Cybersecurity for the Stay-at-Home Semester (Infographic)

With the shift of learning to online platforms, cybersecurity remains a crucial objective to keep in mind. By following the below tips, you can ensure that you and your students’ learning takes place in a secure, confidential, and positive environment! The #stayathome semester is here, and we’re excited to help you make the most of it!

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.

7 Rules of Netiquette (Infographic)

Netiquette – or “internet etiquette” refers to the the code of behavior governing respectful and productive online interaction. The infographic below, created by Touro College’s Department of Online Education, highlights 7 key netiquette rules to keep in mind!

Lecture Breakers Podcast: 5 Ways to Help Students Succeed in Online Courses

In this episode of Lecture Breakers, a podcast devoted to helping educators teach in more engaging ways, Holly Owens (Assistant Director of Online Education at Touro College) shares 5 ways to help students succeed in online courses. Holly discusses course design strategies to increase student engagement and ways to leverage technology tools to improve learning.

Check out more episodes at the Lecture Breakers website!

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.

Why You Should Use Videos in Your E-learning Courses

The following is a guest post by Victor Blasco, an audiovisual designer and video marketing expert. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

If you are looking for ways to improve your e-learning courses, then you’ve surely thought about using videos.

As we move onward towards a more interconnected world, video content is a key piece in figuring out the digital landscape. Why, you ask? Well, it’s simple, really. Videos are more engaging than plain text and more dynamic than still images.

People studying online are looking to get the most information in the shortest amount of time, and there’s no better tool to accomplish that than educational video content. However, ask any skilled video production company about it, and they’ll tell you that outside some specialized platforms, it is rarely being used to its fullest potential.

In this piece, we are going to talk a bit about five major reasons why you want to start introducing effective video pieces into your e-learning courses (and how to make the most out of them.)

Let’s get started!

Storytelling as An Education Device

Ever since the first cave paintings, humans have been drawn to stories. There’s just something about witnessing a character go through a situation that speaks to us on a deeper level. But when it comes to using video to overcome online learning challenges, not just any old tale will do!

There are rules and limitations to these pieces, and you need to learn to work within their framework to have them work. While not comprehensive, these tips should set you on the right path when creating videos for your e-learning courses.

1) Likable Character

Let’s start by stating that “likable” isn’t the same as ordinary. Your students need more than ordinary to focus long enough to get the message you are trying to convey across. No, when I say likable, I mean easy to get along with, to form a strong connection to them, regardless of how short the piece actually is.

Generating empathy for a piece’s character helps viewers put themselves in the character’s shoes and better understand the examples and ideas being shown. So, try to avoid generic templates for your video’s protagonists and start with the right foot by establishing them strongly in the first act.

2) An Interesting Plot Point

Here’s is where your story gets exciting! Once you’ve introduced your character, it’s time for the story (and message) to evolve. Now, you don’t have to be dramatic, but please be interesting!

All it takes is a compelling problem, a memento of crisis, or a simple dilemma whose implications affect your character. Since your audience will already feel related to your character, they cannot remain indifferent to this problem. They’ll have an easier time getting invested.

Do it right, and those interesting plot points will spur curiosity and boost engagement in your video.

3) Finish strong with the Takeaway

Remember all those children’s stories that ended with a clear-cut moral lesson? It was an effective formula for thousands of years for a good reason!

The ending of your piece should sum up what your character, and thus your audience, learned from the story. It’s the third act of your video, in which you explain the goal of your video and lay down your lesson.

More Information in Less Time

Videos condense and convey information more efficiently than other media, leading to faster learning. Just look at the explainer video formula, for instance. They are the best examples of short pieces that provide a simple answer to a complex problem. And they work perfectly whether you’re trying to explain a complex concept or going over the steps of a process.

Longer videos tend to lose the attention span of your audience sooner or later, which is why you want to keep your videos as short as possible — condensing your most important messages within the first few minutes.

And whenever you’re going way over the 4-minute mark, remember to end with a summary of the main points you want the audience to walk away with.

Are you dealing with a very long course? Don’t panic! You can always separate it in short-format videos. This way, you can also improve the planning of your course by setting short-term goals.

Oh, and on the topic of attention…

Video Increases Message Retention

Video has many advantages over any of the traditional types of content, but this is one of the most powerful.

