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If you’re studying early childhood development at a school like Kendall College, and are planning to go into teaching, you may already be thinking about how you can implement technology in your classroom. These days, with many high schools purchasing iPads for their students—not to mention video series like Baby Einstein targeting our youngest learners—it’s almost impossible to find an educational program without some kind of technology element. But when you’re working with pre-kindergarten kids, is technology always appropriate? How much does a 3-year-old actually get out of sitting in front of an educational video?
There are times when technology can be used effectively to help teach young children, but the key is to make sure it’s age-appropriate and that it’s enhancing other activities, rather than being the sole focus. Read on for some tips to keep in mind when you’re preparing to teach at the preschool level.
Tips for Incorporating Technology into Preschool Classrooms
- Keep your students active. Young children are most engaged when they’re able to directly interact with the world around them, picking up objects and exploring new spaces. They’re also notoriously bad at sitting still for an extended period of time. Therefore, lessons are much more likely to stick with young children when they involve hands-on activities. If you do want to use technology in your classroom, try computer games or apps that teach kids about things like colors and shapes rather than just putting on a video.
- Enhance understanding of symbolic representation. Children under the age of 3 are typically within Piaget’s preoperational stage, meaning that they’re beginning to understand how various signs and symbols—such as speech, drawings, and writing—can be used to communicate. Find computer games that allow students to draw pictures, repeat back words that they hear, or match the names of objects to pictures. Touch screen activities may be particularly effective with this age group—as long as you make sure you monitor them closely so that you don’t end up with a lot of broken tablets on your hands!
- Incorporate eBooks into story time. These days, you don’t need to have shelves of books to have a wide range of stories available to you; an eReader like the Kindle or iPad allows you to easily share stories with your students. Just make sure there are plenty of pictures you can share, and give students the opportunity to “turn the page” on the eReader so that they get the same interactive experience they would have with a physical book.
- Use technology to enhance play. Letting your students take a break to get some of their energy out? Try using a laptop or iPad to play kid-appropriate songs from Spotify or your iTunes library so that your students can dance.
- Mix in activities that aren’t tech-based. As big a role as technology plays in our adult lives, early childhood educators need to understand that young learners need a wide variety of activity types to fully engage with the world around them. Make sure that you set a timer when you’re using any kind of technology with your students, and follow computer games up with an activity that gets them moving, like playing a game outside.
How Early Childhood Teachers Can Use Technology
Technology doesn’t just have to be for the students—tech-savvy early childhood teachers have the opportunity to use plenty of tools to help them get better organized and keep their lessons on track.
- Use online calendars. Online programs like Google calendars can be a great way to track things like parent-teacher conferences or staff meetings. You can color code different types of activities, set recurring events each month, and schedule reminders.
- Get inspired by Pinterest. Pinterest, the popular online pin board that allows users to share images, can be a great resource for pre-K teachers. You can use this social media platform to come up with ideas for your classroom layout, decorations, and even crafts for young children. You don’t even have to look particularly far—just search “preschool” and you’ll find all sorts of boards specifically dedicated to the topic.
- Download and print eBooks and coloring pages. Search for free preschool teacher resources online, like beginning reader eBooks or coloring pages—it’s a smart way to save a bit of money on class supplies.
- Save your teaching files in the cloud. Sign up to use a free cloud provider like Dropbox, which allows you to access your files from any computer, provided you have an Internet connection. This will save you from having to remember to bring a flash drive if you’re working on a lesson plan or activity at home and need to have it on your computer at school.
How you can join #sschat?
1. Join the Live #sschat Discussions on Twitter Every Monday Night from 7-8 PM EST (see calendar on the main screen)
2. Join our Facebook Group
3. Join in 24/7 Discussions on Social Studies related topics on twitter follow the hashtag #sschat
4. Visit this #sschat ning website, which has discussion boards, groups, and archived chats of previous twitter discussions.
Why is #sschat valuable to you?
