Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Bright Future of Technology in the Classroom

The Bright Future of Technology in the Classroom

The Bright Future of Technology in the ClassroomYou know it better than anybody: college students can be very persuasive when they choose. And if you feel as though they’re pulling you along on the rising tide of technology in education, at least you can be assured that they have a good point, because technology usage in the classroom will become even more important in the future.

For now, you may be persuaded to allow your students to bring their smartphones to class to look up vocabulary words and translations, or in some cases, to take pictures of classroom notes and presentations. You might call this simple acquiescence; other colleges put a formal name to it: Bring Your Own Technology to School Day. Students also might be taking notes on their laptops, designing projects in Prezi and using the Smartboard to demonstrate just how adept they are at using technology in education.

In the future, when technology is further brought into the class, students might:

  • Collaborate regularly in real time with students across the globe, using Skype or a similar service.
  • Take a visual tour of a foreign country via a webcam, microphone and, of course, a reliable Internet connection.
  • Trade their laptops and tablets for wrist-mounted computers.
  • Take the extra step of having a computer chip implanted on their person so that they are literally wired for global connectivity.

Labyrinth Learning can assist you in helping students embrace technology in education, and become confident learners along the way. Contact us for more information, today!

Image Source: freedigitalphotos

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.

Image Source: Shutter Stock

The Social Learning Trend is on the Rise

The Social Learning Trend is on the Rise
Break students out of the traditional mold of interacting in class with social learning.

With even more people becoming connected to the Internet on a global scale, the increased availability of smartphones, and the growing popularity of social media, it is no wonder that social learning — the use of mobile devices and social media to assist in eLearning and enable peer review — is on the rise.

The following statistics explain how the trend is expanding on an international level:

  • Worldwide Internet users — In 2014, it is estimated that 2.8 billion people will be using the Internet worldwide. This is up from 2.1 billion in 2010 and just 1 billion in 2005.
  • Facebook — In 2013, there were 1.15 billion users on Facebook, which is a marked increase from 1.06 the year before. The number of users accessing Facebook on mobile devices has increased even more significantly: by 51 percent in a 12-month period, reaching a total of 819 million users.
  • Smartphones — The cost of smartphones is rapidly dropping, which has provided Internet users with a cheaper way to get online. In 2012, the average cost of a smartphone was $298, but by 2013, this number had fallen to $180.
  • Peer review — Of students surveyed, 92 percent said they benefit from reviewing the writing of others and 82 percent found peer review helped their own writing.

As an educator, you should already be taking advantage of all social learning has to offer. For more advice about how to incorporate technology into your classroom or training program, contact us at Labyrinth Learning.

Image Source: freedigitalphotos

A Look Back at the “Future” of Technology in Education

A Look Back at the "Future" of Technology in Education
The current classroom setting isn’t even close to the future predictions created by leading minds of the past.

Remember The Jetsons? As kids, we watched The Jetsons in delight, looking forward to the days when flying cars and meals-in-an-instant would be the norm. Well, some of the Jetsonian technologies have become reality – like microwave dinners – but others have yet to come to fruition. The same is true for predictions made regarding technology in education.

A recent article on Gizmodo took a look at 15 Technologies That Were Supposed to Change Education Forever…but haven’t. We’re highlighting a few of our favorites.

Instant travel. Back in 1912, an Iowa newspaper predicted that the distance required to transport students to school would be eliminated via pneumatic tube shuttles, monorails, and gyroscope cars. Alas, the mileage from students’ houses to school has remained the same. The only improvement is the speed and fuel efficiency of school buses.

Radio Books. During the 1920s radios became a mainstay of American entertainment. Thus, it didn’t require a stretch of the imagination to think students would all be connected to radio books in the future. Granted, these predictions were somewhat accurate in the sense that audio books are the preferred method of reading for students with vision impairment, as well as those who are predominantly auditory learners.

T.V. Teachers. By the late-30s, forward thinking educators imagined a world where teachers were no longer necessary in the classroom. Instead, students would watch and listen to lectures via the television. Instead, computers have dominated the scene and online learning is more popular than every before.

Contact Labyrinth Learning to stay in touch with real-life advancements of technology in education.

Image Source: freedigitalphotos

Equipping Online Learners for Success

Equipping Online Learners for Success

Online classes are creating more diverse “classrooms” than ever before. In addition to your traditional college students, class rosters may be peppered with high school students getting a head start, blue collar workers taking advantage of the flexibility of online education, or working professionals building on their current skill sets.

Equipping Online Learners for Success

The following tools will help you equip all of these online learners for success:

The right educational software. Look for software specifically designed for online classes. It provides a single destination for both students and teachers, like a veritable virtual classroom. In addition to slide lectures, blog-style announcements, and immediate updates, teachers can also create grade books, assessments and polls.

Webcams and headsets. The largest hurdle for online courses is meeting the need for person-to-person contact. Webcams can be used to make group projects, live lectures, or virtual office hours more personable. Headsets improve sound quality and allow students to attend classes or special study sessions in public places, such as libraries or coffee shops, without disturbing those around them.

Social Media. Social media platforms provide another way for you and your students to stay connected. Did you know you can set up private Facebook pages for your classes, giving students a place to discuss information and share relevant sites and links? Use a blog to keep students on track, share additional resources, or to address current course challenges experienced by their peers.

Contact Labyrinth Learning to learn more about eLab and other tools to equip your online classes for success.

Image Source: freedigitalphotos

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.