Tag Archive | Education

Education in the 21st Century

In today’s dynamic classrooms, the teaching and learning process is becoming more nuanced, more seamless, and it flows back and forth from students to teachers.

Education in the 21st Century
Source: TopMastersInEducation.com



Private School verses Public School and Your Teen

Private school vs public school…

This has been a long standing debate among parents.  With some it can be as simple as a cost factor.

It also depends on your individual child.  Their personality and how they interact with other kids as well as their learning ability in the classroom.

In the realm of parenting, few decisions hold as much importance as those regarding your child’s education.

From the moment they walk through the door of their very first classroom, children begin to learn the study habits and work ethic that will shape the rest of their lives.

For some parents, a private education over a public one is non-negotiable; here are ten of the reasons why:

1.  Poorly Performing Public Schools – In some areas of the United States, public schools are performing so poorly that graduates simply aren’t prepared for the rigors of college and thus opt to enter the workforce directly after high school or even to drop out. For some parents, this is a significant motivating factor in the decision to send kids to private school instead.
2.  Smaller Class Sizes – Hiding at the back of a small, private classroom is markedly more difficult than being lost in the shuffle of a sprawling public school. These smaller class sizes and the availability of more one-on-one instruction are one of the most popular reasons parents opt for a private education.
3.  Religious Education – Parents who are invested in the idea of a religious education often choose a private school connected to their faith in order to ensure that the same values they hold at home are instilled in their children during study hours. Because religion must be kept out of public schools, devout moms and dads might choose a more private, faith-based education.
4.  To Improve Academic Performance – In many cases, teacher-to-student ratio in a private school is just what a student who’s struggling to keep up in larger public classes needs. Curriculum and special programs in private schools can be vastly different from their public brethren, helping kids with diverse learning styles learn in a way that’s tailored to their specific needs.
5.  To Take an Active Role in Education – Most private schools have high expectations regarding parental involvement, which can be quite different from the hands-off policy adopted by public institutions. Parents with the desire and the time to become an active part of their kids’ education may find that a private school is more suited to that involvement.
6.  Higher Accountability – In a struggling public school, administrators might be more invested in high standardized test scores than keeping kids accountable for their day-to-day coursework. Because many public schools are exempt from government-mandated standardized tests, kids are actively taught rather than simply helped to memorize testing material.
7.  Sports Programs – Many private schools have strong athletic programs, making them an ideal choice for sports-minded kids. Parents that are invested in developing their child’s athletic potential often choose a private school as a result.
8.  Emphasis on Arts and Music Programs – State education budgets are being slashed across the country, leaving arts and music programs on the chopping block. In some districts, these programs have already been discontinued, leaving parents of budding artists and musicians to seek private options for their talented offspring.
9.  University Preparation – Studies have indicated that a privately-educated child is twice as likely to continue to college as those that attend public school, and also more likely to complete a university program after enrolling. Because most private schools place a high importance on preparing kids for college, they might be a better choice for some families.
10.  Safety Concerns – While it’s certainly not true that all public schools are dangerous, or even that all private ones are safe, there are areas in the country where a public school might have a higher risk of violence, truancy and other concerns. Parents in these areas generally choose to privately educate their child if it’s even remotely financially feasible.

As is true with many far-reaching decisions, there are no one-size-fits-all options. Some families find that private school is more suited to their individual needs, while others may feel that a public education is a better fit. By carefully considering all options, you can make the choice that best benefits the needs of your child as an individual.

Source: Babysitting.net

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Education through Mobile Learning

Teachers and administrators have been bringing technology into the classroom for decades now, but with the advent of cloud computing and the proliferation of smaller, more portable computers and Internet-capable devices, it’s now possible to bring the classroom into the technology instead.

Mobile learning, sometimes abbreviated to M-Learning, focuses on learning through mobile devices, allowing learners to move about in a classroom or remotely learn from any location of their choice. It’s a movement that’s gained a lot of steam in recent years, and despite some criticisms, isn’t like to fade fast – especially as new technologies that make mobile learning more practical continue to emerge and the popularity of remote learning opportunities like online colleges continue to grow.

Whether you’re a teacher or a student, you’ve undoubtedly heard talk about mobile learning and may be wondering what it means for the future of education, whether in grade school, colleges or the workplace. While the applications of M-Learning are growing all the time, we’ve highlighted some of the major trends here to help you learn more about how mobile learning is shaping the 21st century classroom – and may change how we teach, learn and interact in any educational environment.

