Educational Tools Teachers And Students May Find Useful

April 14th, 2014

 By Melissa Burns

Do you know how much the educational technology market is expected to be worth by 2018? Many people are surprised by the high expectations ($60 billion!), but no one can deny that there is huge potential in this industry, and teachers and students couldn’t be any happier with the improvements.

New educational apps and tools are being constantly promoted, but that doesn’t mean you should start using every single tool that hits the market. Let’s take a look at some innovations that are really worth trying.

1. Skitch

You have surely heard of Evernote, but have you started using its full potential? Skitch is an ingenious tool for visual communication, which increases the potential of “Bring Your Own Device” classrooms. Skitch enables both students and teachers to get their point across easily, without using too many words. Now they can express themselves through sketches, shapes, and annotations.

Skitch makes the communication within the classroom easier, which has an inevitable effect of increasing the level of collaboration between the students.

2. Writinghouse

The assiduous task of proper source referencing can be tiresome and distracting. Writinghouse is a solution to that problem, allowing students to concentrate on their ideas and the writing process while applying all references automatically with the use of this tool.

Writinghouse is extremely simple to use, it’s quite fast, and completely free. It supports MLA, APA, Chicago, and Harvard referencing style, which means that every student and teacher working on academic content can finally stop worrying about bibliography and citation issues.


Visualization can make even the most complex concepts understandable. enables teachers to create simple infographics that will make the lessons memorable for students. There is no need to possess any particular knowledge of designing to start using; the tools and boxes are incredibly easy to implement into the creation of a decent infographic.

Students can also use this tool to visualize the information for the projects they work on.

4. TutorsClass

The tutoring business has been entirely revolutionized with the concept of online tutoring. Students no longer need to search for a tutor in their local area and arrange awkward meetings that fail to deliver the expected results. The entire process is much easier and more effective when conducted in an online environment, and TutorsClass provides all the right tools for students to learn and tutors to teach.

Besides being a great place for students to find perfect tutors for their needs, TutorsClass is also a great website for every educator who wants to start tutoring more students in a convenient online environment. They will have full control over their business and organize a virtual classroom for one-on-one lessons or group classes.

5. Basecamp

This is one of the most effective collaborative tools available at the moment. It is incredibly easy to use for both teachers and students, enabling them to create and manage projects in a fun way. Teachers can control the privacy of the projects and share them with particular students, meaning they can create groups within the class and make them responsible for different projects.

Basecamp also features a calendar tool, which enables teachers to track the project deadlines and be aware of all meetings, holidays, and other important dates.

Conclusion: There is a right educational tool for everyone!

There are many wonderful edu tools available today, but that doesn’t mean that every tool is perfect for every teacher and students. It takes some experimenting to come up with the right combination of tools that will enhance the classroom’s productivity, but the choice of particular tools listed above will make the trial process easier.

There is no need to delay the implementation of tech tools in the educational process; you can start increasing your productivity today if you make the right choice!

Melissa is a graduate student of the faculty of journalism. She is a passionate blogger and writer. Now she dreams od publishing her owm novel.


5 Major Challenges For Post secondary Education

April 14th, 2014

From: Boston Consulting Group

U.S. universities and colleges face an array of pressing challenges that require education leaders to act with unprecedented strategic clarity and vision in order to seize the opportunities that lie ahead, according to a new report being released today by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).BCG has identified five forces that are transforming U.S. higher-education institutions:

•     Key sources of revenue are continuing to fall, putting many institutions at severe financial risk.

•     Demands are rising for a greater return on an investment in higher education.

•     Greater transparency about student outcomes is becoming the norm.

•     New business and delivery models are gaining traction.

•     The globalization of education is accelerating.

But experiments around the country point the way forward, argue the authors of the report, titled Five Trends to Watch in Higher Education. Many institutions are reviewing their portfolio of programs to improve productivity and reduce costs. They are also using data to improve outcomes and ensure success for the changing mix of students. Some universities are broadening their research offerings to better attract funding, while a number of colleges are expanding their share of the online education market. Such creative efforts signal the diversity of ways to change the game.

