Posts published in February, 2016

The Real Value of What Students Do in College

Robert Shireman, TCF

AP Photo/Jessica Hill

Today in the United States, more than a third of adults have a college degree, compared to fewer than five percent of adults at the time of World War II, representing a dramatic change in what people do when they reach adulthood.1 This year alone nearly two million people in the United States will earn their bachelor’s degrees.2 Our country’s success in promoting a college education would be something to celebrate, if not for one big, embarrassing blemish: those who are already privileged are the most likely to get to and through college, while the underprivileged do not.

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10 Health and Wellness Tips for Female College Students

By Jane Hurst

Many teen girls think that college is going to be a carefree moment in their lives. Where they can do absolutely anything and not worry about the outcome. While this is true to a point, going off to college is also one of the first and most fundamental steps to true adulthood, which means that it is necessary to balance those carefree times and responsibilities. The experience will literally change your life, and the goal is to make it change your life for the better. Here are some tips that will help you get through your college years with a great education and amazing memories.


1) Make Friends – People come and go the same way you pass cars in a highway. Some may never play any role in your life whatsoever, but some may play an important role (both good or bad). This is the time in your life when you are going to cultivate life-long friendships. Open yourself up to meeting new people and making all kinds of new friends. These are the people who are going to give you encouragement when you need it the most. You will learn from these people, their cultures and there difference which in result will make you a diverse being.


2) Get Plenty of Sleep – As tempting as it may be to party hard and pull overnighters; you are not going to ace those exams if you aren’t getting enough sleep. Unfortunately, this may be too much to ask for, given the vast number of activities in college. So for those days when you just couldn’t sleep, you may have to spend a fortune on make-up to cover up those bags under your eyes. Nonetheless, It’s important to get into the habit of getting eight hours of sleep every night.


3) Eat Healthy – Even though you’re not at home eating meals cooked by Mom, that doesn’t mean that you have carte blanch to go nuts on junk food. Your body, and your mind will not work properly if you aren’t eating properly. Your meal plan probably offers a variety of tempting foods, but be conservative. One thing I can tell you for sure is that your metabolism will betray you as you grow older. So eat wisely. Make sure that your daily breakfast is high in fiber and protein, and avoid processed foods and junk food as much as possible.


4) Read a Lot – Don’t just read the textbooks you are assigned each semester. Take time to read magazines, novels, etc. Not only is this a great way to relax, it will also help to keep your mind active, and you will do better with your studies. They say the vastest knowledge source is in the graves. It’s always good to have a mentor but finding a mentor in books will guide you in the right path.


5) Take power Naps – Speaking of sleep, another good habit to get into is taking power naps. When your brain is feeling fuzzy, a short nap is the best way to make it clear again. All you need is a short nap (15 to 30 minutes) later in the afternoon to feel refreshed and ready to take on the world.


6) Get Exercise – We all know that we are supposed to exercise every day. This is extremely important when you are in college. It is very common for female students to gain 15 to 20 pounds during their first year of college. This is hard to take off, and often, more weight piles on. An easy cheat would be to get a waist trainer. This will emphasize the results of your exercises and focus them on molding your body to an hourglass figure.  Exercise daily, try yoga, and you won’t have to worry about a thing.


7) Avoid “Study Aids” – A lot of students use caffeine pills, Adderall, energy drinks, etc. to give them enough energy to get through each day. Don’t let yourself fall into this habit. It is not just incredibly unhealthy, it is addictive and can lead to taking other drugs. Enjoy the odd energy drink, but don’t overdo it.


8) Don’t Spread Germs – If you are sick, stay home! Unless you absolutely must be in class for an important assignment or test, there is no sense in spreading germs to students and teachers. Be sure to wash your hands regularly, get a flu shot every year, and don’t share cups and eating utensils.


9) Party Responsibly – We all love to party, and college is one of the best times to do it. But, it is more important than ever that women are careful when they are partying. There are more and more cases of sexual assaults on campuses, and these assaults often involve alcohol and drugs. Have fun, but be safe.


10) Don’t Drink and Drive – This is probably the most important piece of advice you will ever hear in your life. Many young people have the tendency to think that they are invincible, and that they can handle their liquor well enough to be able to drive. If you are going to be drinking, make arrangements for sober transportation.



Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter!


