Monthly Archives: August 2013

Group of young people in computing class

It’s Not the Money, It’s the Teacher With the Right Tools

Group of young people in computing class

A recent study done by three economists, two from Harvard and one from Columbia, demonstrated that, “second only to parents, teachers are the most important part of a child’s education.” The study tracked 2.5 million students, over the course of 20-years, from a single urban district. The data paints a clear line connecting good teachers with the effects they have on their students throughout the course of the students’ lifetime, including higher test scores, increased earnings, and lower incidences of teenage pregnancies.

This study proves that the right teacher, with the right tools, has the ability to create a powerful effect in a child’s life. Teaching resources are a key element in helping an inspired teacher do his/her job in a way that enhances the students’ learning experience. These teaching resources can include things like:

  • Video Libraries. A video library can be used to reinforce key concepts and lessons. In the online world, a video resource library can be accessed by students from anywhere, anytime, providing more flexibility in their school/work schedule.
  • Course Management Systems (CMS). A CMS is an all-in-one course experience for both teachers and students, creating a self-paced curriculum with embedded learning resources and assessments that record student results in real time, so teachers can know what lessons need review.
  • Custom Learning Management System (LMS). Instructors have the ability to create their own curriculum from the text book, complete with web simulations and custom assessments to gauge learning.

Contact Labyrinth Learning to obtain the resources you need to positively affect your students.

Teacher helping two students working in computer classroom

Tech Classrooms’ Benefits to Education

Teacher helping two students working in computer classroom

The benefits of the tech classroom are many. This is especially true for classrooms designed for technology education, such as computer courses, career training seminars, and IT classes. When students have access to the right textbooks, multimedia resources, and assessments, they can work at their own pace, utilizing the learning modalities that work best for them. The result is a student that feels empowered and successful in the classroom.

Here are ways technology education enhances the classroom experience.

Your classroom is everywhere. Online learning resources, such as eTextbooks, web tutorials, and assessments allow students to practice, learn, and work anywhere there is a computer and an internet connection. This paradigm shift is providing the opportunity for full-time workers and homemakers, who couldn’t have furthered their education otherwise, to obtain advanced degrees.

Video Tutorials. In the traditional classroom model, students have to grasp the material in the allotted time slot, as they sit and listen to the instructor lecture or watch demonstrations. Any concept or technique that is forgotten can’t be practiced until the student has the opportunity to meet again with an instructor, TA, or tutor. Video tutorials allow students to watch any skill-set repeatedly, 24/7 until they get it right.

Online assessments. Simulation questions and online reviews and quizzes allow students to assess their performance, and review the areas where they are weak. Professors can check in using Course Management systems to see where students are at at any given time.

Contact Labyrinth Learning to find out more about technology to enhance your classroom.

Engaging and Understanding Introverts

Engaging and Understanding Introverts in the Classroom

There are two types of students served well by traditional teaching methodology: those who can sit quietly and in a contained manner for eight hours a day, and those who are extroverted enough to comfortably participate, demonstrating their proficiency on a constant basis. In her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking, author Susan Cain discusses the challenges introverts face in a society, and education system, that celebrates extroverts.

In fact, Cain states the celebration of introverts begins in the classroom, which is why teachers should pay attention and consider whether or not they are instructing introverts in a manner than benefits the students.

Engaging and Understanding Introverts
Source: Shutterstock points out that not only should teachers refrain from intentionally drawing an introverted student out, there are methods for honing an introvert’s strengths in order to maximize their classroom experience. Things teacher should considering include:

  • Take it easy on the group work. Make sure your lesson plans strike a balance between individual and group lessons; introverts prefer to work autonomously.
  • Try pairs. Introverts do better sharing their ideas with a single individual. It is much less daunting than sharing with a group.
  • Use social media. Tweeting responses/comments to questions is much easier than sharing them out loud.
  • Make use of good technology in the classroom. Interactive technology allows introverts to interact with new materials, and complete measurable assessments, in a format that’s comfortable for them.

Contact Labyrinth Learning to find out about computer software, textbooks and course management systems that make instructing introverts more effective.

Take Advantage of the Web: Best Free Resources for Teachers

Prior to the internet, teachers relied on conferences and snail mail to tap into new teaching resources for ideas and materials. Now, an afternoon perusing the web provides a wealth of information and free downloads that will reinvigorate your lessons while adhering to both state and national standards.