“The higher-education sector is undergoing unprecedented change, challenging every board and leadership team to rethink their strategy and operating model,” says J. Puckett, a senior partner and coauthor of the report. “The institutions that will thrive in this environment will be willing to adapt and embrace new pathways to success.

A copy of the report can be downloaded at


Why Take This Course? What Will I Learn In College?

April 14th, 2014

AAC&U is pleased to offer two publications and a brochure designed for students. These items explain to high school and college students what really matters in college and how to achieve the outcomes of a good liberal education.

Why Do I Have to Take This Course?, written for college students, has been purchased by more than 700 colleges and universities across the country for use in first-year programs and orientations. A practical guide, it is intended to take some of the mystery out of curricular requirements and educate students about the importance of broad learning outcomes developed over the entire course of their undergraduate years.

What Will I Learn in College? was written with both high school and college students in mind. It is a short guide to college learning that presents, in a concise and compelling way, a picture of the curriculum and nature of college teaching and learning methods that will help students understand what will be expected of them, and guides them to seek out enriching high school experiences that will prepare them to succeed. The guide also features Advice from Campus—candid recommendations from college students about how to get ready for college success.

What Is a Liberal Education? And Why Is It Important to My Future? is a brochure that serves as an introduction to what a liberal education is—and why it is important to all college students. Based on research findings from the LEAP initiative, it provides a contemporary definition of the term “liberal education,” discusses the most important outcomes of college, and features the perspectives of recent graduates and employers. Ideal for use in first-year and transfer student orientation, first-year seminars, academic advising, admissions, and career counseling

Minority Serving Colleges Have A Vital Role

April 11th, 2014

The Center for American Progress released a new report, “Lessons Learned: Implications from Studying Minority-Serving Institutions,” that examines the role of minority-serving institutions, or MSIs, and offers policy solutions to help these vital institutions. Looking at public colleges, universities, and community colleges with single-minority or combination-minority enrollment of more than 25 percent, the report finds that these more affordable higher-education institutions play an important role in helping reduce income inequality and increasing economic opportunity, particularly for low-income students.

As the United States becomes increasingly diverse, so will the nation’s schools. A majority of babies born in the United States today are children of color, and before the end of this decade, more than half of all youth will be of color. These demographic changes mean that colleges and universities are poised to have increasingly diverse student populations, which will result in the number of MSIs growing significantly in the years ahead.

Among the most challenged institutions in a strained higher-education system, MSIs have still played a key role in increasing the college-going rate among recent high school graduates from underrepresented minority groups. While these schools face fiscal challenges from lower tuition rates, support from the federal government helps bridge funding gaps, particularly if the funding is used strategically to elevate student success in various areas, such as course performance, transition to college-level courses, persistence, degree attainment, and transfer from two- to four-year institutions. The federal government has a long history of providing support to MSIs in recognition of the critical role they play and the difficult challenges they face in expanding opportunities and access to higher education for underrepresented groups.

The report details why higher education should be seen as an investment in the public good, as everyone benefits when one of our citizens obtains a college degree or other postsecondary credential. Putting resources into institutions such as MSIs has multiple benefits, including:

  • Growing the economy and increasing incomes
  • Reducing poverty
  • Closing racial and ethnic social gaps
  • Strengthening safety net programs such as Social Security

Drawing from a collaborative report from the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education, or CARE; the Partnership for Equity in Education through Research, or PEER; and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, or APIASF, “Measuring the Impact of MSI-Funded Programs on Student Success: Findings From the Evaluation of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions,” the CAP report highlights several key factors to consider to improve results from MSIs:

  • Critical funding
  • Taking effective practices to scale
  • Supporting MSIs in conducting assessments
  • Investing in building structures in which innovation and scaling up of effective practices can take place

Minority-serving institutions play a critical role in our nation’s higher-education system. Too often, they have not received appropriate levels of support for the students they serve. To that end, strategic federal investments are needed. The ultimate results of these investments will include a reduction in the income inequality that we have observed for the groups that benefit from enrollment in MSIs.