Skills Needed For High Growth, High Wage Jobs

By Betsy Brand

What are the skills needed for high value, high wage, high growth jobs? A great report by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020 addresses this. I remember seeing the first iteration of the report when it came out a couple of years ago, but decided to look at it again to see how we are faring in our efforts to make sure our students have the education and skills needed to meet labor market demand. The section on “21st Century Competencies: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities” needed for jobs in 2020 piqued my interest. One chart lists the skills most highly valued in high-wage, high-growth, high-demand jobs as: active listening, speaking, reading comprehension, critical thinking, writing, monitoring, coordination, social perceptiveness, judgement and decision making, complex problem-solving, active learning, time management, mathematics, negotiation, and science.

It struck me that the top five skills listed are all communicative by nature. I also noticed that many of the other skills – coordination, social perceptiveness, judgement and decision making, complex problem-solving, active learning, and negotiation – aren’t necessarily learned through the traditional academic curriculum of math, science, English language arts, and social studies that schools offer. Ensuring that all our students acquire these skills is no easy task, and I see three big challenges facing our schools in this effort.

First, communication skills, broadly writ, are the keys to the realm of high wage, high value jobs. Unfortunately, we don’t always do a great job teaching communication skills (reading, writing, speaking) to our students. Thelatest NAEP scores for 2015 show that students had an average score in reading of 223 points in grade 4 and 265 points in grade 8 on the 0-500 point scale. Students made no growth in reading since the last report in 2013. When we look at racial breakdowns of scores, Black, Hispanic, and Native American students all perform significantly worse than average. And that’s only in reading. We are not testing speaking, listening, or writing, areas critical to communication.

In addition, we have a growing population of English Language Learners (ELLs). According to the U.S. Department of Education, 4.85 million ELLs were in public schools in the 2012-2013 school year, about 10 percent of the total K-12 student population. Some states and school districts have very high numbers of ELLs. California has the most with an ELL enrollment of 24 percent, followed by New Mexico with 18 percent, Nevada with 17 percent, Texas with 15 percent, and Colorado with 13 percent. Many ELLs have persistent and wide achievement gaps compared to native English speakers and often face greater barriers to postsecondary education and career success. Are all these students getting the communication skills they need for high wage, high value jobs?

Second, one can also argue that some of the skills that are valued by employers, such as coordination, social perceptiveness, judgement and decision making, and complex problem solving, are generally not taught in traditional classrooms, but are developed in informal, non-school settings over time. Given the focus on tests and accountability, many schools don’t have time to focus on fostering the development of skills that take time and experience to cultivate. The development of these types of skills often occurs in informal and experiential learning settings that include project-based learning, school-based enterprises, internships, apprenticeships,work-based learning, and service learning. These learning experiences can take place either during school or afterschool and let students work with each other and with adults to solve challenging problems. Unfortunately, very few of our students have access to work-based learning, internships, apprenticeships, and the kind of experiences that allow the development of these skills over time as part of their schooling. Moreover, the students that do have access to work-based learning tend to be from more affluent backgrounds and better educated, meaning that the students that have lower skill levels to begin with don’t have opportunities to develop these skills. We need to think about using the non-school hours more effectively to help all students develop these skills over time.

Third, instruction in most of our schools does not address many of the highly valued skills needed for good jobs, such as negotiation. To learn many of these skills, it helps to introduce them to students within a practical framework and relevant context. Learning many of these skills in the context of longer-term, interdisciplinary projects or as part of a career pathway or career and technical education program can give students time to test, try out, revise, and improve all sorts of skills and behaviors that take time to develop. It’s important for students to start developing these skills at young ages and to have lots and lots of practice. Most schools aren’t designed to allow that to happen, although there are promising models as part of the Deeper Learning Initiative that promote learning and skill development in this way.

It’s time to have a serious discussion about the appropriate role of our K-12 system, afterschool system, community youth providers, workforce system, and employers in ensuring that our young people have all the skills necessary to allow them to succeed in high value jobs.

Betsy Brand is Executive Director at the American Youth Policy Forum.

Alternative income ideas for college students

By Sylvia Kohl

If you are a college student, you are probably not satisfied with your budget. There are so many things that you need for college, but you likely lack the money to buy most of them. The good news is that there are alternative sources of income that can help you improve your purchasing power. According to many experts, the best idea is to find a part-time job on campus so that you won’t spend much time and money traveling and you will have a chance to organize your time as efficiently as possible. We all know how difficult it is to establish work-study-life balance, so finding a job like this should be your priority. Now let’s highlight some of the jobs you can find in most colleges.

