The Most Interesting Education Techniques of This Decade Reply

One of the most important qualities in a teacher is a willingness to try new things. The instructional methods of yesterday might not be as effective as the teaching tools of tomorrow, so if you’re an educator at a university like College America, you have to be adaptive. In that respect, here are just a few educational techniques that are currently making waves in classrooms throughout the world.

Flipped Classrooms

“Flipped” classrooms are ones where teachers record lessons for students to view at home. Then, during class, the students do their homework. While it might sound strange, flipped classrooms are turning things around for many struggling schools.

One principal in Detroit flipped his entire high school after conducting a successful experiment on the effectiveness of flipped classrooms. The results showed that students who could watch lessons on their smartphones or home computers were more prone to repeat viewings, and furthermore, doing their homework under a teacher’s supervision allowed them to ask questions, clarify concepts and reach a deeper understanding of the subject. They might sound backward, but flipped classrooms are actually taking students forward.

Social Media Integration

Social media has become a driving force for young people, and you can tap into this by turning social media networks into learning platforms. For example, if you’re an art teacher, you can ask your students to upload their artwork to Flickr and Instagram for peer review. If you’re a political science professor, you can use special hashtags on Twitter to create student discussion chains on current events.

Pinterest can be used to collect blog posts on fun science projects, and YouTube can become your new homework helper where you solve math problems step-by-step. There’s no limit to the way that social media can revolutionize your classroom as long as you’re willing to embrace it as a genuine educational technique. Don’t think of it as a fad. Think of it as the future.

The Mastery Method

A favorite of Asian countries like China and Singapore, the “mastery method” was recently brought over to the Western world in an attempt to duplicate the success of Asian students in subjects like math. Instead of explaining a concept and letting everyone scribble notes and figure it out on their own, the mastery method requires that every single student in the classroom understands the concept before the teacher is allowed to move on.

This is achieved by calling on each student in a structured, almost military-like manner and having them repeat what they’ve learned multiple times. It might sound a little Spartan, but the mastery method has already improved test scores in the UK, so expect it to hit other countries and additional schools in the future.

Inside-Outside Circle

Useful in large classrooms where teachers don’t always have time to give students individualized attention, the inside-outside circle allows students to essentially teach themselves through group effort. You start by arranging a large circle of students with a smaller circle of students within them. Then you pose a question or suggest a discussion topic, and the circles rotate in opposite directions as the children engage with a different peer for each “turn.” They pass along information and debate answers as they go. Not only does this teaching method encourage communication and cooperation between students who might not normally talk to one another, but it’s also a great way to ensure that no one is being forgotten at the back of the classroom. Everyone gets to talk and share ideas.

These are just a few educational techniques that you might want to consider for your own classroom. Some are more intriguing than others, but all of them are showing results, so they’re worth looking into as potential teaching methods for your next semester.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of

Philanthropic Degrees: 4 Programs That Improve the World Reply

Though almost every college student thinks about the earning ability a degree will produce, there are often other reasons that people choose to go into certain fields. Among the most common considerations outside of a pay rate is the amount of good a certain degree will allow people to do in the world.

If you want to make a positive impact with your studies and career, here are four degrees you should consider pursuing in college.

Diplomacy Degrees

The range of degrees surrounding the field of diplomacy, such as international studies and political science, can all be put to good use in promoting peace and understanding internationally. Public service in a diplomatic capacity can be incredibly fulfilling, especially for those who love to travel and learn about other nations and cultures.

Diplomatic careers can improve the world in both political and economic ways. A degree in a diplomatic field can also open the door for you to take part in UN peacekeeping missions in places such as Africa, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.

Social Work

A degree in social work can equip you to help your fellow humans in a variety of different ways. Social workers often work with the poor, the homeless and other disadvantaged people to help them work their ways into better positions in life.

If you are passionate about helping individual people improve their lives, social services may well be the right path for you. Social work offers both public and private sector opportunities, making it a robust career path.


There are few fields that will help you make as large a positive impact as education. Teachers are an integral part in shaping and improving the lives of young people. Great teachers can make all the difference in the classroom, especially in low-income or inner city schools.

A degree in education can give you the opportunity to help children improve their minds and carve out better futures for themselves year after year.

Medical Degrees

When it comes to saving lives, no career or field of study can equal medicine. Whether you go in for nursing, medical support or a full-fledged doctoral degree, healthcare will give you the opportunity to help people either at home or abroad.

Best of all, there are several online programs that can help you enter into the medical field on your own schedule. Bradley University, for example, offers nurse practitioner programs in Indiana, but also has master of science in nursing/family nurse practitioner degrees in an online format. With such degrees readily available online, it is easier than ever for students to start a career in medicine.

If your aim is to make the world a better place with your career, these fields of study will give you the chance to make it happen. If you’re already pursuing another field of study, however, don’t worry. With dedication, almost any career path will give you at least some opportunities to help others and improve the state of the world.

About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of

Tech for Teaching: 5 Awesome Electronic Tools for Educators Reply

Learning is often an unpleasant experience for kids, from elementary school right up through high school graduation. Traditional classroom instruction is tedious. Ironically, this is even truer for gifted students. But today’s generation of students identifies more than any previous generation with technology. Odds are that half your class by junior high school will have their own smartphone and selection of apps. You can make classes more interesting for students by introducing useful tools for educators. At the same time, you’ll make the teaching experience easier on yourself.

