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After spending a year trying to educate their students, most teachers have a vested interest in their students’ future success. One way dedicated teachers can make their impacts longer-lasting is to realize their job doesn’t end as the school year comes to a close. By harnessing their ability to persuade students and encouraging these pupils to engage in some learning and self-improvement over the summer months, teachers can potentially produce pupils who enter the next year of school more capable and ready to learn.
When the school bell rings on that last day before the long-awaited summer break, students everywhere flee the hallowed halls of education with delight. As this summer approaches, teachers can do more than just bid their students a fond farewell. To better serve their pupils, teachers should prepare them to have a productive summer break. By spending some time doing so, teachers can potentially reduce the amount of learning loss students experience over the summer, as these prepared pupils will be more likely to think about academics even during the would-be leisurely break from formal schooling.
About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education on behalf of Colorado Technical University. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.
Stiff competition is what most employees can expect in the financial world today. There are many instances where employees have years of experience, but still can't seem to get the promotion they have been dreaming of. It may have nothing to do with their work ethic, but their credentials. More than ever, having an advanced degree is the key to opening the doors of success and a masters in finance can help you advance in the financial world.
The benefits to this degree are endless. You will be exposed to knowledge that took others years to learn as you interact with established professionals looking to help you move your career forward. This will also show employers that you have the dedication to invest in yourself by developing your skills. You will have your finger on the pulse of the financial world and the know-how necessary to compete for a position in your field.
No matter what school you attend, you will make contacts that will help you in the future. Often, breaking into a great career is as much a matter of whom you know as well as what you know. You will be able to reference these people later when you are looking for an open position or promotion. Some of your fellow classmates may even work in the same industry as you, making your potential to network all the better.
After getting the masters in finance, one of the promotions you may receive is to the position financial analyst. As a financial analyst, you would be the person to look at all the ins-and-outs of the company and make recommendations based on what you've learned. You will be the one that they come to before they make any major financial decisions, so they will want to make sure that you know what you are doing.
You may also be able to get a position as a corporate finance officer. Here you will be in control of the financial future of the company. You will help the company with many complex issues that could not be entrusted to someone without the proper knowledge, training and experience. A corporate finance officer also ensures that their company is always in compliance with regulations. This is where a masters in finance can give you an edge over the competition. You will have been exposed to inner workings of the financial world and how to approach any issues that may arise.
Money manager is another position that a masters in finance can prepare you for. This is a widely adaptable career that is vital in many business settings. The main goal as a money manager is to help a company's money grow. This is a vital position that only someone with the proper knowledge would be entrusted with. This is where a masters in finance comes into play; you strengthen your odds of succeeding.
Whether you want to work as a financial analyst, corporate finance officer or money manager, this degree can possibly help separate you from the pack. You will stand out among your co-workers and always have that that when it comes to promotion time, although a masters doesn’t guarantee you any position. Once again, earning a masters degree can be a very valuable move on your part, but you still need to work hard and not just expect that degree to be a golden ticket.
Your child’s school day is already radically different from yours when you were in school: laptops, iPads and smartphones have made learning both interactive and mobile. And as technology is being adopted in the classroom, students and their parents are learning how to adjust to learning with technology. The future of education is now, and it’s still evolving.
The latest development in education is online learning: colleges and universities have offered online classes for the last decade, but now K-12 education is exploring how the Internet can be used to teach their students. Common wisdom says that attending a traditional school helps students learn how to socialize and deal with conflicts, but there are advantages to students attending an online school. Parents can benefit from their children attending school online as well.
Accommodating different learning styles
A learning style that works for one student may not work for another: while some students thrive in a classroom with a group of classmates, other students can find an abundance of activity distracting. And some students may need visual or auditory learning tools more than others. Integrating online learning into a student’s curriculum allows teachers to tailor their lesson plans for more than one learning style.