- #sschat has helped to make me into a more dedicated, engaged, and connected teacher. It has helped me to create a positive learning environment for my students but also a professional learning community that I actually want to be apart of. Melissa Seideman @mseideman
- #sschat allows me to instantly link with fellow social studies teachers around the globe, in real-time, from the comfort of my sofa. It’s crowdsourcing professional development (how cool is that?), and it’s the most inspiring and resource-rich professional development I’ve ever participated in. Joe Sangillo @joesangillo
- I began watching the collaboration in #sschat as a lurker and thought “I want to belong to this!” The sharing and the organic co -developing of lessons has helped me develop as a newer teacher. -Michael Milton
- #sschat has given me a countless number of lesson ideas and resources. Just hearing what other teachers around the world are doing with their classes gets the creative ideas flowing. It is also inspiring to collaborate with others. It makes me a better teacher. Mike Nash @mackiefloyd
- As an education professor, #sschat helps keep me connected with classroom teachers – their interests, successes, and challenges – on a daily basis. – Dan Krutka @dankrutka
- I am the only Social Studies teacher in my middle school so #sschat IS my Professional Development! Passionate educators keep me excited and eager to collaborate – John Padula @PadulaJohn
- #sschat keeps me connected, invigorated and enthusiastic. Learning from so many innovative educators is an experience that frees me from my office and classroom walls! @antfitz
- #sschat is a great place to bounce ideas about lessons off others. You don’t need to always reinvent the wheel. @sbdavidso
- As a new SS coordinator, #sschat helped me expand my professional network nationwide and worldwide! In some ways it is like having a SS Fairy Godmother – when I have a question or need a resource, I tweet it out to #sschat and within minutes I have many great ideas or answers! @MapM8ker
- #sschat is a great place to know what other people in the world are doing and a place to share good ideas and resources that we may not all have time to keep up with @praisesifa
- #sschat is a community of passionate and knowledgeable educators dedicated to helping each other grow professionally. Everyday I learn something new and always come away inspired. The real winner in all of this… our students. @RoanHoward
- #sschat allows for continuous PD and it provides an outlet to share ideas and get feedback by teachers in the your discipline. In addition, it allows us to stay up to date with teaching trends, ideas, technology, and websites. @philpuzz
- Without #sschat, EDSITEment would not be connecting to the most tech savvy teachers in America. We’d be in our “ivory tower” and they would probably not be aware of how much NEH has to offer them.
- #ssschat has enriched the teaching in our department. I often share the resources that I have found with teachers in social studies. They have had great success with students using these resources. I especially appreciate the support that I have seen provided for teachers new to the profession or teaching a course for the first time.
- I don’t usually make the live #sschat and when I do it goes too fast for me, but I do enjoy the benefits of using the hashtag to ask questions or to search the archives later. I often share resources that I find here with the teachers in my department. My participation has made ALL of us better. @jenslish
- I have not taken part in many #sschat conversations, but I do look through the posts that are tagged #sschat. I have received many great ideas from other social studies teachers. Thank you to all. Monte DeArmoun @nksocialstudies
- I am inspired by the creativity and dedication of the teachers on #sschat. In the current test-driven climate, I am so impressed by the ways in which social studies teachers incorporate technology, current events, and interactive methods in their teaching, and refuse to “teach to the tests.” @dutchermann
- The great people that use #sschat are ALWAYS willing to help with a link or advice to possible teaching topics. It is instant professional development and probably the best PD tool in use today. @jeifling
- #sschat provides me with colleagues who are a resource, support, and inspiration. I just have to ask and there are so many in my PLN who respond immediately. It definitely makes me a better educator. I also connect with educators who are as passionate about student learning as I am and are willing to connect their classrooms worldwide. @kconners09
- #sschat brings me in contact with new colleagues with new ideas. Collaboration is important to me as I do not have the opportunity at school to do so. There’s always lots of support, too. @geojo22
- #sschat brings together passionate history teachers to connect, learn and share with one another. It is a forum for getting help, support and great ideas to improve the teaching of Social Studies. @cybraryman1
How do you use #sschat?
24/7 or during synchronous, moderated chat on Mondays at 7pm EST
I tune in most Monday’s to see what’s up. I always find something useful. I will also post resources to #sschat throughout the week and look there when I am trying to find something. I also occasionally post questions.
I ALWAYS come away from #sschat with a new site, article, or connection for my PLN – EVERY TIME. That’s the kind of people who keep me coming back!
I used to come across resources that I wanted to share out and thought no one cares, why bother sharing. Then I discovered #sschat and now I just tweet a resource with #sschat and I instantly have a whole slew of like minded social studies teacher excited about the resource too.
I use #sschat to connect live and collaborate or I can go back and check the archives and find great ideas that are perfect for my lessons. Every little bit helps in keeping education fresh!
Having a network of people who always willing to help/share is refreshing! Also makes me feel great when I can offer help or a resource – validates what we all believe in as educators, despite high stakes testing and local politics
When I come across something useful that helped shaped the way I plan what I’m teaching or some interesting ideas, I like to share it out to others on #sschat
EDSITEment staff views #sschat as our window on the world of K-12 social studies and history teachers. We find out so much every day about where they are and what they need.
I use #sschat throughout the week rather than come to the chat. I use the archives and follow the hashtag.
I generally have classes on Monday evenings so I refer to the archives and follow the hashtag. The archives have provided an abundance of resource and ideas for use in the classroom. @MaribethWestlun
Looking for new ideas and classroom resources.
I introduce my preservice teachers to it so that they can have a digital learning community. I gain energy and enthusiasm from the teachers, even though I can’t regularly join the synchronous chat. I love to share ideas with other teachers, and to get their suggestions of classroom projects, especially to see their student work.
When historical current events take place (death of bin Laden, Japan earthquake, etc) #sschat is the best place to gather information. It is collaboration at the best.
Warning: I personally make extra money off this idea.
