Archive for June, 2015

US Ed Backs Down On College Rating System

June 26th, 2015

Higher Ed Accountability
Ratings without … rating
A U.S. Department of Education accountability system planned for release this summer will not compare colleges or assign scores, but will instead be a data-rich, consumer-facing tool on access, affordability and performance. (Inside Higher Ed, June 25)

An education agenda for 2016: Conservative solutions for expanding opportunity

June 25th, 2015

An education agenda for 2016: Conservative solutions for expanding opportunity

June 2015

Chester E. Finn Jr., Michael Q. McShane, John Bailey, Frederick M. Hess, Katharine B. Stevens, Diane Auer Jones, Kevin J. James, and Andrew P. Kelly; edited by Frederick M. Hess and Max Eden

Read Online Printable Copy

Key points

  • America’s pre-K, K–12, and higher education systems are in need of reform, but the Obama administration’s reform implementation efforts have been marked by an unprecedented expansion of federal authority and a remarkable faith in the ability of federal bureaucrats.
  • Although conservative presidential candidates might be tempted to double down on rhetoric about abolishing the federal role in education, conservatives should instead offer a reform agenda that clarifies how to tap into the strengths of the federal system to foster educational opportunity for all.
  • Specifically, these candidates should strive to expand educational options and access, increase transparency regarding school quality and student outcomes, make long-term investments in research and development, and eliminate burdensome regulations.

 

State Comparative Analysis of College Ready Policies

June 24th, 2015
Mapping College Ready Policies in the States

The current state landscape of higher education policies often prevents clear alignment between college expectations and high school standards for college and career readiness. This disconnect is visible in many places—in required coursework, minimum state standards for admission into higher education systems, academic merit requirements for financial aid, and course placement. Lindsey Tepe maps state-by-state college and career readiness data in the brand new data visualization platform Atlas.

atlas.newamerica.org/mapping-college-readiness

7 Ways For College Students to Make Extra Cash This Summer

June 23rd, 2015

BY JANE HURST

You may not be ready for a full-time job yet if you are a student, and obviously you want to enjoy your summers as much as possible. But, that takes money, and you need to find ways to earn money before you can go out and have fun. Luckily, there are all kinds of ways that you can make extra money so you can take part in all of the fun summer activities, including camping, concerts, and of course, days at the beach. Yes, you need money for all of these things, even if it is just to get a drink of soda. One way you can make money is to sell your phone. We’re not saying you need to get rid of your phone, but if you are planning on upgrading anyway, you may as well make some money off the old one. Here are some more ways you can make extra cash this summer.

  1. Sell Old Books – Have you amassed a big library of books over the years, but you don’t actually read them again once you have read them the first time? If so, sell those old books and make some extra money. There are plenty of used book stores that will pay you for those books, and there are websites dedicated to buying and selling used books.
  2. Online Tutoring – You can apply for online tutoring jobs once you have completed a few competency and placement tests. You can work from just about anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. You never have to actually go anywhere to work, and you can usually pick and choose your own hours.
  3. Babysitting – This isn’t just a way for teens to make extra spending money. If you can land a full-time babysitting job for the summer, you are going to have a pretty good income. If you don’t want to do it full time, there are plenty of other babysitting opportunities out there to help parents with part-time jobs or those who just want a break for a few hours.
  4. Offer Music/Art Lessons – If you play an instrument, or you have a particular artistic skill, you can offer lessons. The great thing about this is that you can teach from your own home, at the home of the clients, or even at some community centers for a small fee to rent the space. The latter is a better option if you intend to hold group classes.
  5. Promote Events – This is a great job for someone who doesn’t want a regular job. You can find out about local events going on, and get paid to promote them on your blog, website, social media, etc. Events can range from concerts, sporting events, or just promoting various products. You will have to contact local PR and advertising firms to find out about how to get into this.
  6. Dog Walking – If you love animals, this is a perfect way for you to earn money. You get to spend time with animals, walking and playing with them, and you get paid to do it. Not only will you make money, by the end of the summer you should be in pretty good shape from all of the exercise you will be getting.
  7. Pet Sitting – Another great money-making idea for animal lovers is pet sitting. This is especially lucrative in the summer, because people want to go on vacation but can’t always take their pets with them. Rather than taking the pets away from their homes and sticking them in a strange kennel somewhere, you will stay at the home and take care of the pets.

Byline:

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.

