Friday, August 23, 2013

EduDemic Top Features: August 24th 2013


Normally, finding out your kids are watching their teacher on YouTube would cause panic, but not if the video they are watching is a math lecture about determining probability. Perhaps your child is having difficulty with learning how to use direct object pronouns in Spanish, and is going online to review lectures.
This digital approach called “flipping the classroom” is already being used by K-12 teachers across the nation.
The use of flipped classes (those with an at-home, online component for instruction, and in-class work with teacher support), and other blended classrooms has been on the rise since its debut in 2004, and teachers support the change. In fact, 60 percent of teachers who use flipped learning technology believe the online aspect motivates students. Students feel that classes with an online learning component give them a more personal learning environment, one they have more control over.

Why Online Learning?

Almost all state standards, including the new Common Core State Standards, call for more technology and digital tools to be used in classrooms in order to give students more access to the types of tools they will be expected to use later in life. One such standard states students must be able to use diverse forms of media, such as video, in order to problem solve. Each core subject has many of such standards. Kids are already living in an online world, so why should their education be any different? Statistics even show that 89 percent of parents would like to see their children in classes where mobile devices are used for class work.
In addition to online components to classes, 43 percent of public school districts in the United States offer a variety of digital course options along with entire high school diploma programs online. These classes can be taken off-campus wherever students have access to the Internet.
Because online diploma programs are fairly new, it is unclear how their offerings will affect the size of traditional classrooms, although the research is clear that reduced class size is beneficial to students. A 32 percent reduction in class has shown an increase in student achievement by an amount that is equivalent to three extra months of school, Brookings noted. Similarly, students who take online courses are, in essence, reducing their own class size to one.

Who Takes Classes Online?

Online programs are designed for students who do not quite fit the mold of a traditional classroom. While many students use online classes to supplement their traditional plan for graduation – making up failed credits, taking missed requirements — others use the programs for a full track to a diploma.
The programs are not a “quick fix” and require a lot of personal motivation. Many year-long credited courses take up to 200 hours to complete. They also tend to be rigorous, packing a year of a traditional class into one semester. For many students who are struggling in traditional classrooms or have attendance issues, the freedom and flexibility of working online is what they need to succeed.
Other online programs are designed for advanced students who want to fast-track the high school experience. These programs are best suited for students who are very invested in their education, and who may find traditional classes too slow. They are also geared toward students who enjoy an intellectual challenge.

Where Are the Teachers?

Online courses and flipped classrooms do not mean your child will not have a traditional teacher the mentor and hold students accountable. Online courses almost always have a real teacher point of contact. Many administrators value and spend district dollars on technology training for teachers and students. Teachers are becoming experts in helping kids with online tools and technology. Many schools that offer online (or electronic) high schools have a common meeting area with computers for students to work. This space also includes instructors who are there to answer questions, help with technology glitches, and mentor students in the program.
About 3.4 million students were expected to graduate from high schools in the United States in 2013, notes the National Center for Education Studies. While drop-out rates have been declining, schools are still losing millions of students each year. Offering alternatives to the traditional classroom setting will capture more of the kids who might otherwise need extended years to finish high school, or who are in danger of dropping out altogether.
Online learning is not isolated programs that students start and finish without any contact from teachers or other students. These courses are designed so that students are still getting the same content as their in-class peers, but in a different format.

Creative Commons image by flickingerbrad
Do you ever wonder how schools, universities, colleges, and large groups in general should use social media? Students are often early adopters, frequent users, and overall lovers of technology and social media. Want to help? I'm always looking for fun, creative, and exciting writers to get featured. Get in touch with me at [email protected] !



