Best Learning Techniques to Prepare For TOEFL

Best Learning Techniques to Prepare For TOEFL

TOEFL is a test that non-native English speakers need to take in order to be admitted to a superior form of education located abroad. The test aims to evaluate the abilities of the candidates to listen, write and speak fluently, in order to be capable of understanding the courses they will attend to. And since proper preparation makes the difference between admission and rejection, here are some ways to learn efficiently.


The Explanatory Method

Students use this method to learn by making connections between facts and asking why questions. This is a simple method anyone taking the TOEFL practice test free online can apply. By asking themselves why some facts are true, candidates can compose their notes for a later use.

Another way to apply this method is by trying to explain a fact and provide reasons for making a certain choice. This technique works better while reading, then after reading a text. Students have to explain the facts in a text and not why they are true. This technique may require some time to digest all the information, but it seems that the notions will be preserved for a longer time in the memory of the candidates.


The Testing Method

Many of us were taught to be scared of tests, as they could damage our grades severely if they caught us off guard. However, the benefits of testing are tremendous, as it provides an accurate analysis of our level of knowledge. It seems that tests requiring an elaborate answer help information sink in better in our memory, than multiple choice queries do.

Testing becomes more interesting when the questions are created by the candidates themselves. Not only does the experience become fun, but by comparing answers, students build a real image about what they do know and what they don’t. This is especially useful when taking the TOEFL practice test free online.


Segmenting your Study Sessions

The length of the study session depends greatly on how long you want to remember that information. Basically, it is recommended that you should allocate about 10-20% of the time you want to remember the information for. So, if you want to remember something for a year, you should revise that information at least once a month.

Furthermore, splitting your study material into small bits based on their topic will help you assimilate the information faster. This means that cramming is useless, as the more information you take I, the faster you will forget it. A combination of session segmentation and self-testing will deliver the best results, especially when taking the online TOEFL test.


Other Important Learning Tips

Thinking ahead is one of the best ways to prepare for the test. Since cramming won’t help very much, plan your study sessions well in advance before taking the test. Find a partner and practice speaking. Your mouth will get accustomed to pronouncing the words in a foreign language.

  • If you can’t find an English speaker, there are countless English chat rooms available online. These chat rooms are supervised by native English speakers. But the best part is that you can try some of them without having to pay anything.
  • You can practice reading by researching topics you otherwise wouldn’t be interested in. Consider publications such as Times, Forbes, Foreign Policy or New York Times. They all provide a broad spectrum of well written articles on different topics. You can practice listening by watching movies, TV shows without subtitles, listening to music and researching lyrics.
  • Take your time and always pick your words carefully. Think about what you need to say and stick to simple structured sentences. This will help you express your ideas more easily and will benefit to your confidence level greatly. Teach yourself to breathe so you don’t run out of air when speaking. And try to smile more often because it will make you feel more confident.
  • To practice writing, think about a topic and write arguments about it. Ask questions and answer them. Then ask an English teacher to point out your mistakes. You are bound to find someone willing to help you. Often writing software can help you track spelling mistakes, so you can train yourself to spell correctly.
  • Get familiar with the different test sections and time your performance while taking the online TOEFL test. The test begins with a reading section that can last from 60 to 80 minutes. This section is followed by a listening section that can take around 60-90 minutes. When you’re done with these two, you will get a 10-minutes break. When your break is over, a 20-minutes speaking section will follow. Finally, you will be given 50 minutes to proceed with the writing tasks.
  • Don’t skip on any shut-eye. The test itself is exhausting; you need all the rest you can get before it. Try out a few relaxation techniques, as the more stressed you are, the more tired you will be on the day of the exam. Needless to say is that lack of sleep will affect your test score more than you think.
  • Work on your confidence. Take as many breaks as you need, take deep breaths and you will feel your confidence coming back to you. Exercise your mouth muscles constantly and practice by repeating the words you hear. Keep in mind that some sounds cannot be found in your native language. You will need time and exercise to reproduce them accurately.


  • When speaking to native English speakers don’t be shy and ask them to explain whatever words or idioms you don’t understand. Also, ask them to correct your mistakes if necessary.



