EdTech Companies You Need to Know

Education technology is a rapidly expanding market that many entrepreneurs have flocked to. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. We are putting iPads in classrooms and offering hybrid learning courses. Those things on their own don’t revolutionize education. With the help of some innovative companies, we are doing things we never thought possible. The list below highlights a few of the companies you should be in the know about.

Udemy

Udemy is an online marketplace for users to buy and sell classes. The classes are all tangible skills like app development, learning the office suite, and learning to program. The classes fall within a range of about $20 and up to $100. For those thinking about sharing their expertise, there’s serious money to be had. Some courses have enrolled over 230,000 individuals. That’s some serious cash.

Coursera

Coursera is similar to Udemy in the fact that it provides online classes. That’s just about the only similarity. Coursera’s classes are real college courses and they are totally free. Coursera helped design and offers certifications from the top schools in the nation. This type of platform us unparalleled. Free education at your fingertips – 24/7.

Voxy

Voxy is a customizable, english language learning tool. As a user, you are able to set specific goals and learn skills relevant to your individual needs. Voxy operates off of language acquisition science, but also integrates video conferences and other resources to enhance the user experience.

Kramer

Kramer offers a wireless system to facilitate real-time collaboration between different groups of students on any device. The platform is flexible enough that a single classroom can share on centralized monitor or break into smaller groups using multiple devices. Teacher’s particularly love it because of it’s flexibility and the integration of a central control panel. From it, the teacher can supervise, send different content to different groups, and participate in the lesson. The possibilities are endless!

Story2

Story2 is a comprehensive, online online college essay-writing tool. It’s the first of it’s kind and is helping students all over the country prepare. Story2 tries to take all the pressure out of the equation by providing an interactive writing tool. Story2 helps students step by step through the process of identifying and perfecting their personal story.

ExecOnline

ExecOnline came about due to partnerships with prestigious business schools. The online platform uses university curricula, puts it online, and makes continued professional development available to corporate employees. Corporations have flocked to use the service because it put the education tools in front of employees without shipping them out of the office for days at a time.

How to De-stress as a Teacher

Teaching is one of the most demanding and stressful jobs out there. If not managed correctly, it can be overwhelming. Some teachers only work in the classroom for several years before deciding it’s too much for them. But, there are those teachers who have a genuine passion for what they do and spend their entire working career in the education field, shaping the young minds of tomorrow. Here are some great ways to de-stress as a teacher!

Break it down

Teachers have a seemingly endless amount of tasks to get done throughout the day. To avoid feeling like you’re drowning, break down your major tasks into smaller, more manageable assignments. You’ll be able to tackle it step-by-step and feel as though you’re making a lot progress. Before you know it, you’ll have done that monstrous project you were so worried about!

Make work fun!

As the teacher, you’re in charge of the classroom. You get to determine how you’ll run it and what activities you’re going to do. While there are certain schedules and subjects you have to follow and teach, you still have freedom to dictate how your classroom is run. Because of this control, you have the ability to make your classroom fun. By bringing fun into the classroom, you’re providing an opportunity for your students and you to look forward to class each day. Through actually enjoying what you’re doing, you’ll feel less stressed out.

Avoid work politics

In any profession, there will always be office politics. In schools, this fact is particularly true. Teachers often gather together and talk, so avoid any negative gossip about colleagues or students. Don’t play the power game with other teachers or join a teacher clique. Strive to get along with all of your colleagues, or be neutral toward those you don’t connect with, and you’ll feel good about your coworkers instead of worrying about who said what about whom.

Get sleep

There is nearly nothing better for your body than a good night’s rest. You’ll feel refreshed in the morning and ready to tackle the new day. It can be hard to sleep if you’re feeling really stressed, so take steps to help yourself. Avoid looking at screens for an hour or two before you go to bed and take some time to unwind before trying to sleep, like reading or just relaxing. Not drinking caffeine will also help you fall asleep because you won’t be on edge or alert for hours after drinking that third or fourth cup of coffee. Try switching to a slightly caffeinated tea if you really crave the caffeine fix.

Make time for yourself

Overall, sometimes you just need to step away from your job. You have a life outside of work and it’s important to remember that, especially if you have a family. Spend time with your loved ones or by yourself, doing an activity you enjoy. Exercise, do yoga, or meditate and you’ll likely feel much more centered and ready to return to work. Make relaxing or fun plans for your weekends and remember it’s okay to say no to responsibilities at work you don’t absolutely have to take on.

Back to School Tips: Student Edition

Now that the summer is over, you may be struggling to get into the back to school mindset. We’ve all been there – even the teachers! It can be hard to get back into the swing of things, so here are a few tips on how to jump right back in!

Grab Supplies

You don’t want to start the school year off on the wrong foot. Get a hold of new supplies. Your teachers will give you an specific list of things you need, but before you get a hold of that list get the necessities. Things like pencils and notebooks should be able to hold you over for the first few days. Once you have your complete list, go out and pick up all the supplies needed for a successful school year.

Know your schedule

You don’t want to wind up lost or in the wrong class at the wrong time on the first day. To avoid this, take a look at your schedule ahead of time and know where you should be and when. It won’t take long to have your school schedule memorized, but until then, keep a copy with you.

