Welcome to Schools in Dubai’s new blog !
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All the Best,
The School’s in Dubai Editorial Team
www.SchoolsInDubai.com – UAE's Schools Blog, Schools in UAE: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, UMQ, RAK, Fujairah – Facts about Education in UAE from KG to K12.
Enjoy the new look !
All the Best,
The School’s in Dubai Editorial Team
So, as the New Year starts, think about what you, as a learning and development professional, can do to engage the people for whom you are building instruction. Don’t passively hand them content, instead make them do something in 2012. Your action item from this post is to create at least one challenge or action oriented activities for your learners in the next 3 months.
Cramster.com is an online community offering homework help to high school and college students. Cramster facilitates communication between students. It also has expert homework help and interactive textbook guides available with a premium membership. Cramster also runs the Facebook app Courses 2.0, which allows students to share their class schedule and form study groups with others in the same classes.
2. iStudiez Pro
The iStudiez Pro iPhone app is a sophisticated and very customizable planner to help you keep track of all your class information and time commitments. In addition to creating nearly any style of schedule, you can link information such as the professor’s email and office hours to each class. iStudiez Pro allows you to code time commitments by color and icon.
ipl2 is a free website that features lists of trusted links on a variety of academic topics, including research and writing, literary criticism, and United States history. Also available at ipl2 are a 24/7 “ask a librarian” service and areas of the site tailored to kids and teens.
ScrapBook is an extension for the web browser Firefox that saves entire web pages or blurbs from web pages to your desktop, along with the page’s address. With ScrapBook you can easily locate information found online even when you are not connected to the Internet, and you can write bibliographies much more quickly with all your sources organized in one place.
Evernote is a free app available for the Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. With Evernote, you can take notes in text, image, or audio recording. Any notes you make are automatically available on the Internet and on your home computer, so you can access them whenever you need to.
Information Literacy, at http://www.webs.uidaho.edu/info_literacy/, is a tool to learn web research skills. The site helps students search for, evaluate, and share academic information on the web. It features learning modules that are easy for web beginners to navigate.
The Mint app for Android and iPhone helps students manage their budget, leaving them more time for academic pursuits. Mint offers tools to help you keep track of spending, keep debt under control, and manage savings and investments.
Grade Genie at www.gradegenie.com is a free online community that allows students and professors to share their work and study materials with others. It also offers students the opportunity to earn money by organizing get-togethers to spread the work about Grade Genie.
Though pricier than some other apps on this list, Cram for iPhone can be in invaluable study tool. It allows users to create a variety of study aids, from quizzes to flash cards, to cram for tests on the go. Students can also share the tools they create with friends.
SparkNotes offers study materials on a wide range of subjects, including literature, science and math, psychology and sociology, and even drama. It also has standardized test prep materials, a blog about academic life, college advice, and message boards to network with other students. Video guides to works of literature are also available.
This free Android app features downloadable flash cards on a variety of subjects, and also allows you to make your own. It offers the benefits of flashcards without the hassle of carrying around a stack of index cards and allows for effective studying on the go.
Dictionary.com and its sister site Thesaurus.com are free services available on the web and the iPhone. In addition to a dictionary and thesaurus, the site features a word of the day and etymological information.
Margins for the iPhone and iPod Touch allow students to jot notes down in one place rather than in the margins of books. Margins not only keeps books free of scribbling so they are easier to resell when the semester is over, but also keeps notes organized by book and page and easily searchable.
Project Gutenberg is a free online collection of literature in the public domain. Many classics taught in school are available for free, so students can save significantly on books. Project Gutenberg texts can be downloaded to an iPhone or e-reader.
Class Buddy and the pay version Class Buddy Pro help students keep track of class schedules and grades. The Pro version adds functionality to enter grades for individual assignments, keeping a running tally of performance in each class throughout the quarter, semester, or year.
A longtime favorite of students in their analog form, Cliff’s Notes literature guides are now available as an app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. The app features interactive quizzes and audio materials as well as comprehensive textual materials on great works of literature.
Grade Fund allows students to earn money for good grades, helping them cover academic costs and save for higher education. Grade Fund links students with sponsors willing to pay cash as an incentive for academic excellence. Students invite sponsors and upload their transcripts to earn money for themselves or their school.
ShareNotes.com offers users the choice of downloading other students’ class notes or selling their own for extra cash. ShareNotes has an extensive database of class notes from over 100 schools and monitors posted material for quality and plagiarism. In addition to cash, users earn points for everything they do on ShareNotes.com that they can spend on rewards.
This free iPhone app allows students to organize assignments and due dates. Assignments can be color coded and viewed as a list or on a daily or monthly calendar. The app also alerts you to upcoming deadlines to help you stay on track.
