Archive for June, 2010

Tips to becoming a successful online student

Jun. 29th 2010

Think that taking online classes is a cake walk? Study from home. Work at your own schedule. No one ticking off your attendance. No pesky instructors staring you down while you squirm in your chair and stutter to explain the symbolism of Moby Dick.

Maybe so. But taking classes online also includes a number of challenges that force students to become more responsible for their own time and their own learning. Showing up to class and pretending not to sleep won’t cut it in a virtual environment.

Here are a few tips for being successful in an online class:

1. Manage your time effectively. Most online courses only require that assignments are turned in by a certain date and time, but they do not require students to be logged in at a specific time or to be “in class.” Therefore, students have the flexibility to complete assignments and study the material at a time that is convenient for them (assuming that deadlines are met). Determining your schedule depends on your circumstances: Would you prefer to study in the morning or at night? What are your work or family obligations, and where can study fit in to that schedule? Without the demands of a set schedule, it can be easy to postpone study and to fall behind. Managing your time and being self-disciplined will help you to succeed.

2. Create a study space. Just as you need to set a schedule for study, you also need to create a place to study. The benefits of studying at home mean that you can do it anywhere. The drawbacks of studying at home are that … you can do it anywhere. It’s easy to plop down in front of the t.v. or to turn on some music or chat with a friend while you are supposed to be studying or finishing an assignment. Those are distractions that will easily cause you to fall behind if you’re not careful. It’s best to set aside a space where you can concentrate and be free of distractions. If that’s not home, then take your laptop to a local coffee shop, or haul your books to the library. Do whatever you need to do to ensure that you can do your best.

3. Hone written communication skills. You can’t just raise your hand and struggle through your responses with “Well, you know, it’s like…” All of your responses and discussions will take place virtually, which means typed out on a keyboard. Give thoughtful consideration to your responses before you send them, as these will likely count towards what would be a traditional participation grade. Also remember that you won’t any one-on-one personal interaction with your instructor, which means that whatever impression you make will be down through writing. Consider your message carefully.

4. Ask for support. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions, or to take advantage of support services. You can’t meekly ask your teacher your question as you’re running out the door at the end of class one day. You have to speak up and be assertive when you need help, and you have to seek out the answers to your questions. Instructors are always available through e-mail, and many are available by phone. Other supports services are also available online, including registration, financial aid, academic support, and more.

5. Balance personal responsibilities. Just because you can work on your own schedule doesn’t necessarily mean that you can then fill up your time with work or family responsibilities. Don’t take on overtime if you don’t need to, don’t volunteer to be your child’s Little League coach, don’t volunteer to lead that committee. Be sure that you have the time to fulfill all of your obligations, and be sure to make your study a priority. You are making an investment in your future.

6. Be a good team player. Online learning usually involves a lot of collaborative study, and you will be given a lot of group assignments. Learn how to communicate effectively and work together in a group. This is a skill that will serve you well long after you graduate!

7. Have or develop technical savvy. Obviously, having access to and knowing how to use both a computer and the Internet is essential. But it helps to have some familiarity and ease with technology, as there are bound to be some glitches along the way, which will require your patience, at the least, and possibly your knowledge and resourcefulness to fix.

8. Have good family support. Starting a degree program is a big undertaking — whether online or in a traditional classroom setting. Family support is crucial to success, as students will often need support, in the form of encouragement, or help, or even just confidence in their ability. For an online program, it is also important to get family support in terms of recognizing “class time” and not intruding on that and giving it the full respect it needs.

9. Put in what you want to get out. As with any study program, you will get out of it what you put into it. If you put in hard work and long hours studying, you will not only be successful in your program, but also in the industry in which you choose to work. You will be better prepared for the job market and the task at hand. Treat an online program with the same respect you would a traditional campus-based program: You are learning the same information and the same skills, regardless of the format.

10. Have an open mind. The format of your degree program may take some getting used to at first. Online learning is still relatively new, and many people (including the students) may not give it the respect that it deserves. Know that you can receive the same quality of education through an online degree, and that employers will respect the degree you earn.

Posted by maria magher | in Education | No Comments »

Research shows that college students are more susceptible to gambling addictions

Jun. 27th 2010

When you come across an ad on a poker site that reads: “College Students: Win Your Tuition,” you can see that there is something very, very wrong with this picture.

College students are three times more likely to develop a “probable pathological gambling problem,” than any other member of a population, especially if they have 24/7 access to the Internet, and thousands of dollars of student loans in their bank accounts. Approximately 1-2 percent of the U.S. adult population has a pathological gaming problem, but for college students, that percentage lies somewhere between 4-11 percent.

In an article on EdgeFoundation.org, a site dedicated to coaching students with ADHD, a statistic is referenced which states that if a student is attending a class seminar, at least one person sitting at a 10 person table suffers from a gambling problem. In one national survey which involved 10,765 students from 199 U.S. colleges, it was found that 42 percent of the participating students claimed to have gambled in the past year, and 2.6 percent gambled on a weekly basis.

College student gambling addictionResearch also found that college athletes are more likely to develop a gambling problem than non-college athletes. Out of the 636 college athletes participating in a national survey, approximately 15 percent had a pathological gambling problem. The most popular form of gambling activities for student-athletes are placing bets on sports games, purchasing lottery tickets, and playing card games or slot machines in casinos.

The psychology of gambling

The American Psychiatric Association defines problem gambling as a “disorder of impulse control,” similar to that of alcohol or drug addictions.  A group of U.S. researchers discovered that medications which are usually used to treat those with addiction problems, can also be effective for problem gamblers.

However, it is important to point out the differences between someone who has a gambling problem, and someone who is diagnosed as a pathological gambler: Problem gamblers gamble away their money, but pathological gamblers will gamble away money or objects they don’t even own. Both groups of gamblers are more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation, which can become a serious health issue. They can also suffer from intense mood swings, or fall into a state of depression after they stop gambling, and because they struggle to control their impulses, they are more likely to develop drinking, drug, or weight problems.

Approximately 19 percent of all online gamblers are defined as a “probable pathological gambler.” Pathological gamblers suffer from a disorder known as DSM-IV, so when they gamble they experience a sort of “high feeling” because of the serotonin levels in their brain. In one research study conducted on pathological gamblers suffering from DSM-IV, it was found that subjects responded positively to pharmaceutical treatment.

Also, those who suffer from ADHD are especially at risk of becoming a pathological or problem gamblers because they struggle to control their impulses. In one research study it was found that 20-30 percent of problem gamblers “appear to have some form of attention deficit,” and another impulsive disorders, such as compulsive buying or compulsive sexual disorders, can be diagnosed in 35 percent of pathological gamblers.

Colleges and universities need stricter policies on gambling

Although there is research which proves that gambling is becoming more and more of an issue among college students, there is still a lack of gambling policies among campuses. In a U.S. study of 119 colleges, only 22 percent had some sort of gambling policy.

The Task Force on College Gambling Policies believes that more colleges should make treatment programs available for gambling addictions, just as they would for drinking or drug addictions. Because universities prohibit the use of alcohol or drugs on campus, the Task Force believes they should also include gambling in the campaign against addiction.

“In many cases, drug and alcohol addiction should be secondary to gambling addiction,” said Arnie Wexler, a recovering gambling addict who now runs a gambling hotline. “[Universities and colleges] don’t get it. It is easier to place a bet on a college campus than to buy a beer or a pack of cigarettes.”

In the article “Addressing College Gambling: Recommendations for Science-Based Policies and Programs,” the authors write:

“The academic mission of colleges and universities to promote learning cannot be achieved without a healthy student body…Today’s college students seem increasingly vulnerable to risky behaviors and addictive disorders. Many of these young people are living on their own for the first time, away from the social controls of their family, during a time of stressful developmental transition…Many of the same bio-behavioral characteristics that make young people vulnerable to alcohol and drug problems also make gambling a risky activity with potential financial and health consequences.”

Get help!

90 percent of problem gamblers quit after going through treatment for at least one year. If you or someone you know is suffering from a gambling addiction, you can call the Gamblers Hotline at 1-800-522-4700 or Arnie & Sheila Wexler’s hotline at 1-888-LAST BET.

You can also visit the following sites:

Gamblers Anonymous

The National Council on Problem Gambling

Institute for Problem Gambling

The Center for Online and Internet Addiction

GamCare

The National Center for Responsible Gaming

Posted by alexis | in Resources | 1 Comment »

Top iPhone/iPad apps for kids

Jun. 27th 2010

It’s an iWorld these days, and iTechnology is making its way into the classroom more and more. Several colleges have given either an iPhone or an iPad to incoming students, as well as some K-12 schools. One middle school has even given an iPhone touch to every student for use in the classroom and for homework.

Apple has responded by creating a number of apps that can be used in the classroom or for educational purposes. We’ve listed some of the best apps for the iPhone or iPad for all ages of learners:

PopMath Basic MathPopMath
This app is designed as a game that teaches basic math, including adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. One review reads:

“I got this for my 3rd grader who HATES math and hasn’t been very successful with multiplication. If school could be half as fun as this app, she would be a math ace. She loves this app, and so do I – and I’m 37! It’s a little addicting. We use this for her multiplication practice. I never have to beg her to practice anymore.”

Highlights Hidden Pictures
Children can color pictures and find hidden items. There are eight pictures with the original download, which costs $1.99. Additional puzzle packs are available for 99 cents, and a free puzzle is available each month. The app won the 2010 Parents’ Choice Silver Award.

Word Magic
This 99 cent app for the iPhone and iPad is designed to help young students learn to spell and improve vocabulary. The app shows a picture with a word with one letter missing. Children then enter the missing letter to spell the word correctly.

Learn Sight Words
This app includes over 300 sight words flashcards to help students learn to read. It even sounds out the words. One review reads:

“This is an awesome game and learning tool! As a mom and literacy tutor, I love it, and my five-year-old son loves it too and learns so much. The sound quaility is so much better in this app than other sight (high-frequency) word apps I’ve tried. Very nice work! I look forward to updates with more high-frequency words added…. like Fry’s 1000 along with Dolch’s.”

Manual for the United States of America
This $1.99 app for older children doesn’t focus around a game, but rather provides numerous important documents for navigating and understanding American history. Included are copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Federalist Papers, and more.

NASA
This free app offers a wealth of information about space travel, including images and videos. A great app for all learners, even those who are no longer students!

Musee de Louvre
The famed Parisian museum offers a virtual tour of its galleries, including famed works by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. You can also get an up-close view of the crown jewels. No need to fly to the other side of the world to get a look at these cultural treasures!

Kindle
No need to buy a separate e-reader; just download this app and read thousands of texts right on your iPhone or iPad. There are over 540,000 books available for download, including new releases and bestsellers. The app is free, but the downloads are not.

FORA.tv
From the description of the app: “FORA.tv helps intelligent, engaged audiences get smart. Our users find, enjoy, and share videos about the people, issues, and ideas changing the world.” This free app allows users to download smart videos of leading scholars talking about the issues.

Dictionary.com
A great app for helping students with vocabulary, or simply just a great resource for anyone. The free app works just like a pocket dictionary. Simple and easy.

Ask PhilosopherAskPhilosophers
This free app lets users pose big questions to get the guidance of professional philosophers. Potential questions are organized into categories such as abortion, animals, biology, children and more.

Open Culture
Users of this free app have access to educational and video collections, including audio books, podcasts, open courses, and more.

POETRY from the Poetry Foundation
Hundreds of poems from classic and contemporary poets are available through this free app. One review reads:

“Though, sometimes limited new poems, it’s a really great app to find and read poems that fit your fancy at the time. It’s easy and fun to use. I use it before bed and it’s a great way to end a day. Don’t waste your time with other poetry apps. This is where it’s at.”

