Category Archives: Featured

Engaging Students to Enhance Learning

Teaching is a complex process that entails much more than being an expert in a particular field. Teachers must engage students enough so the desired information can be transferred from the teacher to the student. This may require you to step back and evaluate your classrooms and teaching styles to determine whether or not you’re truly connecting with students.

Engaging Students to Enhance Learning
Engage your students with a few of these handy teaching techniques.

To engage a tough student or silent classroom, utilize multiple learning styles. Most instructors teach the way they were taught, which often results in the traditional lecture hall format: teacher speaks and students listen. Unfortunately, this style only reaches the auditory learners in the room. Remember that there are seven learning styles:

  • Visual (they need to see)
  • Auditory (they need to hear)
  • Kinesthetic (they need to move)
  • Verbal (they need to speak)
  • Logical (need linear approaches)
  • Interpersonal (learns better in groups)
  • Intrapersonal (learns better alone)

Make sure your teaching approach alternates between different modalities to give everyone a fair chance.

Liven up your lesson plan by utilizing technology. Your students have been raised in a technologically rich environment. It is what they know and it is also their source of connection and entertainment. Take advantage of technology in the classroom to engage students and increase the relevancy of your lessons.

Reinforce old lessons on a regular basis. Students need to practice over and over. Create a curriculum in which each lesson connects to and repeats the concepts from previous lessons. It’s even better if you can create continuity between disciplines.

Contact Labyrinth Learning to learn more about teaching materials and software designed to engage students using technology and relevant, real-world curricula.

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2014 Trends in Higher Education

2014 Trends in Higher Education

2014 Trends in Higher Education
Higher learning trends are affecting college campuses across the nation. Source: Wikimedia Commons

It’s important for colleges and universities to stay abreast of current trends in higher education to ensure graduates emerge prepared to fill positions in the modern workplace. In the global marketplace, that means being in touch with trends both in America and abroad.

Here, detailed in length below, are some trends in higher education you can expect to see throughout 2014:

Focus on the community. Corporations are beginning to place more attention on how business models impact the earth as well as the community at large. As such, many corporations, non-profits and other organizations have coined the term corporate social responsibility (CSR). We expect to see institutions of higher education paying attention to their CSR as well.

A de-emphasis of ranking. Many academics have grown weary and distrustful of the myriad of “ranking” that takes place across the university spectrum. Rushed research and hyper-pressure to publish is detrimental to the academic process, resulting in shoddy and potentially corrupt work.

Fine tuning technology in the classroom. With MOOCs at one end of the spectrum and PowerPoint presentations at the other, higher education will continue to fine-tune the implementation of technology to enhance learning. 2012 saw a major emphasis placed on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), but high-dropout rates indicate that higher learning is most successful when learning incorporates a blend of technology, online/distance learning opportunities and engaged classroom learning, depending on the subject matter.

Keep up with technological trends in higher education. Contact Labyrinth Learning to learn more about eTextbooks, course management systems, and more.

Improving the Graduation Rate of Students

Improving the Graduation Rate of Students

Improving the Graduation Rate of Students
Check out these ways that educators are trying to improve graduation rates in colleges.

The good news is that American high school graduates are enrolling in colleges at record numbers. The bad news – they’re also dropping out of college at faster rates than ever before. That’s the word from a recent article in the New York Times titled, “How to Help College Students Graduate”.

Author David L. Kirp cites that just over half the students who enroll in four-year colleges leave with a diploma in hand, and only a dismal one-third of students who enroll in community colleges complete their studies. The solution to this problem is an obvious one: colleges and university must be able to provide the level of support and assistance necessary to improve the graduation rate.

Consider what was done when the City University of New York (CUNY) began their ASAP initiative, addressing the high dropout rates at their community colleges. The program provided free-assistance for transportation and books. In order to help students who are working their way through school, CUNY worked with colleges to provide flexible block scheduling so students could attend their classes in the morning, afternoon, and evenings, making it easier to create a consistent work schedule with employers.

CUNY also implemented one-on-one advising and virtual mentoring assistance to provide additional human support. The results? Almost 60% of the students participating in their ASAP program have graduated with their associates degree.

Do you want to improve the graduation rate at your college? See how Labyrinth Learning can help you bring more graduates into the world.

Create a Student Centered Classroom in 2014

Create a Student Centered Classroom in 2014

Create a Student Centered Classroom in 2014
Focus on each individual student in 2014 with a student centered classroom structure.

