All posts by kwalker

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.

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.

How to Teach a Successful MOOC

How to Teach a Successful MOOC

How to Teach a Successful MOOC
Source: morgueFile

There are many proverbs and cliches readily available to help a new teacher get through their first classroom experience. However, with the advent of the technological education revolution, there are numerous new challenges facing modern teachers for the first time in history.

A deeply disconcerting issue is that, as opposed to the age-old dilemma of struggling to find competent students, for the first time ever teachers are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of interest when teaching a MOOC.

Massive Open Online Courses are the next stage in the progression of global educational standards. However, as the form of instruction emerges into society’s infrastructure, many teachers are finding their traditional methods of teaching to be a bit outdated. It is difficult, even impossible, to have a personal connection with every student when class sizes range in the hundreds-of-thousand of participants, spread across the planet in a dozen different regions speaking a plethora of languages, but all equally intent on learning.

Successful MOOC teachers have found that utilizing effective multimedia demonstrations that encourage group discussion are among the best approaches to this new classroom dynamic. Offering material that impresses, captivates, and inspires students in lieu of purely lecturing them on facts and figures creates an environment of enjoyable learning. What’s more, teaching a MOOC is less about providing plain “information,” for the Internet is full of information, but more about providing students with an opportunity to discuss the ideas with like-minded individuals all over the Earth.

If you’re interested in furthering this conversation, please contact Labyrinth Learning today!

How Technology Can Help Students Learn

How Technology Can Help Students Learn

How Technology Can Help Students Learn
Use these basic tips to meld technology into the classroom. Source: morgueFile

With the proliferation of social media sites and gaming apps, it’s easy to see why technology is oftentimes perceived to have a negative effect on our kids. But is it really that bad?

Technology isn’t entirely bad, especially when you consider the role of education technology (ed tech) plays in schools across the nation. When educators use technology in learning, these mentors are helping students use their mobile devices to their advantage instead of their detriment.

Here are a few effective ways to use technology inside the classroom:

  • Support open source technologies: You don’t have to spend a lot of money on ed tech. Open source applications are  free, and they’re also stable and versatile. You won’t have to worry about limiting yourself to one platform.
  • Support technology adoption: Transitioning to new technology can be challenging, especially if a solution has a learning curve. Make time for familiarizing yourself with a new technology so that you’ll be comfortable using it.
  • Support teacher empowerment: Ed tech empowers both the students and educators. You can help your students more if you use a solution that gives you the ability to do your job more efficiently and easily.

Need more tips like these? Visit us at Labyrinth Learning or send us a message!

How to Pick the Right Technology for Your Classroom

How to Pick the Right Technology for Your Classroom
Source: morgueFile

With the boom of education technology (or ed tech), there are now more solutions for the classroom than ever. It’s great to have plenty of tech options to choose from, but it can also be confusing instituting them in a class.

The next time you find yourself wondering what solution to pick, simply view the situation from your students’ point of view. What will they find interesting and engaging? What will motivate them to study harder? What will they find easy to use?

Remember that even though ed tech is steadily growing, using technology in the classroom is still not fully mainstream. Some of your students may find it challenging to transition from traditional methods to tech solutions, so it’s advisable to anticipate what their concerns will be.

Also, don’t forget to check if the tech solution you’ll pick actually addresses the needs of your students. It’s easy  to be impressed by sleek designs and cute graphics, but it takes close attention to determine if a tech solution serves its intended purpose.

To discover more ways to make learning easier for your students, visit us at Labyrinth Learning and drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!

Lighten Up with These Fun Uses for Excel

Lighten Up with These Fun Uses for Microsoft Excel

Lighten Up with These Fun Uses for Excel
Source: freedigitalphotos

Excel users have found that the software can be used for much more than just spreadsheets. Have fun with Excel by trying some of these creative ideas that will help students and employees become more familiar with the software.