Embracing the trend
Online classes are gaining popularity all over the country for several reasons. For students involved in extracurricular activities, being able to take an online class allows them to spend more time practicing and playing games. This is also a great way for parents to become more involved in their children’s school work: online courses can be set up to allow parents to view their children’s progress in their classes and offer help and support to their children as they work.
For gifted students, taking advanced courses from a college or university can be a better challenge—students can attend lectures virtually and communicate with their professors online. And for students who need extra help, online tutoring sites like Tutor.com can give them the chance to work one-on-one with tutors at times that are convenient for them. As more schools offer opportunities for their students to learn online, the traditional methods of teaching will change—but those changes can help students meet and exceed their academic goals.
Rethinking college prep
Online courses can do more than help gifted students explore the world of college classes; they can also introduce college-level concepts and workloads to high school students. Online courses can help students learn the time management and independent studying skills they’ll need once they begin their college education. The transition from high school to college is often overwhelming, and not every student is able to adjust: by introducing certain concepts and teaching styles before students set foot on a college campus, schools can make the transition smoother, if not easier.
Teaching and learning online is on its way to becoming another option for students to get an education on their terms and for educators to adapt their teaching styles with help from technology. In the near future, teaching and learning online may become the rule rather than the exception.
Updating a pretty neat movement is in order these days. Growing out of the ritual of teachers asking their young students to share with the class what they want to be when they grow up, several practices sprang up to advance awareness. Those events grew in popularity and changed with the times. It’s time for another version to be released upon society, but let’s first recall how this all got started.
Take Your Child to Work
In 1993, feminist icon Gloria Steinem was instrumental in launching Take Our Daughters to Work, a program in which daughters could shadow a parent or other worker. The idea stemmed from a substantial history of women having limited access to work outside the home, and therefore, even smaller exposure to young girls about the very nature of a workplace. Many companies at the time, motivated by a wide range of views, permitted the supervised accompanying by both sexes into their workplaces, where appropriate, though the practice of sons tagging along with fathers predated the activity by a few centuries.
A decade later, the practice had become well-accepted, and the day, by now a national event, was officially remade into some version of Take Your Children to Work or Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work. While debatable, an emphasis on career education, rather than any reference to past historical exclusion of any particular gender, made the practice acceptable on a widespread scale. A lot has changed since the 1990s and the world of work is, more than ever, closely tied to education.
Shadowing the halls
Children born around the time Ms. Steinem first drew national attention to young girls’ unrequited desires to see a life beyond the kitchen stove entered a world in which globalization was quickly becoming a household name. While skill levels had been a concern for years, attitudes about the need for training and education lagged, in some regions, by decades. Increasingly, though, post-secondary enrollments began to grow, and guidance counselors and admission specialists began to pay special attention to school children who just might become 1st generation college students. Tours, mini-courses and other campus activities prang up to expose even young children to the experience of seeing themselves physically on a university campus. Now, with globalization a full reality and a college education valued by most, a new dynamic has entered the mix.
Take Our Daughters and Sons Online
In many quarters, mom and dad perform their career duties on the same type of device as their children learn shapes, colors, number and letters – the computer. More to the point, for the family begun by parents who already finished a four-year-degree, mom and dad may well be working on an online master degree project before bedtime, breaking only to read a nighttime story for the kids.
Why not let the little ones in on the contemporary version of “the office” as well as those “halls of learning,” now floating about in cyberspace?
Imitation is the most sincere form of – learning
For years, academic success has been tied to such factors as the number of quality books a household possesses and the education level of parents. It stands to reason that if a young child sees his or her mom reading online for a class, they will value, and therefore want to imitate that behavior. If a little one grows to see a computer being used for much more than entertainment, especially if a parent shares what college activity looks like today, with interactive engagement with faculty and classmates, that memory may well translate into a perception that learning is a natural behavior.
Just as we changed attitudes about access to a glimpse of the world of work for all people, we have a great opportunity to instill in our kids an acceptance and a value of learning that can leave a great impression starting at a pretty young age.