Read the full report here.

Some Degrees Lead To High Salaries: Some Do Not

April 8th, 2014

Is college worth it? It depends
There is no simple answer to the question “Is college worth it?” Some degrees pay for themselves; others don’t. American schoolkids pondering whether to take on huge student loans are constantly told that college is the gateway to the middle class. The truth is more nuanced. (The Economist) via ECS.

Students Seek Fewer Degrees And More Skills With Labor Market Demand

April 8th, 2014

By : Hechinger Report

Kevin Floerke has been down this route before.

A student at Santa Rosa Junior College in Northern California, Floerke, 26 years old, already graduated in 2010 from UCLA, where he majored in archaeology.

This time, however, he’s not after a degree. He’s just trying to master a set of techniques and technologies that will help him verify the details he finds while doing fieldwork.

“I’m really there to learn the program itself and be able to use it in a professional setting,” he said.

Santa Rosa Junior College. (Photo: Santa Rosa Junior College)

Santa Rosa Junior College. (Photo: Santa Rosa Junior College)

Floerke, who leads tours for the National Geographic Society, is part of a group of students known as “skill builders” who are using conventional colleges in an unconventional way: not to get degrees but simply to learn specific kinds of expertise, without spending time or money on courses they don’t think they need.

It’s a trend being driven by the rising price of higher education and a growing emphasis on paying for training in only the most marketable skills.

“They’re looking for employment,” said Keith Bird, chancellor emeritus ofKentucky’s community college systemand a fellow for the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, a policy group. “And that’s the bottom line.”

The popularity of seeking a higher education with no intention of graduating is a challenge for institutions that are increasingly focused on improving their graduation rates. Still, some institutions are responding by starting up programs for these students and considering creating new kinds of credentials to recognize the combinations of courses they’re taking.

People who enroll in but do not earn degrees from community colleges mainly gravitate toward courses focused on career and technical education, according to a study of students in the California Community College System, which found that these students typically enroll for no more than four semesters and take six or fewer credits per semester.

Skill builders in California are concentrated in construction, real estate, computers, law enforcement, and early childhood education, according to Kathy Booth, co-author of the study. For most of them, the college credits led to wage increases. Students who took courses in information technology, for instance, saw their pay increase by 5 percent, and skill builders at California community colleges overall saw their median salaries go up from $49,800 in 2008-09 to $54,600 in 2011-12, the system reports.

How Colleges Can Improve Part-time Faculty For Better Student Results

April 7th, 2014

A special report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement, Contingent Commitments: Bringing Part-Time Faculty Into Focus.

The report aims to help college leaders more effectively engage part-time faculty so more students have access to the educational experiences and supports they need to succeed in college.

Contingent Commitments: Bringing Part-Time Faculty Into Focus provides data drawn from more than 70,000 faculty responses to the Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (CCFSSE) between 2009 and 2013. Through more than 30 focus groups, the Center also listened systematically to part-time faculty, full-time faculty, administrators, and staff at community colleges across the country.

Download the report:

Download the news release:

Low Income Top Students Lose Ground In High School

April 6th, 2014

This week, the Ed Trust released a report showing that many black and Latino students and students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds who enter high school as top academic performers lose important ground as they progress toward graduation day. These students start secondary school at similar academic levels as their high-achieving white and more advantaged peers, but leave with lower AP exam passage rates, lower SAT/ACT scores, and lower GPAs, leading to different postsecondary outcomes. The data suggest that schools could benefit from thinking deeply about the instructional quality, support, and culture they provide, all of which influence the experiences of high-achieving students.

