Utilizing Technology to Stay Happy and Healthy: A Personal Account

The following is a guest post by Jaclyn Gulinello, an instructional design intern at Touro College. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

The Pandemic of 2020 is what they will call it. When we are older, we will tell our children and grandchildren the stories of long grocery lines, the great toilet paper shortage, the quarantine, and how we came together as a country, and even on a global scale to help each other get through a very difficult time. I hope that after this is all over, we have realized what is truly important to us, and can find some positivity in all the negative that has transpired.

It’s been over a month of quarantine for me as I sit to write this. Everyone else has been in their homes for about 2 weeks, but it’s been a lot longer for me as I’ve been struggling with illnesses since February. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect, which is something I never had the time to do before. I was so busy with work, school, etc., that I simply could not even muster the energy at the end of the day to reflect on my life. Something I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to. I often felt overwhelmed, lost, and anxious. Again, something I’m sure many of you can relate to.

This time home has left me with much time for reflection and even prayer. What I’ve come to realize is that this is a time for healing for us all. Maybe this is exactly what we needed. Those of us who needed to spend more time with their families, or mend broken relationships, or even to spend more time with ourselves to cultivate self-growth.

Personally, this has been an eye-opening experience. I’ve felt the anxiety of the unknown, been sicker than I have in a very long time, and I’ve been forced to slow down. I’ve been forced to address my anxieties and deal with them in a healthy way. I’ve been forced to see my strength and to trust my body. I’ve been forced to put myself and my health first. I’ve also found something, or many things, to be grateful for every single day. Something that I had struggled with at times in the past. I’ve used this opportunity to speak with people in my life that I was too busy to talk to in the past, and to find ways to keep in touch through video chat and Facetime. I’ve learned patience, which is something I never thought I would ever be able to conquer.

Technology has become something I’m very grateful for during this quarantine. Technology has gotten a bad rap over the years, particularly in the realm of Education, but it is technology that is allowing many people to continue to work, and keeping people connected in this time of isolation. It’s allowing students like me to not only keep their jobs, but continue to attend classes so that I can earn my Graduate degree. It’s keeping people sane and connected in a way that wouldn’t have been possible in the past.

I’m sure that you are all familiar with Zoom by now and are using it to attend your classes online. If you’re like me, the thought of putting on makeup to look presentable at this point is just way too much effort. Well there’s a zoom hack that can help with that. It’s called “Touch up my Appearance” in your Zoom settings. Click on the link below to read more about how to use Zoom. There is also Google Chat that you can use to chat with family and friends, and if you’re tired of watching TV alone you can Netflix and chill with a friend through NetflixParty. It’s only available through Chrome so you will need that extension.

Another amazing thing happening with regards to technology right now is that many companies are offering free access to their sites and tools during the pandemic. Right now, you can go online and take a free exercise class, learn ballet, meditate, or attend a museum right from the comfort of your own home. The other night I joined a live webcam and watched the northern lights light up the night sky over Canada. Today, I sent my friend a link to a virtual Harry Potter escape room for her son. There are amazing resources that are available to students, parents, and educators right now, and you should be taking advantage of them. (Click below for a list of links to some of these resources.)

So, to conclude, while yes this is a scary time for everyone, you can still find the positive in the negative. Be that person. Work on yourself, meditate, pray, exercise, call that person you’ve been wanting to talk to and have coffee over video chat. Play that game with your kids and focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have right now. I’m sure you will find that you have more than you thought. At the very least what we need to have is hope. Hope that we will all get through this a little wiser, a little kinder, a little closer, and a little better than we were before.

Resources for Video Chat:

https://www.zoom.us/

https://meet.google.com/

https://houseparty.com/

https://www.netflixparty.com/

Free Apps and other Resources :

https://www.duolingo.com/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2020/03/18/these-historic-sites-attractions-are-offering-virtual-tours-during-coronavirus-pandemic/

https://www.metopera.org/

Free Apps for Kids:

https://elearningindustry.com/10-top-educational-apps-for-kids

Free Exercise Videos:

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/21/free-online-workouts-available-during-the-coronavirus-quarantine.html

Author’s Bio: Jaclyn Gulinello is currently attending the graduate school of technology at Touro College, and is pursuing a degree in Educational Technology. While Jaclyn is currently on the corporate track, she also has a background in education and obtained a B.A. in Early Childhood Education with a minor in speech communications. Jaclyn would like to apply her knowledge of teaching methods, creativity skills and her interest in emerging technologies to eventually become an instructional designer. She is currently working on various projects as an Instructional Design Intern at Touro College, and will go on to become an ID upon her graduation in June 2020 from the Touro Graduate School of Technology.