Shakespeare
Readdle and PlayShakespeare.com teamed up to create this free app, which makes the complete works of William Shakespeare on your iPhone. You can even search within texts by keyword to find the source of quotes, to track down plot points, and more. And don’t worry about trying to read a play in one sitting: The app automatically remembers your last page.

Stanza
Over four million books are available to read on this free app. Downloads are for purchase, and there are over 50,000 contemporary titles. There are also 50,000 classic available for free download. Stanza was named one of the “Top 11 iPhone Applications” by Time Magazine, as well as one of the “10 Most Awesome iPhone Apps of 2008″ by Wired Magazine.

The Ilyiad and the Odyssey
Exactly what the name says: This app provides full text of the complete Ilyiad and Odyssey, the classic texts by Homer. The app presents a new way to read electronic text, eliminating font and scrolling issues by displaying the text in the manner of a teleprompter so that a constant flow of text is moving across the screen at a font that is easy to read. Just control the flow by tilting the device.

Spanish Tutor
This free app provides a personal language lab. There are lessons on words and phrases, with audio recordings of native speakers. There are also quizzes and a tracking system that helps users focus on areas that need the most improvement.

Street Museum
This app uses GPS technology to allow users to explore the streets of London — both old and new. The guide uses hundreds of images from the Museum of London’s gallery to show both “everyday and momentous occasions.”

History: Maps of the World
High-resolution historical maps help students conceptualize history from around the world. Features also include a category/era view, a keyword search, zoom, and screen rotation. There are separate apps that focus on maps according to a specific continent or region.

Brain Thaw
This math puzzle game costs 99 cents, and is one of the most popular. Addition, multiplication, and fractions are just a few of the skills that children can learn through this game. One review reads:

“This game is extremely fun and addicting! The graphics are adorable and so too are the sound effects and music. As someone who’s been out of 4th grade for awhile, I was initially stumped by the terms “factor” or “multiple”, but it all quickly came back to me. I expect that this game will provide me an enjoyable way to improve my basic math skills.”

Posted by maria magher | in Education, Technology | 5 Comments »

It’s never too late: Get your GED with online study

Jun. 26th 2010

More and more degrees are becoming available online, so it only makes sense that there are now more options for completing your GED through online study.

Of course, you only take the actual GED test at designated government centers on specified days. This is necessary to ensure the legitimacy of the test taker and the conditions under which the test was taken. However, there are a number of programs available online to prepare students to take the test. Providing this option online makes much sense as many students who do not complete their high-school diplomas leave school to attend to family matters or work, or they do not fare well in the traditional school setting, either because of learning differences or social anxieties. Getting the training online offers more flexibility to be able to manage study and family or work obligations, and to work in a more (theoretically) isolated space that offers more chance for reflection and self-regulation.

Many online GED prep courses cost a fee (anywhere from $19.95 to over $700), but there are a few free options. Most of them offer rolling, open admissions, meaning that students can enroll at anytime and can control the pace of study. Some require that students meet a certain age requirement (16 or 18 in most cases) or a certain level of education (starting at ninth grade, usually).

The GED tests general knowledge of five subject areas: Language Arts, Writing; Social Studies; Science; Language Arts, Reading; and Mathematics. The test is mostly multiple choice, but a few sections have essay questions. The test measures general knowledge, and does not require the memorization of vast detailed information. It also tests on information that can be acquired through life experiences, radio, television, books, newspapers, and more.

The individual tests can be taken separately or all at the same time, depending on the test center. The fee for the test also varies by center, but is typically vary low (less than $10). Other requirements vary by state and testing center and may include achieving a certain score on a basic skills test, enrolling in an orientation or seminar, or being of a certain age or education level.

Remember that many community colleges offer prep courses for free throughout the state in which you live. However, for online courses, here are some of the top options:

Excel High School
Students can choose to pursue an accredited online high-school diploma or a GED through Excel. The school is accredited by the National Private Schools Accreditation Group, and students can choose to attend courses for credit recovery, as well. The fee for the online GED or adult-high school diploma course is $299, and payment plans are available.

GED Academy
This program includes free teacher and tech support for as long as students need it, and there is no time limit for study. Students are given lifetime enrollment with the purchase of the course, which costs $299 (a monthly installment plan is available). Free updates and additional courses are also included with enrollment whenever the student needs them. Grants are available to pay up to one-third of the cost.

My GED.com
My GED offers a free practice test that is open to the public. Its preparatory Multimedia GED Certificate Course costs $29.95 and includes practice testing and success strategies.

GED for Free
This online preparation course is completely free, and it includes practice tests. The course is designed for students with a ninth-grade level of education or higher. The course is available for enrollment at any time and includes tips and strategies, with an emphasis on the math portion.

John Adams Virtual School
John Adams offers both an adult high-school diploma and a GED prep course. There is a traditional semester-length program or an accelerated 14-day program. The program cost is $299, and there are payment plans available. The program also offers a money-back guarantee.

Columbia North High School
Students have several options at Columbia North High School: a GED study course, an adult high-school diploma, and a free test-prep course. The GED study kit costs $99, and the adult high-school diploma program costs $219. The program is accredited by the Capitol Network for Distance Learning Programs. Graduation packages are available.

Adison High School
Adison offers an adult high-school diploma for $299. The program is accredited by the International Accreditation Committee of Online High School and offers a “genuine” high-school diploma. Financing and scholarship options are available.

Nation High School
Nation offers an accredited high-school diploma. The program is self-paced and is open to students 18 and older. Costs range from $239 to $799. Financing and scholarships are available.

Study Guide Zone
Students can find free resources here to study for the GED at their pace and in their own self-designed program. There are study guides, targeted subject help, general test information, practice questions, and information about college.

Test Prep Review.com
There are numerous self-assessment modules across the subject areas, with focused specialization within each area, such as basic algebra and advanced algebra, among other options, in math; commas and basic grammar in language; social studies; science; and more. The site also provides numerous online resources to improve weak areas to enhance your score.

Branson School Online
Administrators at Branson School Online (a Colorado K-12 online public school) created this program with students for whom attending a physical GED prep course was not possible. Students who are Colorado residents take official practice tests, then study through interactive lessons in the areas where they underperformed. Students in the program are checked out a computer to use during the program, are given an online teacher and mentor, and are given a voucher to take the test at a Colorado location. Enrollment is on a time line, and is limited to 100 students. Students who do not meet certain requirements may be charged a $325 tuition fee.

Free and Affordable Distance Education
This free collection of resources includes sample tests, practice modules, and sample questions. It also has listed resources for “affordable” GED prep courses and guidebooks.

GED OnlineClass
Missouri’s GED OnlineClass is a free program available only to Missouri residents. Students must take an on-site placement test before enrolling in the course, and must then re-test at another on-site location when the course is completed. Students are also required to maintain steady communication with their teachers.

Finally, once you are well-prepared and ready to take the course, check out the official site for GED test information to find rules, testing sites, and other information:

Official Site for the GED Test

Posted by maria magher | in Degrees, Education | 1 Comment »

Law school: To go or not to go?

Jun. 24th 2010

Economic news continues to remain bleak. Forecasts for the coming year are slightly optimistic”>, but unemployment remains high (9.9 percent) and is only projected to drop slightly (9.1 percent to 9.5 percent).

With the gloomy employment outlook, many job seekers and recent graduates are returning to school for continued training or a graduate degree, with many choosing fields such as law, business, and medicine. The New York Times reported that the number of people taking the Law School Admissions Test rose 20 percent in October, compared with October 2008. Many law schools also reported a significant increase in application over last year, including Washington University in St. Louis (19 percent), the University of San Francisco School of Law (35 percent), the University of Iowa’s College of Law (39 percent), and Cornell University’s Law School (44 percent), just to name a few.

But law school and other professional schools may not be the golden ticket they once were. Many professionals are questioning the value of the legal degree in light of continued layoffs, lower salary expectations, and increased competition. It all presents the question: Should you go to law school or not?

Law school demands

The first thing you should ask yourself is whether you can handle the academic rigor of law school.

Competition begins before you even enter with the Law School Admissions Test. Average scores for the top schools start at 160 — out of a possible 180. The average score is 150. Admissions rates for the top law schools fall under 30 percent, with many falling much lower.

Once you enter law school, be prepared for three years of full-time, rigorous academic study. Working hours are limited, as students are expected to devote the majority of their time to their classes and study. Failure rates are high. (Consider this classic caution given to first-year law students at the beginning of their classes: “Look to your left, look to your right, because one of you won’t be here by the end of the year.”)

Also consider that graduation is not the finish line: You still have to take the bar exam in the state in which you intend to practice.

Investment

Even at some of the lower-tier schools, law school is a significant investment. Tuition alone can cost over $100,000 for the three years, not including the cost of books, supplies, and living expenses. The average law student graduates with about $75,000 in debt, according to Law Boost.com. Not only can this create a significant financial burden while in school and once you graduate, it can also severely limit the job opportunities available to you once you graduate. With that much debt, it would be hard to choose a job in public interest or government, where salaries are as low as $30,000 to $50,000. Such debt loads force many graduates into jobs at large, private law firms, where the salaries are higher, but so is the demand to perform and bill large numbers of hours. The long working hours and strain lead to higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression — not to mention create a strain on (or an impediment to) family life.

How much you make is dependent on several factors, including the type of law you practice, where you work, and your geographic location. Typically, lawyers working in big private firms specializing in corporate law or litigation can expect to make the most. Public-interest jobs at non-profit organizations will usually pay the lowest.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual salary of all lawyers in May 2008 was $110,590. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of lawyers were:

Management of companies and enterprises: $145,770
Federal Executive Branch: $126,080
Legal services: $116,550
Local government: $82,590
State government: $78,540

For recent graduates, the salaries listed nine months after graduation were as follows:

All graduates: $68,500
Private practice: $108,500
Business: $69,100
Government: $50,000
Academic/judicial clerkships: $48,000

But all this assumes that recent graduates will actually find work. The New York Times reported that 4,600 lawyers were laid off last year. Better schools tend to have better job placement ratings, but finding work is still difficult.

Some good news: the BLS predicts a 13 percent increase in legal jobs by 2018.

Work life

The stereotypical depictions of lawyers working 80 hours a week in a high-pace, high-stress environment isn’t far from the truth. But, like salary, it depends on the kind of law you practice and where you work. Every private firm will have a required amount of hours that must be billed for the year — depending on the size of the firm and the market, this can be up to 2200 (or about 46 hours a week for a 48-week year, excluding vacations). Keep in mind that not every moment of you day will be billable. Most attorneys typically work up to 20 percent more than their billable hours (or about 55 hours, using that example). These speculations are for best-case scenarios. An 80-hour work week is possible (and typical for large firms), and even in government or public-interest jobs, a 60-hour work week is typical. A big case can consume a lot of time (hours long into the night) for months at a time, during which flexibility and time off are not options.

Irregular work hours and weekend work are typical. Many lawyers find balancing work and home life to be challenging, causing some lawyers with families to look for non-traditional work with non-profit organizations or in academia.

The upside to the unpredictable work schedule is that you’re also relatively able to set your own schedule and to have some flexibility. Outside of court schedules and deadlines, lawyers are relatively able to have flexibility in leaving during the day to tend to appointments, workouts, child care, etc.

Is it right for you?

When considering whether to go to law school, ask yourself what are your strengths. Are you a creative thinker, or are you analytical? Next, ask yourself what kinds of tasks you enjoy. Do you enjoy problem-solving, or would you prefer working with people? Discovering your aptitudes and your key personality traits will help you better understand if a legal career is right for you.

Besides being intelligent and academically curious, lawyers need to be:

* logical and critical thinkers
* good at dealing with people
* good negotiators
* able to understand a problem from multiple points of view
* able to detach emotionally from a case
* confident
* empathetic

Motivation

Finally, when you consider attending law school, ask yourself why you want to go.