Top 10 Study Apps for College Students

June 22nd, 2015

BY KATE ROSIE

 

If you are one of those college students who are on tighter budget, you must be wondering how you will be able to go through your courses when you don’t have enough money to get access to powerful study tools. The good news is that there are still some great study tools which will cost you almost nothing, however, if you go for in purchase apps, you might have to pay a little money for use. In this article, you will be able to explore 10 amazingly useful tools for you.

1: iTunes University

 Apple has created an online iTunes University which has a huge database for the course material from almost all popular colleges and universities. You might also be able to find your school’s learning material on iTunes U and even if it is not available, you can still find similar material which will enable you to prepare yourself for exams.

 

  • Participation in private courses
  • Wide range of subjects
  • Courses from top universities
  • Notes and Highlights
  • Audio & video lectures
  • 750,000 free books, videos and lectures
  • Cultural institutions in thirty countries

2: Dictionary.com

Students can’t ignore vocabulary building as it helps them in their exams but most of the students have very limited access to the large number of words and if they try to be benefited with the resources, they have to pay. However, if they use dictionary.Com, it can let them have more than two million words with definition.

 

  • Word of the Day
  • Audio pronunciation
  • Voice search
  • Translation in 30 languages
  • 800 topics in fun language
  • Word Origin
  • Quiz Widget
  • Local lookups
  • Spelling suggestions

3: Exam Vocabulary Builder

It is claimed that more than six million people are using Exam Vocabulary Builder application to improve their vocabulary power. The vocabulary building source has been very effective in increasing language proficiency, professional advancement, and graduate or college entrance exams. This app is especially great for those who want to prepare themselves for TOEFL or ESL.

 

  • Illustrative sentences
  • Quick memorizing
  • Find vocabulary list
  • Clearly defined group words
  • Interesting quiz mode
  • Words organization

4: iStudiez Lite

If you need to prepare yourself for the semester quickly and you have already wasted a lot of time, iStudiez can be a perfect organizer for you this time as it will allow you to organize your exam schedule, assignment and coursework. The free version of this useful app will allow you to manage at least 15 classes and 15 assignments. In addition to this, you can also get 5 courses and 5 instructors.

 

  • Organize schedule
  • Follow up homework
  • Summarize classes and tasks
  • Up to date with pending tasks
  • Protect your data

5: Google Drive

Google Drive is a bunch of office use applications based on cloud and with the help of GD, you can take notes, develop presentations, create spreadsheets and draw diagrams and most important of all, you can keep all those files saved in cloud which can be accessed from a computer or a cellphone whenever needed.

 

  • View docs, PDFs, videos, photos etc
  • Easy file & folder sharing
  • Searching files by content or name
  • Quick access to the recent files
  • Check out details of files and other activities
  • Offline file viewing

6: Skype

You might be wondering how Skype comes in the category of study apps. Well, it has all the features which can make it a perfect study app such as voice chat, text chat, video calling, file sharing etc. When you have shortage of time and can’t personally visit your classmates to discuss something related to study, you can use Skype for effective and quick communication.

 

  • Send & receive messages
  • Send videos, photos and other files
  • Voice & video calls
  • Video messaging

7: Coursera

Coursera is basically a company that is involved in educational technology and providing its services through online courses for free. It has made partnership with some of the top universities to make a large number of courses available for everyone in computer science, social sciences, medicines, mathematics, biology, physics, humanities, business and all other major subjects. You can choose a course from hundreds of available courses, watch video lectures, complete assessments and connect with instructors and learners.

 

  • Online free courses
  • Browse catalog
  • Join courses
  • Learn anything anytime
  • Wide range of subjects

8: Evernote

Evernote is considered to be the most effective tool to take notes, compose, bookmark etc. The app can also be used for to-do-list. Eevernote is available on variety of platforms including mobile apps and web browsers. If you are working on a lengthy research paper, this simple app will help you stay focused on taking ideas. It will also enable you to collect information including snap photos, handwritten notes and web articles.

9: XMind XMindis considered to be one of the best mind mapping tools and when you are receiving ideas in your head, it helps you create simple charts and maps. When you have overloaded by the information and it seems impossible to find out the valuable ideas from loads of info, XMind will clarity your thinking. This tool will enable you to evaluate, connect and organize ideas. XMind supports variety of programs including MS Word, MS PowerPoint, MS Excel, PDF, HTML, RTF, Plain Text, JPEG, PNG, GIF etc.