Videos give you the creative freedom to use a whole range of visual aids like simple animations, sound queues, charts… it’s your call! Creative use of visual aids will have your piece feel more engaging and fresher.

That said, this is also where it gets tricky. Keep your content well-structured and never lose focus on the objectives of the course. Use as many resources as you want, but be careful not to overdo it! Aids should always help your audience in their learning without becoming a distraction!

Your best pal to make sure you hit the sweet spot? Editing. We can’t stress enough how essential editing is for making your video look professional. A dynamic and clean editing style will make your video cohesive and adds to the learning experience, not detract from it.

Empathy and Emotional Resonance

“Feelings” is not a topic we usually consider when it comes to teaching, but you should never underestimate the role emotions play in our learning. Making an emotional connection with your audience is key, especially if you want your message to stick with them long after the content is over.

After all, it’s most likely that you’ll remember the teachers that made you feel something, as opposed to those that merely droned on.

Your educational videos will be more effective at engaging your audience if you get emotions into the mix. You can use imagery that causes a strong sense of familiarity in your viewers. Or you can highlight how your lessons can have a direct impact on your viewers’ everyday life.

Either way, you must remember that your audience will always react to content that makes them feel something. People remember feelings stronger than facts – Combine both, and you’ll have a powerful mix in your hands.

Accessibility and Availability are Key

In this day and age, you can stream high-quality videos on any computer, tablet, or smartphone from almost anywhere. This means that while using video, your audience will have access to your lessons from practically everywhere and at all times. Can you think of a more convenient and flexible way of teaching?

Accessibility will motivate your students to incorporate your courses into their daily routine. People even use the term “m-learning” (or mobile learning) when talking about learning using personal electronic devices. Being able to learn through a mobile device seems like a fantastic and utopian idea… and it’s real!

This also sets a couple of technical requirements for your video. First of all, it might be a good idea to include subtitles, since you never know the audio quality of the device used by your audience. Also, optimizing the technical aspects of your piece (resolution, file size) is also a great idea, as it makes it easier for your audience to download or stream.

In Short

If you’re looking for a way to boost engagement in your e-learning courses, then video is the answer. Audiences are drawn to well-structured audiovisual experiences, with professional editing and an effective way of communicating.

We all know that a bad or boring lesson can bring our hopes down and make us abandon that passion for learning about something altogether.

Video can give you an excellent medium to prevent that from ever happening!

Author’s Bio: Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.

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.

7 Not-So-Common Reasons Why I Love Teaching Online

The following is a guest post by Holly Owens, Assistant Director of Instructional Design with Online Education at Touro College and University System. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

This post was originally published on the Touro College Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Blog, a blog dedicated to exploring best practices in higher education. You can find a link to it here.

Listen to “Seven Not-So-Common Reasons Why I Love Teaching Online”

Recently I was reading Aaron Johnson’s book, Excellent Online Teaching: Effective Strategies for a Successful Semester Online, and began reflecting on all the planning and time that goes into creating an online course. I have been teaching online since 2012 and hadn’t yet thought about why I do it. Of course, I love teaching, but why do I love teaching online? Yes, sitting at home in my pajamas with a cup of hot cocoa and saving on gas are pluses, but the reality of online courses, as anyone who has built or taught one knows, is that it takes an immense amount of time and multiple iterations to develop a really “good” online course.

Here are 7 not-so-common reasons why I loving teaching online:

Reason 1: I Like to Fail- Failure is not a feeling that everyone is comfortable with – I’m certainly not most of the time – but just as in a face-to-face classroom, some of your online lessons will fail. These failures become teachable and reflective moments for you as the educator. Admit to yourself and your students that the lesson, or module, did not go as you planned and try to do better the next time. Honestly, it all works out in the end, and your students will see you as human.

Reason 2: Growth as an Educator-Online teaching has taught me a thing, or two, about who I am as an educator. It has pushed me to be a better educator in the sense that I want to create a safe, diverse, and welcoming environment for all students: a place for all of us to learn and grow without the stigma surrounding failure.

Reason 3: It is Fun-I know what you are thinking-Did she really say it’s fun, and mention earlier it takes a lot of time to plan for online? Well, yes, I did say it is fun to teach online, and I mean it. Once you get past all the stages of planning, designing, modifying, and deploying the course, you find that you and your students actually can have fun and learn at the same time (Yes, really!).