Seven Reasons Why Online Courses Are the Future of Education

The following is a guest post by Richard Van Hooijdonk, a futurist and international keynote speaker. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

  1. Online learning offers convenience and flexibility
  2. High-quality student-tutor interactions
  3. Studying online is affordable for many people
  4. All age groups benefit from online learning
  5. More students can be enrolled
  6. There’s a vast amount of online learning resources
  7. Web-based learning will grow in popularity

High quality education can make all the difference in people’s lives. It helps individuals escape poverty, earn a promotion, or find better paid jobs. But getting a university degree or a training certificate often costs a lot of money, and strict class schedules clash with work shifts, preventing people from enrolling in educational programs. Fortunately, online courses are providing a viable alternative for millions of people. And as a part of the thriving e-learning industry that will grow to $325 billion by 2025, they’re no longer a fringe idea. Instead, online courses are becoming increasingly popular, and there are many reasons why they’re the future of education

Online learning offers convenience and flexibility

Flexibility is one of the key reasons behind the growing demand for web-based learning. According to survey results published by the university ranking website Best Colleges, 59% of students who enroll in online education programs have children and 50% of them are employed. They highly value the opportunity to study when they can, as lectures are typically archived for later reference, making compulsory campus attendance a thing of the past. Also, they can work faster or slower on course material, depending on their current needs and understanding of the subject matter.

High-quality student-tutor interactions

Another advantage of online education is improved communication between students and tutors. A study by California State University in San Bernardino found that although people who study online absorb knowledge equally well as those who go to class, they’re more active in discussions and enjoy a better interaction with instructors. Technologies such as video conferencing and VOIP calls make it easy to communicate with people across the world. Online students also benefit from more frequent assessments, with professors able to spot knowledge gaps faster and provide suggestions on how to move forward.

Studying online is affordable for many people

Students also find that studying online is often much cheaper than attending traditional universities. There are no commuting expenses nor visa fees for international students, and accommodation costs are avoided, too. Some universities also offer reduced tuition fees for web-based learning. As a result of these advantages, people have to take on less student loan debt and won’t spend many years after graduation paying it off. And online programs allow students to work full-time, so they can earn money and a degree at the same time.

All age groups benefit from online learning

And far from serving only university students and adults, online courses are well suited for all age groups. Sure, undergraduate and postgraduate online degree programs might be some of the most popular ones, but digital learning is beneficial even at the kindergarten and elementary school level. Children can benefit from online learning programs that are more efficient than home-schooling. This can be of great help for parents who are looking for ways to help their loved ones explore additional topics beyond regular school content.

More students can be enrolled

Apart from serving all age groups, online courses can also take on more students than traditional educational institutions. There are no physical constraints such as classroom size, although tutors might still want to limit the number of students if they plan on providing one-on-one instructions or grading open-ended questions. Otherwise, the fact that most lessons are automatically delivered and students learn using their computers means that there’s almost no upper enrolment limit. The software reduces teachers’ workload and they can spend more time devising better and more engaging content.

There’s a vast amount of online learning resources

And apart from the course materials provided by professors, students can also explore a huge amount of online educational resources such as e-books, video and audio files, studies, databases, and much more. Valuable content is easily available and students can always find up-to-date information. And multimedia content is more engaging and better suited for today’s students than printed books. Also, by looking for content online, students will improve their digital research skills that are crucial for today’s job market.

Web-based learning will grow in popularity

Whether it’s about earning a bachelor’s degree or upskilling at work, online courses help people achieve their educational and career goals. Web-based learning ensures that even people with full-time jobs or disabilities can attend a course. And this can make all the difference in one’s life, as education remains an effective way to get a better salary and escape poverty. Online courses are thus likely to evolve and gain popularity as the underlying technology and the quality of instructions keep improving.

Author’s Bio: Trendwatcher, futurist and international keynote speaker Richard van Hooijdonk takes you to an inspiring future that will dramatically change the way we live, work and do business. His inspiration sessions have been attended by over 420,000 people. Richard is a regular guest at radio and television programs. With his international research team, he investigates tech trends like robotics, drone technology, autonomous transport systems, Internet of Things, virtual reality, biotech, nanotech, neurotech, blockchain, 3D and 4D printing and of course augmented and virtual reality and their impact on various industries. Findings are published weekly in the form of compelling articles, e-books and white papers.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Gamification and Game-Based Learning

The following is a guest post by Mary Colbert, a content creator specializing in education. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

When discussing gamification and game-based learning there is often some confusion as to how they differ. Many people use the terms interchangeably but they are not the same. However they are often linked together so it isn’t always easy to separate them.

What is Game-Based Learning?

Game-Based Learning or GBL is using a game as part of the learning process. Some examples of GBL could be using monopoly to teach the basics of money management or playing scrabble to help improve vocabulary skills. However, today when people talk about game-based learning they are usually referring to digital game-based learning. Game-based learning teaches through repetition, failure and the accomplishment of goals which is basically the way players become good at video games.

What is Gamification?

In education gamification is the introduction of game-like elements into the learning environment to help motivate students and make the process more engaging. This is accomplished by taking some of the elements that make games fun and that motivate people to keep playing and using those elements in a learning situation. Some examples of gamification include:

  • Points/Badges : The use of points and badges provides tangible evidence of accomplishment
  • Immediate Feedback: Fast response to actions that are taken rather than waiting for a paper to be graded.
  • Levels/Quests: Provide missions and goals to be accomplished
  • Leveling Up: Indication of achievement and opening up of new missions, badges and activities
  • Collaboration/Teamwork: Accomplish a goal working with others

Although gamification involves using elements from games it doesn’t necessarily include playing games.