 

  • Mind mapping
  • Fishbone chart
  • Matrix
  • Local networking sharing
  • Brainstorming
  • Mind toolbox

10: MyScript Smart Note

MyScript Smart Note enables users to write, annotate and sketch images. With the help of this app, youcan export handwritten notes as text which can be searched, defined and edited. If you have stored notes in Evernote, GoogleDrive, DropBox or S-Note, you can share them via email. The capability of recognition of text is available in more than 59 languages. You can easily edit your notes with easy gestures. Erase, insert or join words all together.

 

  • Write notes naturally
  • Search notes
  • Share notes
  • Store notes
  • Edit notes with gestures
  • Use digital paper

Final Words

All of the above discussed study apps can be really helpful for the students to enhance their learning skills for their school, college or university studies. Students also find difficulty in preparation of custom essays, assignments, research papers, book reviews and other similar documents and the best solution to deal with these issues is to get help from Coursework home where you can assistance from professionals.

About the Author

Kate Rosie is a technology writer from Southern California with an extreme passion for technology writing. She is also a strong supporter of integrating technology into education and for this she shows her support by writing articles time to time discussing advantages of technology.

 

How Can Technology Enhance College Student Creativity?

June 18th, 2015

By Jane Hurst

If you are finding your education boring, you are doing it wrong. Believe it or not, your professors want you to be creative, even if you think that they simply want you to repeat what you have learned back to them in term papers and exams. The more creative you are, the better you are ultimately going to do in your studies. So, how do you get more creative? If you don’t consider yourself to be a creative person, there are things you can do to change that, such as using the following creativity-enhancing apps.

  • Storybuddy – This is another story app that lets you create and share stories. You can draw right on the screen with your finger to create picture books, and add text that you can easily customize with a built-in keyboard. You can even add your own photos to really make stories your own.
  • Explain Everything – This is an interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool that you can use to animate, import, narrate, annotate, and export just about anything you can think of.
  • Forte – Even if you have no musical training, you can still learn how to write musical scores. Not only is this going to take your creativity to the next level, you will also notice numerous other benefits, such as having an outlet for stress relief with your song writing. Learn more about how you can start writing music at Forte.
  • Educreations – This app gives you a white board you can record with. You can use it to create video tutorials, explain mathematical formulas, create animations, and so much more. You can even put commentary on your photos.
  • Show Me – Another whiteboard app, you will be able to create voice-over white board tutorials, and even share them with others via the Internet. This app is geared for users of all levels, and is extremely easy to use.
  • Popplet – This is a great app for both school and work. It is a platform that lets you capture and sort ideas, collaborate with other people in real time, and so much more. And, you can do it all quickly and easily.
  • Idea Sketch – Convert drawings to text, and text into drawings easily with this app that you can use for pretty much anything your imagination can come up with. Illustrate concepts, brainstorm with others, create lists, plan presentations, and a whole lot more.
  • Draw Free for iPad – If you are into drawing and painting, this is the app for you. You can use it to make your ideas come alive, and it is suitable for hobbyists and professional artists alike. Even kids can have loads of fun using this app.
  • Animation Creator HD – Have you ever thought that you would love to try your hand at animation? Now you can when you use this app. There are easy-to-use drawing tools that have plenty of power, as well as loads of color options. You can create realistic animations with Retina quality and a high frame rate playback.
  • I Tell A Story – This is a great app for kids so they can narrate and record their own stories. This is a full-scale audio recording and editing tool, plus there are many other things you can do, including record stories yourself. You can include music and humorous sound effects to the recordings, and even turn stories into audio books.
  • Strip Designer – Create fun comic strips with your own photos. There are loads of cool templates, and you can add word balloons, effect symbols or stickers such as “splash” and “boom”. This is really going to make your stories fun, and you can share your graphic novels with friends and family.

Byline:

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.

New College Credentials-badges, certificates-Need Standard Definitions

June 17th, 2015
College Credentials
An attempt to bring clarity to credentialing
Lumina Foundation announced that it has created a group to develop a framework and common language for the growing number of credentials, which range from degrees to alternative forms like badges and industry certifications. (Inside Higher Ed, June 12) via ECS

Many Factors Make Up A Good College Essay

June 16th, 2015

By CARI BENNETTE

There are many factors that make a good essay: a compelling introduction, a strong thesis statement, solid research, evidence and analysis and a thought-provoking conclusion. Not to mention grammar, structure, and the dreaded bibliography

To many students, essay writing is a difficult task, made more difficult by the curious fact that some students seem to excel at it without even trying. Anyway, there’s nothing so good that it can’t stand a little improvement. So, whether you’re looking for a massive overhaul to your essay writing or just fine-tuning a skill you think you’ve already got down, there are resources to help you with your goal.