There is only one good reason to go to law school: You want to be a lawyer. Many students confuse going to law school with the day-to-day practice of being a lawyer. The life of an attorney may sound glamorous: Big salary, prestigious position, work that makes an impact. But the reality is that you may not make as much money as you thought, and if you do, you’ll be working long and stressful hours. Even if you want to “make a difference,” the reality is that you’ll spend most of your time researching, filing documents, and holding meetings. Cases that will make legislative changes are rare, and they will likely be handled by attorneys with much more experience.

Posted by maria magher | in Degrees, Education | No Comments »

Law schools inflate grades so students can compete in the job market

Jun. 23rd 2010

There has been quite a stir on the Internet these past few days after the New York Times broke the news that ten law schools in the U.S. are boosting student’s grades on purpose. Apparently this method is becoming popular for law schools because it not only helps their student records, it also protects the school’s reputation and rank.

Happy law school student Some of the ten schools are New York University, Georgetown University, the University of Southern California, Golden Gate University, Tulane University, as well as Loyola Law School Los Angeles, who have added 0.333 to every student’s grade for the past few years. Some law schools like Harvard and Stanford have recently developed a pass/fail grading system, similar to that of law schools at University of California, Berkeley, and Yale.

This new grade inflation policy has been receiving mixed reviews. One blogger at the LA weekly wrote an article titled “Students At Loyola Law School Get Better Grades Without Having To Earn Them,” while another article on thecareerist.com states “What’s Wrong with Grade Inflation?” Author Vivia Chen writes:

“Personally, I’m all for grade inflation. I definitely could have used it when I was in law school. More importantly, I also believe that employers should take a more holistic approach to hiring. In fact, sometimes employers, who are not allowed to prescreen are so impressed by interviewees with less than perfect transcripts that they end up giving them offers…So a little attention to such frivolous things as personality might not be a bad thing.”

Stuard Rojstaczer, a grade inflation expert who used to work as a geophysics professor at Duke University, also put in his two cents on the issue in the NYT article:

“If somebody’s paying $150,000 for a law school degree, you don’t want to call them a loser at the end…So you artificially call every student a success.”

Traditionally, law schools have been known to enforce strict grade rules on the number of A’s and B’s awarded, which has added a lot of pressure to law students. For instance, in 2004 Princeton University announced that it would be curbing grade inflation so only 35 percent of students in each class are awarded an A.

In the NYT article published last January, one Princeton studentis quoted as saying:

“The nightmare scenario…is that you apply with a 3.5 from Princeton and someone just as smart as you applies with a 3.8 from Yale.”

In the same article, another Princeton student states:

“People intuitively take a G.P.A. to be a representation of your academic ability and act accordingly. The assumption that a recruiter who is screening applications is going to treat a Princeton student differently based on a letter is naïve.”

Lynn O’Shaughnessy, the author of The College Solution and blogger for CBSMoneyWatch.com, wrote an article this past March in which she defines 3 reasons why grade inflation is becoming more and more popular:

1. Professors don’t want to jeopardize students’ chances for graduate school and jobs after those fun college years are over.

2. Professors can be cowed by the teacher evaluation forms that students complete. No teacher wants a terrible rating on RateMyProfessors.com.

3. At expensive private schools, students and their parents expect high grades to match these institutions’ high price tags.

But the numbers speak for themselves: in the past 50 years GPAs have been increasing by approximately 0.1 to 0.2 per decade.  Here is a list of the GPA statistics for some of the universities mentioned, according to gradeinflation.com:

When the economy fails, grades inflate

Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy wrote a report in March of 2010 which studies grading patterns in American colleges and universities. Their report uses statistics from over 160 colleges and universities in America, all of which have a combined enrollment of over 2,000,000 students. The authors claim in the report that grades are used as a motivational tool for students, especially when the economy goes sour.

Grade inflation statistics The report explains that grades rise depending on the state of the economy: During the 1930s and 1940s grades rose “measurably” during the Great Depression, and there was also a “rapid rise” in the 1960s during the Vietnam War. Since then, grades have been rising steadily since the 1980s, which coincides with the Stock Market Crash of 1987, the dot-com crash in 2000, and of course, the most recent Stock Market Crash of 2008.

Posted by alexis | in Career, Education | 5 Comments »

Top 40 Special Education blogs

Jun. 22nd 2010

1. Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs
This resource-rich blog aims to help “teachers of learners with severe, profound, intensive, significant, complex or multiple special needs.” You’ll find review of the iPhone and similar products, as well as lists of apps to use. You’ll also find suggestions for activities, free software, paraprofessional resources, reading Web sites, links to supplies, and more.

2. Special Education Law Blog
Jim Gerl, a state education consultant and frequent speaker on special-ed law topics, writes this blog to offer “a fresh look at special education law — mostly in understandable English.” Gerl is a also a due process hearing officer and a mediator, he has presented at numerous conferences, and he has trained hearing officers, mediators and complaint investigators. The blog offers explanation and overview of law pertaining to special education (Special Education Law 101 – Part IV) and it discusses current events and news relevant to special education (Supreme Court Declines to Review NCLB).

3. The Life That Chose Me
Daniel Dage is a high-school special-education teacher and is the father of two boys with ASD. His blog is personal and heartfelt, and it shares his experiences with special-needs children, both as an educator and as a parent. Some notable posts include The Long, Hard Road, 10 Years by the Numbers, and What is a Good Teacher Worth?

4. Special Classroom
Gillian, a teacher of students with multiple disabilities, provides a lot of useful tricks and teaching strategies on this blog. Readers can find tips on how to adapt tools such as glue sticks and markers for special-needs students, holiday activities, game ideas, adapted recipes, and more. This is a very useful site for teachers who need some good tips for everyday activities!

5. Education on the Plate
Deven Black writes about his experiences as a special-education teacher — a career that he came to later in life. He takes an honest and passionate approach to his writing, which explores his experiences with special education. He also discusses current events and legislation affecting the field. Some notable posts include Student Progress: Sometimes It’s Not the Teacher, New Mirrors. Less Smoke? and Better Students? Not My Job!

6. Teachers at Risk
Elona Hartjes is a special-education teacher who writes about her experiences and shares strategies to help teachers help students. Elona has over 20 years of experience and has won the Teacher of Distinction Award. Through her blog, she shares advice and practical classroom strategies, including ways to motivate struggling students by helping them start blogs, how to use (or not use) music in the classroom, and how to use Web 2.0 technology.

7. Special Education Law Blog
Charles P. Fox, an attorney in Illinois and the father of a child with special needs, runs this blog, which professes to be “a special education legal resource discussing case law, news, practical advocacy advice, and developments in state and federal laws, statutes and regulations.”

8. I Will Make a Difference – Will You?

9. Teacher Ponders
This blog was originally created to track one teacher’s question to become a special-education administrator. Now this blog is used by Liberty Rose, a special-education teacher and mother to an autistic child, to share her experiences and frustrations.

10. Teach Effectively!
This resource-focused blog shares evidence-based teaching methods for helping students who are at risk or who have learning disabilities or special needs. It also spends time “lampooning some pop-ed fads, whims, and bologna-based innovations.” Posts include webinars, commentary and reviews.

11. SpeEdChange
This blog’s focus is “The future of education for all the different students in democratic societies.” Readers of this blog will find lengthy and thoughtful posts about special-education methods, theory and more. There are also numerous links to valuable resources about different educational theories and school examples. Some notable posts include Learning Video Games and the Cost of Failure, In Praise of Distraction, and Retard Theory.

12. Dr. Chris’ Autism Journal
This blog provides “thoughts, commentary, and analysis on computer-assisted instruction and Autism Spectrum Disorders” by Dr. Chris, a licensed psychologist and board certified behavior analyst specializing in autism and related disorders. There are also reviews, links to recommended sites and other resources available on the blog.

13. EBD Blog
Emotional and behavioral disorders are the focus of this blog, which offers news, commentary, resources, and more. Some notable posts include Bad Science?, Bipolar or Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphora, and Autism Appears Early.

14. Free Resources from the Net for Every Learner
The blog is exactly what its name says: A compendium of resources for teachers. There are videos, curriculum, books, apps, and more. A useful resource for any teacher!

15. Bilingual Special Education
Claudia Rinaldi writes this blog, which includes article and book reviews, findings from industry conferences, news, suggestions, and more. The author also shares professional research articles that she writes on topics of interest.

16. Sped Pro
A group of academics write this blog, which includes news, commentaries, information about jobs and conferences, and more. The content is aimed toward special-education professionals and ways that they can enhance their research or their teaching.

17. Special Education MangoMon Blog
This blog is an offshoot of MangoMon, which discusses online curriculum for all types of students. The Special Education blog offers numerous resources for special-education teachers and parents, technology reviews, ideas, useful Web sites, and more.

18. Special Education Strategies and More
Michelle, a special-education teacher in Florida, created this blog as a means to help “teachers and parents of children with special needs to find positive strategies that promote academic, social and emotional growth.” Her focus is on early intervention, and her blog features ideas, tips, strategies, personal experiences, and more. Resources include games for literacy, science, math, and more; interactive sites, lesson ideas, blogs, and more.

19. Developments in Special Education Law
Attorney H. Jeffrey Marcus runs this blog, which focuses on federal and New York State law that pertains to special education. He discusses recent legislative and regulatory developments in special-education law. A great resource for active parents!

20. EdTech Solutions: Teaching Every Student
Karen Janowski, an assistive and educational technology consultant, writes this blog. She states that her goal is “to remove the obstacles to learning for all students. It is important to make the curriculum accessible to all learners and provide opportunities for struggling learners to demonstrate what they know using principles of universal design.” Her site is resource-driven and hands-on, and it includes tips and tricks, informational posts, wikis, links to useful sites, and more.

21. KPS 4 Parents
Anne M. Zachry is the author and moderator of this blog, which aims to “enlighten and empower all responsible adults to ensure that all children, regardless of disability, receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education.” Zachry shares news and commentary about special education, resources for teachers and parents, and interesting links. The site also offers workshops and podcasts.

22. Jerry’s Special Education Blog
Jerry Webster writes this blog for About.com. The blog features news and reports about special education, mixed in with some guidelines on teaching strategies. There is also information about IEPs, lesson plans and behavior management.

23. Ann’s Learning Disabilities Blog
Another About.com blog. This one offers more tips for the special-education teacher and parent. There are ideas for games, worksheets and lessons, activities, strategies for relationships, and more.

24. I Speak of Dreams
Liz Ditz writes this blog about effective parent, learning disabilities and more. She shares news, reviews, and resources about learning disabilities, with a focus on autism. Personal posts about her daily life are sometimes included between the posts about education and current events.

25. Special Education and Learning Differences
PCI Education manages this blog, which aims to help with teaching build basic academic and life skills. The focus is on special education and other struggling students, including ESL students and high-school students. Posts are informative, and they cover ideas for the classroom, news, reviews, and more.

26. Teacher Sol
Maria Angala is a special education teacher in Washington, D.C., and this is her personal blog. She shares her personal experiences and thoughts, as well as news, reviews, links to useful sites, and more. Notable posts include When I Was a School Administrator Back Then and On Becoming a Teacher Leader.

27. Your Mama’s Mad Tedious: Diary of a Special Ed Teacher
This personal blog, written by a special-education teacher, features news, commentary, shared resources and links, and more for teachers and parents of special-education children. Notable posts include Becoming an Autism Educator, It Bears Repeating, and Beautiful Absurdities.

28. Disability 411
This blog features regular podcasts with information about disabilities. There are also links to other useful sites and items of interest, including videos, news stories, resources, and more.

29. No Limits to Learning
This assistive technology blog guides teachers and educators through the use of technology such as the iPhone, web applications, and software. Author Lon Thornburg, an assistive technology specialist and trainer, says that his goal is to “combine success principles and motivational methods with goal setting, planning and assistive technology to help people overcome barriers.”