Project Management

You can start treating homework or class assignments as formalized projects. Depending on the age of your students, productivity software like spreadsheets, desktop publishing, graphics programs, video editing, file sharing, and more can help them become more engaged. Some of these programs are available via the cloud, or offered as special student editions at low cost or for free. The hands-on nature of using apps is an immersive experience that encourages participation and so makes classroom management easier.

Printing 3D Objects

A 3D printer is now available as affordable desktop devices. While the high temperatures involved make them inappropriate for young children, they are endlessly fascinating for older kids. The printers utilize various 3D design programs to create digital files that the printer software translates into 3D objects, usually by fusing together layers of plastic filament. You can create anything from historical landmarks to molecules at scale. It gives kids a chance to explore such concepts as computer-aided drawing, design and review processes, and real-life STEM applications, not to mention history, art, biology, and anything else you can prepare models for. The fun and fascination of creating solid objects enables them to better understand and retain what you’re trying to teach.

Website Portals

You might also consider setting up a classroom page of your own. This can be done as cheaply as a few dollars a month. Students can access it to stay informed and become more engaged. For example, you could post test results, upcoming exams, lessons, current study assignments, and other topics related to your curriculum or the school in general. Making important information available online will free you from answering a lot of questions and repeating notices and instructions. Kids and parents can login from home to check homework assignments, prepare for the next day’s lesson, get feedback, and more.

Teach Typing

Handwriting may be dead, but keyboards aren’t. Children who are expert at texting will find that actual typing is important to good communication skills in an adult world of emails, reports, proposals, and other demands for the written word. Learning to type at an early age will become a life-long habit. With software and the internet, typing can be a part of learning English. There are a number of applications for teaching typing to children by making it fun. When they learn to type, you can start asking for digital files via email rather than paperwork. This will save you from the clutter and filing chores of hard copies.


There are any number of online training courses on many subjects for children of every age. E-learning modules can incorporate gamification or technologies like VR (virtual reality) or AR (augmented reality) to make lessons interactive. Kids can learn at their own pace, save their progress, and log in again the next day to continue from the same point. Automated testing can also enable you to evaluate their learning progress in real time and tabulate individual or classroom scores on a variety of subjects. With each student immersed in their own online lessons, you’ll have more time on your hands and a lot more peace and quiet.

Any technology that illustrates or demonstrates classroom lessons is an invaluable teaching aid. It also allows children to gain real-life experiences and skills. Best of all, project and productivity tools can help to document and streamline your own management efforts.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

Class Participation in the American Classroom Reply

You might think that perfect scores on tests, homework and projects might be all you need to do well in a university class in the USA, but you’d be wrong and the reason will probably surprise you: you have to participate in class.

Having to participate in class is something that always surprises new international students when they come to the USA.

“The biggest surprise is U.S. education. It’s very strict and you have to ask instructors questions if you don’t understand. You have to participate in class,” said Pirakorn Iamcharernying, from Thailand, who studied in the Intensive English Program at the University of San Francisco in California.

Your first day of class, you will be give a syllabus. Reading through the pages that outline the grading criteria and student expectations the professor has of you, you will see a word that will become very familiar to you while studying in the U.S.: participation.

What exactly is “class participation?” Each professor will have their own definition of student participation and they may even describe it in great detail in the syllabus for their class. Professors will grade on the frequency and quality of your participation in class. Generally, class participation is contributing to class lectures, either with comment or questions, volunteering answers to questions directed at the class and being attentive.

Why is class participation important? The first, most obvious answer is to make sure you’re actually there! You can’t participate in class if you’re not present. Another reason is to make sure you’re listening and absorbing the material discussed in the lecture. Having to answer questions about what is being discussed keeps you attentive. And finally, participation challenges you to understand the concepts and think through them critically.

This is a foundational concept in the U.S. classroom and it is part of the style of teaching here in the states. In the United States, the education system is designed to go beyond memorization. Obviously, you must know the material, but the application of concepts is much more important. There is a reason individuality is an integral part of American culture: it encourages ingenuity. Professors want you to not only hear what they’re saying, but they want you to understand what they’re teaching. You may even be asked to debate with your professor! The idea of arguing with your professor can be very uncomfortable and your first instinct may be that it’s disrespectful. After all, it may be extremely disrespectful in your home country. But rest assured, if you speak respectfully, you probably would not offend your professor.

“I was very surprised when students and the professor argued about some issues in the class. I think this is very good for students to improve critical thinking ability,“ explains Yujeong Moon from South Korea who studied English and business at Angelo State University.

Since an American style classroom and the education system will be all new to you, I suggest observing how American students participate in class and how their contributions are received. Some professors might have a more casual style and allow for open commentary in the class. Other professors may require that you raise your hand and wait to be called upon. Remember, you can always ask your professor for clarification too.

Speaking up in class or taking a chance and answering a question—in front of people, no less—can be really intimidating, especially for an international student and if English is not your first language. But you must try if you’re going to be successful in your studies and the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll be.

Jennifer Privette is the Editor and Assistant Publish of Study in the USA magazines and She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Seattle University.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.