You may be like countless executives who, in the back of their minds, believe doing more work with fewer resources is something you do until a recession ends and then things get better. If you’re still employed, however, it’s a good bet you haven’t based your actions on that specious wish. Lean is in and what you did last month doesn’t count. More importantly, if your expense accounts don’t scream “I’m using technology to innovate my division, region, department,” you need to step up your game. So, grab that stack of expense reports, pull up your favorite search engine and settle in for some online learning that might just save your job.
Use your expense report’s categories to guide your homework. Start off by discovering the answers to these three questions:
What constitutes my biggest expense claims?
Which activities deliver the highest ROI for time spent?
When do I harness the most synergy from my colleagues, vendors and support resources?
For most managers, travel is the biggest expense on your report. With rising ticket prices and the concomitant hotel and meal outlays swelling the total sum, relatively new web services can fashion significant savings on your bottom line. Begin your search by typing in such terms as online meeting, video conference, virtual communication or all three sets and you’ll quickly get a short list of resources. Understandably, not all meetings should be held virtually, but if your next get-together isn’t going to produce near-term revenues greater than the expenses incurred by the meeting’s logistics, then you really need to rethink how you’re spending the company’s money. Besides the dollar amounts you’re spending on travel, what about your time?
For better or worse, the days of getting a little down time while traveling are over. Laptops and smart phones have replaced rest and reflection on flights to and from meetings and trade shows. Still that time, spent more efficiently in many regards than before, is still costly as compared to doing the same activities elsewhere. Hopefully, your time in a rental car doesn’t involve more than hands free communication with others, but again, the return on cost per hour goes down as the seconds tick away. Even when you do reach your destination and join with others to collaborate, are the human costs of travel cutting into the potential offered by all parties?
In Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, his sixth habit, synergize, is all about tapping into the creativity of the group. While the group isn’t limited to your immediate team, customers or vendors, it does tend to involve interactions that contribute to your expense report. If travel is involved, it also implies people who may not be performing at peak efficiency simply because they’re pooped from a long flight or drive. There’s no metric for weighing how much inspiration is lost through individual journeys to hotels, conference centers or distant restaurants, but there are new ways of accomplishing old outcomes that technology offers. Selling those ways, to yourself as well as others, is a great opportunity to use the same synergy you use in distant meetings to both cut down on the expenses of such meetings and to harness more creative collaboration than before.
A note of caution: Whatever technology you employ, it must reduce, not add to, anyone’s e-mail inbox!
Social media is no longer the domain of high school classmates with whom you no longer have much in common. LinkedIn, Skype, Twitter and the fast-up-and-coming Google+ each have functions that can replace different wasteful processes, particularly when it comes to the preparatory training needed in any transition. Start by using an existing service, if available.
There’s an old sales maxim that goes, “If I say it, they doubt me; if they say it, it’s true.” Start with those who report to you, be they a sales force, senior managers or key support personnel. Ask them how, not if, they could use technology to better facilitate what presently is accomplished at meetings requiring travel. You’ll not only be leading, but you’ll be getting invaluable feedback from experts. Establishing a goal by encouraging collaboration will filter out most, though probably not all, knee-jerk resistance, while also curbing overreach in which people feel pressured to eliminate those meetings that really need to be held face-to-face at a remote location.
From your feedback, you’ll learn not only what technology is available to accomplish your goals, but valuable information about by-in and training needs. At this point, bring in your own training specialists to the project, adding them to your virtual team. Your goal? Design an on-line meeting to design how best to conduct future meetings.
As you know, not all travel meetings will be appropriate for web-based conferences. However, it’s a sure bet that not all travel meetings are maximizing efficiency, productivity and economy, either. By using technology to innovate how you conduct your work and how you leverage creativity to cultivate a greater return on investment, you’ll be able to cite positive changes in those expense reports during your next performance review, if not at your next quarterly meeting of investors.
