Guest Post: The Debate Over Online Education: University Professors Weigh In

Guest Post by: Jim Hinton

The debate over online education has been going on for a while now. It has its proponents and its detractors, with good arguments on both sides. One thing that seems to stand out fairly strongly in the debate is that it seems that university professors don’t seem to be on the side of the proponents.

One example is Harry R. Lewis. The former dean of Harvard’s undergraduate college, he believes that online education is seriously lacking in its ability to serve the underlying purpose of education. In an interview with The Atlantic, he expressed concern with the asynchronous nature of online education. “Part of the process of education happens not just through good pedagogy but by having students in places where they see the scholars working and plying their trades.”

Some scholars, however, have certainly started to express favor for the online educational model. Some of these supporters of this new frontier in education are professors at one of America’s oldest institutions of learning, Rutgers University. Rutgers has been using the “virtual world” of Second Life as a platform for nearly a decade.

Naedav Lipkin has been a guest lecturer within that program for Rutger’s School of Communication and Informatics. He ties the online learning environment with the increasingly computerized work space many students will move on to after graduation.

“Second Life is sort of what it sounds like. It’s a second life. It’s a virtual space that looks like a game but in many ways is just a social meeting place,” he explained. “’Self and Society in Virtual Contexts’ has always been a class designed around using Second Life as a platform for experiences in virtual worlds. Anywhere where people are congregating, meeting, doing things online, this class is all about understanding those things and how they can be appropriately integrated into a job.”

Dr. Sharon Stoerger, director of Rutgers’ Information Technology and Informatics program, has spoken in favor of this implementation.

“When virtual worlds are implemented into a course, it provides an instructor the ability to overcome challenges that cannot be met by other technological systems and increases the potential for experiential learning,” she wrote. “In particular, students can meet with each other or other users and through using an array of communication tools, voice chat and text chat, they are able share and gather information, build networks, and perform higher order learning tasks.”

Following its experimentation with using Second Life as a platform to instruct some classes, Rutgers elected to expand to a full online education program for some of its offerings. In 2011 Rutgers began offering several degrees as 100% online options, including 11 Masters degrees ranging from an MBA through to Music Education.

Dr. Antonius Bittmann is the Associate Vice President of the Online Programs Division of Continuing Studies. In discussing the decision Rutgers made to offer some of its degrees through the online format, he expressed enthusiasm for the innovations online education is bringing.

“It means new ways of reaching students,” he explained. “It means new ways of educating students. New ways of defining Rutgers as an educational institution. New ways of teaching students that they are members of a global community. The new technologies are very much part of this innovation and a part of achieving those objectives.”

Dr. Laura Curran agrees. She directs the online Masters of Social Work program. She particularly favors the role of online education in the lives of older, non-traditional students. “You get to work on your own schedule, it’s flexible, it’s easier to combine online with all the other responsibilities that folks who are now returning to school attempt to juggle.”

So far, the results have been overwhelming. Rutgers boasts 65,000 students enrolled in their traditional programs. However, as of 2014, Dr. Bittmann proudly stated that the 100% online programs had 45,000 students. It’s not just all those students who seem convinced either. The Association of American Universities inspected Rutgers and maintained its fully accredited status.

In the end, though, it is the students themselves who are the final arbiter of the success or failure of online education. One of Lipkin’s students summarized her conclusion succinctly. “We are now in this technological age where you might be working with someone that’s not even in the same country as you. So being able to communicate with people and work in groups via the Internet is very, very important.” The professors at Rutgers, it seems, are onto something.

Stricter Rules for Guest Posts

I love education. I love education technology. I also love writing.

I know there are some genuine people out there who love freelance writing. There are some people with a voice and no platform.

I was flattered when my blog received enough attention in the blogosphere to have people emailing me guest posts. It still flatters me. I figured with some solid guest post guidelines I’d get some good content. Unfortunately, spammers thought differently.