You won’t get rich as a teacher, right? Think again, there are a small number of teacher’s who are making millions of dollars selling their lesson plans online on a website called TeachersPayTeachers (TPT). Teachers Pay Teachers is the first open marketplace where teacher’s can buy and sell original teaching lesson materials. I have uploaded several of my lessons to the website. Check my profile on
One Georgia kindergarten teacher Deanna Jump has earned more than $1 million selling lesson plans. The website was created om 2006 and since then more than 26 teacher’s have made more than a $100,000 on TPT. Please note the website takes 15% commission on most sales. I was skeptical at first but I’ve made over $250 since February. I know its nothing compared to some of the big sellers on the website but its a start!
It is a website created with a mission to bring teachers together who create curriculum that strives to create new and fresh approaches to the classroom. Teachers Pay Teachers is designed to reward teachers who work hard and deserve extra compensation for all those long hours lesson planning.
Ultimately teacher’s pay teacher’s creates a place where teacher’s can share their best practices and everyone benefits, especially students. If interested, Join Teachers Pay Teachers as a buyer or seller or both to make your teaching career even more rewarding.
If you are attending #ncss13, the American Sociological Association is sponsoring a 4 part symposium of sessions. Feel free to attend 1, 2, 3, or all 4 of them. They are also participating in a panel discussion on Saturday. For more information, see the following:
- ASA Symposium (Session 1); Intro. to High School Sociology Resources - Fri, 11/22/13 – 9:00am - 9:55am http://www.socialstudies.org/
conference/sessions/asa_ symposium_session_1_ introduction_to_high_school_ sociology_resources
- ASA Symposium (Session 2): Social and Economic Impacts of Immigration – Fri. 11/22/13 – 10:05 – 11am http://www.socialstudies.org/
conference/sessions/asa_ symposium_session_2_social_ and_economic_impacts_of_ immigration
- ASA Symposium (Session 3): Teaching the Sociological Imagination – Friday, 11/22/2013 – 2:10 – 3:05pm http://www.socialstudies.org/
conference/sessions/asa_ symposium_session_3_teaching_ the_sociological_imagination
- ASA Symposium (Session 4): Teaching with Data http://www.socialstudies.org/
conference/sessions/asa_ symposium_session_4_teaching_ with_data
- A panel discussion about how the C3 Framework applies to Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology. http://www.socialstudies.org/
conference/C3 - Saturday, Nov. 23, 2:45-3:45PM
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Technology has changed the way we do pretty much everything now. We use applications on our phones to hail cabs instead of just our hands in the air. We look at websites to find potential mates instead of heading to the bar. And we use computers and search engines from the comfort of our own homes to do research, instead of sifting through stacks of books and relying on the Dewey Decimal system in the library.
The practice of law, however, has largely stayed the same over the past century; even if the tools have changed. Cases are still argued in courts, by attorneys who have passed the bar, in front of esteemed judges or juries. Criminal defendants are still considered innocent before being proven guilty. Laws may have changed the substance of American law, but the basic principles behind them mostly have not changed substantially.
Legal research, however, has changed a lot in the past ten to fifteen years. Law schools still have physical libraries, of course, but most of the research that students do is online, using search platforms like LexisNexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg. In the past several years, another search engine has started to be widely used: Google Scholar allows users to search through past legal articles and court decisions – for free.
All of these tools make it increasingly easy for law students to find what they are looking for; it also makes it more likely that they may stumble upon helpful information that they were not seeking. By searching by keyword, by jurisdiction, or by legal principle, students can locate cases that are over a hundred years ago without even cracking a book. Whether a student is searching for a commonly read case or an obscure one, online search engines make them easy to find.
Finding old cases is one of the best features of using online search tools for legal research. A keyword search is infinitely easier to run than searching through piles of books in a library, especially when the topic is not a common one. For example, while it would be easy to find cases on criminal sentencing laws in a particular state, it would be significantly harder to find cases involving exposure to asbestos leading to mesothelioma.
Indeed, the more specific the information a law student is looking for, the more helpful these online search tools will be in locating them. Using tools like LexisNexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg, or Google Scholar, however, requires learning how to maximize their offerings by understanding all the different ways the platforms can be used. While browsing through hornbooks can be the best way to acquaint oneself with a new topic, running specific keyword searches is better for locating particular cases.
Further, legal search engines often include non-legal resources as well. Students can search through periodicals as well, which can often be helpful for placing cases in historical context. A student researching mesothelioma cases, for example, may want to look through old newspapers and see when cases were first reported.
Some firms and interest groups offer online resources and educational information including Cooney and Conway in Chicago, who have specifically developed a Veterans Guide to Asbestos Exposure, Mesothelioma, and Lung Cancer. These types of guides are available for free online and offer a great resource to learn more about the type of case you’re studying.
No matter what the topic of research, however, one key to success is to be extremely thorough. Using online research tools makes it easier to be sure that your research does not have holes in it, that you have “scorched the earth” when necessary, and that your opponent will not surprise you by finding a case that disproves your legal theories and arguments. It’s important for students and practicing attorneys both to learn how to use online legal research tools to do complete research that has not missed older cases simply because they are not from the recent past.