Campus Books features a search tool to help you find the best price on textbooks and helps you sell or donate books you no longer need. Through Campus Books, you have the opportunity to rent or buy textbooks from retail websites or other students. Campus Books is also available as an iPhone app.
For those with an iPhone, this app eliminates the need to buy an expensive TI83 graphing calculator. Like the TI83, the PI83 creates graphs and solves algebraic, trigonometric, and statistical problems. At only 99 cents as opposed to the $100 or so that a graphing calculator can run, the PI83 can save students significant money for other school supplies.
BigWords.com is a textbook price comparison tool available on the Internet and the iPhone. The iPhone app allows students to compare prices while out at the bookstore to make sure they are getting the best price for books on their required reading list.
MyNoteIt.com is a comprehensive social network for students. You can share class notes with others, form online groups with other students in your classes, and create a class schedule, assignment calendar, and to-do list to stay organized. The site also sends reminders about upcoming assignment deadlines, tests, and quizzes.
The Android Agenda Widget is a free app that syncs content from a variety of calendars to help you keep track of all your daily commitments. It comes in ten different sizes and the display is attractive, easy to use, and very customizable, with a large selection of skins, color schemes, and text styles.
YouNote Light is a free iPhone or iPad app that lets you take text, audio, picture, or web notes and access them whenever you need to on your mobile device or home computer. You can organize notes through tags, color coding, and other categories to find what you need easily.
Science or Guesswork?
In 2002, CNN reported on the results of a study conducted by physics professor John Hubisz to ascertain the accuracy of the information being presented in middle school science books. Hubisz and a team of other professors examined dozens of textbooks and uncovered a startling amount of information that was unclear, contradictory, or blatantly incorrect. One textbook included a map that showed the Earth’s equator running through Florida and Texas, 1,500 miles north of its actual position. Another declared that humans were incapable of hearing sound below 400 hertz; in fact, the human hearing range is approximately 20-20,000 hertz. A third textbook depicted the Statue of Liberty holding her torch in the wrong hand. After completing the study, Hubisz set up a website, www.science-house.org/middleschool/, where teachers can post errors they find in textbooks. But he also told CNN that while some publishers are receptive to the criticisms and willing to fix the errors, many are not.
Some textbook errors aren’t merely inaccurate, they’re misleading and contentious. In October 2010, The Virginian Pilot reported that the book Our Virginia: Past and Present, an elementary school textbook used in schools throughout the state, contained some very uncomfortable misinformdation: a passage “claiming that thousands of black soldiers fought for the South during the Civil War.” The error was found by Carol Sheriff, a professor at the College of William and Mary, who then pointed out that blacks weren’t allowed to serve in the Confederate army until the very end of the war. Professor Bruce Levine of the University of Illinois confirms this, saying
“Jefferson Davis barked this would ‘revolt and disgust the whole South.’ All of this stuff is easily documentable. The facts of the matter aren’t really murky.”
School officials maintained that their textbook reviewing process is typically quite reliable, and this mistake was an unfortunate but unusual exception. But many teachers and other academics, including many who have been a part of the reviewing process, disagree, saying that the sheer length of the many textbooks they have to review prohibits them from catching every error or even, in some cases, arriving at an informed decision about a given book.
There is no excuse or explanation for some textbook errors (like the one that showed a picture of a compass with East and West on the wrong sides), but sometimes the misinformation stems, very obviously, from the fact that the book’s author didn’t do his or her own research. There are a lot of myths floating around in the popular culture, and many of them find their way into textbooks as facts. Fearon’s Biology, a high school science book, has quite an impressive collection of myths-presented-as-science, from describing the first life on earth not as microscopic bacteria, but as “tiny green specks,” to promulgating the false belief that all organisms can move on their own. Most outrageous of all, however, is the book’s lesson about “a biologist named Frankenstein.” According to Fearon’s Biology, “Frankenstein pieced together the parts of dead bodies. Finally he brought a creature to life. But Frankenstein’s creation was an eight-foot monster. Eventually the monster destroyed the biologist.” It is left to the readers to discover on their own that Frankenstein is the eponymous character of Mary Shelley’s novel, and that there is no real biology to speak of in that work of fiction. But all of these ideas — tiny specks, mad scientists — are part of the popular imagination, errors that go back so far that they’ve become traditional.
1. Give incentive to learn from the masters
My father actually paid me $2 to listen to each chapter of an audiobook and then summarize the main points in my own words, so I wound up listening to dozens of audiobooks throughout my childhood. (I didn’t get paid for chores as they were simply expected of me.) The trick was that he would choose books on management, wealth building, and personal growth.