First of all, the vast majority of colleges have gyms and health clubs and this may be a great place to find a job. These fitness centers need employees who will work at the counter or take care of the gym equipment and machines and little (or no) experience is necessary to succeed at these tasks. In case you are a fit person with experience in the fitness world you may be able to earn even more. Many college gyms and fitness centers accept students who want to work as trainers/instructors and provide aerobics classes or one-on-one training sessions.

Another interesting job that can improve your income is computer system assistance or a tech support job. Universities and colleges will be glad employ students that have experience in the field of information technology and modern technology in general. Of course, you should not expect to get a regular salary, but this is a great way to earn some money and improve your experience and knowledge. This is also a great job for anyone studying IT.

Those interested in more quiet and relaxed jobs can try some of the many available library jobs. Even though these jobs are relaxed this doesn’t mean that you will spend the entire day hanging out, checking and gathering books.

There are many college students who are not aware of the benefits of the dormitory desk attendant job. This high paying job takes place in an environment that you already now and helps you bond with your colleagues which will certainly pay off in the future.

Finally, there is another option for earning money that doesn’t require traveling. Of course, we are talking about making money online. There are many ways in which college students can make money. For instance, some of them experiments with foreign exchange trading over the internet – for that you’ll need to find a reliable forex broker first, others create blogs and websites and make money as affiliates or from the ads they post while some of them work as freelancers.

As you can see, there are many alternative income ideas for college students and most of them don’t require much time and effort.

Author’s bio:

Sylvia Kohl is IT teacher with more than 7 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and beta-testing. This writer chose news about the increasing role of IT usage in colleges and schools as the most common topic for her articles.

Remedial Reforms Not Scaled Up By Colleges

Experiencing Developmental Education

Colleges are working to improve remedial education — and have found success in doing so — but have yet to introduce promising reforms at a large scale, finds new report.

10 Cool Stuff Every College Student Must Have

By Jane Hurst

When it comes to going off to college, there are certain things that you are going to need to buy. Then, there are cool stuff that you will really want to buy. As long as you keep your budget in check, there is really no reason for you to not get these cool things. You can either buy them yourself, or put them on your wish lists for future birthday and Christmas gifts. Here are 10 of the coolest things that every college student must have.
1. Portable Scanner – Sometimes, you will need to scan documents for your research. Do it anywhere with the Iriscan Executive Book 3. It can slide over any page and digitize it, sending it to your SD card. There is also WiFi support, so you can send documents to other devices.
2. Keyless Bluetooth Padlock – Never worry about misplacing padlock keys ever again. This lock uses your Bluetooth mobile device instead of keys, and it is easy to use. It is compatible with Android and iOS, and offers sharing and tracking technology.
3. Portable Door Lock – This keeps nosy landlords and neighbors out, and it can be installed in most doors in just a few seconds. Have privacy without changing locks, which most landlords won’t allow in the first place. This is great for traveling to use on hotel rooms.
4. Flash Drive Pack – The Gigs 2 Go Flash Drive Pack should also be on your list of cool things to buy. It is durable, shockproof, waterproof, and you don’t need to cap it for protection. This is awesome for sharing large files.
5. Foldable Whiteboard – Create presentations, sketch, and write on a whiteboard that can be folded down to the size of a note pad. It even comes with a travel bag, and a built-in eraser. This is great for artists, mathematicians and even for professors.
6. Flexible Lunch Bag – Sometimes you want to carry a lunch that won’t fit inside a traditional lunch bag. A Compleat FoodSkin Flexible Lunchbox is the solution. You can pack different types of foods, while not looking like an idiot with a lunchbox.
7. 5-Way Headphone Splitter – You and four friends can listen to your favorite tunes when you use the Rockstar 5-Way Headphone Splitter. You won’t need to use tiny, raspy speakers to listen to great music. You can even use this to listen to class presentations for study sessions if you are so inclined (this is a cool gadget that will help you do better in class if you use it for more than just listening to tunes).
8. Collapsible Storage Container – There are going to be times when you need to move stuff, but don’t know what to do with the crates when you are done. Save those crates. Use Clever Crates Collapsible Grated Storage Containers that fold to a small size for easy storage. These are great for doing laundry, shopping for groceries, etc.
9. Cordless Jumping Rope – If you don’t have a lot of time to exercise but still want a complete workout, jumping rope is the best way to get it. Instead of carrying around a bulky jumping rope, check out the Digital Cordless Jumping Rope. You can use it anywhere without worrying about knocking anything over with a rope and it will track the number of jumps based on your weight and height.
10. LG Rolly Bluetooth Keyboard – Finally, check out the keyboard that you can roll up and put in your bag. There are no wires, looks very stylish and you can take it anywhere. It uses Bluetooth to connect to whatever device you are working from, and is super-easy to store.


Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter!

5 Must-Have Academic Apps for Students

By Melissa Burns

Today it sometimes feels weird how people in general and students in particular managed to lead their everyday lives without the assistance of all the apps that are now accompanying them every minute of their existence. However, no matter how useful they are, their proliferation leads to certain problems – first of them being that there are so many of them it is often hard to choose anything in particular. This article aims to help you out in this respect.

1.    Scribd

For a humble fee of $8.99 a month Scribd gives you access to millions documents, papers and books on all topics and disciplines – effectively, the largest library in the world becomes, quite literally, at hand. This treasure-trove of information can be easily organized and classified according to your needs, and you can create your libraries with all the books, articles, publications and notes you need.

2.    SHAREit

This one is indispensable for students working on projects in groups and may be useful in a number of other situations – for example, when you have certain materials and need to share them with your entire class without sending them individually to each and every one of them. SHAREit will help you do it quickly, easily and comfortably, as it is probably the fastest and certainly the most convenient file-sharing app currently on the market. Although originally an Android app, it has versions for iOS, Windows Phone and Windows PC, so you may be sure nobody is going to be left out.

3.    CliffsNotes

CliffsNotes has been created specifically for students who have to read and analyze a great deal of literature. It contains information on every character, plot arc and underlying theme of a vast number of books, guaranteeing that you will never forget how that particular character was named and what exactly the author meant in this particular fragment.

4.    EasyBib

Perhaps organizing citation pages is not the most challenging and difficult task in academic writing, but it certainly is the most annoying, time-consuming and boring one. You have to gather information on every source you used, write it down in a very specific way (and don’t forget that there are multiple citation formats, each with its own idiosyncrasies) and make sure it is correct up to the last comma. EasyBib takes most of this work off your hands – simply enter the book’s name, and it will provide a citation in the right format.

5.    Self Control

If you absolutely must maintain concentration on your studies for a while but don’t trust yourself not to start playing with your phone and surfing through social networks, then Self Control is for you. Select apps and websites to ban, set the amount of time you are going to be working, and go ahead – Self Control will block all the distractions for the period you’ve specified.

It is true that students face new challenges every day; but it is equally true that modern technology makes them more palatable. We hope these apps are going to help you out.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she  is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented. – See more at:


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My Nomination For Best Paper Defining College Readiness

On Track: Redefining Readiness in Education and the Workplace

A paper on the convergence of three readiness paradigms. Readiness tools and strategies have become so abundant that school systems, higher education institutions, and employers may find it difficult to determine which metrics provide the biggest upside, and which will be less useful. This paper cuts through the noise by contrasting three readiness paradigms that not only assess strengths and weaknesses at multiple stages in learners’ lives, but also generate actionable interventions to help learners progress toward their goAuthors:



College Readiness Index for Middle School Students

Center for College & Career Success




Conley Readiness Index


University of Oregon



GRIT Framework

PEAK Learning, Inc.




Living Far Away From Colleges Hurts Students Opportunities

College Enrollment
Geography matters when picking a college

Most public college students enroll within 50 miles of home, so location is more influential than policymakers think, a new study finds. And the farther students live from any particular college, the less likely they are to enroll.

College Data Systems Cannot Answer Crucial Questions

Statement By Gates Foundation

In an era of escalating costs and uncertain outcomes, it is imperative that prospective students, policymakers, and the public have answers to commonsense questions about whether and which colleges and programs offer a quality education at an affordable price. At present, we still lack answers to critical questions, including: ·

How many “post-traditional” students—the low-income, first-generation, adult, transfer, and part-time students who make up the new majority on today’s campuses—attend college? Do they reach graduation and how long does it take them? · Are students making sufficient progress toward timely completion, particularly students who enter with less academic preparation or fewer financial resources? · Do the students who don’t graduate transfer to other colleges and earn credentials, or do they drop out completely? · How much debt are students accumulating from the college(s) they attend—and can they repay their loans? · Are students gaining employment in their chosen field after attending college, and how much do they earn? · How much are students learning from their college experience, and how are they using their knowledge and skills to contribute to their communities? 1

The metrics published today often only include “traditional” students and ignore the new normal in higher education: “post-traditional” students attending college—or colleges—in new ways en route to their credentials. Colleges and universities, and the data systems that support them, must adjust to and reflect the experiences and outcomes of all students, not just the outdated “traditional” student profile. It’s time for a system reboot. And we need only look to leading institutions and states for the operating manual.