Take for instance, content. The guidelines kept getting more and more specific because I’d receive submission with titles like these:

  • hair straightener”
  • “The Invisible Threat to London’s Economy [Infographic]
  • “Know Everything about Mobile Wallets in 10 Minutes”
  • “How to purchase an affordable desktop pc to improve your gaming”
  • A review of “boosters for mobile signal amplification”

Or the one who thought I’d pay him to blog on my site?

I’m looking for a paid post on your site, here I can provide you with a well researched content. Let me know how much you charge for a do-follow link within the content?

Make it reasonable so I’ll come up with regular post.

Yeah, not happening, buddy. Not to mention the do-follow link is also not happening.

There were other submitters who didn’t think I’d Google sections of the article. It was obviously plagiarized. This is an education blog! Please cite sources. And yes, that includes the “artwork” you sent along with the article.

Speaking of plagiarism…I’m not going to support essay writing services. Also, I don’t believe for one second that you’ll give me “100% original content” as long as I promise to backlink to BuyCheapOriginalPapers.com or DontWriteItBuyIt.com. Especially after reading the essay and my inner English teacher cries at its lack of organization, use of mechanics, and overall content.

On other occasions, the email that accompanied the submission was rather rude. For example,”[k]indly check and publish it on your website. Also do inform me once it is done”. Umm, what? Okay, to be fair, these were probably errors in translation.

But you’d expect if the email was some of the worst butchered English, the article would be so full of grammar and spelling mistakes that it would be difficult to read, right? WRONG! No obvious errors. Yeah, I don’t believe you wrote that. Maybe you’ve got a robot that spit that out, but I know you certainly didn’t write it.

It was also strange to have someone with a personal email address submit an article with someone else’s name in the author biography. When confronted, the emailer stated the bylined writer was “on my team”. Why can’t the bylined writer send it? sniff sniff Something smells fishy to me.

And, so, dear readers, it is with a frustrated heart that I requirements for guest posts will become stricter and sadly, more subjective. If it doesn’t exactly follow the guidelines, denied. If I suspect plagiarism, denied. If I don’t like it, denied.

So what can you do if you really want to submit a guest post?

I still love the idea of guest posts. I still will accept guest posts. It will just be rarer now. So what can you do? Follow the guidelines. Email me a review of a web 2.0 technology using a Prezi or a Glogster. Even better, review that technology using that technology…for example, a review of YouTube in a YouTube video. Explain in the email why you want to submit this to Teaching & Technology. Of course I’ll backlink to a social media account, if its appropriate for K-12 audience. I’m a one-person operation. If your post can contribute to keeping Teaching & Technology a quality blog, then I want to know about it. If not, then find another blogger to bother.

Guest Post: Famous Writers’ Insults

Guest Post by: AussieWriter

Famous writers are humans with their own weaknesses and peculiarities. And sometimes they can’t resist the temptation to insult their colleagues. It’s difficult to say was it mostly because of personal reasons or professional ones. But all in all, great writers remain creative even in sharing these insulting characteristics. This infographic from AussieWriter depicts some of the most figurative among them.

famous-writers-insults

Guest Post: Technology in the Classroom; Where Should the Line be Drawn

Guest Post by: Will Clevett

Having laptops and tablets in classrooms has been a muchNo Laptops debated subject, with many studies done on both sides of the fence, showing both the benefits and drawbacks from students having computers in class. The potential benefits are already being used to great effect in forms such as distance learning. For future uses of technology, we could find adaptive teaching techniques allowing children to effectively have their own digital tutor which can adapt and change the level and techniques being used to help that child learn, based on their responses to previous work, and apply pressure to continue stretching the boundaries of their learning.

