absorb all the moral values and ethical issues irrespective of the type of education imparted to them. This helps them to contribute their share in the mere future towards the society.

Under Pressure? 10 Tips for Student Success

There’s just no avoiding it, college is hard. You have to choose a school and a program. You have to decide on a major. You have to work out how you’re going to pay for tuition, find a place to live and get your books. If all of that isn’t enough for you, now you have to do the hard part, THE WORK! If I haven’t scared you away yet, you’re probably wondering how to succeed in college. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back, here are ten excellent tips to help you succeed in college.

1. Use the Force

If you have made it this far, you must have a strong desire to get your degree. In other words, you hold the force! Use your dreams and goals as motivation to keep you going. With homework and late nights studying you may begin to question why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you ever get to this point, (which I am afraid you will) take a step back and remember why you are doing what you are doing. Constantly remind yourself that YOU and only YOU are in charge of your future.

2. Don’t Settle

You may have had to settle on a date to the prom in high school. You may have to settle for tuna when you want grilled cheese. But you never, ever, have to settle on a professor. This is a common mistake that students make these days. You are in charge of your education; you’re paying for it aren’t you? Make the most of it! If you after a few classes you find that you don’t like you professor, or you feel like you’re not going to get much out of the class, TRANSFER. There are also many tools out there available to students that allow them to research and rate professors. Put these resources to use and make the most out of college.

3. GO TO CLASS

Seems self explanatory doesn’t it? Going to class is important for sure. But, you would be surprised how many students just don’t go to class. Most college professors don’t enforce attendance policies, and neither to the schools. So staying in bed can be way too easy. Get yourself to class every time and you will notice a huge difference.

4. Retrain Your Brain

Today, with iPods, phones, and laptops information and entertainment are constantly at our fingertips. Since we’ve become used to this luxury, it can be hard to sit through a lecture and pay attention. If you want to succeed in school, it’s time to retrain your attention span. Force yourself to pay attention and take notes, and you’ll do better.

5. Actually do Your Homework

Novel idea isn’t it? But really, set a time for studying. Remove distractions, friends, and roommates and get to the grindstone. A good rule of thumb to use is for every one hour of class add 2 hours of study time.

6. Answer Questions the Right Way

I know, this one seems kind of dumb, but it is actually very important. Most professors complain these days about how students don’t seem to answer the questions they pose fully or accurately. If you don’t understand the question, ask. Take your time to answer and be detailed.

7. Take Your Test, Then Re-Take Your Test

Once you get a study guide from your professor, it is helpful to make yourself a pre test. Take the test that you’ve made and correct it. This will help you prepare for the test. Take the test. Once you get your test back, look over the answers that you got wrong and figure out the right answer. This will get you ready for your final.

8. Take Advantage of Your Professor

Most students don’t realize that their professors are there to help them learn. Your professor wants you to succeed. Most professors are required to be in their on campus office for at least 4 hours a week. This office time is for you! If you have a question about an assignment or you need help, take advantage of your professor and his or her office time and put it to use.

9. Get Your Feet Wet

There are a lot of college counselors out there that will strongly encourage you to choose you’re major right away. However, it is a better idea to start with a few classes before you decide on a major. You need to get into school and get your feet wet. Try new things, rediscover yourself and find what makes you happy. Once you’ve found your dream field, then you can decide on a major. Otherwise you may think you want one thing, and find that you don’t.

10. Stay Happy

With all the hard work that goes in to earning your college degree there is one thing that remains the most important. YOUR DREAM. If you feel tired and down trodden and don’t want to go to school anymore it can help to remember why you are there and what you love. Take some fun classes once in a while to boost creativity and your spirits.

Tips For Writing a University-Level Essay

When you take the bold step to commence a university undergraduate course you are moving into a new realm of education, which in turn requires you to deliver a new level of academic work. This will involve giving presentations, completing research and writing university level essays. In order to meet the requirements of these essays there are a number of tips that you should follow which should set you on the track to academic success.

Firstly, remember that university essays should be well researched and contain lots of supporting evidence in terms of other people’s previous findings. This supporting evidence could be in the form of a literature review or just quoting others’ work throughout your essay. Any references to other resources must be credited appropriately. Be sure to follow your university’s specific guidelines in this respect as valuable marks can potentially be lost just by not applying the correct referencing method, or by applying the right method incorrectly. It may pay to familiarise yourself with whichever style your university uses, before you even begin writing. A common referencing style is the Harvard system of referencing which has very strict rules about crediting authors, research papers and journals etcetera but your University should be able to provide you with tailored guidance.

Secondly, a university level essay should try to delve deeper than a college level essay necessarily would. It should stretch and question theories and allow you to add your own knowledge and opinions in order to draw conclusions, some of which may never have been drawn before. This means you can’t just recite your lecture notes, there must be some individual application of knowledge, and this is a challenge that many new undergraduates struggle with.

As with all essays a university level essay should have a sound introduction, a thorough research and analysis section and sound conclusions. This should then be followed by a full reference list and a bibliography. Within all of these elements you should make sure that you format your work according to your university guidelines, this is good practice for when you come to writing your dissertation, as correct formatting and adherence to style guidelines could mean the difference between a first and a 2:1, in the same way, any essay, whether written at university or college should be proofread, preferably by a third party, to ensure that it is free from any spelling or grammar mistakes. Following all of these tips will allow your university level essays to achieve the grades you deserve and give you a good foundation for when it comes to writing your dissertation.

5 Tips to Find the Best Online MBA Program

Masters in Business Administration is one of the most popular courses in brick and mortar as well as online colleges. Almost every online university offers this course. That is all the more reason why you should be careful in picking the right university for completing your degree. The wrong choice could waste your time and money and not provide any value either.