Example from my course: The use of Zoom breakout rooms has really afforded the opportunity in my online synchronous course to have students do virtual group work. I put them in breakout rooms (a feature of Zoom) and assign each group a task to tackle. They then share their findings later with the other students. The beauty of this tool is I have the ability to jump in and out of the breakout rooms and check on students, which is the same thing I would be doing if I was deploying this activity in a face-to-face course.

Reason 4: I Want to Change Perceptions About Online Learning-I am sure you have heard some of the common misconceptions about teaching online, such as “online learning is inferior to that of face-to-face instruction,” or, “students do not learn as much in an online setting as they do in a classroom.” These misconceptions come from a place of misunderstandingfor those who have never genuinely experienced learning in an online setting, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. Online teaching and learning opens up a world of endless possibilities where you can reach students from all walks of life and change their lives!

Reason 5: It Is Personable-Online students are really unique and have an extensive amount of life experience. Many choose online courses because they want to learn, and otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do so. I find that by the end of the semester, my students and I have really developed a friendly little community of trust and respect for one another. The semester eventually ends, but former students will often reach out to me to say hi, or to tell me that they landed their dream job, and as an educator this is particularly rewarding.

Reason 6: It Just Keeps Getting Better-With technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented realities (AR & VR) making their way into the education world, the possibilities of what you can do in an online setting are growing exponentially. Can you imagine having students perform a mock surgery together using augmented reality and submit their work for review and critique? So many exciting things can happen in a virtual setting, especially when you support it with the use of technology.

Reason 7: Pushing My Creative Limits- Remember what I said above about liking to fail? Well, out of these failures, I have created the most engaging and creative learning experiences online. I ask myself, can technology help here? What can I do differently? How can I get my students to understand this content and apply it to their lives? Online teaching has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and allowed me to create some genuinely magical modules and this is why I love teaching online.

Author’s Bio: Holly Owens is the Assistant Director of Instructional Design with Online Education at Touro College and University System. You can find her on LinkedIn here.

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.

Benefits of Using Infographics for e-Learning

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

Modern learning has presented a wide range of new tools and techniques for educators to help foster knowledge and appreciation of knowledge in students of all types and of all ages. The opportunities that have been presented are varying and have a range of different effects on students, but they mostly work by helping teachers present and relay information more cleanly and effectively than ever before. eLearning as a field is part of this revolution, where major learning can now be done purely through the internet, without a teacher and student ever needing to actually come face to face. Within eLearning, as an internet-based experience, you have to be very innovative with how you communicate ideas. The ‘infographic’ is just one of many tools that you can use, so let’s take a look at what you can do with it.

A Process of Simplification

Using language to describe certain types of statistical problems or data sets can be difficult and can have remarkably poor results. If I tell you there are four piles, one with 6 beans, one with 2 beans, one with 18 beans and one with 9 beans, that can be quite a difficult image to hold in your head while calculating an answer. But, if they’re already depicted, you cut a step out and everything becomes much simpler to grasp. The process of removing that step from the intended receiver of the information, is a process of simplification which can be a really powerful tool for relaying information efficiently. The visual aspect cleans the whole operation up.

Source- https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1._Infographic_%E2%80%93_We_live_in_a_nano_world.jpg, attribution – InsightPublishers [CC BY-SA 4.0

To Help With Memorization

It’s often the case that an eLearning course will culminate in some sort of an exam or test that is in place to establish the success of the teaching and of the student’s knowledge and attention to the course. Likely, the student will be required to recall elements to the course from memory. The visualization of information through infographics is an immensely successful tool for aiding retention. Recalling images of text is almost always harder than recalling visualizations of information. Online teachers want you to remember what you’re being taught, thus making infographics an excellent option for you as you continue to find ways to aid success in eLearning.

Higher Engagement

Just like when you are designing a website of some sort, a wall of text will always make things a lot less appealing for the user. Text is boring and not unique. It can be beautifully written prose, but the medium of choice is so standard that it’s not going to leave an impression on anyone or draw the eye particularly. Infographics can look however you want, which can really draw the eye in. Representation of information through infographics is an excellent way to increase student engagement.