Being able to do comprehensive research is an absolutely necessary skill for any law student hoping to become an effective, successful attorney. Even though legal search engines will turn up cases that turn out to be irrelevant, they can be much better equipped for helping students than their paper, bound antecedents. Students who prefer books, though, do not need to worry. They are still important tools, especially for students looking to get specific information on a topic or case. However, when it comes to finding a large number of information on a legal topic, nothing competes with online searches.
About the author: Jessica McNeil is a Legal Assistant to James R. Hopkinson, one of the skilled attorneys at the leading Chicago law firm of Cooney & Conway. You can find
YOUR BRAIN MAP: 84 STRATEGIES FOR ACCELERATED LEARNING
Educational neuroscience bridges the gap between science and schools in a way that no other field can. Before the rise of this relatively new discipline, psychology and neuroscience occupied one realm of research and modern formal education occupied another. But the influence each can have on the other has become increasingly clear in recent decades. Educational research creates new challenges for cognitive neuroscience to adapt to the real world practical requirements of educational learning, and findings in neuroscience create new challenges for education, providing important insights into the current state of the learner–including brain state, genetic state, and hormonal state–that could be relevant to learning and teaching.
Neuroscience has advanced to the point where it is time to think critically about the form in which research information is made available to educators. It must be interpreted appropriately for practice–identifying which research findings are ready for implementation and which are not–and employed with the best interests of the brain in mind. By providing new measures of the effects of learning and teaching, including brain structure and activity, researchers can now identify patterns between different types of learning methods and levels of attainment. The next education revolution is upon us–make sure you are a part of it.
Here is the link to the interactive website that can help your students learn about the brain.
When it comes to teaching, preparing classroom activities and lessons is just as important as the actual process of teaching the material. Teachers put a lot of time and effort into these preparations, so it’s always nice to stumble upon a tool that can make the entire process faster and more convenient.
Many teachers use visual aids in their presentations. And instead of saving these pictures one by one in folders all over the place, it’s good to convert them into PDFs for convenient archiving. If a time comes when a teacher might want to reuse these images, then it would be really helpful to find a way to extract these old images from PDFs and restore them as image files so that they can be used conveniently in a class lesson once again.
One fantastic productivity tool that can help in such a process is Able2Extract PDF Converter . This software enables users to convert PDFs into editable formats such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and many others that can be very useful for teachers in everyday situations. Among the many conversion options available, Able2Extract can also extract images from PDFs. As a matter of fact, Able2Extract comes in two versions: Standard and Professional, with the latter one using the latest OCR technology and enabling users to convert scanned PDFs. It’s the best solution for working with PDFs and images that were scanned into an electronic format from paper.
Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you see how easy this software is to use when trying to pull images out of PDFs for reuse in the classroom. We are using the Professional version of Able2Extract in this how-to guide, but if you are working with native PDFs (created from an electronic source, not scanned), you can use any version of the Able2Extract PDF Converter.
Start up the software and then click on the “Open” button to locate the PDF from which you want the images extracted.
If you want to extract all of the images found in the PDF, you can click on the “All” button.
However, Able2Extract also gives you pinpoint conversion options to convert only the images that you need at the moment, which is an additional timesaver in the process. To do this, click “Area” and then select with your mouse the pictures you want to extract.
Now that the images are selected, click on “Image” to extract the pictures from the PDF.
You will now have a number of options to select what image format you want to convert the pictures into. Able2Extract supports JPEG, TIFF, GIF, BMP and PNG image formats. You can make additional customizations to your output here as well.
Once you have chosen your conversion options, click the “Convert” button. In a matter of moments, you will receive your new image file that has been extracted from your PDF.
The software’s ability to extract images can really come in handy in the classroom, but its other conversion options are just as useful for teachers. For example, you can use Able2Extract Professional 8 to convert old, archived tests from PDF into MS Word files to use again, convert multiplication tables from PDF into editable Excel spreadsheets, turn PDF presentations into reusable PowerPoint slides, and much more.
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As businesses put more of an emphasis on going green and sustainable, and green construction becomes the norm, colleges and universities are stepping up by preparing students with skills applicable to green career paths. In fact, according to a 2009 report by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, there were over 100 majors and/or focuses in sustainability added to college programs of study, and that number has likely grown since.
Here are some popular college majors that help prepare students for environmentally friendly careers…
Construction Management - The green construction industry has been expanding and offers a multitude of career opportunities for college students. For instance, services like environmental remediation (which deals with the removal of pollution or contaminants from environmental media such as soil, groundwater, sediment, or surface water) are offered from companies like RW Collins in Chicago. Managing a construction project from start to finish can be a lucrative skill, but being able to do so in a “green” way can help students in this field stand out from their peers.
Environmental Science – This green degree has a direct tie with not only environmental concerns, but also corporate responsibility and profits. As such, colleges and universities are working hard to meet this demand. One such school, Cornell University , offers a program of study that teaches students to “solve real-world environmental problems, manage social-ecological systems in a sustainable manner, and affect decisions involving environmental policy, resource management, and biodiversity conservation.”