Time4Writing offers an 8-unit essay writing course that teaches students the mechanics of essay writing:

 

  • pre-writing techniques – students learn how to organize their research and outline their essay’s main points;
  • thesis statement – how to construct a solid thesis statement;
  • introductory paragraph – developing ways to introduce an essay;
  • body paragraphs- developing arguments and providing evidence;
  • concluding paragraph – leaving the reader with curiosity and a desire to explore the topic further;
  • revising, Editing and Proofreading – how to make sure your essay is error-free;
  • persuasive essays – techniques for mastering the persuasive essay;
  • publishing – how to approach a forum to have your work published.

Tutor.com is an online tutoring forum that’s available 24/7 to tutor students in their essay writing. Sessions are one-on-one and tailored to student’s particular needs. Tutors help identify weaknesses in student’s essays and build on strengths. From brainstorming a topic to fine-tuning the tone and structure to checking grammar and spelling, their team helps students improve their essay writing skills.

Essay Writing Guide is an iOS application that offers students assistance in mastering several types of essays from 5 paragraph essays to college application essays and more. Praised by educators, this app offers several features:

 

  • complete literary terms glossary;
  • examples taken from literary texts;
  • easy-to-use interface.

The app prides itself on its simplicity and the ease with which students can find what they’re looking for. Check out this youtube video to see how it works.

JetWriters.com is a writing service that helps students when they need a quick help with essay writing and proofreading. Their professional writers and experienced editors will provide high-quality assistance with any type of essay or research paper. Also their 24/7 support team will answer your questions and help with writing/editing issues timely.

Grammarly. Even if you’ve done incredible research and mounted persuasive arguments in your essay, it doesn’t count if the grammar is lacking. If you know you have issues with grammar, this tool will check the grammar in your essay against 250 grammar rules to make sure you get it right.

You’ll be given instructions on subject-verb agreement, passive voice, adverb, dangling modifiers and more. Grammarly also provides style, structure and word choice advice.  Their advanced spell check considers the context in which the word was written to see if it really needs correcting.

They check your essay against 8 billion pages to make sure your words are original and plagiarism-free. You can download their app or add their plug-in to MS Office and Chrome for even easier access to their support.

Hemingway Editor is a foolproof way to edit your essays. It uses a simple color-coding system to show you what’s wrong with your essay:

yellow = the sentence is too long and complex;

red = the sentence is too complicated and hard to understand;

blue = adverbs;

purple= there’s a simpler word for the same idea;

green = passive voice.

It also gives your essay a readability grade.

RefME is a free bibliography tool that you can use on your mobile or computer. Though you’ll probably be sticking with the standard Harvard, APA, MLA or Chicago referencing styles, it does boast over six thousand referencing styles to choose from:

 

  • cites websites in your bibliography in just one click;
  • if you’re using a book as a reference, it has a scanner to scan barcodes;
  • stores your bibliographies in a cloud and syncs with your devices for complete access whenever you need it;
  • compatible with Microsoft Word, Evernote, Email and more.

Whether your issue is crafting an argument, doing research, editing for grammar mistakes or writing the bibliography, these resources and tools will help you write better essays.

 

Cari Bennette is a freelance writer, author and editor. She writes about education, career, content creation and everything related to writing. You can reach her on Twitter

Volunteering Worth a College Student’s Time

June 15th, 2015

Ways a Student Grad Can Avail of a Volunteer Gig By Melissa Burns

 

If you are currently on the lookout for a well-paid job, putting in some hours of free work on a weekly basis will not only help you gain the desired skills, but also boost up your career, say specialists.

And even if you’re not currently thinking about applying for paying jobs, volunteering will definitely be worth your precious time. Let’s see how one can benefit from the free labour in order to go up the career ladder.

Use Volunteering to Prove You’re Good at THIS Job

When being interviewed for a particular job, make sure you do not tell the same old story to every employer. It is recommended to point out the basic competences your potential boss would like to see from an applicant and show how you’ve applied them in your volunteering work. At times, you may have been required to use your excellent communication skills to set up a pattern of cooperation. At other times, you probably had to organize events as well as coordinate them. Figure out what skills are top-rated by your employer and focus on them.