Author Bio: James Liu, Founder at the BestMyTest. BestMyTest TOEFL® online course was not only developed for students to practice TOEFL® exam questions, but was also designed to help students improve their overall English language abilities. Follow him on Twitter at @BestMyTest or connect via Linkedin


How the internet has boosted education in emerging economies

One of the revolutionary aspects of the development of the internet has been in education. You may think of social media, the ability to search for jobs and houses, the easy access to worldwide news or the options for gaming as the main ways that the internet affects your life, but there are many other uses for the web.

The generally accepted ways of education for many decades has been through school, followed by college and/or university for those who wish to pursue further education. These are still the standard routes for many, especially in the developed world, but the growth of e-learning has opened up new vistas for millions who do not have access to the more traditional ways of following the educational path.

When you look more deeply into what the internet can offer in terms of online learning, you can start to understand why many of the great institutions now realise they can engage motivated and talented students through their online learning opportunities.


Democratisation of education

The internet is a great leveller. Despite its many problems, it has opened up education to people who might otherwise not have had the option to learn and pursue their dreams. Without a good education, it’s very hard to get a foot on a good career ladder. For many people, even in the developed world, the cost of going to college or university can be prohibitive. You either need rich parents or be prepared to take on massive loans that will dog you for many years after you graduate.

When you live in an emerging economy where access to education through school can be patchy or at times non-existent, you want opportunities outside of those traditional routes.

If, for example, you want to get a foot into the world of medicine, architecture or engineering, then a basic online course could set you on your way. Education is often thought of as for an elite, and universities such as Yale and Harvard may appear out of reach for most potential students. Yet these universities, along with hundreds of others globally, realise that there is an enormous amount of untapped potential and have put courses online to try to encourage students to engage. Free courses from these elite institutions are there to really boost educational standards in emerging economies.


Benefits of e-learning

You don’t necessarily need a degree to be successful in business, but you do need to know what you are doing. As an example, you can find information about Azmi Mikati on Bloomberg, an entrepreneur from the Middle East who has been a prime mover in developing trade links in the region and with Africa, as well as overseeing his M1 investment group, which has a global reach. The Middle East has impressive feats of engineering and architecture – think of Dubai and its towering buildings – and the opportunity to learn about these skills online can inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The internet is now a key tool for opportunities to learn, and for those in emerging economies, it can make a major impact on life chances for the future.

How social media and video sharing have changed the way we learn new skills

Social networking communities are here to stay, and there is no question that today’s students are actively engaged in these online networks. This begs the question: what is the effect of social media and video sharing on the way we learn?

In the past, social media was an innovative way to stay in touch with friends and families and to make new connections. Today, the phenomenon of social media may very well be its evolution – from a simple network for purely social purposes to a tool that plays a huge role in our daily lives. Nowadays, we not only communicate but also shop, research, work, and learn through social media.

Social media is a tool that allows students and educators to share information and build a sense of community. Many major universities, including Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale, offer online courses, some even on YouTube. These classes often never meet in a physical lecture hall, but there is direct involvement by both the professors and students. Classes “meet” in Google Hangouts, chat rooms, and even use Twitter to engage in discussions.


Social media’s role in education

There is no question that social media has a place in education. Studies have shown that social networking has increased the quality and rate of collaboration for students and has helped improve the ability to work in groups. It also helps students learn skills they’ll need in the business world – building and maintaining connections is essential. But that’s not all – online learning has changed in recent years.

The internet is a vast arena of information, and one can learn a lot just by surfing in the comfort of their own home. It used to be that learning something online was a lot like going to your local library: a lot of simple online how-to articles and research documents were available for reading. However, learning online is now a truly multi-media experience, with online videos, tutorials, and step-by-step articles for just about every topic imaginable.


Keeping up with the trends

The world of social media is always changing, as is the world of education. Educators are always looking for new and improved methods of teaching students. Students are always looking for a better way to learn and find information.

Even outside of professional academia, social media enables people to connect with others who are interested in learning similar skills – and they can share their experiences, knowledge, and ideas to solve problems. For those interested in keeping up with the latest developments in online learning, it is helpful to look at a technology blog. Simply searching for digital media news allows you to stay on top of the latest trends in social media and how it affects education – and just about everything else.

Thanks to the ease and speed with which you can upload videos and pictures, as well as the expansiveness of social media, it has become an educational phenomenon, and one that shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.



How the internet has opened up the world of education in finance

The development of the internet has created more options for people looking to enhance their career prospects through education and learning, and if you are pursuing or interested in a finance career, you will find no shortage of online learning resources to assist you.