Sustainability – Consider this: 72 percent of executives in a 2009 McGraw-Hill Construction survey say sustainability efforts help lower their firm’s operating costs. In other words, as Columbia University’s Earth Institute puts it: “It has never been more important to educate a new generation of students who are dedicated to the fundamental links among the natural sciences and the social practices and who understand the values and beliefs that influence decision making.”
Environmental Resource Management – Sometimes referred to as ERM, this major produces graduates who can solve environmental and resource management issues and conduct ecological research working for either government or private organizations. For anyone who’s interested in protecting the environment and conserving natural resources, this major will be the first step in contributing to a greener world.
Environmental Engineering – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for environmental engineers is favorable through 2020, with an expected growth rate of 22 percent. Environmental engineering majors will learn how to find solutions to environmental problems utilizing scientific and engineering principles.
Renewable Energy – From solar to wind, the renewable energy industry needs skilled workers who understand green technologies, and can help discover and integrate alternative energy solutions.
Beyond these environmental-driven majors, there are many other areas of studies that could easily be given a green focus. For instance, horticulture majors who approach the field in an eco-friendly way can meet the demands of environmentally conscious clients. Marine biology is another example in which it’s vital to understand the effect of pollution on the ecosystem, and how marine life has adapted. Even urban planners and food scientists are well served if they enter the field with an eco-friendly perspective.
All in all, the green industry continues to grow, so taking on a green major in college can be a great way to ensure a long and fruitful career. For more information on green degrees and colleges that put an emphasis on environmental coursework, check out The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges.
About the author: Dawn Papandrea is a Staten Island, NY-based writer specializing in education, careers, parenting, and personal finance. Her work has appeared in publications including Family Circle, Parents, WomansDay.com, CreditCards.com, and more. She has a master’s degree in journalism and mass communications from New York University. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.
I wanted to take a moment to let you know about The Kennedy Half Century, a free online course taught by Larry J. Sabato, the founder and director of the renowned Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. November marks the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. In this 4-week online course (open to all – at no cost) you will learn the compelling story of how JFK’s life, administration, and tragic death have influenced the general public, the media, and each of the nine U.S. presidents who followed over The Kennedy Half Century.
You may have heard of “The Kennedy Half Century” – Larry also has a book coming out this fall. It’s being released in conjunction with the online course and a PBS documentary!
Enrollment opens for Professor Sabato’s free online course “The Kennedy Half Century” (Charlottesville, Va.) — Enrollment is now open for Prof. Larry J. Sabato’s free online course about President John F. Kennedy’s life, administration and legacy.
The four-week, massive open online course (MOOC), “The Kennedy Half Century,” will begin on Oct. 21, with two hours of video instruction each week by Prof. Sabato. The course is available through Coursera, an educational website that partners with some of the world’s top universities, including the University of Virginia, to provide free online courses. Anyone can register for the course at www.coursera.org/course/kennedy.
The MOOC is one of several initiatives the U.Va. Center for Politics is unveiling this fall in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Prof. Sabato’s latest book, The Kennedy Half Century: The Presidency, Assassination and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy, will be released in October as the class begins. Also in October, the Center will premiere a one-hournational PBS documentary on the same subject, which is being produced in partnership with Community Idea Stations. The Center for Politics and Community Idea Stations recently received an Emmy Award for their previous documentary, “Out of Order,” which is about political dysfunction in Washington.
A trailer for the “The Kennedy Half Century” class is available here.
“The University of Virginia Center for Politics has long been committed to providing accessible educational tools about American politics and government. This free online course about how JFK and his legacy have influenced the public, the media, and each of the nine U.S. presidents who followed President Kennedy is one way we can deliver high-quality instruction, at no charge, to a large audience,” Prof. Sabato said.
The course begins with the early legislative career of John F. Kennedy and progresses through the 50 years since Kennedy’s death, focusing on how each president, Lyndon Johnson through Barack Obama, has used JFK to craft their own political image. The class offers more than eight hours of video consisting of 40 lessons averaging 10-20 minutes each in length. Each week, there will be at least two new hours of content, including historical footage from each of the 10 presidential administrations of the last half-century. Prof. Sabato will focus four lessons around Kennedy’s assassination as the nation marks the 50th anniversary of 11/22/63.
New portions of the class will be posted to the Coursera page each week. Students who complete the course do not receive university credit, but they will receive a statement of accomplishment. More information about the course’s specifics, including a syllabus, is available at www.coursera.org/course/kennedy.
Online learning is not new to the U.Va. Center for Politics, which has provided online education tools through its Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) since 1998. YLI conducts regular mock elections for students, as well as an interactive legislative simulation called E-Congress.
“For the last 15 years YLI has developed and distributed free civics education lesson plans using the Internet,” noted Prof. Sabato. “Today YLI reaches more than 50,000 teachers and millions of students throughout the country and around the world.”
* * *
Founded by political analyst and Professor Larry J. Sabato, the U.Va. Center for Politics (www.centerforpolitics.org) is a nonpartisan institute that seeks to promote the value of politics, improve civics education, and increase civic participation through comprehensive research, pragmatic analysis, and innovative educational programs.