Many naysayers say that technology provides too many distractions and makes people less knowledgeable, as they rely on their technology to store data rather than their memory. However, this is an age-old argument which was first recorded in approximately 370 BC by Plato in his conversation with Socrates, quoting an Egyptian king:

“For this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality” ~ Plato

Naturally this isn’t about computers or the internet; this was about the downsides to writing and the change that the written word presented to the world, though it’s also disconcertingly easy to apply to modern trends in technology, with the rise of the internet and mobile devices allowing people to connect constantly. While the above statement appears to have been wrong, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will remain so for the internet age.

The key distinction is the difference between using technology to support learning efforts and using that reason as an excuse to keep up to date on Facebook, and it may be true that having such easy access to social media platforms and other sources of information may just be too distracting. Google have reported that the average Android user checks their phone around 150 times a day and, despite being a middleweight phone user, I can’t deny that my usage fits into this ballpark.

This has led to many teachers banning technology in their classrooms, most commonly the mobile phone for the distractions they can cause everybody else, but following a study done by Professor Cliff Nass in 2009, it actually looks like people who try to multitask with technology are actually worse at concentrating on any of the tasks than people who don’t try to multitask. This study even led to a lecturer in social media (of all things) at New York University banning laptops and tablets in their classes unless actually required for the work.

The fact is that, for most people, computers are an everyday part of life and, as such, this should be reflected in teaching as it has been. The growth of technology has been especially helpful to many further education institutions, such as universities, allowing many students to remote control equipment from half a world away. This gives students opportunities they otherwise simply wouldn’t have had. For example, astronomers often require facilities a long way from light pollution and they may often need to take measurements from the other hemisphere, which is all now possible with the internet. Such skills are very transferable as well, with most jobs requiring proficiency with computers, at the very least, and many jobs in industrial computing requiring the remote access of equipment.

So at the end of the day, it looks like technology is going to be a massively important tool going forward in teaching at all levels. It is, however, also something which will need to be used responsibly and innovatively to structure learning rather than as a quick solution to problems.

Guest Post: Timeless Original Writing Techniques of Famous Writers

 

 

Guest Post by: Cindy Bates

Writing is a skill that one cannot learn or acquire overnight. The best way to further enhance your writing skill is to make use of certain techniques and to form habits that will make you become an excellent writer. Almost all of the best and famous writers in the world share the same habits and techniques. Not all of them were able to write their masterpiece in their first try. The very first thing that you have to do is to never be afraid to write down your thoughts. Whether it is about your life your perception things or something you have observed; the key to effective writing is to let your thoughts be heard and to bring out your creativity. Many top-notch writers have their own personal journals where they write down just about anything that happens to their lives. Everyday, they set a certain minimum number of words and from there, they continue the habit and practice their skills.


Writing techniques

 

Guest Poster’s Source: http://www.bestessaytips.com/blog/writing-techniques/

Guest Post: “Read with Me”- A Handy Schoology Tool

Schoology, the world’s best Learning Management System, brings educators and corporations around the world a collection of highly useful features. The amazing cloud platform has tools for schools that encourage and enhance blended learning. Whether you’re a teacher, student, or an administrative, schoology has a lot to offer through its application center.

read with me

Today, I’ll review the use of this handy-dandy application built by a team of creative teachers and developers.  Tired of endless piles of paperwork while assessing reading skills? Read With Me is the perfect application that will reduce loads of work when it comes to that.

You can finally forget about paper and pencil hassles. Read With me is designed to make life easier for everyone whether you are a teacher, student, or a parent. This brilliant application can be used in numerous ways with iOS 5.1 (or later) devices. This includes iPhone, iPads, and Apple computers.

Read With Me (Schoology App) Features:

  • Fast and accurate calculations of words per minute read, number of errors
  • Easy to share reports to parents, students, and staff
  • Benchmarks tied to National Fluency Norms
  • Bundled assessments for quick administration
  • Stopwatch and one minute countdown options
  • Track miscues across groups and over time
  • Optional comprehension questions with every passage

read with me 2

 

Read With me is a highly convenient tool for conducting reading assignments and assessing fluency. You can launch new assessments easily from the device. It allows you to manage your classes and assessments from an easy-to-interpret dashboard. The best part is that you can sync two devices by entering a token into any browser.