Many districts view their Gifted and Talented programs as a bragging point, much like a shiny, expensive piece of jewelry or a fine garment. Yes, schools can honestly say they have special services for high academic performers, but too often, these titles belay a gap between real gifted education and the design of the actual services in practice.
Better Principal Preparation
At the ground level of policy making, and more importantly, policy enforcement, is the building principal. He or she not only plays an important role structuring how a gifted program is integrated into the core classes, especially in elementary and middle schools, but serves as the authority for implementing best practices in this specialized field. Unfortunately, many states require no more than a cursory exposure to gifted education as a prerequisite for certification as an administrator, and it is through this gap that myths, not research, can shape a bad G/T program.
It can be said that a majority of those seeking principal credentials do so while pursuing an online master degree or some blended program with a heavy online component. What may be missing, but easily remedied, is the chance for these degree programs to heavily expose graduate students to the broad consensus of research findings that refute the many myths about this field of education. Getting practicing teachers to escape the local bonds of misinformation is a big first step for immersing would-be principals in the time-tested best practices for gifted-ed.
Probably no utterance by senior administrators is more cringe-worthy to a trained gifted intervention specialist than the words, “all students are gifted in some area.” Words have true meanings and the appropriate application of the word “gifted” in education is at complete odds with the idea that everyone is somehow gifted at something. This doesn’t mean that all students don’t have pronounced strengths, but it does mean that “gifted” refers to a measurable, nationally normed ability as identified by one or more valid instruments.
If your district doesn’t have an identification process that uses such instruments to identify 95th percentile – nationwide – of students in specific domains, make changing this bad practice a top priority. It may result in some upset families who’ve prided themselves for always having their children in the TAG Program, but as an administrator, if you can’t stand up for a valid selection process, then why are you in that position?
Respect the Trained
Not only are gifted education courses scarce for administrators, but they tend to be equally lacking in initial teacher preparation curriculum. In mixed-ability classrooms, the majority case for most districts, collaboration and cooperation are critical for the successful, consistent delivery of gifted instruction. Unfortunately, in such cases, best practices tend to fall victim to the lowest common denominator of gifted research among teachers. Arguably the single most important role a building principal can play is to set the gifted practices bar high for all teachers, regardless of their devotion to myths they “know” about gifted students.
Finally, as a principal, or a teacher or aspiring educator, advocate for curriculum and staff development that fosters strong, research-based training of best gifted practices. Talk to the education departments at those colleges and universities within your district’s influence. Avail yourself to online learning about this discipline, and then, when you become that building principal, be that true educational leader that accepts nothing less than valid identification and delivery models for your own school’s program.
About the Author: Lindsey Paho is a professional writer and former teacher of gifted students. She writes frequently about technology in education and advocates for gifted education programs.
We know that a teacher’s reach extends well beyond the doors of his or her classroom. That influence extends over lifetimes in some cases, and it extends into the communities we serve. While we understand these impacts, do we really manage the extent to which our professional footprint is left?
In this age of online interaction, are we as teachers reaching out? Granted, for most of us, work has gotten longer and more of our time away from school is spent grading or preparing in order to meet our new, normal workload, but with the time we do have, are we managing our influence as education authorities? Consider these areas of potential outlook before you respond to the questions posed.
Most every teacher has a special cause or organization they serve, bringing with them skills developed both before and after they became teachers. For those giving to others who use their expertise in teaching, you have a great opportunity to educated a public largely uninformed or misinformed about what teacher’s do. In your capacity you can show, not tell, about your occupation’s training – including graduate level courses mandated for continued certification that you pay for during your “summers off.”
Your calling to give to your community can also serve as just one more chance to make a connection with a former student or a young person you’ve just met who needs wise counsel. Many a bright student who fell through the cracks of society has gone on to obtain that associate degree after receiving a bit of encouragement. From there, that student’s own confidence can sustain their pursuits in higher education.