Larry J. Sabato is the founder and director of the renowned Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. He has appeared on dozens of national television and radio programs, including 60 Minutes, Today, Hardball, and Nightline. He has coanchored the BBC’s coverage of U.S. presidential returns and inaugurations, and has authored or edited more than a dozen books on American politics, including the highly praised A More Perfect Constitution: Why the Constitution Must Be Revised — Ideas to Inspire a New Generation. His other books include Feeding Frenzy, about press coverage of politicians; The Rise of Political Consultants; and Barack Obama and the New America. Sabato runs the acclaimed Crystal Ball website, which has the most comprehensive and accurate record of election analysis in the country. In 2001, the University of Virginia gave him its highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
For more information please visit http://www.thekennedyhalfcentury.com or http://www.centerforpolitics.org, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter
I wanted to share the documentary mini-series Gold Fever, which makes its television premiere on the Discovery Channel this Friday, October 11 at 9 PM ET/PT. Please take note: The Gold Rush was a violent period in American History. Some images in Gold Fever are disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
“The California Gold Rush gave birth to the idea that still pervades in American society to this day— that you can get rich quick; that it’s always a possibility that you can get rich quickly without having to work for it,” noted Stephen David, Executive Producer of Gold Fever and the Emmy-winning The Men Who Built America.
The year is 1848: not long after the Revolutionary War. The country is still very young and dirt poor, a nation of farmers. And then, suddenly gold is discovered in California, and the new American dream is born. Over the course of a few years, Americans would discover the modern equivalent of $25 billion dollars — money that would give a jolt to the economy and make America the most powerful nation on Earth: the government could build an army and businesses had the capital they needed to create huge industrial empires unlike anything America (or the world) had ever seen.
The Gold Rush also created America’s get-rich-quick mentality. Early stories from the Gold Rush were of people literally picking million dollar fortunes straight off the ground. As the news spreads across the country, over 300,000 people— one out of every 90 Americans—drop everything and head west with the hopes of striking it rich. Violence, greed and chaos takes over as tens of thousands of miners battled each other over the same small fortune of buried treasure.
I am a huge fan of Stossel in the Classroom. I was first introduced to the DVD series when I went to my first NCSS Conference in St.Louis, Missouri. The Stossel in the Classroom program is a tax exempt non for profit educational foundation that offers a number of educational programs for your classroom. Each school year Stossel in the Classroom offers a new DVD to teachers. The DVD includes videos about some of John’s most relevant and interesting television programs. The series also comes with a teachers guide, lesson plans, and extension activities. The website also offers a pretty wonderful collection of streaming videos from John Stossel TV shows and specials, which can be searched by keyword. Stossel in the Classroom is a pretty wonderful program I hope you can also take advantage of it with your students.
The new 2014 DVD includes:
- College Tuition and Campus Luxuries:Why have colleges gotten so expensive? Has the money gone to improve education? Has the government forsaken our children? This segment looks at the rising cost of a college education.
- Product Liability Lawsuits: Who Gets Burned?Are we safer today because of lawsuits? Should companies that produce dangerous products be immune from lawsuits? What exactly is a dangerous product? Should manufacturers be sued when something goes wrong? What responsibilities do product users have? This segment looks at one effect of product liability lawsuits.
- High Speed Rail: Boondocks & Boondoggles:How should we improve mass transportation? Are newer and faster trains the answer? Why do so many people presume it’s government’s job to improve mass transportation? Is there a place for entrepreneurs and businesses to help? This segment looks at high speed rail projects, private buses, and the history of New York’s subways.
- The Fracking Debate:What is fracking? What does it do? How does it affect us? Should we celebrate it because it might reduce our oil consumption or condemn it because it might put our drinking water at risk? Who should we believe when some people tell us fracking is bad and others tell us it’s good? This segment looks at the debate over fracking.
- Food Nannies: Who Decides What You Eat?Why are there so many obese Americans? What should be done about it? Who’s responsible? The government? Businesses? Us? This segment looks at proposals to curb obesity.
- Entrepreneurs: Doing Good by Doing Well:What good do entrepreneurs do? Is it creating jobs? Is it the charity they do with the money they’ve made? Do successful entrepreneurs have an obligation to give back? This segment attempts to answer those very questions.
- The Psychology Behind Political Campaigns:Why do we favor one candidate over another? Is it because we look at the issues and choose our candidate accordingly? Or is it because we look at the candidates? And how do candidates and their campaigns react to the way we choose? This segment looks at voters, political races, and the psychology behind the campaigns that get candidates elected.
- Taxi Licensing: Are We Being Taken for a Ride?Should people need government permission to work? Do unregulated businesses cause chaos? Should taxicabs be approved by government and their owners required to purchase medallions? This segment looks at both sides of the taxi regulation issue.
