Guest Post: 5 Effective Tips to Guide High School Students in Time Management

Guest Post: April Boey

In order to achieve success in any task, it is vital to learn proper time management. High school life is power-packed with varied activities that call for a lot of involvement on the part of the student. Given this, if the student is unable to properly handle time, he might end up wasting his time in activities that add negligible value to his entire life and career. Here are 5 effective time management tips that would help high school students to manage their time by striking an appropriate balance between studies and other activities. With each of the tip comes a free online tool to make the implementation super easy for you.

Keep a to-do-list ready

When students are in high school, most of them do not have a plan about how they would spend each day. This absence of planning leads to a lot of confusion and ultimately considerable amount of time is wasted in deciding what to do and when to do it. If a student has a to-do-list ready he can enhance his productivity through proper allocation of time to the different tasks that he needs to do. It is advisable to take up comparatively difficult tasks in the morning because the mind is fresh at that time.

The best online to-do list that I have tried so far is Google tasks as I like its simplicity and ability to sync across my devices so long as I’m logged in to Gmail.

Carry work with you

In case there is an assignment due or you have an upcoming test, it would be great to carry your work with you wherever you are going. This will ensure that you can utilize the lunch time or any other free time for studying. You may even complete a bit of study as you wait for transportation. Although it is hard to avoid social media, try to concentrate on your work at your free time rather than checking Twitter and Facebook every now and then.  If you utilize your minutes wisely, you will get more time for relaxation or doing some other activity that you enjoy.

With Dropbox you do not have to worry about forgetting your physical notes. Besides being a good tool for backing up your documents, Dropbox is also very helpful for sharing files between members in a project work.

Be sure of your priorities

A majority of high school students are unaware of their priorities and hence they indulge in doing things that could easily have been completed afterwards. If a student does not have proper knowledge of priorities, he might ignore the things that require urgent attention and concentrate more on things that do not have so much of urgency. Being sure of the priorities enables a student to lead a less stressful life and carry out all tasks effectively.

Rescue Time is a tool for finding out how you have been spending your time online. If you say studies are your priority, the report from Rescue Time may offer a reality check for you. Statistics don’t lie, find out your real priorities.

Avoid procrastination

It is an age old advice, but it would not be out-of-place to repeat it here. Students should never get into the bad habit of putting things off for a later period of time. Procrastination in fact hampers the schedule to a great extent and ultimately the student will not get adequate time to carry our required tasks. Therefore, the best thing is to categorize the work into convenient segments across a number of days. Abiding by this schedule will make you more organized and leave time for relaxation.

Check out Focal Filter where you can block out distracting websites and avoid procrastination with sites such as Facebook.

Escape from getting sidetracked

If at any point of time you feel that you are getting indulged in insignificant things, immediately stop, and get back to your priorities as per the to-do list. You might procrastinate because of confusion regarding a school project and get involved in other ‘petty’ activities. If that is the issue, take the help of your teacher to solve the problem and move ahead.

During revision, the best way to stay focused is to use a timer, best way, a countdown timer. Trust me, the urgency of the clock ticking will intensify your concentration. Check out E.gg Timer

Implementation of the right time management techniques will definitely help you manage the highly demanding high school life. So, harness time and win every battle through a healthy balance among work, school, relaxation and social life.

 

About the Author

Having been a beneficiary, April believes that education has the ability to transform one’s life. She manages a blog for peer-to-peer learning at http://digitalsenior.sg/ where everyone shares their university experience in Singapore.

 

 

 

EducationWeek Free Webinar—Smart Classrooms Need Smart Wi-Fi

I subscribe to EducationWeek. It sends me lots of emails and, unfortunately, most get deleted because I just don’t have the time to read them. Anyone else have this problem with awesome newsletters that you’d love to read but just don’t have enough time for?

I attempted to tackle the growing unread count in my box and maybe read one or two that jumped out at me. One did jump out at me…so much so that I’m passing along the information for a free webinar they mentioned. Please feel free to share your comments if you participated in it.