Benefits of Gamification and Game-Based Learning

Game-based learning and gamification have been around for a number of years at the elementary and high school level. More recently it has been making its way into higher education as it offers a number of benefits to students:

  • Increased engagement: One of the most touted benefits of gamification is that it increases student engagement. Studies have shown that adding game-like features in non-game context increases student engagement. Increasing engagement also leads to greater retention as students relate better to material through practice rather than just reading or listening to a lecture.
  • Instant feedback: Receiving feedback immediately through dashboards and leaderboards tends to motivate students. They can view how they perform relative to their peers, which will often motivate them to retry tests and activities to achieve a better ranking. It also provides motivation to move ahead to further lessons.
  • Collaboration/Social Connection: For some students it isn’t easy to create connections with others in their class. Gamifying classes helps promote social interaction and encourages students to work together. Team competition is an excellent way to promote student collaboration.
  • Increase enthusiasm: For some students just learning is enough to generate enthusiasm but for many that is not the case. Gamification helps to generate more enthusiasm in students through badges and other types of rewards. It makes the learning process more fun for them.

Disadvantages of Gamification and Game-Based Learning

Gamification isn’t the perfect solution to every learning situation and there are some disadvantages.

  • Shortened attention spans: In some students the fast pace and immediate feedback can shorten attention span. It can also lead to discouragement with other parts of the student’s education that don’t provide that pace and feedback.
  • All about the competition: Students can become enamored with the competitive aspects of gamification and GBL and it becomes more about winning than learning.
  • Some students won’t be motivated: There will be some students that simply aren’t motivated by the gamification of learning. They may have some misconceptions about the process that prevent them from responding well to GBL. Other students may dislike the competitive nature of some aspects of gamification.

The gamification of a class or course doesn’t ensure it will be successful. How gamification is introduced will determine the type of impact that it has.

Gamified Education Online

Gamified education courses have already been introduced with great success online. Gamification and game-based learning work especially well with online education. The following are some examples of popular eLearning sites that use gamification successfully:

  • Duolingo: Duolingo is a language learning website with over 300 million users. They teach 22 different languages and use gamification in every lesson to make learning a new language fun.
  • Khan Academy: Khan Academy is a well known educational website for match, science and other subjects that use gamification to encourage and motivate students. Each answer is immediately scored and points are given if correct. Badges are also awarded
  • TedEd: TedEd provides all types of videos that are both entertaining and educational. They also have a web app that allows users to make their own video lessons that are actionable.

There are all kinds of game-based learning tools and gamification platforms available to educators now. Without a doubt this seems to be the wave of the future in education.

 Author’s Bio: Mary Colbert is a huge fan of gaming in general. Not only is she fond of gaming as a form of entertainment, she is a firm believer in the educational benefits of playing games.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

5 Things to Consider Before Taking an Online Course

The following is a guest post by Emma Megan, a content creator specializing in education. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Introduction:

Technology has changed every aspect of our lives, and education is no exception. We’ve gone from learning through direct contact to acquiring knowledge from behind a laptop screen.

Online courses have revolutionized the convenience and affordability of education. Anyone who has limited finances and time can sign up for any online course that they’re interested in, but they should be sure to carefully consider the following things:

1. You will probably NEVER meet your professor

Online courses are designed to keep things simple and comfortable both for the students enrolled and the professors teaching the classes. Professors who teach online courses, record their lectures beforehand, and those lectures can be used to illustrate the same sequence for several years to come.

Just as a student takes online classes because of the lack of time and money, the professors have pretty much the same reasons to teach an online course. They don’t want additional pressure and stress from their side jobs; hence, you will hardly ever meet your professor.

If you are always seeking guidance and assurance, then you might not find it while taking online classes. Online courses are for people who are self-sufficient and independent, as well as for those who can comprehend instructions easily.

2. All online classes are not equal

Recently, online courses have experienced a growth spurt in their numbers. Now you can get a high school diploma online as well as a master’s degree without stepping a foot out of your house. All these courses offer something diverse, and they function differently from one another.

For instance, some online courses will require you to read and review chapters daily, while others will ask you to submit a written report every other day at 9 PM sharp. Not only the nature of work and assignments, but the duration and tuition fees differ as well. 

It is essential to weigh down all your options before deciding, to avoid complications in the future. You should also consider the possibility of transferring your online course from one university to another. Think of an alternative before even signing up for an online course as it can save you from plenty of trouble and stress in the future. 

3. You can interact with your fellow students

You might be under the impression that taking online courses mean that you won’t have to deal with a peer group, but online courses actually offer several ways to collaborate with fellow students. Most online courses offered by conventional colleges and universities have online chat rooms. These chatrooms and online communities provide several opportunities for people enrolled in the same online course to interact and help each other out. Discussion boards are another key means of interaction.

Even without an online community and chatroom, one can always try to contact their classmates directly. Almost all online courses show profiles of students enrolled in their curriculum to other students for this purpose. 

4. You need to be technologically advanced

Online courses are essential for our fast-paced world, which means they are in sync with technology. One should never sign up for an online course if they are not well-versed in technology or do not have adequate equipment.