30. The Wrightslaw Way — to Special Education Law and Advocacy
“Eligibility for Special Ed: Grades, IQ Scores, Evaluations,” “Assistive Technology for the Struggling Notetaker,” and “Changing Schools and IEPs – Tips for Civilian & Military Families” are some of the topics you’ll see on this blog, which focuses on legal issues and advocacy for special education. There are also posts about recent legislation and other news concerning special education, as well as a special section with information on becoming politically involved in influencing legislation.

31. AT Cubed
Brian Wojcik, an assistive technology specialist, shares reflections and commentary about using assistive technology in the classroom. Many of the posts aim to start discussion about the needs and use of assistive technology, and pose thoughtful questions. There are also occasional posts that share useful classroom resources, interesting videos, and more.

32. 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter
The publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter publish this blog. The newsletter is “a bi-monthly electronic publication for those who raise, educate, and counsel high-ability children with learning issues such as AD/HD, dyslexia, Asperger’s, and so forth.” The blog is offered to “share news, events, and resources we find as we do research for the newsletter and for the complimentary monthly e-mail briefing we publish.”

33. Anna’s Blog
Anna’s Blog aims to be a space where educators can share ideas and advise to help better serve students with disabilities. Recent posts discuss advising college student with disabilities, health-care reform, and challenges to learning.

34. Barto’s World
This personal blog, written by a special-education teacher, shares information about teaching children with special needs to help them become more creative thinkers. The author shares commentary, ideas, news, and more. There are “Random Education Questions for the Week,” learning links, reading lists, and more.

35. Apace of Change
Damian Bariexca, a school psychologist and former teacher, shares reflections on education, using technology in the classroom, research, career pathways, and more.

36. Speech-Language Pathology Sharing
Eric Sailers, a speech-language pathologist, uses this blog to share resources to help teachers and parents address speech-language skills. There are videos, useful Web sites, technology reviews, advice for lessons and more.

37. Eide Neurolearning Blog
“Why Math is Hard – Implications of Developmental fMRI Changes in Arithmetic,” “The Different Ways We Think: Conceptual Thinking and the Brain,” and “The Creative Advantage: How Vivid Memories of the Past Help Predictions for the Future” are some of the recent topics discussed on this blog, which shares weekly articles “related to brain-based learning and learning styles, problem-solving and creativity, kids, families, and parenting, gifted and visual learners, dyslexia, attention deficit disorders, autism, and more.”

38. The Language Fix
Speech therapy is the focus of this blog, which can be used to help children with special needs or children in standard courses. Paul Morris, a speech and language pathologist, writes the blog, which also includes activity information, commentary, discussion about multiple aspects of speech therapy and language acquisition, research, and more.

39. SMD Teacher
Alicia has been teaching children with multiple disabilities for 14 years. Her blog shares her experiences, as well as reviews, activity and game ideas, curriculum, project ideas, technology links and ideas, useful blogs, and more.

40. Mentor Matters / Collegial Support in Desperate Times
Blogmaster Mrs. Ris writes about her experiences as a veteran emotional-disabilities teacher. Her posts range from inspirational to informational, as she shares the ups and downs of her job, as well as useful information for other educators.

Posted by maria magher | in Education | 6 Comments »

Top 25 Homeschool Blogs

Jun. 19th 2010

1. Barbara Frank Online
This freelance writer/editor and former newspaper reporter has homeschooled four children — three of whom are now adults. She continues to homeschool her youngest, who has Down’s Syndrome. She is also the author of The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschooling, Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers, and the upcoming Thriving in the 21st Century, and she publishes books and curriculum for homeschoolers with her husband. On her blog, you’ll find thoughtful discussion about homeschooling, as well as tips and links to resources.

2. Five J’s
Written by a mother of three homeschooled children, this blog shares her experiences, tips, resources and more. The author, Joy, has been homeschooling since 2005. Her self-proclaimed goal is to create life-long learners, and her posts will help other homeschooling parents do the same. Some popular posts include Four Easy Steps to Help You Fail at Homeschooling, How to Choose the Right Homeschool Curriculum for Your Family, and

3. The Homeschool Classroom
Fifteen women who homeschool their children oversee this blog, which has numerous tips, ideas, and resources for the homeschooling parent. Content is easily organized by category: Ages and Stages, Enrichment, Faith and Family, Great Links, Methods and Systems, Organization and Planning, and Subject Matter. A great resource for parents!

4. The Informed Parent
This practical-minded blog shares more resources and useful links than personal experiences about homeschooling, as so many other blogs do. Parents will find fun videos, reviews, lesson plans, and more. But the blog also has another goal: to help educate parents about their rights as homeschoolers.

5. Just Enough and Nothing More
Deschooling, zen-schooling, and unschooling are some of the topics you’ll find on this commentary blog about homeschooling and other alternative education. The blog considers “what it means to learn, and why it’s important,” “living fully as a lifelong learning family,” and “how to fall in love with learning and teaching.” The blog also talks about real experiences with homeschooling and offers tips, resources, and links to helpful Web sites.

6. Life Learning
Homeschooling mom Lisa describes her approach to unschooling, homeschooling and attachment parenting. The site is rich in resources for homeschooling parents, including recommendations for books, support groups, board games, and videos. In addition to the content shared by Lisa, including lesson and activity ideas, there are numerous links to materials, information, helpful Web sites, and more. This is a great site for any homeschooler — both for those just starting out and for those looking for new inspiration!

7. Handmade Homeschool
The philosophy behind this blog, and the reason why the woman who writes it chooses to homeschool her two children, is “that humans should not be mass-manufactured.” Between posts about art, health and the family’s daily life, you’ll find thoughtful posts about homeschooling and parenting.

8. The Good Life – A Tale of Two Sons
The mother of two young sons writes this blog about homeschooling and family life. She shares her experiences, ideas, and tips, as well as a bit of her home life.

9. Home School Home
This blogs’ tag line says it best: “The random thoughts and homeschooling ideas of a work-at-home, school-at-home mom of three. Archives go back to 2005, so there is plenty of material for ideas and inspiration — or commiseration. There are also helpful links.

10. Heart of the Matter
Faith and family are the focus of this homeschooling blog, which is rich in resources. There are sections on enrichment, reference, and family and faith. The site is even linked to an online magazine.

11. Cityschooling
This blog follows the adventure of one family as they navigate homeschooling in New York City — taking advantage of all the opportunities the city offers. Archives go back to 2004, so there is plenty of material sharing experiences and ideas.

12. Homeschooling with Joy
Many parents choose to homeschool their children to ensure a religious upbringing that is compatible with their education. This blog follows one Catholic family’s experiences and thoughts with homeschooling and their faith.

13. Homeschool Blog
This blog aims to bring homeschoolers all the latest news and ideas in homeschooling, from the latest legislation to discussion of current trends. There are also plenty of resources and links. Part news site, part resource, this site is sure to have something for every homeschooler.

14. My Bountiful Life
This homeschooling mom recently moved to India and writes about her experiences with homeschooling. There are some homeschooling resources and materials, but the focus is on the writer and her family’s experiences.

15. The Progressive Homeschooler
Homeschooling and other topics of interest to “open minded individuals” are explored on this blog. Recent blog posts cover current events, and there are numerous links to sites on politics, current events, and activism. There are also numerous links about homeschooling and using these topics in lessons.

16. Radio Free School
This blog was started by unschoolers at Radio Free School, a weekly radio show for home-based learners. The blog serves as an outlet for these homeschoolers to share experiences and, particularly, frustrations with homeschooling and the obstacles they encounter. Podcasts of Radio Free School are available for download, and there are useful links.

17. Throwing Marshmallows
Reflections on family life and trying to find balance are mixed in with posts about homeschooling. This mom of two shares her thoughts and experiences with homeschooling, children’s literature and photography.

18. Why Homeschool
This blog explores why homeschooling is a better option for children and families than a traditional education. Extensive archives, homeschool- and education-related blogs and Web sites, and various resources help round out the informative and thought-provoking posts.

19. Homeschool Math Blog
Focus in on one subject area and get all the information you need in this blog! Here you’ll find teaching ideas, links, worksheets, reviews, articles, news, and more. The site covers everything from abacus to calculus.

20. The Homeschooling Blog
A work-from-home mom and former homeschooler runs this blog in hopes of building an online homeschooling community. There are links to games, activity calendars, free lesson plans, teaching ideas, graduation supplies, and much much more.

21. Spunky Homeschool
A homeschooling mother of six runs this blog, which features thorough and thoughtful posts about homeschooling and related news. You’ll find discussion on legislation, homeschooling in the news, politics and more.

22. Alasandra’s Homeschool Blog
This hands-on blog features ideas for field trips and lesson plans, resources for homeschoolers, and posts about homeschooling issues. There are book reviews, discussion about legislation and current events, and candid discussions about homeschooling experiences. Numerous resources are provided.

23. The Homeschool Cafe
Three Mississippi homeschooling mothers write this blog, which is a mix of political commentary, talk on educational issues, and general discussion about homeschooling. Alasandra, of Alasandra’s Homeschool Blog, is one of the contributors.

24. The Thinking Mother
A homeschooling mom in Connecticut writes this blog to share her experiences with homeschooling, as well as reviews, some resources, and some ideas for activities.

25. Guilt-Free Homeschooling
An 11-year homeschooling veteran runs this site with a focus on offering help, advice, and comfort to new or struggling homeschooling parents. There are numerous links and guides to every aspect of homeschooling, sorted by category or topic.

Posted by maria magher | in Education | 1 Comment »

Top 100 technology blogs for teachers

Jun. 17th 2010

(This article is a continuation and combination of two previous lists: “The Top 25 eLearning Blogs,” and “The Top 20 Teacher Blogs” and is great for readers in any state: Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, or Tennessee).

1. The Whiteboard Blog – Nominated as the “Best Educational Tech and Support Blog” for the 2009 Edublog Awards, posts include various videos, tutorials, and resources for primary and secondary school teachers. Author Danny Nicholson is a freelance educational consultant whose main specialty lies in Interactive Whiteboards. Recommended posts: “Anne Frank’s House Interactive,” and “Maths Manipulatives.”

2. Ed Tech Central – With the slogan “From Geek to Chic and Everything in Between,” author Wes Kriesel uses his blog to introduce technology that is “free and easy.” “I focus on time-saving shortcuts, such a keyboard shortcuts or productivity tips that teachers, administrative staff and clerical staff alike can benefit from,” he said. “I also like to feature easy-to-adapt ways to implement technology in the classroom (focusing on web applications and software that is free on the internet).”  Recommended posts: “How to Export a PowerPoint Slide as a JPEG file,” “How to Use Mail Merge to Import Student Names to Certificates,” or “How to Use Animoto for Instruction.”

3. Langwitches – Popular amongst fellow educational bloggers, this blog has been nominated as the “Best Teacher Blog” for the 2009 Edublog Awards. It was also listed as one of the Top 100 Language Blogs in 2009 and 2010, and nominated as the “Best Resource Sharing Blog” and “Best Tech Support Blog” for the 2008 Edublog Awards. Recommended posts: “Infographics- What? Why? How?,” and “Presentation21 Make-Over.”

4. 21st Century EdTech –  Voted as one of the Top 50 Education Innovators Award, blogger Michael Gorman is a John Hopkins University graduate who has presented at  national and regional conferences, and also facilitates podcasts and webinars, and writes for various newsletters and magazines. Topics include 21st century skills, Project Based Learning, and STEM education, with a focus on ISTE’s and NET standards for students, teachers, and administrators. His blog provides countless collections of free resources that could help “engages today’s digital natives.” Recommended posts: “Free: Showing Evidence Tool… Collaboratively Construct, Evaluate, And Defend!,” and “Free Classroom Interactive System From Microsoft… A Little Mouse Mischief!.”