Smart Classrooms Need Smart Wi-Fi!

Incredibly powerful cloud-based services like Google Apps for Education, Microsoft Office 365, and other popular online tools demand the very best wireless solution. With so much at stake, deploying and managing this critical system must be as simple and reliable as a light switch without eliminating functionality and flexibility. Ruckus Wireless Smart Wi-Fi is the clear choice for simple, reliable, high-performing wireless access in today’s smart classroom.For years, technology use in schools had a limited role, primarily as a supplemental tool, sometimes only for computer science or word processing by students to type reports. Today, mobile technology access in schools is critical for educators and students to meet the most basic teaching and learning requirements. State standards like common-core online assessments mandate access to connected devices. Whether it’s Chromebooks, iPads, Windows laptops, or smartphones they all share the need for reliable high-performing wireless access.

Guest:

Erik Heinrich, national education manager, Ruckus Wireless; former director of technology infrastructure, San Francisco Unified School District, Calif.

This webinar will be moderated by GT Hill, director of technical corporate marketing, Ruckus Wireless

Register now for this free live webinar.

Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, 2 to 3 p.m. ET

Can’t attend? All Education Week webinars are archived and accessible “on demand” for up to four months after the original live-streaming date.

Best of MACUL: Ignite Learning

On Friday, August 8, I attended the Best of MACUL conference at Oakland Schools.  It was jointly hosted by the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) and the REMC Association of Michigan.  The conference was designed to highlight some of the presentations that were given at the MACUL conference in March, mostly for those who were unable to attend.

The Best of MACUL conference ran similar to most conferences, there were one of three presentations to choose from during each hour.  There were four total hours in addition to one lunch hour.  For the full list of presentations and presenters, please see the Best of MACUL Oakland Schools conference schedule/agenda.


App Smashing Your Way to Powerful Learning
(PresenterLaura Cummings, Oakland Schools)

App Smashing, coined by Greg Kulowiec, “is the process of using multiple apps to create projects or complete tasks.”  It’s not a new idea, but once Kulowiec gave the concept a catchy name, it became the newest buzzword in education.

Cummings demonstrated a few apps on the iPad that worked well together to create digital content that reflected student learning.  These apps help students see that the information they learn in school is doing something.  The paper is no longer the final product; the digital content is.  The students are now producing something they can share on social media.

Side note: Cummings created a Weebly page with links to the apps and project examples.  It also has some excellent links to more information about App Smashing and rules to follow for a successful experience.

I was most impressed with the following apps: Skitch, PicPlayPost, and ThinkLink.  Skitch, as many of you may have heard, is a photo annotating app.  It allows you to add text, shapes, blurs, and crop.  The final image is then saved to the Camera Roll.  This saves students time from having to add annotations in the program they decide to use.  For example, students can then import those images into PicPlayPost, along with a recorded video (reading their paper?) to create a final media collage. See an example of a PicPlayPost collage uploaded to Dropbox.  But what if there is just too much content to annotated on the photo?  ThinkLink creates hotspots on an image that can link to video, images, text, sound (reading the paper in SoundCloud), and even downloading the paper in Evernote.  See an example of a hotspotted image on ThingLink.


Engage Students.  Explore apps, interactive books, and MultiTouch textbooks
(Presenter: Joanna Montgomery, Apple)

“Just because the students know the technology, doesn’t mean they know how to use it to learn.”

Montgomery’s presentation also focused on apps on the iPad.  But while Cummings’ presentation focused on apps that created digital content to demonstrate learning, Montgomery’s presentation focused on apps that had rich content written by academics for use in classrooms.  Montgomery sees a future in which back-to-school lists will eventually include recommended apps.

iTunes U has expanded exponentially since the last time I looked at it.  In fact, course materials for universities is only one-third of the content.  There is a section exclusively for K-12 and another for Beyond Campus (i.e. the Smithsonian, Khan Academy).  Material is not exclusively courses anymore.  Of course, there are many courses, but users can download singular materials from a course.  During Montgomery’s presentation, she showed us some videos and PDFs available from several sources.  All content is screened by at least one educator, so while it is educationally appropriate, there is no guarantee it will be grade-appropriate.  Thus, it is still best to preview material.

iBooks has may books that are beyond copyright for free.  There are also plenty of books available for free.  But Montgomery emphasized caution in using iBooks in the classroom.  The “Top Free” book list is full of erotica.  Teachers are encouraged to have students select a genre when searching for a free book and not using the top list to assist in filtering out inappropriate content.