Kuwait Real Estate Investment Consortium KSC is a good example of an international investment specialist offering career options for those interested in the world of finance. In considering online resources as a learning option, it is important that you identify upfront the type of skills employers will be looking for. At Kuwait Real Estate Investment Consortium, the Chairman/MD Fahad Al-Rajaan has a background in business administration, with a Bachelor of Arts in the subject from American University in Washington, DC. As such, he was able to bring to his career a strong grounding in business and management, allied with commercial awareness and analytical and logical skills. These are the type of skills employers in the financial world will be looking for, along with strong communication skills and – given the emergence of IT as a key workplace tool – good all-round IT capabilities.

When it comes to choosing an actual course online to help boost your finance career, two areas worth looking at are IT programming and maths.

IT is a core aspect of many finance functions, from retail banking to complex investment management. The marketing, communications and administrative sides of finance run on IT as well, and employers in the sector will require professionally trained IT staff to operate the hardware and software that they utilize for these functions. Leaving specific IT skills to one side, an IT course in a general sense will equip you with the type of logical skills to analyse problems under pressure, essential in the often fast-paced world of finance, where decisions have to be made in seconds.

Maths forms the basis for much of quantitative finance, equipping students with the skills necessary to develop and sustain a career in such areas as investment management, credit risk assessment and investment portfolio structuring. Finance has become increasingly complex with the advent of technology and detailed mathematical models, so having staff that can dig into the figures and spot what is really going on is essential for employers.

In accessing online learning resources, you are not simply going to be a solitary student sitting in a room staring at a computer screen. As online learning has evolved, the supports around it have evolved as well, and courses will typically offer strong networking opportunities for students, by way of forums and other interactive options. Online learning offers students the opportunity to broaden their horizons and learn alongside students from all over the world and with different types of background. You never know what opportunities might arise as a result.

To conclude, employers in the financial sector value staff that can act on their own initiative and possess both motivation and ambition. Undertaking an online learning course in your own time demonstrates all three qualities and is sure to impress on your CV.

Career paths from computer science: the world is at your feet

There are few industries that have remained unaffected by the development of computer science and technology. Wherever you turn, there are fields utilising the very latest software and hardware, and each new addition to the office requires a person of immense experience and passion to operate it. Could that be you? Computer science is such an integral part of the technology industry now and, being such a wide, adaptable field, needs new blood in every avenue – you are in the right field, students!

While the technology sector is perhaps the first industry that students and graduates may think of when it comes to choosing a computer science career, it is also well worth considering the opportunities that continue to arise in the engineering world; computer science is helping to revolutionise the engineering world and how it is viewed by other sectors, as well as creating opportunities and ideas that may not have existed before. Meggitt PLC, which is a global engineering group based in the UK, is one such company that recognises the importance of computer science in its world; Chairman of Meggitt, Sir Nigel Rudd, has numerous experiences under his belt, and understands the importance of expanding the world of engineering to keep it current and efficient. In fact, Meggitt is able to offer graduates a range of opportunities that will allow them to utilise their skills in computer science; have you got what it takes?

Careers that you may wish to consider could include, but are certainly not limited to, software and web developer, database and network administrator, systems support analyst, consultant or computer specialist, computer programmer, computer science teacher, network architect, research assistant, and IT security analyst. The world of computer science is constantly changing, with roles being added all the time. Can you afford to miss out on a career in such a varied and evolving industry?


We’ll leave you with a few handy hints for snagging that dream role…

Follow your passion; there are so many avenues of computer science to explore, and it is essential to choose with your heart as well as your head. While there are numerous opportunities available to those who already work in computer science, life is too short to invest all of your time and energy in an aspect of a job you’re not happy with.

Keep up to date; whether you’re still learning or ready to graduate and search for your first computer science role, it is essential to stay on top of the latest news, programs, and ventures. Being as competitive as they are, the worlds of technology, engineering, and communication require those who are dedicated enough to follow every trend. Besides, isn’t it better to know exactly what you’re talking about?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions; the best way to get ahead in any career is to conduct research and know exactly what you want from your future. Asking questions is a great way of finding out more and garnering some brilliant advice, while familiarising yourself with your chosen aspect of computer science will ensure that you enter the world of work with a clear, confident head.