Read With Me has a built-in library with a collection of reading passages that are sorted in accordance with grade levels. There are three passages per grade level (Grades 1-8, Lexile range 40L to 1270L). If you’re not interested in their library’s collection, you may add your own passages through different sources.read with me 3

For children or parents, with eyesight issues, Read With Me allows you to increase text size as per your suitability. Scoring and assessment can be customized allowing you to bring your own guidelines and texts. Make it easy or difficult according to your preferences and the child’s fluency level. However, Read With Me also offers suggestions with concerning fluency assessments. Their grade level benchmarks are based on the national fluency level norms. This allows you to determine whether or not your students are reading at the benchmark levels.

Read With Me assess speed (word per minute) as well as accuracy (percentage). You can share the report with parents and other teacher via email. Students can use the touch technology to record their own videos and watch the videos later for referencing, etc. This is also a great form of automatic feedback, a means for self-assessment for students.

The app is also very child-friendly. Although it is intended to be used with adult supervision, the app is designed to be fitting and appropriate for a child’s unsupervised during the time the adult is preoccupied elsewhere. There are no pop-up advertisements, tabs or links to social media, and there is no direct access to the internet. The children can also choose their own reading passages and set up pages from the homescreen. The online system cannot be used unless a token is provided. This can only be done by an adult.

Read With Me is a brilliant app designed to decrease the work load of teachers. It is not only an assistive monitoring and assessing tools, but also a very efficient one. Unlike the many applications previously built for reading assessment purposes, Read With Me is not that time or energy consuming. You can effortlessly assign your students their reading work without even having to interact with the students directly. The audio and video playback can be used to make evaluations later on.

read_with_me_4

 

The app is a must have for all teacher, tutors, and parents who are looking forward to teaching their children or students effective reading. If you factor in the convenience and time saving aspects, this is a very economical and useful tool that can truly make reading fun and easy-to-learn.

Author Bio

Eric Philip is a veteran writer having diversified expertise in education, career, health and technology based writing. He is currently working for a well reputed dissertation writing service which is dedicated to providing better academic consultancy to post grad students.

Guest Post: EdTech Tools in Higher Education

Guest Post By: Trisha Mukerjee

“EdTech is the study and the ethical practice of learning and improving performance by using, creating and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.”

As the world evolves in the virtual hemisphere. The education system of the world also joins the bandwagon. The concept of EdTech has finally reached the higher education sector. Colleges are making sure that they incorporate more and more technology into their curriculum. From using digital devices and incorporating digital badges as their core marking scene. Universities at a global level are striving towards the digital era.

Check the infographic to know more about the various tools of EdTech and why is EdTech required.

shiksha study abroad edtech infographic

 

 

 

trisha


Author Bio:
Trisha is a professional writer and has been writing on a variety of topics. She is an ardent reader, a traveler and a passionate photographer. She wants to explore the world and write about whatever comes across her way.

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Guest Post: Why Should You Teach 7-Year-Olds To Touch Type?

Guest Post by: Chassie Lee

Your day is already full of things you’re required to teach to your second-grade students. They’re focused on learning how to print letters and spell words correctly, filling page after wide-ruled page with their newly-learned vocabulary. Some of your students are still having trouble with reading simple texts, much less writing them out – and you haven’t even started the lessons on cursive handwriting. So why would you want to take time away from these basic skills to teach your class how to use a computer keyboard to type their words instead? Because it’s a skill they’ll need in the future, and that future is as close as their next school year.