Showcase Your Classroom Using Google
(Presenter: Jennifer Bond, Walled Lake Consolidated Schools)

Bond using numerous Google products in her classroom to connect parents with her classroom.  She highlighted several classroom blogs that she has created using Blogger.  Since she is a third grade teacher, students cannot have an email address and thus, cannot publish their own blog.  Thus, she is the moderator.  Most often, the students write blog entries in their journals and Bond would choose the best ones, type them up, and post them. Another option for teacher moderation is, using Blogger, set up an email address students where can email posts (this works best if the school has a contract to allow the students to have an email address under the age of 13).  The teacher will then be able to see the post prior to accepting it for publication. Many teachers have been doing this for years, but only showing the best writing in class, not publishing it to the internet.

Google Hangouts was another technology Bond used in her classroom.  She uses it to help connect her class with other classrooms as well as parents.  Sometimes, it is used just for fun.  But be careful…there is a different between Google Hangouts and Google Hangouts ON AIR.  On Air records the entire hangout and automatically uploads it to YouTube after you click done.  There is no editing.  There is no option to not upload.


Creating a Genius in Every Hour: 20 Time in Education
(Presenter: Nick Provenzano, TheNerdyTeacher.com)

A number of years ago, Google implemented a policy that employees were to work on a non-assigned project 15% of their week.  In other words, Google would pay them to work on side projects.  Just something fun.  Many people though the executives at Google lost their mind.  Do you know what they got?  GMAIL.  ADSENSE.  And so some people wondered…what if we did the same for education?  What would students achieve?  The concept then became known as 20 Time (easier to give 1/5 of the week).

Provenzano piloted 20 Time in his class last year.  He said it was difficult…when he realized in order to make it truly 20% of the school year, he had to figure out how to get ride of 34 instructional days (yes, there was a deep inhale by the teachers in the room at this moment).  He cut movies, he trimmed his curriculum, and reworked lessons.  Eventually, he obtained those 34 days.  He didn’t even waiver on the commitment when the worst Michigan winter eliminated numerous instructional days.  He kept his word: every Friday was 20 Time work time.

Students were graded on a completion basis, did they write this blog post, etc.  They gave a speech at the end, TED style.  In fact, they organized a TEDx event to showcase some of the projects.

I was amazed at some of the projects that students did.  But the more I think about it, I wasn’t so amazed as I was thrilled that students rose to the challenge.  Given time and encouragement, students are capable of doing great things.

For more information on 20 Time, visit: www.20timeineducation.com or www.thenerdyteacher.com.

Guest Post: Using Smartphones in Classrooms – the Emerging Trend

If you are a teacher and if you are a regular smartphone user, chances are that you have come across a plethora of education websites and apps. You may not, however, have realized that many of these can be feasibly used inside the classroom to improve learning. Most of your students (unless you are a primary school teacher) must also have access to smartphones and tablets and know their way around the internet and the app world. You may be the type with a zero tolerance policy when you see a phone out during class, but how do you know that the student is necessarily communicating with friends, and not trying to Google a word or phrase you just uttered, and which he or she doesn’t understand? Maybe the student is even brushing up on the topic of the lesson. How about trying to integrate all of this and create a more enriching teaching experience?