Accreditation

With a lot of students wanting get an MBA and add more security to their careers, a lot of colleges are out there to trick them. Not only is the course expensive, but it is also a good source of income for colleges, given the influx every year. That is why you must ensure that the college you are applying to, has an accreditation from recognised institutions and that the degree they offer is valid. Without checking for this accreditation it would be unwise to enrol for any online course for that matter.

Support

If an online course has lot of students enrolled supporting all the students could prove difficult. Support could involve addressing students’ questions and concerns, providing face time with the tutors and offering a mentor to provide career advice. Without this support, it would be very hard to complete Master’s in Business Administration, as it will prove really difficult. So the course you are enrolling in must offer support, with the teacher student ratio being as high as possible, preferably around 10 – 15 students per tutor.

Learning management system

If an online university doesn’t give you the benefits of a learning management system, there is no point enrolling in that college. A learning management system is more like a common platform for all the students, a website where every student has a login profile to get all the information related to their courses including timetable for exams, lesson schedules, online teaching material shared, downloads available if any etc.

Opportunity for internships

It would be unwise to think you will be able to think your Master’s in a field like business administration online entirely. The university should be reputed enough and have associations with top companies so that students of MBA programs can get a chance to complete projects and internships and learn more about the industry, adding to their learning experience. If the brand of the university couldn’t find your seniors decent internships or projects, chances are that the program is not highly valued in the industry and it is best to not enroll for it. The same holds for the opportunity of jobs when you complete education. Talking to past students will always provide sufficient information in this regards.

Flexibility

This is one factor that holds good not only for MBA but for all online courses. Unless you get the flexibility, online programs cannot be ruled a better option than joining full time college. This flexibility is possible through recorded lectures, good content, chat sessions with tutors etc. allowing those with a day time job to do justice to their course and education.

Time Management Tips for Online Instructors

Online instructors understand the need to manage their time effectively. There is much more involved than reviewing papers and participating in class discussions. Classroom management involves continuous interactions that support students’ success, and creating conditions in the classroom that are conducive to learning. At times you may feel prepared and ready to meet the demands of a busy class and there may also be times when it feels as if you are running behind. The key to development of an effective time management plan is finding tools and techniques that maximize productivity and minimize any potential stress or missed deadlines.

Examine Your Current Schedule

For the next class week, keep a record of your time, duties, and classroom activities. What requirements were met ahead of schedule, on the required due date, or were late? How did you feel during the class week and at the end of the week? Did you experience stress at any time? Did you have any additional projects scheduled that were set aside for the next week? What were your strengths and areas of development? Summarize your week by carefully examining what worked well and what did not. This is the most productive method of developing a revised time management plan.

What are Your Teaching Goals?

You can develop a time management plan that works for you if you anchor it to the goals you have established for yourself as an instructor. For example, do you want to meet the minimum requirements necessary to facilitate your class or do you want to allocate additional time to find and share additional course materials and resources? How will you provide feedback? Many instructors find that they are more effective if the feedback is divided up over several days during the week as a means of avoiding the last minute rush to complete it. If that is applicable for you, your teaching goal might include allocating time each day for specific duties. The overarching goal is to meet or exceed the faculty expectations.

Time Management

As you create your time management plan watch out for any daily or weekly activities that can be eliminated. If you are doing anything that might be busy work, consider how much of your time it takes and how you might minimize it. The most common time waster is procrastination, which can be avoided if you have an organized plan for your classroom facilitation. A method of planning your time effectively is to begin your facilitation tasks early in the week.

As you schedule time for your facilitation duties each week, determine what is most important or rank your teaching goals according to the level of priority that you have assigned each one. Projects that have required deadlines, such as feedback or instructor participation, should be given top priority each week. You can make it manageable if you plan ahead and divide up larger tasks into smaller duties.

Time management tools that can help you organize your week include a calendar, to-do list, or schedule. Some instructors prefer to use a traditional paper planner and others utilize technological tools to stay organized. Whatever your preference may be, find something that will help you be mindful of the tasks that need to be completed so you can stay focused and meet all required deadlines. And if you discover any pockets of unexpected time, use it to review your schedule and work ahead.

Downtime for Renewal

As you develop and manage your schedule you will likely feel better prepared to meet the required facilitation duties and this in turn will reduce the potential for anxiety and stress. One method of proactively addressing stress is to consider your overall well-being, which includes your attitude, the way you eat, the method you use to manage your time, and the amount of sleep you get. The better you feel, the more likely you can cope effectively with stressful conditions.

Another method of addressing and eliminating stress is to analyze your energy level throughout the day and consider when you are the most productive. If possible, match the time of day that you have the most energy to the most difficult tasks because they will require the most concentration and focus.

It is unlikely that you can completely eliminate stress. There are going to be times as an instructor when classroom management, deadlines, and student interactions feel manageable and other times when all of these demands become too much. But you don’t need to let it get the best of you. Learn to become proactive by recognizing signs and symptoms. Schedule downtime to allow yourself a chance to feel renewed and increase your productivity.

Be In Control of Your Time

There are many expectations and requirements in place for an online instructor. Meeting the facilitation duties and deadlines each week can be challenging at times, especially for adjunct instructors. Develop a list that includes everything needed to be completed each week, along with any additional projects or time you want to devote to creating a meaningful learning environment. Develop a plan that schedules or allocates a specific amount of time for each duty and stay focused on your teaching goals. You will likely feel better prepared and in control so that teaching is enjoyable and not always stressful.