Archive for January, 2012

What does it take to be an effective educator in the 21st century?

The world of education is changing at an unprecedented rate, with new technologies constantly making appearances, the US falling behind other nations in math and science, and the struggling economy making viable careers more scarce than ever.  In such a challenging climate, what are the characteristics that make for an effective educator?  According to a recent eschoolnews article by Meris Stansbury, the following traits are pivotal.  A good teacher must:

1.  Anticipate the future.

A good educator must be able to see the big picture in order to guide students in a direction that will make good career sense.  He or she must be abreast of trends in business and industry so as to be able to advise students on smart study options, and must also be aware, creative, and proactive enough to ensure that minority and disadvantaged groups are well positioned to compete with their peers.

2.  Be a lifelong learner.

A good educator will be willing to constantly learn, not just from his or her peers but also from students.  Our world is exploding with new technology – much of which students are more adept at using than their teachers are.  Teachers must be willing to learn from their students and to adapt these technologies for use in the classroom.

3.  Foster peer relationships.

An increasingly technological world can have isolating effects on people.  Teachers must encourage interpersonal relationships among their students so that students are equppied with the communication skills they’ll need to thrive.

Too many people mistakenly believe that a teacher’s job is simple and stress free.  However, the list of qualifications a good teacher must have continues to grow.

Please contact Wellington Tutoring with any questions or comments you may have!

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The Best Education Apps for Iphones & Ipads…continued

Last week I posted five essential education apps for your student’s smart device. Here are a few more that top Jenna Zwang’s list:

6.  P183 Graphing Calculator

For: Math Classes
What it Does: Everything a TI-83 Calculator does, much cheaper!
Cost: $0.99

7.  Star Walk

For: Astronomy Classes
What it Does: When held up to the night sky, it shows constellations,
planets and other items of interest in that region of the sky.
Cost: $2.99

8.  Cram

For: All Classes
What it Does: Allows students & teachers to create flashcards and tests and to share with others.
Cost: $3.99

9.  Essay Grader

For: Teachers grading essays.
What it Does:  Allows teachers to grade essays using a bank of comments so
as to avoid handwriting the same comments over & over.  The
gradesheet can then be emailed to the student.
Cost: $5.99

10.  eclicker

For: Teachers looking for feedback on student comprehension
What it Does: Students can submit answers to teacher’s questions via their
Iphones; the app compiles the answers showing which subject areas need
more attention
Cost: $9.99.

Teachers and students alike are quickly catching on to the ways in which technology can make their lives easier and better.  Today’s students are already glued to their Iphones.  Maybe we should take advantage of this trend to help our students learn!



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Best Education Apps for iOS, iPhones & iPads

There is little doubt that our lives are becoming more and more technology dependent.  As the popularity of smart phones, Ipads, Kindles and the like grows, educators are making use of the trend to help students learn.  Hundreds of apps are now targeted at those engaged in the pursuit of knowledge.  The following are among the best, according to eschoolnews writer Jenna Swang:

1.  Word Lens

For: Foreign Language Classes
What it Does:  Translates signs from one language to another using the camera app.
Cost: Free

2.   Molecules

For: Science Classes
What it Does: Allows users to manipulate molecules to view from different angles.
Cost: Free

3.  Blackboard Mobile Learn

For: Any classes for which the teacher already has an online blackboard
What it Does: Allows users access to the blackboard through their mobile device
Cost: Free

4.  Today in History

For: History Classes
What it Does: Lists important events in history as well as important people who were born or died on the day in question
Cost: Free

5.  Math Ref Free

For: Math Classes
What it Does: Provides over 600 formulas, equations, and graphs for reference
Cost: Free

The above tools are fun to use and can certainly help the motivated student to gain a better grasp of any subject.  Take advantage of the fact that your student is glued to his or her phone, and download the above apps.

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“US education is still the best in the world – but here’s what we can learn from others”

In a recent article on the education website, Daniel Domenech argues that the US educational system is the best in the world.  He cites as support that the United States is the most powerful country in the world with the largest economy.  How, he asks, has the United States become so successful? The educational system upon which our economy is built must be doing something right.  Further, the US education system is the best its ever been with graduation rates
reaching record highs and dropout rates at record lows.

Does this mean that there is no room for improvement in the way that the US currently does education?  Absolutely not, argues Domenech.  There is much that we can learn from other countries.

Europe: Academic or Vocational Track

Europe (more specifically Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Malta):  In these countries, once students pass the eighth grade they are given the option to enter either an academic track or a vocational track.  If they opt for the vocational track (and 60% do), then they spend half their time in school and the other half employed in apprenticeship programs in private sector companies.  Upon graduation from high school they can then elect to go to work for these companies or pursue additional “technical” education.

Why might it be in the best interest of the United States to use Europe as a model?  Europe’s youth unemployment is in the single digits.  Compare that to our youth unemployment rate, which is in the double digits.  If the United States offered paid vocational tracks for its students, perhaps the third of US students who currently drop out might consider continuing education.

Finland, Singapore: Ongoing Teacher Training

Finland,Singapore:  In these countries, education and the ongoing development of educators is greatly emphasized.  These countries invest both time and money in continuing teacher development.  As the quality of the teacher is the single most important variable influencing student success, it would make sense for the US to implement teacher monitoring and evaluation programs, and to then tailor specific programs to help teachers to improve.

Vietnam: No Government Funding for Private Schools

Vietnam: In Vietnam, the well-to-do attend private schools.  In Vietnam, however, private schools are subject to the same regulations that public schools are, and are not eligible for government support.  The U.S. could learn from this model by not diverting government funds from public education to support private education.

All in all, the US educational system is something to be very proud of, argues Domenech.  But we’d do well to take some pointers from other countries.

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