Step 1: Use Smartphone Apps

There are countless smartphone or tablet apps that you can use to supplement your teaching and add to your reference material database for the benefit of your students. For example, a language app called Courses123 allows the user to learn five new languages. It offers vocabulary training, definitions, pronunciation and usage guides. Wolfram Alpha, the big brother of learning apps, works like a search engine. Additionally, it answers factual queries in a unique way. It uses curated database of knowledge websites or pages to directly calculate and display the answer. So it is also an answer engine. School Fuel Apps connects teachers and students and acts as a learning platform, in the classroom and on the move. If you are a science teacher, you can recommend apps such as Science Glossary, Atomium and Skeptical Science to your students. Science Glossary is an extensive science dictionary app that provides definitions, short biographies and education modules. The Atomium periodic table app provides information about every element, while Skeptical Science addresses climate change.

Step 2: Access Online Resources

Websites, online tools and other such resources could be of huge help to both students and teachers. HippoCampus, for example, is a knowledge rich website where you can find instructional videos that are arranged by subject. The Jefferson Lab website contains knowledge resources and content on high school science. It is divided into a student zone and teacher resources, and also offers games and puzzles. Discovery Education gives you the best links to other educational sites, and lets you create your own classroom clip art and word puzzles. There is also a huge number of education blogs that you can find. E-pals lets you arrange safe online interaction and communication between your students and other students around the world. English as a Foreign Language (EFL) blogs include Kalinago English, EFL 2.0, TEFLtastic with Alex Case, Jamie Keddie.com and so on.

Step 3: Use Cloud Storage and Sharing

Cloud storage has given a facelift to teaching methods. For example, Dropbox and Sugarsync are resources that allow you to back up files and sync them across connected devices. You get to carry around all your teaching material with you, via these applications. With such effective utilization of cloud storage, you don’t need to worry about losing your data even when you lose a device. You can also share saved data and resources in the classroom, or with your students who have accounts in, say, Dropbox.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more things you can do with smartphones in the classroom. If every other kind of technology is being allowed for teaching, why not smartphones or handheld devices? And with a more enjoyable classroom experience, there will be fewer chances of students being easily distracted.

Author’s Bio: Lynda Scott is an educationist, social media evangelist, and an ESL English specialist. She writes primarily on education and technology related topics.

Edmodo

Facebook is great for connecting people together.  But some people are a bit wary of friending their parents, let alone their teacher.  LinkedIn is a great social networking site for professional networking…and Edmodo is a great social networking site for education.

I’ve been using Edmodo a bit during my long-term guest teaching position these last few months.  It has been helpful for connecting with students.  Since I’ve been logging in under the teacher I’ve been guest teaching for, I haven’t done too much, but I’ve talked with students.  They love the fact that teachers can post PDFs on its library, that they can message their teachers or other students in their class without needed to give out phone numbers, and that they don’t need to write reminders down because teachers post reminders.

Edmodo is free and lets you register as teacher, student, parent, or administrator.  Teachers create groups in which students can join via link or secure code given by the teacher.  Once students are in the groups, teachers can post notes, alerts, polls, quizzes, and assignments to one or more groups as well as individual students.

Besides groups, teachers can join communities according to subject matter.  This connects teachers to others through the entire Edmodo network in order to share content, ideas, or to simply brainstorm.

Also, teachers can install certain apps to their Edmodo for use with students.  For example, Subtext, can be used through Edmodo.  Teachers can share content, annotate it, or see students’ annotations.  Subtext also works with iPads as well.  And speaking of iPads, Edmodo has free apps for the iPad,  iPhone, and on Google Play.

Students have not complained to me about Edmodo and neither have any of the teachers I know who use it.  However, just like with all technologies, students who do not have access to internet at home or on a mobile device may find Edmodo to be a bit of an issue.

Guest Post: 5 Popular Cloud Applications Used in Schools

Guest Post by: Lim Chuwei

The widespread use of cloud applications is not limited to some business enterprises. But, cloud applications are adding an element of surprise for schools looking out to enhance quality in academics. Cloud applications provide a good synergy between classroom teachers and students.

These apps help to extend boundaries of education outside school to home and playground.  Many schools already boast of cloud enabled classrooms and students equipped with gadgets such as laptops, iPads, Smartphones etc.