As a generalization, teachers, unlike many in other professions, tend to neglect their networking activities as soon as they secure a job. For one, in these times, not preparing for your next good job is an act of avoidance to the realities of teaching in this current climate. Another reason this bad habit needs to be broken is that the opportunity to learn new techniques in your craft, while it might come from next door, is much more likely to come from reaching out to those pros you’ve met at conferences and training events. Every bit as important, those contacts you’ve made from outside of education can prove invaluable resources.
The oceanographer you met while on a field trip is only a Skype away when your students study marine biology. The national park ranger you met in another part of the country has access to maps, geologists and the local bear wrangler for inquiring minds in your school’s classrooms. College roommates now working at NASA can expand the horizons of young minds, but only if you stayed in touch!
Educators have an important story to tell. It is a story that should be ongoing and fresh, and it is a story that needs to reach far beyond the walls of a classroom, the boundaries of a state and the limits of a shore. The moral of your story is a reflection of what you do, to what you’ve dedicated your life. Some will no doubt be moved by your past actions, but by reaching out to others, you will weave an influence worthy of your calling.
About the author: Lindsey is a former classroom teacher who now writes professionally about technology in education. She lives in the Indianapolis area where she is completing her graduate degree.
Trust between a student and an instructor is important for a traditional learning setting; for an online course, that trust is paramount. While e-learning courses continue to mushroom in popularity and become renowned for their efficacy as a means of instruction, failure to establish a sense of confidence and security between a school and a student can lead to unnecessary consequences.
Earning trust requires more actions than words. Even the most sincere expressions of good intentions to students on the part of an instructor are worthless if the student finds that the course is poorly designed to meet his or her needs. The basic pedagogical goals for teaching an online class are identical to those used in traditional settings, but adaptations to online learning need to be implemented to the setting and circumstances. To engender that trust so crucial between you and your students, put some real thought into how you can modify the online aspects of your course to address the needs of your class.
Before you toss your pupil into the pool, find out which end is most appropriate. As you do with every unit of instruction, test for readiness. In the case of online coursework, evaluate not only the knowledge level of the subject, but of the student’s skills at navigating online software, following directions and reliability with self-directed tasks. If after you discover that a student may not have certain essential skills for the online component, rely on your own knowledge of how to differentiate instruction for any student who needs help.
Scaffolding, the differentiation technique that provides temporary support for someone who may need assistance in some areas necessary for learning material or concepts, can be applied to online learning. If the student has difficulty negotiating certain parts of your platform but is perfectly competent in others, modify an assignment to allow for two outcomes: meet the task objectives using another means, and provide resources necessary to have the student learn the deficit skill. Pair the student with another student whose role is to help the struggling student learn the necessary skill or provide specific direction to any school resource, preferably an online tutorial. Gradually remove the scaffolding as the student demonstrates basic proficiency in the target skill.
Ultimately, it is the student who is responsible for choosing to what degree they meet their obligations to exchange information with the instructor. Your role as instructor is to employ as many means as is necessary for the student to access the information they need to make informed choices about their own learning. To accomplish this, there are some basic online rules for using communication effectively to meet your obligations, which include the establishment of a trusting environment.
Be present at the beginning of every course
Establish a well-known schedule for responding to e-mails
Establish an online set of office hours and always be available during those times
When possible, use audio visual chats to conference with your students
If practical, speak with your students using a phone, Skype or other such program
Earn your trust daily
Once again, you can’t be responsible for a student’s maturity or skill level developed before entering your class. What you are responsible for is knowing your student’s readiness to be successful in your course, what options are available for those students who can be successful if supported and how best to provide every appropriate, reasonable opportunity for your student to share concerns, questions or suggestions with you. Using sound pedagogy for any teaching experience and adapting it to your e-learning course will earn the trust of any student willing to acknowledge their own role in a professional learning relationship.
About the Author: Lindsey Paho is a professional writer who covers education technology. She lives in the Indianapolis area. Lindsey is also an advocate for Colorado Technical University.