If you’re going to be taking classes, you’re going to need a computer, right? Especially for online students (who may or may not have access to computer labs that almost all brick and mortar schools offer), their computer is the key to their studies. There are now many online colleges that offer free laptops (or at least discounted laptops), something that offers students a chance to infuse a bit of technology into their studies at an educational discount.
Many of these programs are really just student discount programs that offer discounts on a few select laptops (most offer a small range of laptops to fit a variety of budgets, but most of them do offer the big name brands like Apple, HP, and Dell). Most of these programs also offer discounts on commonly used software such as Microsoft Office.

laptops for students

However, some schools have taken this a step further and are offering “free” laptops (and some are offering iPads) for students enrolled in their programs. Since nothing in life is really ever free, know that your ‘free’ laptop is probably paid for via a technology fee or is otherwise included in your tuition dollars, so don’t select a program simply because they’re offering you a laptop as part of your tuition. Many of these programs also have fairly stringent limits on who can get a free laptop, so make sure to double check with each school to ensure that you would be eligible based on their criteria.
Don’t forget that many laptop makers offer their own discounts to students and teachers. Companies like Apple offer education discounts to those with a .edu email address, for example. So fear not if your school doesn’t offer a laptop with your tuition or a discount – being a student often will earn you a discount at many places anyway!

Online Schools Laptop Programs

So what online schools are offering devices to their students, and who is eligible? We’ve compiled a quick list below of some of the schools that either include devices in their tuition, or offer great discounts for their students.

Full Sail University

Full Sail University students must have a computer for their studies – which they’ll get from the school. The school charges a computer fee (which varies by type of computer and what program you’re enrolled in), which includes the computer and a necessary suite of software that they call “Project Launch Box”. Purportedly, the cost of the computer and software is at a steep discount from market pricing.

Bethel University

Bethel University in Tennessee offers iPads to all of its full time, online students. They load them up with “the most relevant applications to your business life”. When you graduate, you get to keep the iPad. The school doesn’t overtly publicize their tuition costs, so its not clear whether there is a ‘technology fee’ that covers the cost of the iPad or whether it is part of the tuition.

Stevens-Henager College

Stevens-Henager College offers students a laptop when they enroll in the online hybrid course programs (Master’s Degrees not included). For the duration of your studies, the laptop belongs to the college, and you must return it if you drop out. However, when you graduate, you can keep the laptop as a ‘gift’ from the school.

Long Island University C.W. Post Campus

All full time undergraduates taking classes through LIU’s CW Post Campus – who offer a variety of online coursesget an iPad mini to help keep them tech savvy and relevant in today’s connected world. Students do have to pay a technology fee to get the iPad, and you must be enrolled full time. Part time students and graduate students are also eligible to buy the iPad at a reduced rate of $250 if they meet the school’s qualifications.

University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix offers discounts to its students on a variety of technology options (including computers and software) from companies such as Apple, Dell, HP, Adobe, AT&T, Microsoft, and Staples. It is unclear exactly how discounted the products are, since you can only see the pricing if you are an enrolled student.


CollegeAmerica offers laptops to all of their students as a part of their tuition. For the duration of your studies, the laptop belongs to the college, but after you graduate, you can keep the laptop. If you drop out of school prior to graduating, you must return the laptop to the school. Additionally, laptops are not given to students who are enrolled in Master’s programs. The school does not openly publicize their tuition and fees, so it is unclear if you pay for the laptop via a technology fee or if it is rolled into the tuition cost.

St. John’s University

St. John’s University offers a choice of four laptops to all full-time, incoming freshmen. The price is included in the tuition and fees unless you choose an Apple Mac Book Pro, at which point you pay a surcharge. The school owns the laptop for the duration of your studies, and then you own it upon graduation. It isn’t clear whether fully online students are eligible for the laptop program, but St. John’s does offer a number of online programs.

Northwest Missouri State University

Similar to St. John’s, Northwest Missouri State University offers laptops to all of its full-time, incoming freshmen. While the school doesn’t explicitly say whether or not students who are completing their studies all online are eligible, they do offer many online programs that offer you full time status.

Liberty University Online

Liberty University Online offers all students, faculty, staff, and alumni a marketplace where they can buy new computers and software at ‘deep educational discounts’. The exact nature of the discounts is unclear, as you must be enrolled and have a university login to get the most up to date pricing.
Katie was a teacher, graduate student, and is now the lady who makes sure Edudemic is as useful as possible. She oversees the editorial process and is basically a Swiss Army Knife of solutions.










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