5. IHeartEdTech – “Whether it’s a cool new free tech tool on the web, or a new and interesting idea to use a current technology in a new way. IHeartEdTech.com helps teachers connect and collaborate with each other, and provides resources to build 21st century classrooms,”  says Lisa Greathouse, one of the authors on the blog who is also the Manager of SimpleK12.com. She also explained that their site “helps teachers and educators learn about, evaluate, and integrate technology into the classroom.”Recommended posts: “7 Reasons Why I Love Evernote & Why You Should Too!,” “5 Steps to Empower Your Students,” and “Freebie Man: Win a Mouse Mischief Classroom Makeover.”

6. Digital Teachers’ Lounge –  From this blog, educators can read up on the author Shannon Firth’s “Educators that Rock!” series which conducts profiles of “leading edge” educators and librarians who integrate technology into schools and public libraries. Other series include “Schools Around the World,” and their weekly quiz “Quiztory,” which is followed by “The Answer Sheet.” Recommended posts: “5 Ways to Encourage Boys to Read,” and “Need Funds for a School Project? DonorsChoose.org Can Help.”

7. Ed Tech Crew –  The Ed Tech Crew Podcast blog updates readers on their podcast series, which can be downloaded directly from the site. The authors also provide lists of their favorite podcasts as well, along with feedback from listeners, online surveys, free resources, and interesting links. Recommended posts/podcasts: “Google I-O & the iSchool Crew,” “The Internet of Things,” and “Interview with Brendan O’Brien on Cyber Safety.”

8. Technology Tidbits: Thoughts of a Cyber Hero –  This blog was nominated as the “Best New Blog” and “Best Resource Sharing Blog” for the 2009 Edublog Awards. Author David Kapuler described his blog as a site which provides useful, easy to use and free resources for teachers: “I think teachers can use my blog as a tool to help them integrate technology into the classroom. Also, I try to provide them an example of how I have used it to get the creative juices flowing for them…Not only is technology thriving but the Internet is evolving and pretty soon we’ll be talking about Web 3.0 and the practical use of the semantic web.” Recommended posts: “Top 10 Sites for Creating Digital Music,” and “Twiducate.”

9. Angela Maiers Educational Services – Angela Maiers’ blog is an “ongoing presentation” which covers a number of different topics, such as conversations with fellow educators and educational workshops, as well as a  “Chalk Talk Friday” series which provides links to other educational resources and websites. The blog was also first runner up as the “Best eLearning/Corporate Education” award for the 2009 Edublog Awards, and winner of the “Best new blog” award in 2008. The blog was also voted as one of the Top 50 Education Innovator awards, and one of the top 100 language blogs in 2009. Recommended posts: “Thoughts on Ning?” and “Setting up the your Classroom at the END of the year? YES!

10. Infinite Thinking Machine –  This blog is primarily a resource for those who want to stay updated on educational webinars. It was nominated as the “Best Educational Blog” and “Best Video Blogger” for the Blogger’s Choice Awards, and each week the author posts upcoming schedules so readers can tune in live and listen in on the latest webinars which touch on education and technology news. Some topics include Skype, math lessons, Twitter, Wikis, and much more.

11. Tech Happy – Author Keith Ferrell works as a Technology Integration Specialist at the Singapore American School, and his posts tends to focus on Internet safety, and the latest online tools, tricks, and software. Readers can get updated and introduced to interesting and interactive websites for kids, such as Freeology.com, Tagxedo, and Math Live. Recommended posts: “50 Summer Sites for Kids and Teachers,” and “Physics Games for Kids.”

12. Blogging About The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom – In the past year, Steven Anderson’s blog has received a lot of recognition, (his site was nominated for the “Best Teacher Blog” and “Best Educational Tech and Support Blog” for the 2009 Edublog Awards).  ”I love to share all the fabulous resources I share with teachers, said Anderson. “I also will pick a few and do in-depth analysis of those tools and you will find that there also. But I also try to provide my perspective on education reform and what it means to teach and learn in a Web 2.0 connected world.” Recommended posts: “An #Edchat Conversation – Howard Rheingold and Critical Thinking,” and “Beautifully and Simply Explaining Technology.”

13. Teaching Learners With Multiple Needs – In an interview, Kate Ahern stated that teachers can learn various aspects of teaching students with severe or multiple needs, such as special education software and assistive technology: “Within special education and assistive technology there is quite a bit of information on accessibility, alternative access methods (especially head and eye tracking and switches) and augmentative and alternative communication.” Re-occurring theme on the blog include assistive technology (AT), AT product reviews, AT assessment, AT implementation, or stories about using AT in the classroom. Recommended posts: “Summer Reading Programs for Special Needs Students,” and “iPod/iPhone/iPad App Round Up for Severe or Multiple Disabilities Update.”

14. Moving at the Speed of Creativity –  The blog focuses primarily on web 2.0 technologies, digital storytelling, educational leadership, literacy, digital citizenship and of course…creativity. The blog also hosts a podcast, and was selected as the “Best Learning Theory Blog” by eSchoolNews and Discovery Education in 2008. Recommended posts: “Sketchcasting: A combination of blogging, talking and drawing!,” “Digital Citizenship video resources from Hoover, Alabama Schools, and Common Sense Media,” and “Explain Virtually Anything with Claymation and Digital Storytelling.”

15. The Edublogger – Author Sue Waters works as an aquaculture lecturer in Australia, and entertains readers not only educational issues, but technological ones as well, (such as how to avoid spam in your e-mail account, or tips on using web browsers). Recommended posts: “Managing Students on Blogs…What Role Do You Assign Students?,” “Week 1 – Create a Class Blog,” and “What Everybody Ought To Know About Podcasting: Part I.”

16. Teachers Love SMART Boards –  Winner of the “Best Ed Tech Support Blog” award for the 2008 Edublog Awards, author James Hollis  also co-hosts a SMART Board podcast which provides tips on how to use SMART Boards in the classroom.  Readers are also provided with Notebook lessons, such as “Artsy Multiplication” or “Johnny Appleseed,” and can download the files directly from the site. Recommended posts: “SMARTBoard and Teacher-Created High School Biology Resources,” and “SMARTBoard Game Resources.”

17. Technology Bits Bytes & Nibbles – Author Cyndi Danner-Kuhn is a faculty member and the Educational Technology Integration Coordinator for the College of Education at Kansas State University. Cyndi explained that she hopes to assist teachers in integrating technology into their classrooms by providing them with new tools and “finds” on the Internet. Cyndi elaborated on the history of her blog:  This began as a weekly Newsletter using a paid email marketing service, but quickly number of subscribers grew to a point I had to find a FREE way to provide the information to my Kansas State University College of Education colleagues as well as to classroom teacher subscribers.” Recently she has been writing about the iPad and how it can be used in the classroom. Recommended posts:  “5 Tips for Harnessing Technology as a Technology Tool,” “Teachers use Skype to broaden classroom view for kindergartners” and “More WoW: What’s on the Web,” an article which lists off various tools and resources which can be used in the classroom.

18. The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness –  This blog conducts a weekly schedule (Monday – “Must See Tools,” Tuesday – Resources from or for Twitter,” Wednesday – “Wiki’s,” Thursday – technology related issues or what teachers should “Think Twice About,” Fridays – topics or tools to use in the classroom). The author explains that he also likes to share his thoughts on educational technology in the hopes of creating discussions from his readers. Recommended posts: “Must See Monday – Tools for the 21st Century Teacher,” “Web 2.0 Teacher Tools Glog,” and “My First Blog Series – Common Misconceptions.”

19. Around the Corner –  This blog covers not only educational and technological issues but political issues as well.  Author Miguel Guhlin is a Director of Instructional Technology in Texas, and was also previously the president of the state-wide Technology Education Coordinators. Guhlin also provides readers with lists of his favorite apps and open source software. Recommended posts: “QR Codes in Libraries,” “Moodle Glossary Tips – Free XML Converter and Other Stuff,” and “Google Search – Throws the Door Wide Open to Inappropriate Images.”

20. Philly Teacher –  ”My blog focuses on reflection on classroom experiences and education as a practice and as one of the largest systems in place in our country,” explained blogger Mary Beth Hertz, whose site received a nomination for “Best Teacher Blog” award for the 2009 Edublog Awards. The theme of her blog is “teaching, learning, and life,” and she stated that she hopes to “provide a dialogue about teaching as a practice, using technology in the classroom as well as the politics and systemic realities of education in general.”  Recommended posts:  “Tech Tool vs. Learning Tool,” and “6 Reasons I Surround Myself with People Smarter Than I Am.”

21. My Integrating Technology Journey –  Author Jennifer Verschoor is the ICT Coordinator at a bilingual school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and educates readers on various resources, websites, online discoveries, and useful tools that worked for her in her own classroom. Her posts tend to have more of a primary or international focus. Recommended posts: “Teaching spelling to young learners,” “Meme game,” and “Talking Avators.”

22. Digital Literacies – This blog reflects on how elementary school teachers can implement IT in the classroom, and how they can promotes education in children with the help of read/write/web (RRW) technologies. Recommended posts: “Delicious as a Professional Resource Sharing Tool,” “Using Audacity for podcasts and other forms of digital storytelling,” “What in the world are QR codes??” and “My Current Personal Learning Environment (PLE).”

23. EdTechSwami – On this site, blogger Christopher Rogers discusses various technology topics and tools, and sometimes he even rants about the flaws of the public education system.  ”There are a couple of things that I hope teachers can learn from my blog,” said Rogers. “The first comes in the form of practical tutorials that help with tech things I have learned. These are things like blogging or setting up webpages or using online tools. The second comes in the form of rants, advice, and opinions about our profession…[I point] out flaws that I see within the public educational system and presenting possible solutions to those problems, sometimes I feel those solutions can be technology based but most times they have to do with people and systems.” Recommended posts: “Projects Roundup: Create A Social Network For Your Class Using Buddypress” and “Digital Storytelling with Animoto: My Teachmeet Presentation.”

24. Music Tech Tips – Author Katie Wardrobe runs a music technology training business in Australia and is also a qualified teacher. When asked about her blog, Wardrobe describe it as a site which “demystifies” the use of technology in the classroom by providing video tutorials and articles which give “concrete step-by-step instructions explaining how to get the most out of notating, recording, teaching, learning and playing music.” Recommended posts: “Tutorial: How to Convert Audio Files Using iTunes,” “Cool Online Instruments and Games for the Music Classroom,” ”Musescore in 10 easy steps,” and “11 of the Best Free Sheet Music Sites.”

25. Video Toolbox: Online Video Editor,” “Spelling Match Game that Includes Phonemic Awareness,” and “Math Popper: Fun Math Fact Game.”

26. Qrious – This blog was nominated as the “Best Educational Blog” for the Bloggers Choice Awards, and after scrolling through the posts one can’t help but agree with their “A Think Tank for Teachers” slogan. Recommended posts:  “Moves You Can Make To Help Your Students Pay Attention,” “Awesome Tech Tools You’ve Never Seen,” and “Would You Use This in Class?

27. Teacher Reboot Camp –  Blogger Shelly Terrell describes her blog as a useful site for educators who want to learn how to “effectively integrate technology” and improve education and literacy while providing feedback: “Educators learn strategies for engaging all our students through effective instructional methods and technology integration.” Also by reading her blog, she hopes that it will inspire educators to “differentiate their instruction to appeal to all learners’ strengths.”  The site also has a “Cool Sites series,” and was voted as one of the Top 10 Language Teaching Blogs in 2010. Recommended posts: “The 30 Goals Challenge Continues This Summer,” and “Employ Technology for Fun Summer Learning.”

28. 1 to 1 Schools –  The site is also full of various resources and links to other blogs which are written by various contributors. Most of the posts tend to be more detailed and cover political issues in relation to the future of education. Some of the categories include the latest in education and technology, success stories, technology resources, and videos. Recommended posts: “1:1, Digital Distraction, & Internet Inattention,”  ”The iPad and education,” and “A conversation about changing schools…

29. Technology Fridge –  Teachers who feel the urge to learn more about integrating technology in the classroom but don’t have the time to do so can get quick and easy updates from this blog. Author Josh Allen explains: “On my blog you can learn about ways to integrate technology into your classroom as opposed to adding it on. Teachers don’t have time to put something more into their day…they need to integrate technology to improve their instruction. I try to bring new ideas and new ways to look at how the important content is presented to students.” Recommended posts: “Furthering Education with Skype #We Act” and “Converting Flip Camera Files.”