Get involved – the earlier the better

The new school year also signals a whole new set of activities and extracurriculars to get involved. Look for clubs and activities that meet your interests and also push you. Thought about going out for the debate team? Make this your year! Most schools also have a list of all activities, clubs, and sports that are offered. Take a look and pick a few that stand out to you!

Set goals

Think about what you want to achieve in your studies this year and come up with some goals. They can be large goals like achieving all A’s or smaller scale. No matter what goals you set for yourself, stick to them. Goal setting gives you something to work towards, but also measures progress.

Stay organized

Being organized will be a large part of your success this school year. Without proper organization, you will start to forget important things like due dates and what tests are on what days. Start off on the right foot and get a planner. Additionally, have a binder, folders, or a trapper keeper. Find out whatever method of organization works best for you and use it to your advantage.

Good luck this year!

Back to School Tips: Parent Edition

Back to school is not just for students. Parents have plenty to do with all the back to school fuss too. Parents play a vital role in helping their children switch out of summer vacation mode and back into the routines of school. In order to do so, here is a list of the five best ways to help your kids get back in the swing of things.

Meet the teachers

Take the time to go in and personally meet your child’s teachers. It is good for them to know who you are even before back to school night. This way you can get their email address and they can have yours. It’s good to know what’s going on right from the start.

Set a homework/study area

Create an area that is designated for homework and studying. By doing so, you can limit distractions, encourage quality work, and give students the tools needed to succeed. Additionally, having a designated work area early on will teach your child good habits early on. One day when they are off to college on their own, they will remember what it was like to have a designated area to get work done and they will stick to it!

Read with your child daily

Reading is vital to every learner’s success. Read with your child daily to teach good habits and to be involved in their learning. You will also begin to see what your child likes to read and can suggest other books they will love. Also, reading together is a bonding experience that your child will pass on to their children.

Hold firm to bedtimes

Routines are especially important for the success of your child. Set an appropriate time to go to bed each night and stick to it. If your child is receiving the right amount of sleep they will be more alert in class and easier to wake up in the morning! It’s a win win. This also reinforces the extreme importance of routines for the body.

Stay on top of homework

Be involved in your child’s homework. Know what they are doing, when it is due, and be there to help them. The more they can get out of their homework, the better. Their teachers will also be pleased with the attention that is paid to their homework. Teacher’s assign it for a reason, so it should be taken seriously.

Motivation: Exciting Students to Succeed

Motivation is something every educator struggles with at least a few times in their career. The real questions is, when you are faced with this problem. How to you combat it? How can we as teachers avoid this rut and excite our students into learning and engaging with the lessons of that particular day? We need to look to involve our students in the learning process more. Here’s a few ways to do this:

Give students the power to decide

By giving students options, they will pick things they are most willing to do and therefore, what they will be the most engaged with. I am not suggesting a free for all, but rather the option to pick between reading assignments or even pick specific topics of interest for them to study. Giving students choices also makes them feel like they have more of a hand in their education. Plus, if you give them choices, they may even feel more accountable for them!

Provide them with your own real-world experiences

Take time to think of personal or relatable real world experiences based on lessons. Relating what you are trying to teach with what is going on around students will help them make the connections to remember what you are teaching. They may also think more about a topic if they run into a similar situation outside of the classroom.

Open their minds to the outside world

Get students excited to engage with these topics outside of the classroom. Provide homework assignments that allow them to interact with their own world in a way that will excite them. Making work seem like fun to students will be the easiest way to get them engaged. You can have them write a character evaluation of a favorite video game character, have them help with budgeting a grocery shop, or even have students interview a family member and write a report based off the interview. Taking this interactive approach will have your students working diligently without feeling like they are doing an assignment.

Be flexible

Every year, every class, and every student will interact with your lessons a different way. Be open to this. Not every lesson will be a hit, but a less than exciting lesson will give you the opportunity to rework it and engage the whole class. Be patient and willing to make tweaks when needed. The more flexible you are, the more you’ll be able to tailor lessons to individual classes and students.

Exciting your students will be harder some days than others, but seeing you class light up at the idea of making their own choices or being engaged with an awesome lesson will be extremely rewarding. Your students will thank you and their test scores will reflect it.

Classroom 2.0: How Technology is Shaping Education

It goes without saying, technology is everywhere. Tech has simplified our lives, is able to give us information rapidly, and now is an integral part of education. These are exciting times. Students have a mass amount of knowledge and tools that are only a click away, but how are we using them?

Technology Assisted Collaboration

Our classrooms are becoming even more collaborative with the help of technology. Students can work with other students around the world, collaborate with different classes within the same school, or simply collaborate at home using google docs. By putting an emphasis on collaboration through technology, we are preparing students for the workforce and also getting them more engaged and active with the lessons.

Blended Classrooms

Over the years we have become better equipped to offer classes with in-class and out of class instruction. The flexibility of blended instruction has been vital for students. Not every student learns the same way or comes from the same background. By offering blended classrooms, we are offering more resources and options for success than ever before!