Source – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Secondary_Sources.png, attribution – Shonnmharen [CC BY 4.0

Space Saver

Organization and workflow are key in eLearning. It’s not as simple as being in a classroom where you can always ask your teacher for direct guidance through the material, you have to be able to find your path through the learning effectively on your own. Clutter is a critical issue for eLearning material, since that sort of course based disorganization and confusion can create the same detrimental effects in the mind of the student as they try and progress. As the old saying goes, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’. This is very true and very relevant with eLearning. You can save space and be wonderfully succinct through use of infographics in a way which helps aid the work flow of your students.

Conclusion

There really are no downsides to the use of infographics for eLearning. They help in almost every way that you could hope they would help. Infographics are an important and effective way to aid in online learning.

Author’s Bio: Ashley Halsey is a professional writer writing on all sorts of topics relating to the modernization of education and the future of EdTech. She has written for Last Minute Writing and Research Papers UK.

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.

5 Things Online Institutions Need to Understand About their Students [INFOGRAPHIC]

The following is a guest post by Shristi Patni, content writer and Chief Content Officer at Raletta and PR Bulls, and Navrajvir Singh, content creator at Cute Insides and Fun Travellers. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

This infographic visually explores what community colleges and online institutions need to understand about their students.
Learners/individuals seeking a blended or online education have a specific set of needs and expectations that can be best handled by a learning management system. 

This infographic was made by Navrajvir Singh, content creator at Cute Insides and Fun Travellers.

Author’s Bio: Shristi is the Chief Content Officer at Raletta (Digital Marketing Agency), and PR Bulls (Content Marketing Agency). She enjoys writing about food, fitness, finance and everything in between.

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.

Top 7 Advantages of Online Learning [INFOGRAPHIC]

The following is a guest post by Shristi Patni, content writer and Chief Content Officer at Raletta and PR Bulls. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Online learning is one of the most powerful tools to impart skills and information to employees in training institutions or corporate companies, simply because it is a flexible, consistent, and convenient way to learn.

There are a number of challenges that an organization faces while training their employees in different departments. This issue has now been efficiently and effectively tackled with the help of online learning.

This infographic made by Navrajvir Singh (content contributor at Sauve Women and Surviving Spirits) highlights seven advantages associated with implementing online learning in an organization. 

Author’s Bio: Shristi is the Chief Content Officer at Raletta (Digital Marketing Agency), and PR Bulls (Content Marketing Agency). She enjoys writing about food, fitness, finance and everything in between.

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.

10 Education Trends that will Shape the 2019-2020 Academic Year

The following is a guest post by Linda Cartwright, an online college-level English and creative writing teacher. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

The trends shaping the next academic year are nothing new – we’ve heard about some of them for years. Yet now they are becoming a reality, manifesting themselves in classrooms rather than in catchy headlines. What benefits and challenges will they bring into yours?

The Changing Role of a Teacher

A teacher is shifting from someone who knows things to someone who is a newbie, like the rest of the class. The difference is, she has extensive experience at being a newbie and that’s something she is here to share – to model handling the situation of uncertainty or failure, model problem-solving, life-long learning and inquisitive curiosity. Essentially, to equip students with skills they need to get to knowledge independently.

The teacher of the 21st century is in the classroom to nurture learners, not to feed data. That’s the crux of the student-centered approach – not one-on-one classes, or more time spent individually coaching every student. The role of the teacher in 2019 is guiding their class through activities and sharing in the wonder of discovery.

Of course, monitoring the personal progress of the students and individually helping those who experience difficulties is important. However, without shifting the perspective first, it’s not realistic, especially with schools that cannot afford smaller classes or more space for teacher’s plan time. Therefore, shifting the perspective is the key – scaling up (or rather down in this case) is the next step.

Artificial Intelligence Learning

If a teacher is there to inspire and facilitate, then AI is taking up the role of personalized tutoring, where skills must be trained. Digital learning environments and intelligent tutoring system offer amazing flexibility at no time costs, which makes an efficient support system to K12 teachers.

Language learning apps like Duolingo or writing tools like No Red Ink demonstrate how AI-powered systems provide individual revisions plan and interest-based learning. Other tools like that are available for various subjects. AI’s analyzing capacity enable real-time feedback and continual targeted practice. Content analysis is another apt ability of AI and a helpful tool in assessing the individual progress of the student. It allows teachers to understand students’ needs better and, being equipped with more information – to tailor better lesson plans.