30. Friday Flash – This site, which is authored by retired educator Kathy Adkins, which she feels reflects her “passion for learning.” She explained that the posts on her blog provide resources which she shares to “guide and support instructional technology specialist and educators in teaching students the way they learn in the digital world.” Recommended posts: “BYOT: It’s Not About the Tools,” as well as the “Five for Friday” series which  links to other useful educational and technological sites.

31. Bit by Bit – As noted, this site is “by teachers, for teachers,” but it also serves as a podcasting site for the author’s Seedlings podcast.  Bob Sprankle is an Elementary Technology Integrator, and collaborates with two other Maine educators to provide ongoing conversations between teachers through Seedlings. Also included on the site are chat transcripts, “Geek of the Week” links, and podcast downloads which can be accessed directly from the site. Recommended posts: “A Smarter Book” and “Overload?

32. Techno Constructivist – Each week author Carl Anderson writes “Weekly Tech Tips” which include a short video on how to use different technologies, as well as links to other resources or blog posts on the web. Also on the site is the Digital Backpack, which is a directory of free, web-based tools. “Techno Constructivist is a blog for educators interested in learning about integrating technology in their classroom,” explained Anderson. “In particular I focus on the integration of web 2.0 tools but I also often write, among other things, about school change, project-based learning, disruptive innovation, school choice, open source learning, and pedagogy.”  Recommended posts: “Web 2.0 and the Building Administrator” and “The corporate confusion machine.”

34. Education Futures –  This blog is written by multiple authors who are all familiar with either education or technology. Readers get updated with webinar schedules and events which focus on educational issues in the Netherlands, Spain, Argentina, and various other locations around the world. Posts cover topics such as Youtube, the “death of lectures,” pedagogy, and even robots. Recommended posts: “Is YouTube bursting higher education’s bubble? Not so fast…” and “Project Dream School.

35. The Clever Sheep –  Take a nice break from your stressful life as a teacher with this entertaining and intriguing blog. Rodd Lucier says he enlightens his readers with “ideas for how to engage emerging tools in order to prepare learners for tomorrow,” and believes that all educators should model “lifelong learning; collaboration; and sharing.” Recommended posts:  “What Would Yoda Do?” or “Clever App.”

36. Off the Record – Author Doug Peterson works as a Computers in Education Program Consultant in Canada, and worked previously as a computer science teacher. Posts include how to re-design your Google page to celebrate the World Cup, how to use Safari, as well as countless links to other technological and educational sites which are posted every week. Recommended posts: “Flock 3.0,” and “Why #FollowFriday is so important.

37. Teacher Tech –  Blogger Rob Bayuk states that the focus of his blog is to provide pointers on how educators can use Microsoft products in their classrooms: “Many teachers (and students) already use Office, Windows among other Microsoft tools, yet there is limited knowledge and resources for how to effectively apply these tools in relevant ways in the classroom.” Recommended posts: “7 Things Teachers Will Like about Windows 7,” “Students Developing Workforce Ready Skills While Revitalizing a Community,” and “More Simple Ways To Introduce Reluctant Colleagues To Technology.”

38. DIY U – This blogger has been in various documentaries (such as “Generation Next”), made an appearance on Larry King Live, and has even written for the New York Times, The Washington Post, New York magazine,and much more. With more of a personal and humorous touch on her own thoughts about technology, she also provides links to interesting videos and interviews, mostly concerning politics. Recommended posts: “Use Technology to Help Immigrants, Refugees and Others Learn,” and “Digital One-Room Schoolhouse; Summer Camp.”

39. The Nerdy Teacher –  This blog has more of a fun and interactive feel to it, as the author reflects on popular video games, using Flickr for homework, and recommended movie lists. Blogger Nicholas Provenzano explained that he likes to put a “humorous spin” on his site while discussing how teachers can integrate technology into their classrooms: “My beef is usually the reluctance of teachers to integrate tech into their classroom because they feel that it is too hard and not worth the effort. My blog addresses those concerns and shows teachers how easy it is to integrate small bits of tech into their classroom.” Recommended posts: “Everything I Know About Technology Integration I Learned from Watching 90′s Nickelodeon: Episode II” and “What Would Romeo’s Facebook Page Look Like?

40. BuzzingEd Blog –  This blog is written by a group of teachers from the  UK, so most of the posts tend to be Britain-based. Also included on the site are tabs dedicated to various technology projects, Teachmeet events, and courses on eSafety. Some of the articles touch on blogging and resources for teachers, while others focus on upcoming educational events in the UK. Recommended posts: “Tagul, a Wordle Alternative,” “Game Based Learning,” and “Looking for a world clock?

41. Gifted and Talented in the 21st Century –  Michelle Eckstein’s explained how her blog has more of a focus on the use of technology for gifted students, and that many of her post ideas “revolve around tools that increase creativity and critical thinking skills.” Each week, Eckstein discusses her favorite “Tech Tool of the Week” and also writes about the latest news concerning The Gifted Kids Network, such as reviews of pilot programs and upcoming classes. Recommended posts: “Animal Planet – Virtual Zoo” and “Enrichment 2.0.”

42. ABCreative –  From Australia, blogger Adam Brice entertains readers about his thoughts on the iPad, and love for Radiohead. Brice is also a proud member of the iSchool Crew (iSchool.net.au), and hosts digital storytelling programs and podcasts which are recorded and edited by students. Recommended posts: “Data + Graphing + Google Forms = Engagement,” and “Build A Tower, Build A Team.”

43. A Geeky Momma’s Blog – “Teachers and other educators can gain insight into the real world of technology integration from someone who has been a district EdTech administrator and is now implementing in the classroom,” author Lee Kolbert explains. “A recurring theme (lately) is best practices for integrating technology into an elementary classroom and the realities of dealing with parents and district red-tape.” Recommended posts:  “When Will We Stop Banning Everything?” and “Ten Things Your Students Can Blog About Today.”

44. Drape’s Takes – Author Darren Draper works as the Director of Technology Services for the Canyons School Districts, and his posts tend to be more detailed with his own personal opinions on how teachers need to improve their teaching methods and keep up to date with technology. Some topics include online data systems, iPads, Twitter, and librarians. Recommended posts: “The National Ed Tech Plan: Online data systems use powered [and] transforming assessment resources,” and “I don’t think blocking networked learning in our schools is an option. #ut-tcc.”

45.  Teachers Teaching Teachers – This site is a blog-version of the weekly podcast “Teachers Teaching Teachers,” and the posts contain the audio files which can be played directly from the site. The podcasts consist of interviews with educational professionals, and cover topics which range from social networking, Ning, politics, and Diigo. Recommended posts/podcasts: “Bitstrips Creators and Writing Project Teachers Talking Comics” and “Did Educon 2.2 Make Us Smarter?

46. Digital Writing, Digital Teaching – Posts on this blog consist of how-to guides, detailed notes from seminars the author attended, and the teaching methods he himself uses for his writing courses. (The author Troy Hicks is an Assistant Professor of English at Central Michigan University, and even shares his course syllabi with his readers). Recommended posts: “End of Semester Thoughts: Digital Storytelling, Wikis, and the Changing Conversation” and “Sessions at Wisconsin State Reading Association Conference.”

47.  Education + Emergent Literacies – From Toronto, Canada, Melanie McBride is an educator and consultant specializing in digital literacies. Posts touch on various presentations she has conducted (such as her presentation on “Beyond Blocking: Embracing the Social Web” which she presented for the Canadian Association of Communicators in Educators), as well as pedagogy, video games, and social media. Recommended posts: “Game Based Learning: Keeping it Real/a>” and “Situated Learning in WoW: Exploring Random dungeons (PUGs).”

48. On an E-Journey with Generation Y – Australian blogger Anne Mirtschin covers a variety of different technological and educational topics such as creating e portfolios, and provides links to rich picture case studies, eplanks, as well as her own podcasts. Some discuss the Tech Talk Tuesday discussions, and eT@lking sessions. Recommended posts: “Cyber Safety Awareness Week in Australia,” “Facebook and the very young!

49. AcademHack –  Covering all the controversial issues concerning education and technology, author David Parry also discusses his own product reviews, opinions on the latest gadgets, as well as lists of his favorite applications. Parry is an Assistant Professor of Emerging Media and Communications at the University of Texas, and even summarizes his own lectures in the blog posts. Recommended posts: “Apple and Censoring Education,” and “Burn the Boats/Books.”

50. Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning –  The blog-version of Spotlight magazine focuses on projects and individuals funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative. The blog posts tend to contain more detailed narratives and some include political discussions. Recommended posts: “Beyond New Literacies: Journal Issue Looks at New Perspectives, Tensions,” or “PLAYBACK: Research on Cyberbullying.”

51. Adventures in Educational Blogging - A blog about blogging for teachers who like to blog, author Susan Sedro works as a tech coordinator for an international school in Singapore, and provides readers with various videos which touch on a number of different topics, (such as “One School’s Journey into Digital Portfolios“). Other post topics include recommended books, iTunes U, username dilemmas concerning Web 2.0 apps, and tech tools for writing. Recommended posts: “Resistance is Futile or The Power of Info Graphics” and “Tech Tools for Writing – Survey Results.”

52. Teach 42 –  Author Steve Dembo covers a variety of topics on this blog which range from Twitter,to mobile phones, to social media. Recommended posts: “When does Average Joe become Joe Expert?,” “Mobile Phones in the Classroom…Again,”  ”Geotags and the City,” “A Browser Bag of Tricks,” (which includes a number of different links useful for bloggers and/or educators), and “Does using social media make your writing gooder?

53. EdTech Tips & Tricks – Jennifer Swanson’s blog provides great tips for teachers who would like to learn more about free Web 2.0 tools or software programs. “My blog provides weekly tips for teachers on different ways they can incorporate technology into their classroom,” explained Jennifer. “Usually it focuses on a FREE Web 2.0 tool or software program.” Blog posts include weekly tech tips covering topics like Voicethread, Voki, BrainPop, and Blabberize. Recommended posts: “Building a PLN with Twitter,” and “TeacherTube.”

54. History Tech – Author Glenn Wiebe has a Master’s degree in American History and currently works as a social studies curriculum specialist.  By reading his blog, Glenn hopes that educators can learn how to “integrate useful strategies and tools into their instruction” and “learn about online resources that will help develop curriculum.” Recommended posts: “Tips of the Week,” “Google Maps has some cool beta features,” and “Reading Like a Historian curriculum – it’s best for kids.”

55. Tech Transformation –  Blogger Maggie Hos-McGrane currently resides in Switzerland, and entertains readers on her experiences from working as a teacher. “I write about the things I think and wonder about now that I am an IT teacher, but these thoughts are a result of my experience as a subject teacher in Secondary and a homeroom teacher in Primary,” she explains. “I sometimes write about specific projects my students are working on, and hopefully these are useful for other teachers.” Recommended posts: “Being stung by social media in education,” and “We need a Revolution, not an Evolution, in Education.”

56. TechIntersect -  On this blog, author Bill Genereux discusses a variety of different technological and educational topics such as summertime activities for children, Youtube, teacher profiles, and online privacy. Genereux is an Assistant Professor of Computer Systems Technology at Kansas State University, and discusses the latest in educational technology in relation to his own experiences, or even a book he discovered in the library. Recommended posts: “Remix Artists” and “Putting Class Videos Online – Mr. Dale Speaks.”