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Chances of Finding Good Work
College students should realize early on that a BA degree is not a ticket to being able to get a good job with a high paying salary. This is backed by statistics. According to figures that appeared on the NCES, Digest of Education, the rate of unemployment for BA holders is at 7.5%. In fact this is not the best time for employment of college graduates when compared with past periods. Here is the unemployment rate for BA holders in the past:
- 1990- 3.14% Unemployment rate
- 2000 4.96% Unemployment rate
- 2008 4.51% Unemployment rate
Even for the college graduates who were able to find work, not everyone did as well as expected. Many of those BA holders had to make do with jobs that are totally unrelated to what they have taken up in college. Here is a breakdown of where the college graduates of 2010 found jobs:
- Retail Sales 24.6%
- Amusement and Recreation Attendants 23.5%
- Telemarketers 18%
- Waitress and Waitresses 14.3%
- Personal Care Aides 10.5%
As you can see, Retail Sales is the most common type of work that they were able to land. Almost one in every four of all college graduates took a job along that line. Jobs as Amusement and Recreation Attendants come as a close second. This infographic was created by www.opencolleges.edu.au.
These figures are not really encouraging to students, but this does not mean that getting a higher education is totally wasted as a means of getting a high paying job. It is just a matter of taking up the right discipline. Certain college majors can be very high paying. Here are some examples of college majors that are sure to be worth it:
- Management Information Systems
- Environmental Engineering
- Applied Mathematics
- Civil Engineering
- Software Engineering
- Biomedical Engineering
- Computer Science
- Petroleum Engineering
Petroleum Engineering is by far the best paying college major today. A newly graduate petroleum engineer can land an average starting pay of nearly $98K. After a few years that could rise to $155K. No other college major can offer such a high paying opportunity like that. But it isn’t just the college major which should be used in picking a career that pays well. The industry that one is going to join can also be used as a determining factor. A student who would like to enter a high paying industry for example should aim for the Mining, Quarrying& Oil & Gas Extraction, which is the best paying industry right now. The industry offers an average starting salary of $84,182 to its new entrants.
This is a wonderful collaborative project currently involving students in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and St.Croix. If Interested in participating with your class: please contact me @mseideman or through my contact me page. Here is a direct link to the assigment.
9/11 Memories across the Country
Oral History Blog Post Assignment
Visit the Blog: http://interviews911.blogspot.com/
Learning Target: Students will demonstrate an understanding of social science methods of investigation through interviewing a family member on their memories of 9-11. Students will analyze and discuss the interview through writing a blog post.
Step 1: The first part of your assignment is to interview someone who was old enough to really understand the impact September 11th had on America. Please ask them the following questions and record their answers, either by writing or recording (video or audio). It is your choice to document the interview through video or voice recording (your smart phone or computer can easily do that) if that is easier for you.
REMINDER: Discussing the events of September 11, 2001 can be a very sensitive subject for most people. Please handle the topic with the utmost care and compassion towards your interviewee. If you face any difficulty completing this assignment to the fullest, please talk to your teacher. If discussing the events of September 11, is difficult for you, please do not hesitate to talk to your teacher.
- Who are you interviewing?
- What details do they remember about the day? Where were they when they found out? What were they doing? What was the first thing they did when they found out? Etc…
- What emotions did they experience that day? What about the days immediately following? Have them explain these as best they can.
- How do they think America has changed since September 11th?
Step 2: The second part of your assignment is to blog about your interview! Your blog post should include the following:
In your first paragraph create a summary of your family member or friend’s recollection of the events of 9/11. Your purpose here is to share their remembrances as truly as possible to reality- you should use both quotations and summaries in your own words. Make sure that you put quotes in “ “ marks and that you identify your source using only first name.
In your second paragraph, explain why you think 9/11 has changed the world we live in today and how America has changed as a result of the events of this day. You may use the first person (I, You, we, my) in this section.
Step 3: Proof-read your blog post and make sure everything is correctly spelled. Read your paragraphs out loud to yourself to make sure the grammar and flow are well edited. Students from around the country will read your posts, so you want to make sure it is appropriate for the public.
Step 4: Type and email your work to
● In the “To” field put: firstname.lastname@example.org
● In the “subject”: Enter Blog Title and then Teacher’s Last Name.ClassPeriod.Firstname&LastInitial (Teacher’s Last Name.1.JoeS)
● In the Text box: Copy & paste step 1 and 2 directly into email and push Send
- If you want to see a sample blog post, please visit – http://interviews911.blogspot.com/
- Make sure you put the title you want for your blog post as the email subject line
- Take out any signatures you have in your email
- Make sure you put your “First Name, Last Initial, Teachers Name” at the end of your post/email
- If you have any pictures to share, please post them in the email.
Step 5: Please Comment on AT LEAST THREE other students’ blog posts. Make sure they are substantial, relevant, and sincere comments. Don’t forget to sign your blog post with “First Name, Last Initial, Teachers Name”
Warning: This is a paid advertisement! For a company promoting an idea.
Education is undergoing a technological revolution that’s occurring worldwide at different speeds and extremes. Thanks to the following key technologies, we’re seeing the development of learning platforms and environments that are unlike anything ever seen before in human history. Their impact on students, teachers and entire education related industries will be increasingly profound in the years to come.