I was four years old when he started this, and as a result I became fascinated with human potential and manifesting wealth long before I was even old enough to have a paper route or babysitting job. All this knowledge seeped into my young, fertile brain and shaped my subconscious, priming me to be a confident entrepreneur and manager. People often tell me about great, classic books they read by people like Napoleon Hill, Og Mandino, Denis Waitley, and Zig Ziglar and I smile, fondly recalling my experience listening to those masters.
2. Encourage questions
Both of my parents went out of their way to make sure I felt heard, understood and valued. They would explain to me what was interesting and important about anything I was saying and would then expand on the topic with their own knowledge. And they were always willing to answer the million “why” questions I asked, with real answers. They never responded “because I said so.
3. Provide unconditional love
Researcher Brené Brown talks about the concept of teaching children that they are worthy of love and belonging, rather than telling them they’re perfect. This is a big distinction, and I believe I’m a good example of why this works. There will be days when the world is going to chew you up and spit you out. People are going to laugh at you and call you names, and they will reject you and your ideas. Knowing all of this will happen to your child and insisting that they are perfect no matter what will not help them.
No one is perfect. We don’t need to be! Instead, we can learn to hear feedback from others through a filter that says we’re completely lovable as we are. If we know for certain we are lovable regardless of what people do or say to us, we can then hear criticism and search it objectively for meaningful clues on how we can improve. My mom has always shown me a great deal of love and affection, and it’s certainly one of the biggest secrets of my success.
4. Show the importance of a strong work ethic
When I was a teenager, Dad had me mowing his yard, which was a sprawling acreage back then. Of course I had more fun things to do than household chores, so I got it done as quickly as possible. One day when I had finished, he thanked me and told me he wanted to tell the neighbors about my mowing skills, so they would hire me to do their yards as well.
The prospect of making cash appealed to me, so I was all ears. My dad then said, “Let’s take a look at the yard now. Are you happy with how it looks? Would you sign your name to this job, proudly telling people you did it?” As I surveyed my hasty mowing efforts, it was plain to see that I had left behind several tufts and swatches of grass. I realized that no one who’d seen this would hire me to take care of their yard. My dad could have yelled at me for being lazy, but he chose instead to demonstrate the benefit of a solid work ethic.
5. Teach kids to be powerful
I was not allowed to indulge myself in negative self-talk. I was shown how to cancel negative beliefs (like “I can’t do this”), and replace them with positive ones, focusing on the desired outcome. I started doing visualization exercises and focusing on goal-setting at the age of five, beginning with small goals like teaching my dog how to sit and saving up to buy a bike. When I had success achieving these goals, it gave me the confidence to reach for bigger things, with the belief that I would attain them.
I was encouraged to set goals in all areas of my life — when I was six, I wanted the training wheels off my bike and knew it would take practice to get there. When I was 12, I set a goal to take a babysitting course so I could earn money. When I was 13, I set a goal of being a really good friend.
You can help your kids set goals in areas they’re genuinely interested in, as well as set goals they would probably achieve anyway (like passing second grade). Get them to write down these goals somewhere they’ll see them every day, and check them off when they’re complete. When I did this as a kid, it gave me enormous satisfaction. (It still does today!)
As a result of a somewhat unique upbringing — thank you, Mom and Dad! — I don’t have a fear of success, and I know that creating abundant wealth is possible. What other unusual and effective parenting methods have you used or observed to set kids up for success?
So how do you ensure that you’re making the right decision?
The first thing that parents need to do is know your child. You should know what his interests and gifting are. If your child loves the Arts, then you cannot be, or should not be forcing him to pursue the Sciences. You should also know whether or not your teen works best independently or in a group setting; or whether he learns better in a small classroom setting. Is your teen easily distracted and lacks self-discipline or is he focused and disciplined? All these factors will play a major part in your choice of college or university.
Secondly, much research has to be done on the programs that your child is interested in and compare and contrast each college/university’s offering of that program. Which ones are best geared towards his career goals and which subjects are a better fit for what he’s interested in.
Thirdly, cost is usually a significant factor in coming to a decision. Therefore, after narrowing the choices down based on the first two factors, you must compare the cost of your child studying at one particular college as against another. In addition to tuition, your finances will determine whether or not your child can attend a local college/university or one away from home. Can he attend the more expensive Ivy League university or will it be more affordable for him to attend an equally reputable but less expensive one?
Fourthly, it is also a good thing to consider campus spirit as you’d want your teen to enjoy campus life. What clubs does each university/college offer and what opportunities are there for self-development or for community service?
Lastly, it is good to visit the various campuses and get a feel of the environment in which your teen will be. On campus tours, you’ll meet professors and lecturers and hear directly from them on their accessibility.
This is indeed one of the most exciting times in a parents and teens life and after all the research is done, both parties should feel comfortable and happy with the decision made.