Whether you’re just starting a college or university course, are ready to graduate and earn your first job role, or re-thinking the choices you may have made in the past, using your computer science qualifications to further your career may be easier than you think. After all, computer science is so prevalent in numerous industries these days, you may be spoiled for choice. Remember, the world is at your feet. Go out and grab it.

Using the internet to learn about investing and finance

The internet has made it much easier for those interested in investing and finance to find the information they need to make the most informed choices. Both investment firms and investors have benefited from this improvement in the availability of investment information.

Apps make it easier to stay on top of the latest investment news

 Apps have changed the way people keep up with the latest in investment news. Apps can even ask key information about you and offer investment advice based upon your own unique financial goals and current assets. While this is not the best solution for everyone, for those with limited investments, it can be a great way to start analysing what is best for you. iBillionaire is an app that offers a breakdown of how some of the leading investment gurus are investing their money. This can help investors be more aware of market trends as seen by some of the world’s greatest investment experts. Apps are best used as a tool for research. They can help you to be better prepared for a meeting with an investment professional, such as those at M1 Group. Keeping up to date on market trends will make you a smarter investor by allowing you to make decisions promptly. The investment world can fluctuate a lot, and a bit of research can help to ensure your success.


Learning from past success

 The internet means that investors can research successful business and investment models and apply them to their own situation. For example, Najib Mikati and his brother Taha founded Investcom, a pioneering company in telecommunications in the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean. An interview with Najib Mikati indicates that he is strong leader; this led them to great financial success, and this in turn made them consider how best to diversify their investment by branching out into different economic sectors. The result was the formation of the global powerhouse M1 Group, one of the premier holding companies in the Middle East. They have used their success to help investors all over the world invest in their diverse portfolio, which range from investments in the fashion industry, real estate, telecommunications and aviation.

A diverse portfolio can protect investors from excessive risk and provide good returns, especially if one invests in emerging economies early in their development. There is great potential for growth in many countries around the world. The demand for goods and services will increase as more people experience upward mobility, which they have never had the opportunity to experience in the past.



 Social networking apps such as LinkedIn allow investment professionals, job seekers, economic journalists, and more, to connect and share business opportunities, advice and news. This has made it easier for investors to connect directly with a specific employee at a firm with ease. There is no question that this type of networking can lead to great new business relationships and a better understanding of others in your industry.


Apple Watch: The Styles

After a long and somewhat arduous period of rumour, conjecture and hype, Apple Inc’s first fully-fledged smartphone, the Watch, began shipping on April 24th earlier this year. The device is the newest in wearable technology, brimming with features, capabilities and endless reasons to say ‘wow’, but what about the stylings of the product? According to Apple, there are 2 million appearance combinations users can choose for the product, but with what can one craft these combinations?

The first thing to bear in mind before we continue is that the Apple Watch isn’t all that ground-breaking as it’s being made out to be, so don’t design your device under the assumption that it’s going to replace your smartphone, it’s not. For the vast majority of purposes; Facebook, calls, browsing, shopping online; you will need to use a smartphone, linking to your wearable when possible. This means no gaming on sites like too; the screen of the Watch is rather small, and although there may be games released of the wearable sort soon, we won’t be spinning roulette wheels on the Watch’s face any time soon! But nevertheless…


Faces, Alloys

The most important part of your Watch is likely to be the watch itself. When it comes to sizes Apple is supplying two, sized at 38mm (height) and 42mm accordingly. Having the smaller model won’t impact the experience massively, but perhaps consider the larger if you are a power user or have large fingers.

Next, the alloys that clad the Watch itself. Here you can choose from Stainless Steel, Silver Aluminium, Space Black Stainless Steel and Space Gray Aluminium; or choose from the two more luxurious (and far more expensive) 18-Karat Rose, or Yellow, Gold covers. Whilst we’d all love a little gold on our wrists, it’s definitely important to bear in mind that bestowing your Watch with the Midas touch will cost upwards of $10,000!

The display of the device can also be heavily customised. From traditional watch faces to more funky, playful designs, colours, design elements and interfaces can all be continually customised, and it’s very likely that a plethora of subsequent designs will be released as the product matures.



Finally, the band of the watch itself. Here, you can choose from traditional metal linked bracelets, ergonomic sports bands, leather loops, classic and modern buckles and finally a sleek Milanese Loop, all of these bands being completely interchangeable and modular in their outfitting. Doing some running? Use a sportier band. Going out to dinner or attending an event? Classier, chiq metal might be your purview.