Here are some of our favorite teaching resources:

Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

National Science Digital Library. The NSDL has resources and materials for teachers from K through 12, as well as college. You can stay up to date on the latest and greatest advances in math and science, and download lesson plans and activities, including iTunes multimedia files.

FREE. The Federal Registry for Education Excellence offers – you guessed it – FREE materials pertaining to every subject under the sun, from music to physics. You can browse by topic but we recommend subscribing to their RSS feed so you know when new resources become available.

TeAchnology. The TeAchnology website is home to more than 9000 free teacher resources, including worksheets, lesson plans, rubrics, and the ever important “Time Savers.”

Teachers’ Domain. The website Teachers’ Domain compiles free digital media and resources from public broadcasting stations across the country. It also allows teachers to set up individual profiles from which they can share lesson plans and ideas that worked for their classes. Materials and lesson ideas can be searched for by individual states’, national, or core standard requirements.

You can also stop by the Labyrinth Learning website. Our textbooks and course management systems make it easy to incorporate technology into your classroom.

The Flipped Classroom Model

Turning Education On Its Head: The Flipped Classroom Model

The flipped classroom model is gaining popularity across the country. It’s the ultimate merging of technology and education, requiring the use of computers, videos and presentation software, in addition to traditional teacher-student classroom instruction.

Here’s how it works:

The Flipped Classroom Model
Source: Shutterstock

Teachers use programs like PowerPoint to create lectures. These presentations can be as creative as teachers want to make them, including video links and live links to supplemental resources. Teachers also have the option of recording themselves giving lectures and posting the videos on YouTube, or embedding them within their PowerPoint presentations. These lectures are all hosted online, where students can access them remotely.

Rather than coming to school to listen to a lecture and then do homework, students are required to access lessons beforehand. This gives them the opportunity to listen, read, and tap resources at their own pace. or to re-watch something over and over again. Students can use online portals to chat with other students and/or the instructor, regarding observations, questions, or comments. When they arrive to class, the instructor can begin the class by answering any remaining questions and utilize the rest of the class time by doing activities and hands-on work to reinforce the lesson’s key points.

The flipped classroom model allows students to have access to lessons and materials 24/7, and increases their efficiency and productivity in class.

Contact Labyrinth Learning to learn more about our wide range of products, including Course Management Systems, that include internet hosted software and supplemental learning resources for your flipped classroom.

Video: Enhancing Classroom Education

Videos can be a powerful addition to your “Technology Education” toolbox. This is especially true for your visual learners, for whom oral lectures or written notes may not be enough to truly convey the nuances of a particular lesson. While videos are often used at the lower levels, they are usually undervalued at the community college or adult education level.Video, Enhancing Classroom Education

Here are ways you can use videos to enhance your classroom education.

Embed into your lecture. If you use PowerPoint or another slide presentation program, videos can easily be embedded into your slides, to highlight certain points in your lecture, or provide a how-to lesson. For example, a lesson on a historical figure can be enhanced with a documentary showing the way people lived during that period, allowing students to form a more realistic image as they read.

Supplement the textbook. Videos bring textbook lessons to life. At Labyrinth Learning, our textbooks and online learning resources incorporate videos on a regular basis. They help visual learners to see the instructions or tasks from their perspective on the screen, which can help them to better understand how to utilize a particular skill.

Subtitles. You can enhance your use of videos by selecting the subtitles to be displayed. This helps to reinforce the words students are hearing, and ensures your hearing-impaired students aren’t missing out on valuable information. They can also help to keep students anchored in the experience.

Contact Labyrinth Learning to find programs and videos to enhance technology education in your classroom.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Microsoft Outlook textbook

These Features Might Make You Switch to Outlook

Microsoft Outlook textbookThe e-mail hosting battle is a fierce as ever with options such as Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo all readily available. We have a feeling that because of the new features that have recently launched in Microsoft Outlook are going to swing the popular vote its way. Here are some of our favorite features that might encourage you to make the switch:

Send massive files. Tired of getting the message your files are too large to attach? Even Gmail has problems sending files full of photos or longer video clips. Outlook now allows users to send massive files, via its SkyDrive. You can be very particular about who you share them with and the file hosting privileges are free.

The Cloud. Speaking of SkyDrive, now all of your Outlook files can be stored and accessed via the Cloud from any electronic gadget. In today’s world, computer literacy means knowing how to navigate cloud-based technology. You can share any files you want with friends, colleagues, or family, and you can also edit and collaborate on documents and projects as long as you have an internet connection.