The new Common Core tests for English Language Arts and general writing skills are computer-based. Starting in the third grade, students will need to know how to use a mouse, how to navigate through computer screens, and how to type longer text passages. While the younger grades will still be able to get by with point-and-click selection and easier fill-in-the-blank test questions, third-graders need to be able to type in their own answers to questions. By the fourth grade, each student is expected to be able to type a full page without stopping; in the fifth grade, that’s increased to two pages, and by sixth grade every student must be able to type at least three pages in one session at the computer. The longer it takes for them to type out their texts and test answers, the less time they’ll have to think about the questions they’re trying to answer.

It’s easy to assume that children already know how to use a keyboard to type, because many children own and use tablets and smartphones on a daily basis. A recent study by The NPD Group confirms that the majority of US families own at least one smartphone, and as NPD states in their report titled “Kids and CE: 2014,” a third of those families said that their children use smartphones. However, while devices like tables and smartphones will help children get familiar with using the internet and computer hardware and software in general, it doesn’t help them learn how to type on a keyboard. Even if they see the standard QWERTY layout on a smartphone screen, they’re using their thumbs to select the letters, and the auto-complete feature eliminates the need to type complete words. This isn’t going to help when these children are put in front of a computer to take an online exam using a full keyboard.

Fortunately, there are time-efficient and cost-effective ways to introduce keyboarding in your classroom. When you use professionally-designed typing tutor software that combines kid-friendly games with touch typing instruction, you won’t have to develop your own course outlines or typing tests. Depending on the software, you may even be able to let most of the class work on their own, while you focus on helping the students who are having the most trouble.

Look for touch typing software that is suitable for children of any age, so that your students will want to continue to improve their typing skills over the next few years. Since they’ll have to use the computer for online research and writing assignments all the way through high school, their typing skills need to keep up with their class requirements. If your school is looking for a way to teach keyboarding at all grade levels, pick a software product that can be scaled to the size of the student population each year, and one that allows each teacher to manage their own students by grade, by class grouping, and one on one.

By teaching your students to master touch typing early on, you’ll help them get the skills they need to master the tests and exams they’ll be facing in the future, and you’ll prepare them to enter a job market where nearly everyone is required to use touch typing to communicate and collaborate.

 

About the Author: Chassie Lee is the Content Expert for eReflect – creator of Ultimate Typing EDU which is currently being used by tens of thousands of happy customers in over 110 countries.

 

Guest Post: 4 Classroom Presentation Tools For The Educators

Guest Post by: Lim Chuwei

Education and technology goes hand in hand. Devices like laptop, iPad, etc. have become an indispensable part of today’s education system. The learners and educators can make best use of technology to simplify the learning process. For the same reason the developers have come out with a number of applications, tools and much more. Check out the best iPad presentation tools, which will be of great help for the teachers.

With so many evolutions, the world of teaching has gone through the sea of change. No more the schools are constrained to ‘blackboards’ and ‘chalks’. Although the methods have changed yet, the motive behind remains the same, i.e. to inspire, educate and better engagement and interaction with the students. Following the same practice, teachers can make use of PowerPoint and Keynote for representing different ideas in the most beautiful way and helps in creating a fun learning environment in the classroom. For the tech savvy teachers, here is an insight to different classroom presentation tools for iPad which they can use for better teaching:

  1. Keynote:

Let’s start with the app Keynote, which is one of the top solutions for presenting all your ideas to students. In addition, this amazing tool brings forth astonishing features. Have a look;

  • 30 stunning preset themes
  • Easy import and edit of Microsoft PowerPoint files
  • Direct addition of photos or videos from the iPad’s camera
  • Insertion of 3-D charts and graphs to the slides
  • Auto-save option for the presentations to iCloud
  • Enormous animation effects can be added to charts and transitions
  • You can also add advance slides using a secondary iOS device (like an iPhone)

 

  1. Templates for Keynote Pro:

If you are looking for more themes and layouts, the Templates for keynote Pro will prove to be a great add-on for iPad users. It will get you more than 30 new templates, distributed into six different categories. The usage of this app is easy and simple. All you need to do is just search for the right style, take it to the Keynote app and add your content. You are done with an informative and interesting presentation.