With so many customisation options available, there’s all manner of ways for Watch owners to put their own stamp on their personal device. Which designs appeal to you most? Let us know your thoughts below.

The Road towards a Successful TOEFL Exam Comes With Its Obstacles

Standing for Test of English as a Foreign Language, TOEFL is a standardized English test for the non-native speakers to prove their language proficiency before enrolling to a higher education establishment. The test is available in over 130 countries around the world. Each year, tens of thousands of students are doing the standard TOEFL reading practice during their preparation so they can prove that they have what it takes to excel in a certain area despite English not being their mother tongue.

It takes some hard work, but if the students know what is expected out of them, more often than not they will be able to not only pass the test, but do it with flying colors. There are a lot of ways one can prepare for the TOEFL, but none is more efficient than an official TOEFL practice. All it takes is a little bit of research and the student can obtain some valuable information regarding the process of the examination and its exact curriculum.


It is a government tool, and a rather efficient one at that


The TOEFL is a very efficient tool for governments to weed out those who would struggle with the language necessary to study a particular field. That does not mean that said student’s capabilities are not up to the task for that particular field of expertise, but without the necessary language skills, sadly they won’t be able to obtain that knowledge through an English speaking course. If someone is not capable of learning in the English language, they can always just do it in their mother tongue.

Naturally, those students want to learn in those particular countries for a reason, but this is a necessary outcome which they cannot really avoid in these cases. The standardized test is really not an insurmountable obstacle for those who care and put in the time, but not all will pass the exam. Just like in every other segments of life, hard work will pay off, but there are no guarantees. The outlook is still extremely positive for your average student. Unless someone has terrible language skills, they can find the test more than passable, really all there is needed is some preparation.


Practicing your reading is of the utmost importance


They say nothing is better than the real thing, and this is certainly true when the subject of the TOEFL test comes up. The best method of preparing for the reading phase of the test is to use the available test materials. The students can do that by acquiring the subject-samples from the internet. There are online sessions that will help them prepare for the real thing. The preparation includes TOEFL reading practice.


Unfortunately, there is no widely available and capable software yet that can actually recognize one’s pronunciation and grammar mistakes. With that said, the time when this will be possible is certainly close. Truthfully, the technology is already out there, and has been for a couple of years now. Now it’s only a matter of putting together a sophisticated algorithm for it, which is of course not necessarily the easiest thing to achieve.





You can find what you seek, if you search enough for it


In the meantime, there are several ways of getting your hands on the material that you need. Trying it on online forums and/or on the official sites will surely wield its results. There are also software solutions, not to mention the official TOEFL reading practice. Those solutions may not be at the level of the above mentioned theoretical application, but they represent real help for motivated students. When an application can offer a similar difficulty compared to what the real thing will, preparing for the test with the help of that material becomes a real possibility, and it may even warrants preparing for the test exclusively that way.


Online is where it’s at


There is really no easier method for getting your hands on some quality material. You can even find a very similar test material for free, but of course the difficulty of those will greatly vary, and nailing one of those tests without errors might be counterproductive in some cases. Realizing what we don’t know if often much more important than realizing what we do know.


Not all materials were created equal


Learning how to distinguish between quality materials and average information is very important. There are so many varying sources of information that you can choose from. Not all information was created equal, and once you start the gathering process, you will quickly come to this conclusion too. A relevant TOEFL Reading Practice comes with great feedback, which you should only dismiss if you have a good reason for questioning its legitimacy. In the end, you want quality information that is reliable for your TOEFL exam. This is not always easy.


It really is a “hit and miss” phase of the whole process, during which you will need to stay resilient. After all, if you start the preparation in time, and you are willing to sacrifice some of your free time, doing the research, you should end up with the necessary knowledge that will allow you to pass the test without problems. Once you have found proper information, it will come down to your work ethic, which is a good thing. Having control over the situation is what we all want, regardless of the field we work in.