AI is an ultimate teacher’s assistant that frees the teacher of the most time-consuming and monotonous tasks, such as tests and checking papers for plagiarism, leaving more place to utilize teacher’s human-specific skills like emotional intelligence and creativity.

AI application in education is still in its early stages, but its potential must not be overlooked. It is expected that the use of AI in the US classrooms will increase by 47.5% in the next three years.

Augmented Reality Training

Augmented reality is an illustrious example of an old saying – a picture is worth a thousand words. However, how is AR better than VR or just a 3D image on a screen?

AR expands our physical reality. AR tools are capable of projecting something abstract or hard to grasp from a flat diagram and making it real – be it a 3D model of the Solar system, a geometric shape complete with formulas and explanations, or a scheme of the human nervous system. However, in AR those projections are tied to physical objects – something solid that students can interact with, activating motor centers in their brains. This creates engaging, immersive experiences that are more likely to stay in their memory. Here are some videos that show how AR can be used in science and physical education.

On the other hand, AR can be used not only to bring flat images to life but also to substitute real-life activities tied to higher risk and potential danger – some lab experiments and demonstrations can only be conceivable in the school setting as AR simulations.

Cultivation of Empathy

Of course, managing emotions, self-regulation, resilience and determination may seem the most relevant aspects of emotional intelligence in education, but they are not the ones that take center stage in 2019. Empathy and compassion for others, communications skills, and relationships with classmates steal the limelight. Why?

Many teachers will agree that poor behavior in the classroom is a big problem. However, building a positive classroom culture is impossible without empathy. Empathy is necessary for building trust and friendship among students as well as for improving student-teacher relationships.

Moreover, by creating a safe and friendly environment in the classroom we facilitate group work and engagement when a child doesn’t have second thoughts about raising a hand to ask a question or make a suggestion. Also, schools that incorporate empathy into the learning process have higher achieving students.

There are various resources and lessons plans online that will help to incorporate empathy into your curriculum. However, ultimately, teaching empathy is leading your students by example. It’s up to you to notice and reject stereotypes, respect and value differences of your students, urge them to widen their circle of concern and, of course, manage your own difficult feelings.

Hybrid Homeschooling

Homeschoolers can attend self-directed learning centers for certain subjects that their parents don’t feel confident enough teaching. Instead of having gaps in their knowledge and getting paper help on a subject they are undertrained in, they can catch up and rectify the situation in a hybrid school.

This way students have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the school setting, socialize with peers, and choose what and how they will learn.

Overall this system allows more flexibility with scheduling for both students and teachers. One of my closest friends used to teach English and Literature in K12 but had to step down for a while to care for her first child. Now she continues her work as an English and Literature teacher in a hybrid school. This way she has smaller classes, more motivated and engaged students, and more time to spend with her daughter. She also does private tutoring in-home so her schedule is quite flexible, which suits her lifestyle at the moment perfectly.

This trend will probably influence the number of parents who choose to homeschool. According to EdChoice’s 2017 Schooling in America survey, while only 3% of parents homeschool their children, 7% more would homeschool if they could. The hybrid option makes it possible.

Genius Hour

Students are choosing what they want to learn during a Genius Hour, which gives them some room for agency in the otherwise structured and prescribed curriculum. The self-directed and self-paced mode of learning promotes autonomy, inquiry, and creativity. There are only two requirements: genius hour must be about student’s passion and it must have some purpose – the essential question driving the project.

Helping students to discover their passions and find the purpose is the task for you as a teacher, of course. While some students will thrive unencumbered with limitations, others will need some structure and coaching provided by you.

Take time to learn more about them, observe. Something that comes easily to them or something they spend much time on isn’t necessarily something they are intrinsically motivated in. A colleague of mine who teaches Math once told me about a brilliant student who was way ahead of the curriculum and solved all math problems with ease and in unconventional ways. However, when she approached him and suggested he’d join a math hobby group, the child winced: “More Math?”

It turned out he didn’t like Math at all! His parents encouraged and trained him at home because they had plans for his future education and career. The boy was much more interested in nature, and the highlight of the day for him was caring for his pet turtle.

Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is often confused with the individualized approach to teaching. It has always been necessary to take into account individual strengths and struggles of each student, so why is personalized learning a new trend at all? The answer is that personalized learning is much more holistic. While individualized approach made allowances for differences between students, it was still a standard-based education. That is, however flexible the learning models, the result had to be the same – a student competent in the approved content.

Meanwhile, in personalized learning, everything, including content, pacing, sequence, and technology must be adjusted to suit each student’s interests, curiosity, and learning purpose. The result of such education should be a student that is competent in the process of learning rather than in prescribed content. This makes perfect sense in our information-rich world, where everything is searchable but you must have a clear idea of what you are looking for and why you need it.

Personalized learning sounds great, but isn’t it beyond the reach of a single teacher who has a whole class of unique students on her hands? That’s where all the AI tools, Genius Hours and hybrid homeschooling come to the rescue, broadening the possibilities for us all.

Blended Learning

Blended learning is more than iPads in the classroom and animated apps to keep tech-savvy students stimulated and interested. It is a mode of learning that is the only answer if we want to keep all the benefits of face-to-face learning with the flexibility of personalized learning.

Blended learning allows for aligning many contradicting schedules, matching varying paces of different students and a variety of content types. It also implies individual preparation for in-class activity and student collaboration outside the classroom. With various online spaces, collaboration platforms, communities, and chat rooms it’s a second (or even first!) nature for today’s school-age children.

Still, it is crucial that the teacher provides instructions and feedback on navigating through these activities. The blended learning approach allows enhances personalized learning, but it benefits from structure, encouragement, and guidance that only a face-to-face communication with a teacher or mentor can provide.

Gamification of Education

Gamification has been a huge buzzword for years now, but the possibilities of this approach are often dismissed as shallow because they are largely misunderstood. Sprinkling games here and there to boost engagement or reward students for being patient is not what gamification is about.

Gamification requires a fundamental change in our approach to learning. It’s changing education at its core – designing it anew according to game design principles. We must remember that learning is inherently fun – human brains are wired to respond positively to discovery, pattern-recognition, risk, role play. Learning becomes boring when it stops being play, fun, and discovery-driven and becomes something that is done to students.

Humans play games not only when they are young but during their entire lives. The fundamental similarities of learning and games are exploration, pattern-recognition, discovery, and sense of progress. Gamified educations is nothing but learning that reclaimed all those things. It can happen without the use of digital tools entirely. Competitiveness, cooperation, risk-taking, trade-off choices, immediate feedback, the progress that is a reward in itself, and joy in the process of learning are the highlight of properly gamified learning. Students find satisfaction in leveling-up their knowledge instead of “earning” a grade. They learn because it is a fun thing to do – not to arrive at the point where they know this and that. Just like we play to have fun – not to finish the game as quickly as possible or collect an impressive score.

Coding in Humanities

Applied linguistics was dabbing into coding since the first computers were invented. After all, code is just another language and you can even see a loose correlation between the syntax structure of a sentence and a line of code. In fact, what makes a linguistics specialist different from any other person is the fact that a linguist sees a natural language as a code and not simply something we all use and that happens naturally.

More companies began to see the need in well-rounded specialists – someone who not only codes but understands how humans interact with technology, what problems it should solve and what real-world concerns should be considered. Moreover, the key competencies that make one good at coding are critical thinking and creative problem-solving – something humanity graduates are famous for. The stereotype that you need a Computer Science degree and a life-long love for Math to code is wearing off.

What does that mean for a teacher? The ability to code is a new literacy, therefore you will do better if you acquire some basic coding skills. Even an amateurish code will make it possible to handle your research data much faster. You will be able to tailor apps for your classes or elicit data from student questionnaires and see correlations that would otherwise go unnoticed, thus gaining valuable insights into ways to improve your work as a teacher. Moreover, you will be able to integrate coding into your curriculum and show your students how coding can be used even if they chose literature as their primary field of interest.

Here you can find a selection of free coding games, which is very apt given the blended learning and gamification trends going on. Enjoy them yourself or share with your class – don’t be afraid of being newbies together!

Author’s Bio: Linda Cartwright is a believer in life-long learning and an ambassador of technology in K12 and Higher Ed. She teaches college-level English and creative writing online and is working on her first book. Find her on 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.