A working laptop and a fast wi-fi network are essentials to have before signing up for any online course. The people managing your class won’t care if you are laptop broke down or your wi-fi didn’t work. They will want you to submit all your assignments and tasks at the assigned time, or else your grade will be affected. 

Believe it or not, accredited online courses have a way to weed out dishonest and students that are slacking. If you think that cheating in exams or delaying your assignments is a possibility, then you are in for a surprise. 

These courses have systems in place that enable them to maintain the integrity and credibility of their programs.

5. An online course is not for procrastinator

Online courses are not everyone’s cup of tea and are not the ideal model of education for procrastinators. One must have impeccable time management skills and restraint to complete these courses.

You might want to sign up for an online class because you want to be your boss, but that perk isn’t good enough if you can’t keep up with the obligations that come with it. There won’t be any professor and friend to remind you to finish your assignments or to prepare for a test before the deadline. You will be on your own and carelessness, and irresponsible behavior can cost you a lot.

Bottom Line:

Online courses have their pros and cons, and their efficiency and success vary from person to person. Thorough research and knowledge of the intended online course can help you reach a decision that will work best for you!

Author’s Bio: Emma Megan is a content creator who enjoys writing about education and technology.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

The Powerful Impact of Virtual Classroom Software

The following is a guest post by Kamy Anderson, an expert in learning management system & eLearning authoring tools. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Information technology has revolutionized the learning environment. With the use of virtual classroom software or LMS software, education and training has become easier to use and more accessible.

Virtual classroom software is being incorporated into various organizations and learning institutions, and the worldwide e-learning market is expected to grow to $325 billion by 2025.

This is a trend that comes without an expiration date. Virtual classrooms have a lot to offer, and they’re reshaping the way we approach teaching and learning.

But what exactly is a virtual classroom? What are its benefits? Let’s find out.

What Is a Virtual Classroom?

In simple terms, a virtual classroom is an online learning environment. Through the use of specialized software, such as virtual classroom software or LMS software, teachers and learners can communicate, share ideas, collaborate, and more without ever being in the same room.

Of course, it’s necessary for both the learners and the educators to have a stable internet connection, and the virtual classroom software handles everything else.

This software provides:

  • Video conferencing
  • Audio conferencing
  • Online whiteboard
  • Learning materials
  • Live chat
  • Teaching tools and controls

With the use of virtual classroom software, the online learning environment is made to be very similar to the physical classrooms that we’re all accustomed to already.

The Many Benefits of Using Virtual Classroom Software

Seeing how virtual classrooms tend to mirror the physical classrooms that you can find in schools or even some companies, it’s easy to imagine that the two are not so different.

Instructors and learners can still interact. They can use various learning materials, take advantage of the whiteboard, and more.

Having said that, even the simplest virtual classroom software has more to offer, and teachers and learners can achieve much more than they ever could in a traditional classroom.

Virtual classroom software and LMS software facilitate:

  • Enhanced collaboration
  • Improved learning processes
  • Better accessibility
  • Better scalability
  • Affordability
  • Effectiveness

Let’s take a closer look.

Enhanced Collaboration

If two schools or companies wanted to collaborate, they would traditionally have to spend a lot of time on logistics.

Which teachers and staff will be sent to which school? How will they get there? When is the best time for both parties to organize the visit?

Collaboration required a lot of time and effort, not to mention a lot of money.

With the use of virtual classroom software, educators and staff can now easily collaborate wherever they are located.

One of the main features of virtual classroom software is video conferencing, which enables uninterrupted communication and interaction between instructors and learners.

Improved Learning Processes

Without the use of LMS software, corporate trainers, teachers, and online instructors have access to limited resources to enhance the learning experience of their learners.

Many schools in rural areas, for example, don’t have adequate infrastructure to provide quality education.

New technology is here to change this! Virtual classroom software empowers learners to travel around the world without ever leaving their actual classroom.

They can communicate with experts from various fields in real-time and learn from them. They can participate in seminars and classes happening on the other side of the world.

This all allows them to learn and retain more information than they normally could in a traditional classroom.

Virtual classroom software also offers room for personalization. The teaching materials can be customized to suit the learning needs of different learners.

Fast learners can easily skip ahead, while those who are falling behind can go through the materials as many times as they need and learn at their own convenient pace.

Accessibility

Any learner who has an internet connection and a computer, tablet, or smartphone can access the virtual classroom. 67% of U.S. companies, for example, offer learning opportunities via smartphones.

This means that any learner who isn’t able to go to classes can still learn. Those living in rural areas, or those who are bed-ridden and unable to leave their homes can still receive a high-quality education.

No matter where the learners and instructors are located, they can communicate and learn when they choose to do so. This enables you to create a global classroom where all learners enjoy equal opportunities for learning.

Scalability

LMS software enables you to customize every aspect of learning and teaching. Depending on the size of your classroom and the skill level of your learners, you can easily scale your teaching offerings up or down.

This is especially useful to companies as the employees can focus on improving the right skills at the right time, allowing learning to become more flexible. For example, any business or educational institution will keep adding human resources or learners to it. In a regular classroom model, it can create infrastructural issues or a company will have to expand the training material to accommodate the new requirements while managing the learners and meeting compliances can become tough.