  • Turn photos into spreadsheets. Through utilizing the conditional formatting feature, you can convert photos into spreadsheets to make pixel art.
  • Create works of art. With the shapes and illustration tools in Excel, you can create beautiful pieces of artwork. The only limit is your imagination.
  • Create animated GIFs. By treating every cell in the spreadsheet as a pixel, you can make form cartoon pictures that can be easily transformed into animated GIFs.
  • Play a game. Arena.XIsm is a free role playing game created for Excel featuring more than 2,000 enemies at different difficulty levels, 12 pre-programmed arenas, and four endings to the story. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can even modify the game.

For more ideas for teaching software in your organization or school, contact us at Labyrinth Learning.

Labyrinth Learning Provides Assessment Tools to Help High-Reaching Students

Education is changing rapidly due to technology for students and many bright teenagers would like to move quickly through the secondary school system. A new bill introduced in the Wisconsin legislature would allow middle school children to earn high school class credit, similar to the advanced placement programs in many states that allow high school students to take community college classes for credit.

Student Assessment Computer Software
Source: Shutter Stock

12 and 13-year old kids may be lacking in the essential computer skills needed to use word processing programs or spreadsheets. These programs are necessary in high school and college.  Labyrinth Learning has the resources to help bridge the gap between what students have learned and what they need to know and help them more easily excel in their new environment.

In addition middle school teachers need tools to evaluate computer technology skills and work with students as facilitators while students learn and improve their skills.  This facilitation will be made easier with technology for students that can be implemented in the classroom for these students who are excelling.

Labyrinth Learning has the necessary resources to bring young students and teachers together for a positive learning environment.

textbook frustrates colleges students

Labyrinth Learning Textbooks & Learning Solutions Offer An Affordable Alternative

For many adults, the first experience with sticker shock happens in the most unlikely of ways – buying textbooks for college. After working hard, saving money, and scraping together the funds to pay for ever-increasing tuition statements, it can be heartbreaking to see the prices of the textbooks in the college bookstore. In an article by NBC contributor Martha C. Wright reports college textbooks have experienced triple-digit inflation over the past several years. The average college student has to spend $1200 on books each year, $1250 if they attend a private school.

student textbooks

As a result, professors, administrators and students are looking for more affordable alternatives, but so far there isn’t a mainstream solution. In fact, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group reported that as many as 70% of students have admitted to not buying textbooks that are “required” because they simply can’t afford them, which negatively impacts their academic performance. One of the biggest contributors to expensive textbooks is that the publishers continually create “new editions,” using virtually the same material, making it difficult for students with old copies to find the same chapter or practice materials by page number.

This is one of the reasons why Labyrinth Learning has been so committed to producing high-quality textbooks and eLearning materials for an affordable price. We love learning, and we don’t think finances should limit students from getting the best possible education. Contact us at Labyrinth Learning to purchase top-quality, affordable textbooks for your classroom.


computer literacy

Add Symbols With Alt Codes

At the most basic level, computer literacy means being able to navigate universally utilized software programs, such as the Microsoft Office Suite, knowing how to type in a reasonably quick manner (QWERTY style preferred!), and understanding how to use printers, scanners, and other basic computer accessories. Then there are the tricks that take your computer literacy to the next level; adding symbols with Alt codes is one example.

In a basic computer course, students learn to insert codes by using the editor feature of the program, scrolling to “insert” and then selecting the code they want to use. This is fine for the very occasional code, but what about the symbols you use on a regular basis? Perhaps you’re writing about a product that is trademarked™, you work with products or scenarios that are temperature specific°, or you incorporate foreign words that use accent symbols to enhance their pronunciación. In these cases, the Alt codes are your most efficient choices.

Keyboard short cuts
Source: Stock Exchange

To insert an Alt code (on Macs, use the Option key), you simply place the cursor where you want the symbol to appear, and then press Alt+Number Code. Voila! The symbol, or letter with an accent, will appear.

Here are some common examples:

  • Alt+0153 = ™
  • Alt+0162 = ¢
  • Alt+0169 = ©
  • Alt+0177 = ±
  • Alt+0225 = á
  • Alt+0233 = é
  • Alt+0237 = í
  • Alt+0243 = ó
  • Alt+0250 = ú
  • Alt+0241 = ñ

Visit Labyrinth Learning to review textbooks that will enhance your students’ computer literacy.