  1. Location-based integration. Mobile learning has taken to the streets, with technologies that allow for seamless integration with a wide range of locations. One of the best uses of this technology has been within museums, where visitors can use a mobile device to listen to information about items in the museum’s collection. The American Museum of Natural History in New York is one museum with an especially rich mobile tool, guiding users turn-by-turn to the best pieces in the museum’s collection and enhancing the experience of visiting. Of course, mobile integration isn’t just for museums. Some colleges are using it to create high-tech tours for visiting students and their families. With millions of smartphone users and the number growing larger each year, this trend is likely to grow as more businesses and organizations work enrich patron experience.
  2. Online class management. Online class management systems like Moodle and Blackboard have grown exponentially in their number of users in recent years. Part of the popularity stems from the ability to not only access and update student records from a computer, but from mobile devices like a phone or an iPad as well. Students, teachers and parents alike can easily check grades, upload assignments and check on homework through the assessment tools, making them not only more accessible, but more practical for anyone involved in the educational process.
  3. The domination of ebooks. Amazon.com is one of the biggest retailers of books, but in the past year, their sales of ebooks has outstripped that of traditional books. The same holds true for bookselling giant Barnes and Noble. The ebook is steadily becoming a popular part of everyday life for so many Americans, and the digital book is slowly making its way into the classroom as well. Some states, like California, have proposed replacing student textbooks with ebooks. Not only could it be a big money saver, it may help eliminate the problem of student textbooks becoming quickly outdated as new discoveries are made, something every teacher and child can appreciate.
  4. Cloud computing in schools. These days, cloud computing is a pretty big buzzword, with big tech companies like Microsoft and Apple pushing their devices and applications — and schools haven’t ignored the hype. Schools are increasingly looking to cloud computing as a way to provide access to information and to close budget gaps. An inexpensive solution, cloud computing is becoming the norm everywhere from grade schools to grad schools, perhaps because it is not only simple to use, but mobile as well. Information on the cloud, whether its lesson plans or class projects, can be accessed from anywhere, anytime and on any mobile device. In an increasingly mobile world and classroom, cloud computing is more than just a trend, and is likely to become the standard in information management over the next decade.
  5. Bring your own device classrooms. Since most kids these days already have access to a mobile device, schools are seizing the opportunity to turn these gadgets from distractions into learning tools by incorporating these devices into classroom lessons and projects. From mobile phones to laptop computers, teachers and students are increasingly bringing technology to the classroom, and in many school districts, it’s being put to good use. Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of one-to-one computing programs in raising test scores and increasing college attendance, but with many districts strapped for cash and unable to provide devices for each student, this isn’t always a possibility. The solution may be found in asking students to bring their own devices to class, cutting back on the number of mobile devices the school needs to provide while still enhancing the learning experience.
  6. Online collaborative learning. There aren’t a lot of places these days that are devoid of an Internet connection, and many people can now access the web from, well, anywhere they can get a cell phone signal. Schools are embracing the web as a learning tool in a variety of ways, but one particularly exciting one has been the growth of online collaborative learning. This can mean a variety of things, but in many cases it involves students each participating in a project on the web. Numerous classrooms have taken to collaboratively blogging about projects and ideas in the classroom. Others have produced their own podcasts. Still others ask students to work together to create a multimedia website. These kinds of projects not only help students learn to work together, but educate them on technological tools they’ll need to use in their academic and professional lives. The popularity of these kinds of lessons isn’t likely to fade anytime soon.
  7. The rise of the tablet. Tablet computers come in many shapes and sizes, but as they grow smaller and more portable, they are becoming a fairly common addition to the American classroom. The iPad has been one such tablet device that has shown a lot of popularity and promise in recent years in the classroom. Great for doing everything from studying the periodic table to playing educational games, the app-based device has been a big trend in schools across the nation, with many shelling out millions to provide students with access to the devices. While some debate the effectiveness of tablet computers as a learning tool, experimentation with them in the classroom has had largely positive results from both teachers and students.
  8. Social media for education. When it was first created, Facebook was solely a place for college students to connect with one another. Today, just about everyone has a profile on the site, and it’s being used for a lot more than just rehashing weekend parties. In facts, many professors have begun using it as a way to connect with students, spark discussion and relay important assignment information. With the majority of college students able to access the site from their phones or other mobile devices, students have no excuse not to get involved in class, no matter where they are or how busy they may be. While social media in education is still tricky territory, as sites like Twitter and Facebook evolve, the ways they’re used in the classroom will likely become more refined and potentially more powerful in creating a better educational experience.
  9. Snack learning. One of the criticisms of the digital generation is that they have short attention spans. However true or untrue this may be, educators are taking note and developing learning tools that offer up snack sized bits of learning for students on the go. These single-serve educational bites may make it easier for students to tackle the ever-increasing amount of information they need to know, from mastering a programming language to learning the basics of American history and just about everything in between. Mobile devices are a perfect extension of this concept, allowing learners to engage in short bursts of learning while waiting in line, on the bus or sitting on the couch.
  10. Mobile learning in workplace training. Mobile learning isn’t just catching on in schools and colleges, it’s also becoming a part of the workplace training experience as well, providing information and a new format for testing understanding. With many businesses already supplying workers with smartphones for work, it makes sense to get the most out of these devices as possible. One way companies are doing this is by having experts share their expertise, either through blogs or a series of podcasts. Additionally, mobile devices are an excellent source of reference information should an employee ever encounter a situation with which he or she isn’t familiar. Performance support for employees can help reinforce their training and make for a stronger more confident workforce– something every business is undoubtedly looking to establish.