Installing cloud infrastructure without choosing the right set of cloud tools doesn’t provide full benefits of cloud in education. With right applications on board, compatible to school’s storage infrastructure, teachers and students can effectively utilize all available resources.

Benefits of Cloud Applications Used In School

Cloud Applications allow content sharing, ubiquitous access, extend storage space to replace text books and large maps, content security, personal check in the performance of students and to encourage participation by considering individual viewpoints. Wide variety of already available tools compatible with multiple devices makes it easy to add cloud applications in schools. Centralized storage of data provide more security and anywhere access to users.

Following are the top 5 cloud applications used in schools worldwide that fulfill demands from every student:

1. Google Apps for Education

Google’s Cloud apps offer email, calendar, on-web storage and communications services to teachers as well as students via Gmail, Google Drive (in past Google docs), and Google groups. Its popularity can be measured from the fact that more than 10 million students use Google apps in their classrooms. The app is freely available without any hidden cost. Google apps are specifically designed for k-12 schools preparing them for 21st

2. Dropbox

Dropbox enables users to access data from anywhere. This is a web-based file synching app offering free 2 GB of file storage service for new users. The app automatically adds updated content in other personal devices having installed Dropbox in them. It also provides online access to data on the web storage at reasonable rates. Dropbox provides security to content by making it private and lets you share information with listed students or faculty members.


3. Edmodo

Edmodo app is considered as the future of virtual learning environments in schools. It has a network of over 31 million teachers and students connected in online classrooms. The app helps to discover new resources and collaborate on assignments. Edmodo provides separate passwords for different courses to an individual. Similar to Facebook, it includes a profile picture and a stream of updates in the user account.

4. Moodle

Moodle has a repository containing different types of quizzes, web links and glossaries for helping teachers as well as students. Its GUI lacks in interactive features as compared to Edmodo. But, Moodle contains RSS feeds, good tools to check grades and different forums to discuss a topic of interest. Moodle provides a facility to place every important document in a single file. Privacy is pretty secure under this open-source web application on the Internet.

5. Evernote

Evernote app enables students to take digital notes quickly using any computing device. One doesn’t need a slip of paper to note down something important using a pen. This is the best app designed for archiving purposes in cloud. Every note can be attached with pictures, tags and voice memos for later search. Evernote’s ability to scan text within images distinguishes the app from others available in cloud. Evernote also offers cloud storage facility to its users.

 

Author Bio

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

Technology-Use Classroom Policies: Let the Students Decide

Are you in favor of the zero-tolerance, paper and pencil only policy? Or, do you take the-more-the-merrier approach? Something in between?

Technology use in the classroom is the bane of many a teacher’s existence. Teachers struggle with the excellent benefits that technology can provide and the tempting distractions it allows.

So what are the benefits? Note-taking. Reference a large volume of text without the weight. Disability support. Educational support apps/programs. Email. Cloud storage and collaboration.

And the tempting distractions? Let me count the ways…social media, games, internet memes, non-educational apps/programs, text messaging. Even beneficial things can become a distraction, for example email and cloud storage. Students could be working on homework for one class while ignoring the teacher of the class they are currently in. When students snap back to attention, they ask the same questions that have just been asked because they were not listening. Precious class time is wasted in repetition. Then, the students who were paying attention get bored by the repetition and then become distracted by their technological device of choice.

So what is a teacher to do? Let the students decide.

Seriously.

Create a document in Google docs that all students can edit. Give the students a one week deadline to edit policies and consequences as they see fit. Discuss with your students the conundrum you face with technology–your goals versus its distractions.

This will allow the students to feel their desire to use technology is respected. It will invite students to police each other.

Of course, this may not work. Teachers may need to reserve the right to veto outlandish policies or enforce accountability measures. It all really depends on your students. However, if you have found your blanket policies to be ineffective at curbing distractions, perhaps the best strategy is to go straight to the source for feedback.