Now contrast this with a scenario where a virtual classroom software provides almost endless possibilities of learning anytime, anywhere. Teachers can take on larger groups of students and businesses can easily track the training process of bigger teams with diverse skill sets.

An LMS which is designed to be scalable enough to grow as per the increasing needs can provide the right environment while cutting down the infrastructural and manpower costs that are otherwise associated with traditional modes of learning.

Affordability

Whether we’re talking about schools or companies, using virtual classroom software has proven time and time again to be more affordable than traditional classrooms.

All the tools, equipment, and materials are digital and can be accessed wherever and whenever they’re needed.

Companies don’t have to build an actual classroom, and schools and students who don’t have the means don’t have to invest in textbooks or expensive school supplies.

Effectiveness

There’s no denying the effectiveness of virtual classroom software. In face-to-face education, students typically have a learning retention rate of 8% to 10%.

When it comes to e-learning, on the other hand, the learning retention rate is between 25% and 60%, which proves the effectiveness of virtual classroom software.

This is mainly due to the personalization of teaching materials. All learners can learn at their own pace, go through the different lectures as many times as they need to, and gain instant feedback on their progress.

The Bottom Line

Using virtual classroom software and LMS software can bring many benefits to learners and educators alike.

This technology has revolutionized education and made it accessible to all learners around the world.

This isn’t a technology that will replace teachers or educators, but rather a technology that helps them improve all teaching and learning processes and assist students in reaching their maximum potential!

Author’s Bio: Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management system & eLearning authoring tools – currently associated with ProProfs Training Maker.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

8 Assistive Technology Tools for Students with Disabilities

The following is a guest post by Jennifer Broflowski, a content creator. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

The application of technology for disabled students is an exciting new educational approach that is gaining ground. The differently-abled thrive in an environment where they are given access to accommodations that help them learn to the best of their abilities. Assistive Technology, equipment that helps to mitigate learning deficits, helps to make this a reality by enabling disabled students learn in new ways. This article introduces students, parents, and tutors to the fast-growing technological tools positively impacting learning.

Here are eight of the best Assistive Technology (AT) tools that help people with disabilities study regularly:

1. Timers

For kids who have trouble pacing themselves, this is a great and handy tool to help. You can either tie it to their wrist or place it strategically where the kid can see and use it. Timers help kids to keep track of the remaining amount of time for accomplishing a task or activity. Whether it is writing an essay or eating breakfast, a timer will help students who can’t easily keep up with the current pace. It is also ideal for kids who find it challenging to transition from one task to the next.

2. Reading guides

Kids with visual tracking problems can now see the light thanks to this innovative tool. Reading guides help them to maintain focus on specific pages that they are reading. Essentially, it’s made out of a plastic strip that helps to block out neighboring words of the text while highlighting those that the student is currently reading. The strip seamlessly moves as the child proceeds to the next words in the text.

3. Text to speech

Some individuals have problems reading standard print texts. This is an impressive tool to help them through this difficulty. Some of the typical disabilities handled by this software include; dyslexia, blindness, learning difficulties, visual impairment, and any other shortcoming that impedes reading. Different types of children that can benefit from Text to Speech technology include ADHD and autists.

So, how does this technology work? It scans the written text and then synthesizes it, reading in a voice that students can easily understand. It employs different types of speech sounds that help make up words in different contexts. This is an advancement in speech synthesis that has helped students accurately study.

4. Alternative keyboards

These are programmable keyboards that help students who can’t quickly type to do so freely. They customize the appearance using unique overlays that are absent on a standard keyboard. It is specifically great for students with LD and typing issues. It achieves this by adding graphics for comprehension, grouping keys using different colors, and reducing input choices.

5. Audiobooks

You might already guess what these are. Audiobooks are pre-recorded tools with relevant information relating to the particular field a student is studying. They are present in different formats, including CDs, MP3s, and audio cassettes. You can also subscribe to electronic libraries online and listen to various subjects.

6. FM listening systems

You have probably listened to various FM radio stations but didn’t even know much about their technology. Frequency Modulation (FM) systems are handy in terms of reducing background noise. This is useful for classes where many students are present, and amplification is required. It is an impressive tool for students with attention deficit and other hearing impairments. It helps to improve the auditory processing issues current with students in a classroom.

So, how does this work? A tutor will wear a microphone that later broadcasts to speakers present inside the room. Alternatively, if there aren’t many people with difficulties in the classroom, the specific students with issues can wear personal receivers. This will help them easily grasp what the teacher is saying, even at a distance. FM systems equally help students facing language-processing concerns get a better understanding.

7. Writing supports

These tools help make writing more palatable for students with this deficiency in learning. Sometimes the problem is more of a mental one than it is physical. For instance, when a student cannot correctly write grammatically potent sentences with no semantic issues, this can be a great tool to use. It is appropriate for students who have thoughts racing ahead of their ability to jot. Some examples of writing support software that can help include word prediction. This technology helps to suggest the next word to the student before he or she types. Speech recognition software is another useful asset to have. The student simply speaks out their thoughts, and the tool transfers the words into text. Most of the current smartphones and other mobile devices have these apps in-built in them.