Build Up a Strong Network

It doesn’t matter if you’re engaged in free labour as a volunteer for Unicef in Sydney or a class helper in Ireland, make sure to use your volunteer gig as a chance to network! It’s a well-known fact that getting the job of your dream is sometimes related to who you know. So, when you meet new people at your charity work, leave a long lasting and positive impression on them. Get to know all staff members find out if you have an opportunity to interact with their director. Ask them if they know someone at the A, B and C companies. It may help to get your foot in the door of one of the organizations you’d like to get a position at.

Update Your Resume

The studies performed by LinkedIn proved that less than 50% of all job seekers mention their free-labour job experience on the resume. And that’s a mistake. Depending on how much space you have provided for the paid jobs on your CV, make certain to include the volunteering job history as well. Provide a short description of the position and your accomplishments in it. What is more, a job candidate can even specify how many hours he / she dedicated to the charity activities.

Develop New Skills

Charity job is a perfect vehicle to both – develop new professional skills and to learn to apply the ones you already possess in a new unique way. For instance, providing activity support as a part of your job, you may have a chance to use your second language or event coordination skills, develop professional customer care service or mentoring skills. All the volunteering events you’re involved with will strengthen your skills level to make it fit the ‘actual’ position you want. Search for the opportunities that let you develop your skills so that you can later qualify for the job you’ve got your eye on!

Author’s bio:

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 in the sphere of education. You may contact Melissa: burns.melissaa@gmail.com

Want more college graduates? Improve our K–12 system

June 11th, 2015

OPINION

Want more college graduates? Improve our K–12 system
Michael J. Petrilli

 

 

Regular Flypaper readers know that I’ve been skeptical of the “college for all” movement, but I’m 200 percent behind the “college for more” movement. Among other reasons, that’s because completing college brings a strong economic payoff, particularly for young people growing up in poverty. According to Pew’s Pursuing the American Dream, such individuals are almost five times likelier to escape the lowest income quintile as adults if they obtain a bachelor’s degree.

And that’s not just because of the selection effect—the fact that colleges attract relatively able and motivated young people who do well regardless of the path they follow. There’s strong evidence that college adds real value in terms of students’ skills, knowledge, and career preparation, value that translates into higher earnings. Nor is money the only payoff; we’re all familiar with the “scissors charts,” popularized by Robert Putnam, which show the relationship between college attainment, the formation of two-parent families, and other positive life outcomes, including health and even happiness.

So it’s understandable why government and foundation officials have started giving the higher education system the “reform treatment” that was once reserved for our K12 system; if it’s blocking opportunities for young people—especially low-income young people, as Susan Dynarski argued last week—then removing those barriers should be a top priority for U.S. social and education policy.

But is it? Is higher education really where the problem lies? Are there lots of students who enter college well-prepared for success, only to falter once they get to campus? That might have been the case once upon a time, but I don’t think the data support that storyline any longer. Take a look at this picture, which charts college matriculation, readiness, and completion rates. (Sources.)

Back in 1992, 40 percent of twelfth graders were “college-prepared” in reading, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Yet eight years later, just 29 percent of Americans aged 2529 had obtained at least a bachelor’s degree. Some of that gap can be explained by high school dropouts—kids who left school before twelfth grade and would not be expected to get a college degree. But most could be seen as lost potential—young people who were academically prepared for college but either didn’t go or didn’t finish.

But note what happened by the high school class of 2005. Thirty-five percent of twelfth graders were prepared for college in reading (and 36 percent in math); eight years later, 34 percent of their age cohort had completed a college degree. This is good news: We closed the gap between college readiness and college attainment. But it also implies that if we want to increase college attainment, we need to make progress on college readiness. There’s little low-hanging fruit left for colleges to pluck.

To be sure, the notion of “college-prepared” is inexact. Some kids just below the line will succeed in college nonetheless (and may even be able to skip remedial courses); some kids over the line will falter (probably because, not surprisingly, young people need to be “prepared” in much more than reading and math to finish a college degree). Almost surely, as Dynarski’s analysis indicates, affluent, ill-prepared students are overrepresented among college completers while poor, well-prepared students are underrepresented. Helping those poor students get across the finish line is absolutely a worthy item on the higher education reform to-do list.

But until we start making significant progress at the K12 level—and get many more students to the college-ready level before they land on campus—our dreams for significantly boosting the college completion numbers seem certain to be dashed. “Free” community college, co-requisite course-taking, additional student supports, etc.—those may or may not help at the margins. But the big potential still lies in improving our elementary and secondary education system. Government and foundation officials: Capisce?