Source:  Online College

Homeschooling: Is This for all Teens? History of Homeschooling

Homeschooling appeals to a surprisingly broad range of families, each with their own unique motivations for pursuing the method. Despite the myriad misconceptions about students’ social aptitude or ability to perform once they hit college, it remains an unyielding component of the education industry. But homeschooling gets so bogged down in theory and curricula, many take little time to ponder its extremely active, controversial history.

By no means is this list even the slightest iota comprehensive, but it does pick out a few interesting, relevant tidbits.

  1. Education in the United States and Europe was largely homebound until the 1830s: Even then, education was not compulsory in the former until 1852, implemented by the “Know-Nothing” Party in Massachusetts. Religious and ethnic minorities excluded from the policies on the grounds of their alleged intellectual inferiority and some crazy talk about a Catholic conspiracy to overthrow the government responded by continuing homebound classes. The Mormon community especially resisted required government schooling until 1915.
  2. The Native American community was one of the most vocal detractors of compulsory education: And, to nobody’s surprise, proved one of the most marginalized demographics once the United States began passing compulsory education laws. In yet another display of wrecking the indigenous ways of life under the wrongheaded nomenclature of “progress,” such legal measures drove stakes into their traditional schooling methods — which, of course, long predated the standardized style.
  3. Growing Without School was the first periodical about homeschooling in America: Founded by John Holt in 1977, this newsletter allowed homeschooling parents to connect with one another, exchange ideas and learn about the issues affecting them. It ran for 24 years, ending in December 2001 for financial reasons and leaving behind 143 issues in its archives. Much of the content celebrated the controversial “unschooling” method, which sports a highly flexible, student-directed curriculum with minimal structure.
  4. Both the left and the right have historically embraced homeschooling: Their reasoning may be different, but homeschooling is one of the few things both the political left and right have historically supported. John Holt, Growing Without School founder and author of numerous books on unschooling and homeschooling, pulled from many 1960s/1970s anti-establishment philosophies. His right-wing counterpart was former U.S. Department of Education employee Raymond Moore, who touted homeschooling’s religious potential during the same era.
  5. Raymond Moore and his wife Dorothy conducted some of the homeschool movement’s most influential studies: Along with John Holt, the Moores were the most influential figureheads of the homeschooling movement in the 1960s and 1970s. They sunk numerous resources and teamed up with representatives from the World Health Organization, Harvard University, Cornell University and other educational and research institutions in the interest of studying the method’s impact. Some of the findings, most especially the ones tying numerous learning and development disorders to compulsory state schooling’s completely inflexible, homogenous structure.
  6. Better Late than Early was published in 1975: One of Raymond and Dorothy Moore’s most influential findings centered around the role of parents in early childhood development. Their 1975 smash Better Late than Early revealed the results of intensive studies across different cultures and socioeconomic brackets. They made the argument that kids were not really psychologically or emotionally prepared for structured schooling until ages 8 through 10. Homeschooling advocates latched onto this information and used it to tailor curricula around their children’s natural development and foster tighter filial bonds.
  7. The number of homeschooled kids at least doubled between 1990 and 1995: Thanks to the efforts of John Holt and Raymond and Dorothy Moore, homeschooling received a bevy of mainstream attention and, subsequently, support. The April 2005 issue of The Home School Market discussed how the number of parents teaching their children outside the education system doubled from 400,000 to 8,000 in the half-decade between 1990 and 1995. However, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association put the number at 1.23 million, accounting for families who rejected joining relevant organizations and kept largely to themselves.