As the new year gets underway, how are you planning to create a more student centered classroom? With the following tips you can refine your teaching skills and help your students learn more effectively in 2014 and beyond.

  • Promote interaction among students: The easiest way to encourage collaboration in the classroom is to arrange desks in groups facing each other, in lieu of rows facing the front of the room.
  • Use more thought-provoking assessments: In any old classroom, students might learn about the latest software by listening to a lecture, reading in a textbook, and answering multiple-choice questions. A student centered classroom gives students the hands on experience for a real-world situation. It may be easier to scan a bubble test and call it quits, but meaningful exercises are far more valuable for assessing critical thinking skills.
  • Respond to lack of interest: You may need to shift the original game plan if students fail to show interest. If it’s possible to teach them the material in more than one way, cater to their preferences whenever possible.
  • Make class enjoyable: The goal is to intrigue learners, so even if they weren’t required to come to class, they would. Make the journey an enjoyable one, both for you and your students.

With these tips, the first semester in 2014 can lead to happier, more interested learners. For more on creating a student centered classroom in 2014, please contact us today at Labyrinth Learning.

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DOCC May Soon Replace MOOC as the Hottest Acronym in Education

DOCC May Soon Replace MOOC as the Hottest Acronym in Education

These days, much of the most recent news in higher education circles around the opening and credit transfer workings of MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). Though, under the radar, a new form of online course has been making a name for itself in higher education. DOCC, also known as a Distributed Open Collaborative Course, offers a new twist to online learning.

DOCC May Soon Replace MOOC as the Hottest Acronym in Education
Use a few of these pointers to find the right online course for your students and lesson plan.

Both styles use key features like open enrollment, video components and credit options. A wide range of students can enroll in these courses and receive an in-depth education on a variety of subjects that were previously limited to the number of students a classroom could hold.

You will find a few key differences between MOOCs and DOCCs. A DOCC does not bring a single centralized syllabus to the individuals that participate. It does, however, organize around a central subject.

The DOCC distinguishes itself by actively distributing the expertise and pedagogy throughout all those involved, instead of relying on two or three individuals. This also allows for a bit of leniency in each lesson and can vary immensely based on a number of factors.

It is still unclear which discipline will survive, or if they both have a place in the education landscape, but we eagerly follow the developments to see how these new platforms evolve.

To improve your online courses, please contact us today at Labyrinth Learning!

Image Source: freedigitalphotos

Tips to Improve Your Work in the Classroom This Year

Tips to Improve Your Work in the Classroom This Year

Tips to Improve Your Work in the Classroom This Year
Sharpen your skills in the classroom by following a few of these basic tips. Source: freedigitalphotos

Traditionally the New Year is a time for making resolutions to better ourselves, improve our lifestyles, and conquer bad habits. This year, why not make it your aim to improve your lectures in the classroom?

  • Connect with other professors. Use the Internet to chat with other professionals in your field. Improve your knowledge of teaching methodologies you would like to try and learn new teaching skills you had never previously considered.
  • Make it a goal to remain organized. Organization will help you teach and your students’ ability to learn. Plus, you will always be able to find the materials and resources you need, even on short notice. Extend your organization efforts to your computer by deleting unnecessary files and keeping desktops free of clutter.
  • Teach like a pirate. If you are looking for inspiration, check out the book Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. It is full of excellent ideas you can put into practice in the classroom that will change the way you teach.
  • Above all, enjoy yourself. This means keeping some time for yourself; working all the time is a bore and your students will soon notice your lack of enthusiasm. Take some time for a hobby, either one that you already practice or something new.

For more support, teaching tips, and classroom resources, contact us at Labyrinth Learning.

How the Digital Age Has Impacted Education

How the Digital Age Has Impacted Education

How the Digital Age Has Impacted Education
The Digital Age has shifted much of the focus in classrooms toward better usage of technology. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Every generation sees a shift in its perceptions about education. The advent of the digital age just makes this observation all the more evident. Here, detailed below, are some of the changes that a computer-oriented society has manifested for our children:

A Distributed Network – It is no longer necessary to show up for class in the literal sense when a student can just log in and attend a MOOC (massive open online course). The internet is just bursting with opportunities along this line.

An Emphasis on Skills – An increasingly technological workplace requires an ever more tech savvy workforce. This means that the skills necessary to navigate the Internet and the computer world will be in greater demand as the technology expands.