Some striking features;

  • Fast import to Keynote with iOS “Open In” feature
  • Easy editing options for chart data and customized charts
  • Option to create a customized template with easy copy elements from other templates

 

  1. SlideShark:

For those, who love to prefer working with Microsoft PowerPoint, SlideShark stands first in the list of top contenders for working with PPT presentations.

It is simple to work with. You just need to create an account (which is totally free) on their website, install the free app to the iPad, upload a presentation or make a new one and download it directly to the device.

Before you proceed, check out its startling features:

  • You can directly upload your presentation to the SlideShark website
  • Simple process; open it from an email attachments to your device or import it from the cloud storage.
  • Just press ‘Play’ and start with the process on your iOS device.
  • There are options to tap or swipe for advance animations and slides
  • Want to go back? Just swipe back!
  • And swipe up for specific slides and access to various other features
  • For presenting it in-person, internet connection is not required when presenting in-person.
  1. Presentation Notes:

Wish to keep things secure and private? For such concerns, where your safety of your files become important or you need to keep a check on who all can access to your files, the Presentation Notes is the best solution. While other apps use cloud-based technology (the third party Cloud services) for faster access and sharing, it highly emphasizes on approach to save and store your files inside the iPad’s memory. Have a sneak peek at some outstanding features:

  • Unlimited number of presentations can be stored on the device
  • And, you can imported presentations with unlimited number of slides
  • It is compatible with .ppt, .pptx or .pdf files
  • Complete freedom to add files; whether directly from the computer, Google Drive™, Microsoft™ SkyDrive, DropBox™, Box™, or from your email account
  • The speakers notes will be accessible every times on the iPad’s screen
  • Presence of interactive laser pointer
  • Exclusive whiteboard, you can use it for additional explanations
  • Different time and slide number counters
  • iPhone can be used as a remote with Presentation Note Remote

 

Lim Chuwei is a Teacher in Singapore at ChampionTutor and highly advocates the use of cloud based application for teaching and learning.

Guest Post: How to Create an Effective and Productive Method of Math Learning

Guest Post By: Jacky Wilson

Is there a possibility to eliminate the bell curve in learning mathematics? Imagine a person at a dinner party just nonchalantly announcing, “I’m uneducated”. It’s a hypothetical situation that will never happen, of course; the embarrassment would be too great. However, it’s not uncommon for an adult to say that, “I am not good in math”. That’s mainly because we have formed a common opinion that math ability is hereditary, as if there’s a “mathematics gene” that you either gain from predecessors or you don’t.

In particular, school math teachers often are not able to make adequate allowances for the restrictions of working memory and the most important fact is that we need a tremendous amount of everyday practice to gain mastery in just every subject. Children who are weak in studying math usually have difficulty in:

  • Doing arithmetic involving mixed equations
  • Handling word related math problems
  • Remembering the essential math facts and basics

Despite the extensive support for “discovery-based” or “problem-based” math learning, research and studies have shown that the current teaching methods or tactics usually underestimate the amount of unambiguous guidance; “framework” and practice children are most required to combine new concepts in learning. Asking children to invent something on their own before they understand the fundamentals of any subject is like asking them to write a song using guitar before they know anything about its various chords.

The foundation of a good learning in math starts by building confidence, which many great teachers believe should be the first objective of a math teacher. Confidence is the main key that creates attention, which creates rich learning abilities. You may come across different teachers but I am sure you would not have met anyone that will tell you that the student can excel without being confident. But I am really puzzled to notice that I have never seen in any school that follows the same in their math program. Math is the best subject that helps to build confidence. Teachers can take steps to modify their teaching practices in math by solving problems in small steps and raise the bar of confidence in them.

Setting a good groundwork for learning math is very important. When your child is able to do the math more quickly, he/she can enjoy more time doing the extracurricular activities that he/she often missed.