The report, “Falling out of the Lead,” is the latest in the Shattering Expectations series, which examines the achievement gap at the higher end of the achievement spectrum. To better understand the data, the Ed Trust also interviewed high-achieving, low-income students to hear about their experiences and their advice for schools on how to help top performers maintain their academic standing. Ed Trust also profiles Ohio’s Columbus Alternative High School — a diverse high school where nearly all students graduate and where 4 out of 10 graduates pass their AP exams — to learn how educators there grow the capacities of all students.

Can We Build A College In The Cloud?

April 3rd, 2014

TED Talk winner Sugata Mitra says: From Plato to Aurobindo, from Vygotsky to Montessori, centuries of educational thinkers have vigorously debated a central pedagogical question: How do we spark creativity, curiosity, and wonder in children? But those who philosophized pre-Google were prevented from wondering just how the Internet might influence the contemporary answer to this age-old question. Today, we can and must; a generation that has not known a world without vast global and online connectivity demands it of us.

From Carnegie Foundation

Non Tenure Track Faculty: New Book On This Emerging Majority

April 2nd, 2014

reviewed by Iván F. Pacheco — For Teachers College Record

coverTitle: Embracing Non-Tenure Track Faculty: Changing Campuses for the New Faculty MajorityAuthor(s): Adrianna KezarPublisher: Routledge, New York
ISBN: 0415891140, Pages: 256, Year: 2012
Search for book at

It is well known that non-tenure track faculty are a majority in most universities and colleges around the United States today, and that the trend is likely to continue.  As Adrianna Kezar, the editor of Embracing Non-Tenure Track Faculty, explains, most college presidents now prefer to hire non-tenure track faculty.  Two-thirds of the faculty across all institutional types and three out of every four new hires are now off the tenure track (pp. x, 30).  Despite these figures, higher education researchers and the literature in general pay very little attention to this phenomenon.

Embracing Non-Tenure Track Faculty tackles that research gap with a set of strategies that seek to include this “new majority” in the day-to-day life of universities and colleges.  Previous works have addressed this problem and recommended policies and practices for institutions to improve the working conditions of adjuncts and contingent faculty (see, for example, Baldwin & Chronister, 2001, and Gappa & Leslie, 1993).  Recommendations include: regularizing hiring procedures, creating a systematic socialization process and mentoring, providing multi-year renewable contracts, and defining promotion and evaluation processes for non-tenure track faculty, among others.  However, the book goes beyond merely suggesting strategies by providing qualitative empirical research about how some of these suggestions have been implemented in various higher education institutions.

The book consists of three parts. Part I presents historical background illustrating why adjunct positions were created and how the use of contingent, adjunct and non-tenure track faculty became so popular. Based on institutionalization theory and drawing on Curry’s (1992) three-stage model of institutionalization, this section provides the conceptual framework that anchors the subsequent chapters in Part II that describe the change process at eight case study institutions. Finally, Part III consists of two chapters that present general conclusions.

Among the contributors to the book are associate professors, an assistant researcher and doctoral candidate, the Director of the New Majority Foundation, a former Associate Provost, and non-tenure track faculty members, most of whom are also members of teacher unions, teacher associations, or belong to their institution’s teachers’ senate.  Such variety provides insight from different perspectives and is a strength of the book.

Although the book is “based on a national study of campuses implementing policies to include non-tenure-track faculty on campus” (p. xv), the case studies in Part II (Chapters Three to Ten), are a somewhat narrow selection.  Half of the cases are concentrated in California and six out of eight cases are unionized institutions.  However, the institutions are diverse in type, ranging from a two-year technical college to public and private research universities.  Perhaps more important than the variety of case studies, the book presents a wide spectrum of situations and stages of contingent faculty institutionalization.  From this broad sampling of conditions and stages, activists and administrators can learn to improve the working conditions for, and make institutions more responsive to the needs and expectations of, adjunct and contingent faculty.