57. Educational Technology Guy –  Blogger/author David Andrade is a Physics teacher and educational technology specialist, and his blog was also the winner of the Gadzillion Award for Creative Thought on the Internet. Through this blog readers can get educated on free technology resources, ideas on classroom management, or how to improve their classroom. Recommended posts: “Dropbox – file sync, backup, and sharing,” and “CSI: The Experience Web Adventures” (a site which educators can use to provide students with virtual crime cases).

58. Technology in Music Education – This blog covers a variety of different educational topics related to music and technology, but has more of a focus on Apple products, such as iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads. Author Christopher J. Russell is the Director of Choirs and Technology Integration Specialist in Minnesota. Some posts touch on the latest in musical technology applications and software like ForScore, Unrealbook, and DizzyPad. Recommended posts: “iPhone Music Notation Applications (Symphony vs. PocketScore), and “New Development: iPads vs. SMART Boards.”

59. Greenbush Labs Blog – Author Rich White works as as the emerging technologies and collaborative education designer, developer, and researcher for the Greenbush Education Service Center. “The Greenbush Labs blog covers topics ranging from how web 2.0 tools can be leveraged in the educational process to how 3D virtual worlds can be integrated into the K-12 classroom,” explained White. His articles cover 3D virtual worlds, interactive whiteboards, and “how they can be merged and leveraged with K-12 students.”

60. Yes Tech! – Blogger Pam Shoemaker works as the Instructional Technology Coordinator and is on the Michigan Discovery Educator Network leadership council, as well as on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Association of Computer Users for Learning (MACUL) Recommended posts: “Cover the Material or Teach Students to Think,” “Reflections on Earthcasto8,” and “Google Street View.”

61. The Thinking Stick – Not only has blogger Jeff Utecht been written about in seceral books, he is also involved in the “Shifting Our School” and “On Deck” podcasts while working as an Elememtary Technology and Learning Coordinator  in Bangkok and also writing for the U Tech Tips group blog. His blog is colorful, interactive, and engaging. Recommended posts: “Blogs as Web-Based Portfolios PDF,” and “Evaluating Technology Use in the Classroom.”

62. Web-based video…in Education – Dr. Chareen Snelson covers some interesting and entertaining topics on her blog, such as historical film footage, Archived Vintage film, videos, weather sites, documentaries, video games, travel videos, and much more. Snelson currently works as an assistant professor of educational technology at Boise State University.

63. Kassblog –  Author Richard Kassissieh works as the Director of Information Technology at Catlin Gabel School in Oregon, and his favorite technology tools include Moodle, Drupal, and Perl. His posts touch on Facebook issues, iPads, international schools, educational statistics, and Ning. Recommended posts: “Teach Fifth Graders Facebook? Yes!” and “What I learned about technology from a Botswana marimba band.”

64. 2 ¢ Worth – Popular amongst his fellow educational bloggers, author David Warlick entertains his readers on his personal thoughts concerning the latest in technology. Warlick has been an educator for the past 34 years and is also a “professional podcaster,” and has hosted the podcast series “Connect Learning” since 2005. Recommended posts: “Obama’s Mistake…,” “IT Makes People Happier” and “Subscribing to Youtube RSS Feeds.”

65. Copy/Paste –  Blogger Peter Pappas has spent the past 35 years in the education field, and recently retired as an Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. With the subtitle “dedicated to relinquishing responsibility for learning to the students,” his articles cover everything from Twitter, history (both American and Canadian), iPads, and educational conferences. Recommended posts: “School Reform? Be Honest and Start from Where You Are (A Free Webinar),” and “Social Media Engagement for Schools.”

66. Secondary Worlds –  Articles on this blog tend to be more descriptive and detailed, and the author provides many resources as links on his blog such as course articles, reports, chapters, and documents, as well as podcasts, screencasts, and virtual offices. The author also co-authored the book “Literature and the Web: Reading and Responding with New Technologies,” and the students in his English 311 have been producing the “YA! Cast” for the past two years. Recommended posts: “Is Google Facebook Making Us Stupid?” and “Best Explanation Yet of Web 3.0, the Semantic Web.”

67.  SpeEdChange – There are a wide variety of interesting posts on this blog which range from multimedia literature, text-to-speech writing, free design technologies, and electronic notebooks. Blogger Ira David Socol also wrote a book titled “The Drool Room” which is about a dyslexic teenager growing up in New York City. Recommended posts: “Reversing the Curriculum” and “Multimedia Literature: Rethinking English Class.”

68. Oh! Virtual Learning! – Blogger Scott Merrick was nominated for the “Best Use of Virtual World” award at the 2008 Edublog Awards, and his posts touch on virtual meetings, WoliStar 3D, as well as updates from various educational conferences and events. He is also the founding member of the Virtual Environment Education Videos, which is a group for educators to discuss Virtual Environments. Recommended posts: “Inside a Virtual Meeting,” and “WiloStar3D.”

69. Middle School Matrix – Voted as one of the Top 50 Education Innovators, blogger Hadley Ferguson is a middle school history teacher in Philadelphia, and is also a “Teaching with Primary Sources” mentor for the Library of Congress, and co-organizer of Edcamp Philly. Recommended posts: “Japan in My Classroom,” “When the Tech Tool Fails,” and “From Laptop to iPad.”

70. Carol’s Thoughts on Life, ICT and Whatever Comes –  ”On my blog teachers can often see the results of any new web 2.0 tools that I have tried out,” explained author Carol Rainbow. “Anyone interested in using Second Life for teaching, learning, site-seeing, etc. can keep up with my experiences there, including learning about in-world opportunities for CPD.” Carol Rainbow is an Education ICT Consultant from the UK. Recommended posts: “South Shields Community BSF Building,” or “Museum of Natural History Vienna.”

71. Strength of Weak Ties –  With more of a political and opinionated edge, this blog can force teachers and educators to re-examine their thoughts on their teaching methods. The author also covers the latest in technology news, such as Learning Spaces, iPads, and iPhones, and there is also the weekly series “Words Matter,” which criticizes the way certain words are used in education (like “classroom,” “textbook,” or “game changer”). Recommended posts:  “Google Academy for Administrators?,” and “Tablet Schmablet Redux.”

72. Unique Ed Techie – On this blog readers can get updated on the author’s descriptions of how to use various technology products, as well as links to other technological or educational sites. Recommended posts: “Learning Another Language?,” “What does PLN mean to you?,” (a post where readers can attach “sticky notes” and express their own views on PLN), and “What is Psychobiography?”

73. Computer-Assisted Language Learning – This unique site stands out from the others because of its engaging and interactive posts, and most of the posts tend to have more of a language-learning focus and are targeted towards language teachers. Recommended posts: “The 4 E model for Pedagogical Technology,” “Professional Learning Networks for Teachers,” and “A Presentation Tool that Might Just Put an End to Power Point.”

74. Open Educator – Blogger Graham Wegner is an “Aussie primary school educator” who entertains his readers on the latest in educational technology. The topics on his blog range from science workshops, his issues with social media, Netbooking, and Google. Some of the posts are personal, while others are educational and informative. Recommended posts: “Maybe It’s Time To Emigrate” and “Netbooking In The Regular Classroom.”

75. Generation YES Blog – These blog posts are extremely detailed and cover a wide variety of different issues concerning how technology is changing education. This site is a blog for the Washington-based GenYES school (YES stands for Youth and Educators Succeeding), and is listed as being the “only student-centered research-based solution for school-wide technology integration.” Recommended posts: “Reality check – is panic over technology overblown?” and “Teachers’ Use of Educational Technology in U.S. Public Schools: 2009.”

76. Digitally Learning – Blogger Rebecca Petersen entertains her readers on the latest in educational technology as well as eLearning issues for both K-12 classrooms and higher education. Topics range from Twitter to Google, educational documentaries, or her latest “Fab Finds,” and readers can also vote for which types of topics they would like to read in the future. Recommended posts: “Fab Find: Stixy For Flexible Online Creation Collaboration and Sharing,” and “Google’s Social Envy Leads To The Worst Kind of Buzz.”

77. What Ed Said – The author of this blog describes herself as a “teacher, a learner, an inquirer…and now a blogger.” Various topics touch on workshops the author attended, problem solving in education, and Twitter discussions. Recommended posts:  “Technology shouldn’t drive, it should empower…,” “What my typewriter can do…,” “Past, present, future of education…,” and “It’s about the learning, not the tools…

78. Teach Paperless – Promoting its “green message,” on Earth Day the authors of this blog also managed to obtain more than 1,500 signatures from teachers pledging to go “paperless” in their classrooms. The articles tend to lean towards the green movement by promoting the use of technology in classrooms. Recommended posts: “21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020,” “Why teachers should blog,” and “Cost Benefits of Going Paperless (Reduxe).”

79. Bacon Bytes Blog – “Educators can learn about new technology tools for the classroom, classroom experiences with technology, and what I hope are valuable tech tips,” explained blogger Chris Hyde about his site. He also identified the re-occurring themes on his blog as the “sharing of technology, tools, tips, and experiences for the classroom with an occasional personal view of technology in education.”  Hyde is a technology integrator for a school district in Pennsylvania. Recommended posts: “Podcasting with GarageBand,” “LiveBinder It,” and “5 Photo Finds for the Classroom.”

80. Leigh Blackall – The author of this blog is involved in various Twittering activities, and currently works with Sport Studies and the Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra. He also written a few books on online learning, and provides numerous links on his blog so users can read up on his various projects, presentations, and travel videos. Recommended posts: “The need for open academia.”

81.  Özge Karaoğlu’s Blog –  Özge is an English teacher, freelance teacher trainer, e-moderator at British Council’s ELT Sharepoint, and leader of her kindegarten department. Furthermore, she is also the educational coordinator and script/screenplayer writer  of the “Yes, I Speak English” DVD series. She has a weekly theme titled “My Faves of the Week,” for which she writes reviews on Web tools, and from time to time writes up several lists on the top technology tools. “On my blog, educators can learn and read reviews about the latest Web 2.0 tools that can be used in different levels in education,” explained Ozge. Recommended posts: “Tech it Easy With Very Young Learners,” “Color Your Digital Life with SlideShows.”

82. For the Love of Learning –  On this blog, author Joe Bower, who resides in Canada, claims he hopes to “challenge ‘traditional’ schooling” and also explore “progessive forms of education.”  He uses his blog to touch on controversial topics which may not be discussed on other education blogs, such as “Trivial education reform,” and “Fraudulent Fabrications.” Recommended posts: “anti-creativity checklist” and “Homeworkaholism.”

83. Kyle B. Pace –  Blogger Kyle B. Pace is an instructional technology specialist, and co-author of the book “Integrating Technology with Music Instruction.” Pace covers a wide variety of topics on his blog, which range from referencing other blog posts, Twitter and discussions, educational conferences, and Youtube. His articles tend to be more detailed, and reflect his personal opinions. Recommended posts: “The Virtual View” and “Holy Productivity Tools Batman!

84. Nebraska Change Agent – This blog is full of video posts of blogger Beth Still recording her conversations with readers who have questions on technology or, as of late, the ISTE conference. Beth teaches Social Studies in Nebraska, and has a passion for making a difference in education (hence, the blog title). Recommended posts: “ISTE Conference Tips for Newbies,” “Moodle Theme,” and “ISTE10: ISTE Planner.”

85. ICT in Education –  Blogger Terry Freedman works as an independent educational consultant, and has conducted many assignments which include bid-writing, case study writing, manuals or “quick-start” guides, and resource finding and evaluation. His posts cover a variety of topics such as online safety, educational tips, software tool sites, and links to other resources and educational sites. Recommended posts: the “31 Days to Become a Better Ed Tech Leader” series, and “Cool Tools for Ed Tech Leaders: Stickies.”