  8. Homeschooling was once illegal in most states: Prior to the 1960s, parents pulling their children out of public or private schools were held under truancy laws in almost every state. Oklahoma was the only one with no penalties levied homeschooling families until the practice drew mainstream acceptance. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association claims that thousands of families fled “underground” in order to utilize the method.
  9. State vs. Massa was the first significant court case to rule in favor of homeschooling: This 1967 landmark New Jersey hearing ruled in favor of homeschooling families and paved the way for mainstream acceptance. Laws requiring students to receive an education either in school or “elsewhere than at school” for a specific amount of time were pivotal in the ultimate decision. Homeschooling advocates pointed out that the movement itself qualified as such, and the court eventually stated, “This court agrees with the above decisions that the number of students does not determine a school and further, that a certain number of students need not be present to attain an equivalent education.” (Massa at 256).
  10. The HSLDA was founded in 1983: As one can probably imagine, the Homeschooling Legal Defense Association hosts its own fair share of controversies — not the least of which revolve around its largely fundamentalist Christian leanings. But despite one’s views on religion and education, the organization still enjoys considerable political influence and plays a significant role in homeschooling history. Michael Ferris, an attorney, founded the nonprofit in 1983 with the hopes of providing legal counsel to homeschooling families butting heads with their respective states. The organization charged $100 a year to represent the needs of participants, and by 2000 supported a membership of roughly 70,000 families and 250,000 kids. All that in spite of dwindling legal issues aimed at the homeschool demographic.
  11. Many exceptionally successful people were homeschooled: Despite homeschooling’s mainstream acceptance, some stereotypes persist regarding their social and professional abilities. Presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, John Adams and John Quincy Adams were all homeschooled before going on to lead the United States, as was Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. More creative kids will be happy to find out that Frank Lloyd Wright, C.S. Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Virginia Woolf, Ansel Adams and plenty more all grew up in such an educational environment as well.
  12. 1983 tax laws allegedly increased the number of homeschooled students: Exact figures are difficult to come by, but changing tax regulations in 1983 drove many students in Christian schools back into their homes for an education. Parents upset at the denial of financial breaks to institutions practicing racial discrimination yanked their kids out of the private system and turned to homeschooling instead. Many could not afford the subsequent tuition hikes in the schools too stubborn to accept other races, either, and considered it their only available option.
  13. Charlotte Mason inspired the Parents’ Education Union in 1886: With the publication of Charlotte Mason’s Home Education, the Parents’ Educational Union (later the Parents’ National Education Union) sprang up around 1886 in England. Exact dates and detailed information are both difficult to come by, however, and there doesn’t seem to be much information about it available online. In the book, the author compiled her lectures and presented a comprehensive outline of childcare and education spanning from birth to 9 years of age. Mason also launched the “Parents’ Review” to unite members and spread information about liberal home education, which she edited until her 1923 death.
  14. The first college designed for homeschooled students opened in 2000: Purcellville, Virginia-based Patrick Henry College began with 80 students in the fall semester of 2000. While the institution doesn’t accept homeschooled students exclusively, its campus and liberal arts and government-centered curriculum cater mostly to their needs. Though groundbreaking in this regard, Patrick Henry College favors Christian applicants.
  15. Homeschooling was legal in every state by 1989: Despite being a largely accepted education option, homeschooling was surprisingly not legalized in every state until 1989. Much of the reticence stemmed from the fact that this particular strategy involved no qualifications whatsoever. Even parents without a high school education could still serve as teachers to their kids — a concern which led many policymakers and parents to look upon homeschooling with skepticism. To address this issue, some states — such as Ohio – made sure to pass legislation regulating what students must learn before graduation.