Mobile Devices

iPads have been an increasingly adapted classroom technology. There are new, exciting educational apps being developed at a rapid pace and the way we can incorporate them is endless. Having 1-to-1 iPad instruction allows for more feedback on assignments, quicker research means, and a way for students to continuously perfect their work with the help of others in the class.

Increased Engagement

Technology has been a catalyst for increased engagement. When we think about it, students now have grown up with technology and interact with it consistently on a daily basis. If you put tech in front of them they will use it, troubleshoot it, and engage in activities because they are using methods they are used to and familiar with.

Valuable Work Experience

Students can gain valuable work experience from an educational use of technology. Learning how to problem solve, stay organized, and complete tasks in an increasingly technology driven world will help them in any job the seek. Many employers are looking for the exact lessons and big idea lessons we are teaching our students right now. Through technology, we are setting our students up for success in the workplace and expanding their minds.

Community Leadership: What is it?

Robert Peters picture group community

What does a community leader look like?

A community leader is someone who has the drive to make positive change, is in a position to bring people together in order to do so, and has an uncanny ability to inspire others. Without those characteristics, it is difficult to effectively serve as a leader.

A community leader is hyper focused on a specific community. Those communities can be in a city or within ethnic groups. As long as a person takes charge and is working for the greater good of the specified community, then they are on the road to fulfilling their duties.

What does community leadership entail?

Community leadership has many facets. Community leaders are needed to initiate and welcome change specified for and by the community they are serving. This comes in many shapes and forms including, organizing peaceful protests, raising concerns with the city council to bring about positive change, advocate for new businesses, and gather volunteers to assist a nonprofit.

 

  • Peaceful Protests

    A community leader may organize a group of like-minded individuals to protest a local issue. There are no limits on what to protest. It could be protesting the closure of a park, assisting in a teacher’s strike for fairer wages, or even striking against legislation.

 

  • Raising Awareness to Community Concerns

    Running a community is not a simple task. City councils and officials do their best to serve the community at large, but they also require assistance from the citizens. A community leader can take the initiative to bring concerns to the city council and help come up with a plan to remedy the issue.

    Following through with community concerns takes perseverance and dedication, but that is what being a community leader is all about. Enduring hardships to bring about real change and betterment to a community is something anyone can be proud of accomplishing.

 

  • Business Development

    New businesses are sprouting up every day. They need customers, locations, and to feel a sense of community. A community leader can work with city officials and businesses to advocate on behalf of the city or town. Show business owners why your town is so fantastic. Explain to them why the community will be better off with their business as a part of it.

 

  • Assisting Nonprofits

    Nonprofits can always use volunteers and enthusiastic people to help them achieve anything from fundraising goals to successfully executing programs. Here is where a community leader comes in. They take charge and assemble passionate people to volunteer, donate, and host fundraisers. Without continued support from their direct community, nonprofits cannot make the change they are working towards.

Community leadership is a vital role in any community. Recognizing your own leadership skills will help you identify what kind of community leader you aspire to be. No matter what you choose, remember to lead with the pack and not above it. You have the tools as a future leader to cultivate prolific change, so make something happen!

7 Habits of Effective Teachers

 

What Makes Feedback Successful?

boy-1126140Feedback is one of the most powerful tools at a teacher’s disposal. It is way in which students are made conscious of their mistakes and how to fix them. Teachers and students communicate through feedback, whether it’s on a paper, test, or writing assignment. A teacher’s feedback is meant to improve a student’s skillset, and assure close interaction in their general education. However feedback is only helpful if students use it to their advantage. Some studies show that students often show less improvement when teachers provide feedback, than when they don’t. In order to prevent this from happening, teachers must always keep the purpose of the practice in mind.

The general definition of feedback involves providing individuals with information about their performance. If a teacher hopes to make their own feedback helpful, they must delve much deeper. According to education expert Dylan Williams, helpful feedback constitutes providing information on current performance, as well as tips on improving future performance. Feedback is meant to do more than just improve work, it should be designed to help students learn. This point is most obvious with sports coaches and visual arts teachers, where visual feedback is easily communicated. Teachers often forget about this very vital point, especially when grading papers or tests. Although red-inked corrections can help students better understand their mistakes, they are not used constructively if they are not improvement-focused.

The issue at hand is providing feedback that students can really use. However, the task is increasingly difficult when students are asked to perform tasks never before undertaken. In order to ease the difficulties, teachers choose to undertake the bulk of the intellectual work. Conventional corrections do not allow students to figure out new strategies when correcting their own work. Instead, professors provide corrections that are essentially done for them. Assessing students should not focus on the amount of corrections their work needs, but on their learning needs instead. “When we realize that most of the time the focus on feedback should be changing the student rather than changing the work, we can give much more purposeful feedback.”

Feedback must focus on assessing, and reassessing students’ work. Gathering information about their needs, and the proper way of addressing those needs is priority number one. In the case of the social sciences, give students creative tasks that allow for flexible writing. Creative freedom allow students to write comfortably, providing you with their best work. This would allow you to properly evaluate the student’s writing capabilities, and their possible needs.

If you found this post helpful, and would like to read more on education information, check out my twitter @DrRobertPeters. Thanks for reading!