The Face of Traditional Colleges is Changing – Online courses are growing at a shocking rate, and as we look to the future, we may find more students taking lessons from the comfort of their own homes instead of the lecture hall. The students of the future may even be able to choose courses from multiple institutions from across the globe.

For more information on this and other advances in technology in education, please visit us at Labyrinth Learning. You will always find us online or you can reach us anytime at 1-800-522-9746.

Teaching to the Visual Learner

People usually lean toward one of these learning types: kinesthetic, auditory, and visual. Kinesthetic learners absorb information through hands-on experience; auditory learners through verbal explanations; and visual learners through graphics, demonstrations, and textual instructions. The secret to being a successful instructor is knowing what kind of learners you’re going to face so that you can prepare materials suited to their style.

Visual learners will be more receptive to taking lessons from the chalkboard than a lecture.
Visual learners will be more receptive to taking lessons from the chalkboard than a lecture.

If you’re working with the visual type of learner, then get creative with your lessons! The following tips and tricks can help you teach a visual learner:

  • Show, don’t tell: For visual learners, you need to explain a process step by step, whether it’s about solving a math problem or assembling a DIY wooden table. It’s better if you use videos, diagrams, and other visual media showing a specific example from start to finish.
  • Paint mental pictures: Memorization can be a difficult task especially for visual learners. Make it easy for them by creating imagery with each item they need to memorize, especially when they have to remember lists, acronyms, dates, foreign alphabet characters, etc.
  • Use technology: The Internet is a bottomless source of information for practically any topic, so encourage visual learners to explore relevant sites in their free time. You can also suggest apps they can download and use in their mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

The great news is that it’s much easier to teach visual folks now than ever before with a little help from us at Labyrinth Learning. We create effective learning solutions that use innovative online tools. Contact us for more information!

Image Source: freedigitalphotos

The Effect of Technology on Education

The Effect of Technology on Education

In a world of rapidly advancing technology, it can be difficult to sort the useful benefits of tech in the classroom from the distracting noise of marketeers. Of course, for every example of social-networks causing trouble in schools, there’s a story of a self-taught go-getter utilizing Internet resources for something beautiful. Just like in any era, our status-quo has its problems and dilemmas, but embracing technological solutions for educational issues should be lauded as the solution, not the problem.

The Effect of Technology on Education
The chalk board is being tabled in many classrooms in lieu of interactive assignments utilizing technology.

Many teachers are already using technology in education to reach more students, to communicate better with students, to demonstrate complex-concepts to students, and to inspire students to do more with their potential than they ever thought possible.

A major aspect of their success is properly choosing which technology is best for their specific situation. However, any teacher who tries their best to introduce their students to the latest technologies rather than seclude them in the darkness of last decades textbooks and documentaries is having a positive impact.

Technology is and always has been a tool; finding the right way to wield it is just as important as the difference between using an axe to build a home and using an axe to wage a war. For example, when trying to get students to work together, some teachers realize that they are already connected via popular social-networking sites that have options to share data and insight as easily as selfie-photographs and gaming invites.

If you have an active interest in utilizing more technology in education for your students, contact Labyrinth Learning!

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Do Grades Still Hold Up in Higher Education?

Do Grades Still Hold Up in Higher Education?

Do Grades Still Hold Up in Higher Education?Once upon a time, grading a student’s work seemed to achieve its intended goal. It began as an equilateral assessment tool to encourage students to learn and master given material. However, that module was also privy to subjection, systematic pressure and increasing awareness of learning differentials.

In other words, old school grades in higher education worked for some, but not enough for all. As blended learning continues to dominate the curricular landscape, the need for a fresher approach toward determining mastery of skills becomes imminent. So, how can this be done? A simple solution is changing who does the grading.

Peer grading has impressive potential for becoming an effective assessment tool for several reasons:

  • It teaches students equivocal responsibility.
  • It encourages honesty and integrity
  • It sharpens critical thinking and judgment
  • It facilitates constructive communication

Higher education is the learning realm where students began to apply what it means to be peers in an astutely professional sense. Peer grading is an excellent forum to establish a fair system for assessment and to put the aforementioned benefits into practice. There is also an inherent balance within knowing that the person you are grading will grade you, too. It is a subtle, yet proactive push toward peer consideration, development, and sensitivity. Of course, it is also a less biased way toward scoring assignments.

For more information about the current state of grades in higher education and blended learning systems, contact us at Labyrinth Learning.

Image Source: freedigitalphotos