1. High Speed Internet
High speed internet connectivity hasn’t yet reached every corner of the world but the latest statistics for 2013 show that subscription penetration worldwide sits at about 10% for fixed line connections and 29% for mobile connections. Furthermore, these numbers only reflect actual subscriptions, not necessarily total numbers of users, which can easily be much larger as students use school and work based connection subscriptions.
What these numbers signify is an absolutely wonderful trend whose impact on education and learning in general is already showing immense results. Since broadband internet technology is the foundation of all online learning capabilities that we are developing as a society, spreading the enormous data transmission power of broadband (be it mobile or fixed line) is giving millions of students around the world, and especially in developing countries, access to high quality online video courses, interactive programs and powerful information download options.
2. Tablets & Smart Phones
With the inexorable spread of broadband technology, there’s also a natural need developing for electronic devices which can access all the connected resources of the data charged high speed internet. This is where tablets and smart phones come into the picture. Though they aren’t quite as powerful as their more software and hardware heavy desktop and laptop counterparts, they’re quickly catching up and at a far cheaper price per unit –especially in the case of tablet computers.
Thanks to these varied little devices, millions of students are given access to powerful video platforms, reading applications and interactive learning software in the form of thousands of extremely diverse education related mobile software applications.
A student with a tablet that they bring to class regularly can use it to download the most up to date information on any in-class subject, find instruction videos and tutorials for their coursework and access massive archives of free online tutorial videos in every available academic subject from websites like www.khanacademy.org with its 3000+ teaching videos on everything from math to history to physics.
Tablets and smart phones are already organically permeating online student learning worldwide, the real trick will be seeing clever educators and school administrators learn to incorporate these devices into their general curriculum in practical ways.
3. Mobile Apps
Along with the nearly exponential proliferation of portable connected tablets and smart phones, there is also a massive market developing for mobile apps that can be downloaded and used for so many different digital tasks that it’s hard to even comprehend the sheer scope of what a student can run on their device.
The apps marketplaces of both Android and Apple, the two largest tablet OS developers, hold nearly two million apps between themselves. Of course, of these hundreds of thousands of apps, only a tiny fraction are useful for online education and information hungry students. But even amongst this tiny fraction, we’re still talking about thousands of incredibly powerful, highly interactive software tools for collecting information, sorting it, collating it into interesting projects and building whole new ways of learning class materials. Apps like these are just a small sample of what’s available.
Thanks to mobile applications like those listed above and others, students learning from anywhere through the web can reach out and grab onto more tools than any student of any prestigious university could have dreamed of just 15 years ago.
4. Video Conferencing
Since the developments of high speed connectivity and visually interactive portable computers both took off during the last decade, it’s only natural that the long since anticipated technology of video conferencing also creeps into online learning.
Probably one of the single most powerful tools for online interactivity between teachers and their students, the ability to talk and share information via high quality video meeting software is becoming cheaper and more accessible than ever.
In some cases, these types of video calling tools consist of high end multiparty video meeting platforms like those offered by Oracle and InterCall, which can be used to hold entire classes online. And in other cases, we’re talking about free downloadable mobile video apps for tablets and phones. However, even these light free apps are incredibly capable thanks to the high tech video encoding and display capacities of modern computers and mobile devices.
Thanks to video conferencing and all its offshoots, we’re seeing the spread of classroom settings such as these.
5. Distance Education Programs
Video calling, high speed internet connectivity, thousands of education based mobile software apps and easy to buy mobile internet enabled devices; with so many beautiful technologies coming together at the same time and in the same setting, it’s only natural that the very old practice of distance education gets an enormous capacity boost!
The kinds of remote learning courses and programs that used to depend exclusively on mailing test papers, assignments and reading materials lists back and forth via excruciatingly slow physical mail couriers, are now giving way to instant online access to teachers, course materials, tutorial videos and information loaded cloud storage platforms that schools use to give their students access to materials 24/7 from any web connected machine anywhere on the planet.
Thanks to the fusion of all these technologies, we’re seeing the slow arrival of a situation in which “distance” education becomes almost as personal and interactive as the process of travelling to school and walking to class every day.
6. Social Media Platforms
The other, more organic and much more student driven side of the online learning coin is the immense and deeply interconnected world of social media that has grown up around students and teachers like an immense digital spider web.
Through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Students can collaborate with each other on all sorts of projects, contact their professors with questions and access human resources in the form all sorts of online learning groups from all over the world.
The overall contribution of social media when it comes to online education basically lies in the fact that it makes the digital connectivity between all these players that much more instant, constant and robust.
About the author: Stephan Jukic is a freelance writer who generally covers a variety of subjects relating to education, education technology, marketing technology and brand promotion. He also loves to read and write about subjects as varied as the idea of a location-free business, portable business management, and strategic marketing and advertising tactics. When he’s not busy writing or consulting, he spends his days enjoying life’s adventures either in Canada or Mexico. Connect with Stephan on Google+ and LinkedIn