8. Graphic organizers

These work hand in hand with outlining software to help students who struggle with organizing and outlining problems. This is especially visible in writing projects where students lack the prerequisite skills to draw out a plan accurately. This software helps the student to release information in an unstructured manner. Later on, it plans and organizes everything based on different categories and in a specific order. It helps the student to organize their thoughts ahead of a writing task. The detailed organizers can help a student to map out their thoughts and ideas into reality.

Author’s Bio: Jennifer Broflowski is a talented and skilled writer at PaperLeaf with immense experience. Her expertise stretches far and wide, having worked for popular brands like CraftResumes. She loves to hang out with kids in her free time and appreciates good music. Her dedication to special needs learning is what drives her to wake up every day in the morning. She has made several steps pertaining to people with disabilities, and there is more to what the future holds.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

5 Key Software Development Technologies You Can Learn Online

The following is a guest post by Hardik Shah, a Tech Consultant at Simform, a leading custom software development company. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

In this digital world, there is no skill more valuable than programming and software development. Every year, thousands of software, apps and web apps are developed, catering to the growing need for enterprise and retail applications.

As the demand for exciting features, intuitive UI/UX and responsive solutions is increasing, the software development field is evolving with new technologies, frameworks, and languages. Also, the existing programming landscape is maturing with dynamic job roles designed for a modern software developer.

In this rapidly changing landscape, learning software development technologies and improving one’s skills is extremely essential. Not only does it boost employment prospects but it also increases the chances of grabbing a lucrative job offer from top industry names.

Also, if you are smitten by the entrepreneurial bug, then learning a thing or two about software development would make you better equipped to launch your own technology startup.

In this post, we’ll highlight five relevant software development technologies that you should master. You can learn these technologies online using online courses and open learning resources easily.

Once you learn any technology, you can search for jobs by googling “custom software development company near me”. You find that there are lot of software development companies that are looking for talented developers.

1. JavaScript

JavaScript is one of the most critical programming technologies on the planet. Not only does JavaScript make it easier to offer enhanced user experiences but it is easy-to-learn and master. JavaScript allows developers to create a full application suite without using any other technology. While JavaScript can support a client-side solution, it can also be used to develop a server-side application using the Node.js framework.

In fact, JavaScript is the base for several programming frameworks, making it a wise decision to learn JavaScript if you want to excel at software development and programming.

There are many paid and free courses on JavaScript that you can start with if you are planning to learn JavaScript online. You can start with this course on Udemy if you are looking to start from scratch and hone your software development skills.

2. Java

Java is one of the most popular programming languages which is used for iOS & Android app development along with other use cases. It was one of the first object-oriented programming languages that are still widely used in web development, software development, and mobile app development. Several Fortune 500 companies harness the Java technology for server-side application development, making it one of the most lucrative technologies to learn at present.

You can use Java to create highly scalable and robust software and apps for a large number of users, easily. Java can also teach you the basics of programming and can help you set a strong foundation for your learning and programming endeavors in the future.

This specialization by Duke University on Coursera can take you through the fundamentals as well as some advanced programming concepts.

3. Python

Python has a long history of supporting large-scale software development projects. Touted as one of the easiest programming languages, Python is known for its extensive support libraries, open-source background, and easy-to-learn syntax. Several large organizations, including NASA and Google, have used Python on several projects. In fact, many modern web development frameworks, including Flask & Django, are also based on Python. This means that Python still has a lot of scope in the programming industry.

So, you should think of learning Python for all its benefits and modern applications that are increasing day by day. This Coursera specialization by the University of Michigan is a great way to get started on your journey to learn Python programming language.

4. Blockchain

Blockchain is a relatively new technology that has already revolutionized many sectors and industries. The growing demand for Blockchain-based solutions makes it a lucrative technology to learn in the modern era.

Blockchain is all about using a decentralized consensus-based system for processing transactions between two parties without an intermediary. In recent times, many financial institutions have explored the scope of Blockchain for digitizing their processes. Also, the cryptocurrency hype associated with Bitcoin has made Blockchain a promising technology to learn and master. In the future, as the use cases evolve and more industries start adopting blockchain-based solutions, the possibilities for a developer would be limitless.

You can enroll in ‘Blockchain Revolution for Enterprise Specialization’ course available on Coursera to learn more about Blockchain and how you can master blockchain development skills for the future.

5. Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails technology is in high demand owing to the benefits it offers for employers as well as developers. Programmers can use the web app development framework for quickly developing, testing and deploying prototypes without much fuss. Several tech mammoths, including Airbnb, Twitter, and Shopify, have used the technology to create intuitive web apps.

Also, the open-source nature of the framework and easy syntax makes it a great option to get started for anyone looking to improve their programming skills online.

This course on Ruby on Rails can be a good start for you if you want to understand the framework and want to start building web apps, soon.

Final Words

Learning a programming language, framework or technology can be a gamechanger in your career. If you are already in the IT industry or are planning to kickstart your career, learning more about software development technologies is an easy and cost-efficient way. By completing the above-mentioned courses, you can definitely improve your programming skills and gain the agility and robustness modern companies require.