86. EZ Tech Integration for Teachers –  Author/teacher Natalie Wojinski knows firsthand the benefits of discovering free technology tools for her classroom: “I work in a poor, urban district so I have to find tools that are free or nearly free,” explained Natalie. “Also, I try to focus on tools that build student collaboration, academic skills and tech confidence…My primary goal in blogging is to show teachers that tech doesn’t have to be scary and it’s OKAY if something doesn’t go well. Try it again or use a different tool. Use the tools and strategies that are right for you and your students.” She also posts a “From the Web,” series, which highlights links or other blogs she discovered while surfing around the net. Recommended posts: “Playground Maps 2010” and “From the Web:: Google Voice for Teachers.”

87. Snapshots of Learning –  Jon Orech has been teaching English for the past 24 years, and is currently works as an Instructional Technology Coordinator. (He was also voted as one of the “Top 50 Education Innovators”). “Teachers can learn that it isn’t about tools, nor is it about “integrating technology,”" explained Orech. “True educational innovation stems from a student-centered classroom, developing meaningful learning targets, and then using the right set of tools to achieve those targets.” He explains further: “When deciding on any tool a teacher must first ask: What fundamental literacy does this support? And then how does the technology extend the learning?” Recommended posts: “Staff Development Woes? Google Can Help,” “Are these Two Forbidden? Think again,” and “Digital Storytelling and Animoto are Mutually Exclusive.”

88. Tech Chick Tips – This blog is written by to teachers from Texas who also host their own podcast (you can listen to the files from their site). The posts which don’t on their podcast tend to be more personal, descriptive, and detailed. Their articles also include various lists of links for educational software, applications, videos, and games for children. Recommended posts: “Sparking their creativity” and “Building Your Capacity.”

89. Tech Tips for Teachers –  Blogger Cindy Brock is a Technology Coach and helps teachers integrate technology into their classrooms. “I hope educators can learn ways to use technology in their curriculum by showing various ideas, websites and software to them,” explained Cindy. “I try to show as much FREE stuff as I can since teachers have limited budgets. I also try to show simple, easy to use ideas.” Recommended posts: “Showcase Your School!,” “Another Jeopardy Game!,” “Pete’s Powerpoint Station,” and “Tux Paint.”

90. Educational Technology and Life –  The only posts on this blog are lists of a variety of different links for teachers and educators. Some of the lists include resources for Google, Skype, and Apple products, as well as different blogs written by students and teachers. Recommended posts: “Set Google Voice as Your Skype Caller ID – Google Voice – Lifehacker” and “Why Schools are Turning to Google Apps.”

91. Teacher Technology with Jason Seliskar –  Although the content is unique, updates on the blog tend to be on more of a monthly basis. Nevertheless, the posts cover a variety of different software and tools, and the author also hosts the “Teacher Technology” podcast. Recommended posts: “How to share with FriendFeed,” “Hope for Technology: A conversation with Digital Natives,” and “Timetoast – A Timeline Generator.”

92. Shambles Guru –  Although updates are scarce, Chris Smith’s covers a wide variety of blog posts which educators may find intriguing and educational. His articles cover the latest in international schools, the use of technology in classrooms, and also includes announcements from the Shambles newsletter. Smith is currently working as an educator in Thailand, but he has previously worked in Jamaica, England, and Hong Kong. Smith is also the founder and manager of Shambles.net, a site which contains various web resources and links for educators. Recommended posts: “Nursery Rhyme Videos,” and “Modern Foreign Languages and ICT.”

93. Digital Tools –  The author of this blog is a “veteran” physics teacher and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Educational Technology. Her posts touch on some of the most dominant themes found on other educational blogs, such as PLN’s, Twitter, Web 2.0 software, and podcasts. Recommended posts: “Reflections on Digital Tools in Education,” and “Using Podcasts to Revolutionize the Use of Instructional Time.”

94. Krista’s Tech Tidbits – Blogger Krista Scott works as an instructional technology specialist, and previously worked as a high school business teacher and curriculum technologist. She also worked as an online instructor, and assists other teachers in creating online courses. Some of her articles cover politics, such as changes in education, while others focus on the latest technology tools and the Ed Tech Book Club. Recommended posts: “Education without Ed Tech? NO!,” “Using 20th century ideas to teach 21st century students?,” and “Technology: Tool or Instruction?

95. At the Teacher’s Desk – With a more personal touch, blog posts on this site tend to be more descriptive and detailed, and also focus on international schools. The author educates teachers who read the blog with wise words such as “check your ego at the door,” and “don’t be a control freak,” and also includes their on personal experiences of working as a teacher in a junior high school. Recommended posts: “I Won’t Teach Facebook in Class,” “Are We Having Real Conversations Using New Media?,” “Are Task Boards useful in the classrooms?,” and “Guest Post by Jennifer Crow: Technology and Testing.”

96. Teaching All Students – Blogger Patrick Black entertains his readers with the latest technology software, as well as blogging issues, digital resources, applications for iPads or iPhones, (featured in his “App Monday” series), and educational workshops. “I try and write about free and low cost tools to help educate all students. I also write about ways I incorporate these technologies in my classroom,” explained Black. “I really want the topics I talk about to help as many students as possible.” Recommended posts: “Free Apps – ArtikPix & Percentally,” “App Monday – Kindergarten.com,” and “Blogging Against Disablism – #BADD2010.

97. Techronicity – Posts on this blog tend to be more opinionated and detailed, and cover a wide range of topics from the latest technology tools, to how-to-guides and issues in education, (with a slight humorous touch). Teachers who are struggling to integrate technology into their classrooms may learn a lot from these posts because they tend to cover the basics on all the essentials concerning educational technology. Recommended posts: “What’s in a Ning?,” “Delicious? Yes it is.,” “Never Search for Websites Again!,” and “Art and Star Wars.”

98. Teach Web –  This blog covers topics in great detail which focus on the importance of how technology can improve a child’s education. The posts are more educational and cover heavy topics such as decision-making in students, and learning environments. The site’s blogger Wendy Drexler currently resides in Florida and received her PhD in ED Tech. Recommended posts: “Personal Learning Environments: Student Processes and Decisions,” and “Bringing Service Learning Back into Focus.”

99. Educational Technology Weblog – A number of different videos and resources are included in these articles, as well as some educational interviews which cover political and educational issues, as well as student statistics. Recommended posts: “How BrainPOP Impacts Student Learning,” “Technology in Schools: 7 Dimensions for Gauging Progress,” and “Lunch Selections for the 2010 Technology Conference.”

100. You Blog – To stir things up a bit, the last blog on this list is not so much of a typical educational technology blog, but a journal for the author’s latest discoveries in technology. “We are on a mission to redefine school,” explained the author, “so everything I add is connected to that mission in some way. Our premise is that the web allows connections that weren’t possible before.” Some of the posts touch on Twitter, and Google docs, while others focus on Jing and Ning. Recommended posts: “harvesting expert tutors,” and “music production.”

My blog reflects my passion for learning and mentoring educators in the IT enviroment. Resources are shared to guide and support instructional technology specialist and educators in teaching students the way they learn in the digital world.
My blog reflects my passion for learning and mentoring educators in the IT enviroment. Resources are shared to guide and support instructional technology specialist and educators in teaching students the way they learn in the digital world.
My blog reflects my passion for learning and mentoring educators in the IT enviroment. Resources are shared to guide and support instructional technology specialist and educators in teaching students the way they learn in the digital world.
My blog reflects my passion for learning and mentoring educators in the IT enviroment. Resources are shared to guide and support instructional technology specialist and educators in teaching students the way they learn in the digital world.
Posted by alexis | in Technology | 26 Comments »

Guide to education tax credits

Jun. 16th 2010

You don’t have to be a CPA to understand how to get the most out of education tax credits. When you’re a student, every dollar counts, and you need all the help you can get to stretch your budget. Here’s an easy guide to navigating higher education tax credits, either to help shrink your bill at the end of the year, or to help bump up your refund:

American Opportunity Credit

The American Opportunity credit will temporarily replace the Hope Credit through the 2010 tax year. This credit is subtracted from the tax you owe instead of from taxable income — meaning more money back in your pocket. You can claim a $2,500 credit for each eligible dependent for four years of postsecondary education. That means that most graduate candidates can’t take advantage of the credit. Students must be pursuing an undergraduate degree or other education credential, and must be enrolled at least half time for one academic term. Students cannot have a felony drug conviction and receive the credit.

The credit allows you to claim:

100 percent of the first $2,000 of qualified education expenses
25 percent of the next $2,000 of qualified education expenses

You cannot claim the credit if:

Your filing status is married, filing separately
Your modified adjusted gross income is $90,000 or more for a single taxpayer, $180,000 or more for married taxpayers filing jointly
You or your spouse were a nonresident alien for any part of 2009

If you family owes less in taxes than the maximum amount of the credit for which you are eligible, you can still receive a refund of up to 40 percent of the amount of the credit for which you are eligible, up to $1,000.

Hope Credit

You can claim up to $1,800 for expenses paid in a student’s first two years of college — $3,600 for students attending school in a Midwestern disaster area. The credit cannot be taken in conjunction with the American Opportunity credit. Students must be enrolled at least half time, and qualified expenses include tuition, books, required fees, room and board. You can claim the credit a maximum of two years.

You cannot claim the credit if:

Your filing status is married, filing separately
Your modified adjusted gross income is $60,000 or more for a single taxpayer, $120,000 or more for married taxpayers filing jointly
You or your spouse were a nonresident alien for any part of 2009

Lifetime Learning Credit

The Lifetime Learning credit is another credit that is subtracted from the taxes you owe, rather than reducing taxable income, and allows taxpayers to claim a credit of up to $2,000 per tax year, or up to 20 percent of the first $10,000 of qualified education expenses. The Lifetime Learning credit is available for postsecondary education and courses to acquire or improve job skills, and it is available for an unlimited number of years. Students do not have to be pursuing a degree to receive the credit, and there are no requirements for course load (one or more courses are acceptable). A felony drug conviction restriction does not apply.

This credit is family-based (up to $2,000 per tax return).

The same restrictions apply for claiming the credit as for the American Opportunity/Hope Credits.

To apply for either credit, families must report all expenses paid for education, minus any scholarships or other assistance, and must submit a form 1098-T, which will be provided by the institution. You cannot apply for both credits in the same year. The credit is nonrefundable — meaning that if you owe fewer taxes than the full amount of the credit for which you are eligible, you will not receive the full amount of the credit.

Student Loan Interest Deduction

You can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $2,500 of interest paid on student loans for higher education. This will lower the amount of tax you owe. The deduction includes required and voluntary interest payments.

You cannot claim the deduction if your filing status is married, filing separately, or if your modified adjusted gross income is between $60,000 and $75,000 (or $120,000 and $150,000 if married, filing jointly).

Tuition and Fees Tax Deduction

You can also reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by as much as $4,000 per year for any tuition and fees paid for attendance at an eligible postsecondary institution. This deduction can be claimed even if
you do not itemize your deductions. You cannot deduct expenses for personal or living expenses, including room and board, insurance, health care and transportation.

You cannot claim the deduction if your filing status is married, filing separately, or if your modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or more ($160,000 or more for married, filing jointly).

You can claim this deduction along with the American Opportunity/Hope credit or the Lifetime
Learning credit as long as they are not for the same student. You cannot claim the deduction if the tuition or fees were paid with a scholarship or grant.

Coverdell Education Savings Account

This account is a savings account used to help pay education expenses. The account must have been established for a child before the age of 18. Contributions are tax free, and the account can later be used to pay for qualified education expenses so long as the student is enrolled at least half time.

To qualify for the account, your modified adjusted gross income must be less than $110,000 for a single taxpayer or $220,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly.

The total of all contributions cannot exceed $2,000 per child per year, and contributions cannot be made after the child turns 18.

529 College Savings Plans (Qualified Tuition Programs)

You can set up a qualified tuition program to prepay for or contribute to a student’s qualified education expenses for an eligible institution. Payments or contributions to these accounts is not deductible.

Posted by maria magher | in Financial Aid | No Comments »