Sue Scheff: Student Study Skills Enhanced – Ask a Librarian

Many are getting ready for schools to open.  Parents are preparing by shopping for those supplies, clothing and other necessities to begin a good school year. Now they can add a new free LIVE virtual service for their kids that can assist them with homework, essays and projects. (Watch demo).

Ask a Librarian provides Florida residents with live virtual reference services via local library customized web sites from 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday (EST), and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday (EST).

Getting back into the swing of homework and studies can sometimes be difficult. Florida has created a live virtual reference service with many libraries including Broward and Palm Beach County.

Ask a Librarian offers real people, real help, real fast!

What is Ask a Librarian:

Ask a Librarian is a free online service that allows Floridians to chat live with a librarian for immediate assistance. A trained information professional can guide you to the answers you need in minutes rather than your wasting hours navigating hundreds of unhelpful and irrelevant web sites. More than 100 libraries statewide collaborate to provide this service to their patrons and the patrons of other participating libraries.

What is Ask a Librarian Mobile?

Ask a Librarian’s email service is optimized for your hand held device. Visit our mobile interface at www.askalibrarian.mobi, then choose your local library from the list. E-mail your question anytime, and a librarian from your library will answer you via e-mail.

How does Ask a Librarian work?

When you click on the chat button, your question enters a queue for the on-duty librarians. Librarians answer questions in the order they receive them. Typically, depending on the expected traffic, between two and six librarians staff the Ask a Librarian desk during the hours we are available for live chat. When the librarian accepts your question, you are able to chat one-on-one with that librarian while he or she helps you find what you need by guiding you through the myriad of resources available. The librarian might screen-share these resources with you. Screen-sharing allows the librarian to co-navigate resources on your PC. Read more and watch demo.

Check to see if your library is listed. Click here.

Be an educated and prepared parent, your teens will have a better school year!

Read more.

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens with Homework

Parenting teens can be challenging, and helping the to understand the importance of completing their homework is critical in their high school years. Here are some great tips from OneToughJob.org.
Source: OneToughJob
In general, just when grades are becoming more important, school and homework may not be your teen’s top priority. Teens spend more and more time with friends and may become involved in extracurricular activities. Try to find a balance between respecting their desire to establish their independence and continuing to show an interest in and support their education, even though they may not always want or need it.

Ways to work with your teen

Prioritize and make a schedule. Teens have a lot of things going on in their lives and often a lot of stress, so sit down with your teen and talk about scheduling social events, after school activities, free time and homework. Though teens are capable of choosing when to do their homework, you can ensure they have enough time in their busy schedules to get it done!. This will help your teen learn how to manage his time, show him that homework and school need to be a priority, and keep you involved in your teen’s life.
Find a good place to set up shop. Unlike your elementary school child who liked to do her homework at the kitchen table so you were nearby, your teen may rather retreat to their privacy of her own room. Wherever your teen ends up, make sure it is comfortable for her, well lit and free of distractions such as television and the telephone. Be sure to check in with your teen so you know she is staying on task.
Provide support and encouragement. You may not need to be as involved in your teen’s homework as you were when he was in elementary school; however, you should be there to support your teen in the process. Make yourself available for questions and help by going over the instructions with your teen before he begins, let him share his ideas with your and offer feedback, or offer to review his work when she is finished.
Homework and the Internet. Your teen will most likely have homework assignments that require research of some kind on the Internet, or she may be able to use a website for homework help if she is struggling with something. The Internet can be a wonderful resource; however, there is plenty of inappropriate material on the Internet as well so please see our information on this website regarding Internet Safety.
Study groups. Study groups are often a good strategy for middle or high school students. Your teen may benefit from studying with one or two classmates; however, make sure the group is using the time to study. If you have questions about study groups or how to help your teen form a study group, speak with the school and they may have some recommendations.
Talk to the teacher. If your teen seems to be having trouble with a particular subject or type of assignment, make an appointment to speak with his teacher about it. If your teen is struggling with a particular subject, it may indicate a learning difference. His teacher and the school may be able to make arrangements for extra help in the form of a tutor—the earlier your child gets the help he needs, the better.
Keep the lines of communication open. You should be regularly talking with your teen about her homework and school. Anytime you have questions or concerns you should speak with your teen’s teachers and other school staff if necessary, such as guidance counselors, principals, etc. By doing this you will stay involved in your teen’s life and her education, model good communication, and continue to make a connection between home and school.