Author’s Bio: Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform, a leading custom software development company. Hardik leads large scale mobility programs covering platforms, solutions, governance, standardization and best practices.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Virtual Orientation: a how-to for Online Classrooms [INFOGRAPHIC]

Online orientation should provide the knowledge and information necessary to succeed in an online course so that all students are prepared to excel! This infographic covers how to introduce course material and clarify expectations for an online class.

The text for this infographic was based off of an article by Dean Marian Stoltz-Loike, vice president of online education at Touro College in New York and dean of the school’s Lander College for Women.

Author’s Bio: Chana Goldberg is currently the Presidential Fellow of Online Education at Touro College. She enjoys reading, exploring New York City, and researching education-related topics.

Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the Education of Children

The following is a guest post written by Steffen Carter, A level maths tutor in Singapore associated with ChampionTutor. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us.

Technology has progressed by leaps and bounds and today, it has become an integral part of all of our lives. The entire world functions based on technology and many are looking towards further progress to make life increasingly convenient. The influence that technology has, has also seeped into the education arena. Virtual learning has become extremely famous these days with regards to education. Years ago, this was unheard of, and today, thanks to technology, online learning is possible and this strategy is something that every educational institute tries to follow.

Laptops, computers and smartphones are the most common technological devices being used in classrooms while teaching. And though these devices may serve as a source of distraction, under teachers’ supervision and if the student is disciplined enough, students are sure to reap the benefits. The biggest advantage is that the internet has an infinite amount of information about anything and everything.

This also extends beyond schools, whereby tuition centers also use technology as much as possible to make sure their lessons are engaging and effective in communicating the topic to their students. Tuition centers make it a point to constantly upgrade themselves and they have learnt to change their teaching methods for adaptation in order to thrive as a business and to provide quality service. One of the biggest reasons for the organic change in teaching style and method over the past two decades, is the rise in the importance of technology.

Everything has become digitalized and the children’s attention span has decreased over time. These days, we are able to book a ticket with a single click, send a text message within seconds, and swipe to take a look at your next potential soulmate. Technology has decreased the time being “wasted” and has increased our impatience (this is one of the key disadvantages of technology in this era).

In order to keep students engaged with constant stimulation and eradicate boredom, one of the best ways is to teach them through the medium that they are most familiar with since birth, and that is, via technology. Whether we like it or not, technology has become an integral part of all of our lives and kids these days say that they feel rather disabled without their gadgets around them.

Technology encourages the use of real-world problems in the classroom as well. This enables students to be adventurous in finding out about the various problems that exist around them and this will motivate them to find innovative solutions. By using the Internet, students can research real issues happening at that moment within the classroom environment and participate in classroom discussions. This leads to students being critical thinkers, and this is a quality that is much needed and relevant in this day and age.

Students certainly create online groups, Web pages, and virtual communities which enables them to be connected to various kinds of people who are knowledgeable, all around the world. Within a small group with teachers and students together, students can pose questions or share interesting facts. This will deepen their understanding about concepts and further widen their horizon by learning new concepts as well. Moreover, because it is online, feedback will be instantaneously sent and received as well. By listening to and reading about others’ opinions and feedback, students can refine their thinking process, and the kind of exposure they gain would definitely be invaluable.

One of the most effective ways to teach is by the use visualizers and screens and this is one of the boons of technology, indeed. It gives a theater-like feeling; the dim lights within the classroom setting and the colorful presentation of information gives students a more enjoyable approach towards learning. The traditional classroom rules are broken and a different ambiance and aura is being created. Showing content-driven educational videos will enable information to be stored easily and constructively in the mind and recalling them during exams will be easier.

Another way in which technology is being utilized is through online content-related games or activities. This is not a method that all teachers incorporate into their teaching and hence it is not as prevalent, but this is something that teachers adopt especially when they are trying to engage students who lack the patience to sit in one place and learn (ie. students with very short attention span), and maybe break the ice if it’s an introductory lesson or when new students join the class. Students who are sincere about learning will make good use of the devices they have and will also appreciate the fact that their teachers are utilizing technology to teach as well.

BOTTOM LINE

Technology plays a vital role in all of our lives and it certainly holds great significance in the educational journey of our children today (as well as those of future generations). Promoting healthy use of technology is crucial and that way, progress can be made beyond a shadow of doubt.

Author’s Bio: 

Steffen Carter is A level maths tutor in Singapore associated with ChampionTutor – One of the best tutoring agencies. He enjoys working with students very much. He has a positive attitude and a passion to assist and motivate struggling learners.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Should We Incorporate Social Media Into Online Education?

The following is a guest post written by Emily Johnson, freelance blogger and content writer. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us.

Let’s be honest: online teaching and learning is not easy. Both instructors as well as students need to deal with a number of problems that arise from the limitations of virtual education. Thus, online instruction requires novel, creative methods, which would help students acquire new knowledge and make them feel less isolated.

Does social media have the power to improve virtual education? Can it solve most of the problems both online educators as well as online students strive to overcome each and every day? Would incorporating it into virtual teaching and learning make a difference? Keep on reading to find out.