Update your connections. Sync your Outlook account with social media files to ensure your address book is updated regularly.

Unsubscribe. Using the “unsubscribe” feature is one thing when it’s a mass generated newsletter. But what about that annoying email thread? Those are more personal. No need to hurt feelings, simply use the “Ignore” feature to block future messages from that thread, and to delete the ones in your inbox.

Improve your students’ computer literacy by using Labyrinth Learning textbooks and software to teach the newest version of Outlook.



How to Create an Effective Powerpoint Presentation

Source: via

PowerPoint is the go-to program for presentations both in academia and in the professional arena. Creating an effective PowerPoint presentation is key when it comes to making an impression on student peers and colleagues. Don’t forget to teach your computer students these useful tips when learning to use PowerPoint. They will create a more effective presentation, which can help them boost their grade or make that next big sale.

One slide per point. Most audience members read the slides quicker than you can speak about the points. Therefore, a slide with multiple points means the audience is waiting for you to catch up. By presenting one thing at a time, the audience and presenter remain on the same page, or slide, which makes for a more engaging presentation.

Keep it short. Each slide is there to highlight key points, statistics, and/or a graphic. If you write paragraphs, it defeats the point. Think of it like a book; your voice is the narration and the slides are the illustrations.

Attractive Formatting
. Don’t get too carried away with PowerPoint bells and whistles, it can make your presentation difficult to follow. Keep things spaced nicely, use easy-to-read fonts, and try to use light backgrounds with dark text. Centered text is hard to read so only center titles. Avoid cluttered slides. It’s a sign you are over-formatting or including too much information on one slide.

Labyrinth Learning has PowerPoint textbooks and software that make learning to use PowerPoint easy for students or corporate trainees. Contact us today to find out more!

Computer tablet with business documents

Often Overlooked Features of Quickbooks

Computer tablet with business documents

We admit, it’s almost impossible for any software user to learn every single feature, or trick, at first! That’s why it’s so important for students and professionals to continue their learning process by taking higher level computer classes and refreshers. Longtime QuickBook users can be as delighted as a child opening a present when they’re reminded or exposed to often overlooked features that make their job a little easier.

Here are some overlooked features that will help your students learn QuickBooks Pro a little better.

Custom customer editing. Sometimes, we need to insert information about a customer that’s not already preset in the QuickBooks Customer Field. You can click “Additional Information,” and then “Define Fields,” to add the information quickly.

Multiple customer invoicing. There are times when you just need to move the invoicing process along at a quicker pace. One way to accomplish this is by clicking “Create Batch Invoices” within the “Customers” menu. This function lets you set up invoices for multiple clients at a time.

Import credit card activity. Tired of manually inputting all of the credit card activity? Even the most accurate of accountants is bound to make a mistake once in a while. Click, “Enter Credit Card Changes” in the Banking menu, and then select “Download Credit Card Charges.”

Labyrinth Learning has designed our textbooks and software in a way that ensures students and employees learn QuickBooks Pro effectively.


The Hidden Benefits of LMS

Learning management systems (LMS) are becoming increasingly popular. From community college courses to corporate training programs, there are multiple benefits to using an LMS, including these 6 highlighted by the Training Zone:

  1. Comprehensive management. From email text reminders to full course management, a good learning management system takes a holistic approach, including sign-in sheets and certification.Labyrinth_learning
  2. Simple reports. Your reporting shouldn’t have to be complex. Whether it’s remembering upcoming certificate expiration dates or handling compliance issues, an LMS should be set up so simple, easy-to-access reports are delivered right to a manager’s inbox.
  3. Department training expenses. At a single glance, managers should be able to see which funds are being allocated to each department to better facilitate the training budget.
  4. Meet your regulatory requirements. Regulations and compliance continue to become ever more complicated. An LMS can help to eliminate human error. Even complex healthcare and financial industry regulations and compliance can be managed using a good LMS.
  5. Empower Employees. No need to schedule mass training sessions or a month of Saturdays to keep certifications, training, and compliance up-to-date. Your employees can navigate the LMS on their own clock in order to meet deadlines and keep their education and training current.
  6. Say goodbye to IT nightmares. A good LMS will be web-based or hosted by the LMS provider, meaning you can allocate costly IT management costs elsewhere.

Is your institution using a Learning Management System? Browse Labyrinth Learning’s selection of learning solutions that easily integrate with your LMS.