The Challenges of Online Education and How Social Media Can Help To Overcome Them

Whether you’re a teacher who considers conducting online courses or a student who got enchanted by an idea of getting a degree online and wants to try, chances are that you think there’s nothing complicated about it:

  • As an online tutor, all you’ll have to do is to prepare materials, upload them on a site, and then, check the progress of your students and provide them with feedback.
  • As an online student, all you’ll have to do is download materials from a website, study them at home, and then, do the homework and upload it on a site.

That’s it, right? Unfortunately, in practice, it’s more complicated than that. Each step of the way only seems to be easy. In reality, problems arise. Problems, which can be hard to deal with and solve.

#1 Computer literacy.

Attending and creating an online course requires a person to develop new computer skills, and while professors may already have the knowledge on how to navigate the necessary systems and programs, many students don’t. Research shows that computer literacy of university graduates is low. Thus, we can assume that computer literacy of students who just begin their studies or are in the middle of them isn’t any better.

Now, to be able to fully participate in an online course, students need to learn to use LMS (i.e. Learning Management System), be able to operate such programs as MS Word or PowerPoint, and fix computer problems if they occur. Without any technological knowledge and skills, it can be a challenge too hard to deal with.

Also, although “Help Pages” and detailed FAQ sections may be of some help, finding the necessary information and following instruction can be time-consuming, problematic, and frustrating. Thus, here’s another idea:

To allow students to contact and chat with a computer expert via a social media platform. It’s fast and easy. Moreover, this way, students can quickly improve their computer skills and feel more supported in their studies.

#2 Communication problems and the lack of human contact.

Conducting as well as participating in an online course often results in communication problems and limits for both professors as well as students. Thus, exchanging thoughts, sharing ideas, asking questions, clarifying various issues, explaining the course material, or simply talking, may take some time and be difficult (especially if it can only happen in the LMS or via email). What’s more, distance learning means learning away from a campus and student dormitories, which can affect a person’s sense of belonging to a community of students and so, make them feel isolated.

Can we improve communication between online tutors and students, and help students make friendships, share their thoughts, and interact with their peers? Yes, we can. Social media is the answer.

By promoting the use of social media and creating special groups for students on such platforms as Facebook, we can help teachers contact their students (and vice versa) quickly from any device, and we provide students with a perfect place to talk to their peers, discuss problems, share various ideas or reviews, and form a community. In fact, in a recent study, 75% of students say they feel comfortable using social networking to discuss course work with other students and 58% use it to communicate with their classmates.

Now, since students find social media platforms useful for educational purposes as well as forming friendships, incorporating social media into online education can both improve communication between students and teachers, and make students feel less lonely.

#3 Boredom, self-motivation and time-management.

Although online courses work for a number of students, many fail an online class, especially at community colleges. Why? Well, in a study conducted in 2011, students provided a number of reasons why you may fail an online course, and so, drop out of college. Here are the causes:

  • Motivation (35%).
  • Study habits (17%).
  • Academic preparedness (12%).
  • External factors (11%).
  • Attitudes (11%).
  • Instruction (10%).
  • Relevancy issues (4%).

What also has a negative impact on online students is the fact that e-learning may sometimes feel like e-reading. Thus, online courses lack variety and can be simply boring. After all, not everyone find reading textbooks and other materials as the best way to learn. Some students acquire new knowledge by listening to lectures. Others prefer doing things in practice. There are also those who learn best by watching videos. So, variety in virtual education is a must to keep students engaged.

Now, since online students are not self-motivated to learn, find it hard to create and stick to their own learning schedules, and often get bored, is there anything we can do to help them? As a matter of fact, yes, there is. Social media gives us a possibility to solve a number of problems that online students face.

Here are several creative ideas on how educators can use social media platforms to support their students:

  • Create and post inspirational and motivational quotes on Facebook, and thus, help your students achieve their goals.
  • Send reminders about assignments and upcoming deadlines via online platforms.
  • Make competitions and contests (thus, you can encourage creative writing, help students improve their skills in a number of areas, and entertain them).
  • Instead of uploading another longish lecture on a website for your students to read, make a video lesson on YouTube.
  • Ask intriguing questions in posts and so, start an online discussion (let your students engage in a conversation with you as well as their peers).
  • Encourage your students to make posts or tweets on a given topic for extra credit.

As you can see, social media gives a number of possibilities to help students succeed in an online class.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why we should incorporate social media into online education. First of all, students are familiar with it, so they will have no problems with accessing materials on social media platforms or contacting their teachers. Also, social media platforms can help students to form and maintain interactions with others. Moreover, it allows online students to ask more questions and get answers fast.

For online teachers, social media gives a lot of new opportunities as well. Teachers can easily contact their students, have more possibilities to help them acquire new knowledge as well as engage them. Also, it’s much faster, easier, and convenient to give students feedback via a social media platform than an online system.

Thus, by incorporating social media into virtual education we’ve nothing to lose, and a lot to gain.

Author’s Bio: Emily Johnson is a college graduate who spends her free time writing thought-provoking blog posts about education, college life, blogging, and writing. Her articles that give career advice help and inspire people all over the Web. To find out more about Emily, check out her Twitter.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.