Author Bio: James Liu connected with TOEFL Network. Is an online TOEFL e-learning website offering iBT TOEFL practices & teaching materials for students to prepare for TOEFL test. With over 800 high-quality TOEFL sample practices & sample questions, TOEFL Network has helped thousands of students improve their TOEFL scores since 2009.You can easily reach @TOEFLNETWORK


7 Ways to Use Technology With Purpose

Why are you using technology? Or more importantly, how are you using technology to better the learning in your classroom and/or school? If you are like me, then you’ve had your fair share of technology screw ups. Projects that didn’t make sense (but used the tech you wanted to bring in). Activities that were ruined by a crashing website or some technological problem. And of course you’ve probably dealt with the students, parents, and teachers that want to do things “the old way”.
In order to make sure you are using technology the right way, you must first “start with why”. If your students understand the “why” behind your technology use, then the class will have a purpose and technological glitches and issues can be worked through. If they don’t understand the “why” then any small issue could turn into a major problem.
Here are 7 ways I’ve been using technology for a purpose in my classroom and as a staff developer in my school. I’m sure there are many other ways to use tech with purpose, but these are some of my favorites!
1. To Collaborate in Real Time
Remember when Google Docs broke onto the scene? It was magic. Students writing and sharing in real-time, able to see what the other students are doing and saying, while still working on your own part of the project or activity. Flash forward 7-8 years and now “real-time collaboration” is a must for most online software. This type of technology allow project-based learning to be monitored, documented, and done outside of the school hours.
At my school we have been using Microsoft OneNote (as well as the Google products) to collaborate in real-time. Whether it is staff planning together, students working together, or a combination of both…this technology has so many learning purposes.
2. To Reflect and Share
I used to have my students journal in their marble notebooks. And during certain activities I still do (like Writer’s Bootcamp). However, what’s nice about having students journal online and share “in the cloud” is the ability for their classmates to see what they have to say.
This is why I suggest blogging throughout the year, and not just as a project. Make blogging a part of your student’s life and you’ll be able to see which topics, ideas, projects, and activities really impacted them. Sometimes it may not be what you thought…and sometimes their simple act of sharing will bring the class together in ways you never could have imagined.
3. Better Research
After I finished writing my Master’s thesis on ‘peace education in the 21st century’ I talked with my mom about her writing process in graduate school. It sounded awful… She would have to go to the library, find a resource, read almost the entire resource, make copies of the pages she wanted to use, and literally “cut it out” and “paste it on” her typewritten document.
Technology has made research simple and more time efficient. I’m not talking about typing a question into google, I’m specifically focused on searching journal databases like ERIC through places like Ebscohost. A nice search phrase will turn up hundreds of peer-reviewed results which can be sorted many different ways (such as by date or full-text article). Those articles that you choose can then be automatically scanned for your keywords, read the specific parts you want, and use what is applicable with a simple copy and paste and proper citation already set up and ready to go.
How often do we really teach students how to research in today’s world? Or do we expect them to learn on their own like we did?
4. Write and Re-Write
Using tools such as Google Docs, the new Microsoft Word, or Draft students are able to write and edit on the fly. They can get feedback from peers and teachers…and then choose whether or not to accept that feedback on their writing. Technology has changed the writing process in much the same way it has changed the research process.
The most important part of writing is the revising and editing. Yet, we often take it for granted. Instead let’s use the technology to track what types of changes students have made, and if they are making the same mistakes in their writing over and over again. That way, the “re-writing” process can have a direct impact on how much they improve and change some of their writing habits over time.
5. Make Something (that matters)
This may be my favorite way to use technology with a purpose. Students now have the ability to make movies, songs, pieces of art, websites, apps, games etc–with technology. However, too often we ask students to make something that does not matter. We ask them to make a movie or poster or presentation that has no direct impact on the world around them.
Instead, let’s challenge ourselves to start making technology matter. Make iMovies that can be uploaded to Youtube and have a purpose. Make games with a meaning. Make apps that matter. Yes, there is a time for fun and games. But if that is all we use technology for in school…then we shouldn’t be surprised when that is all students use technology for once they get out of school.
6. Keep a Digital Record
Digital portfolios are a must. Not because colleges will want and need them in the future (which is happening sooner than you think). Not because it is a cool way to show off what you’ve done in class. Digital portfolios are a must because they show learning growth.
The best way to show how much a student has learned is through a digital portfolio. You can look back over time and what they’ve created, written, and done in school. And how that work has improved (and in what ways) throughout their schooling. When students know their work will be on display and recorded, they also take pride in what they do because it will last.
Ask yourself, are you making “digital fridge art” or something worth keeping?
7. Mastery Assessments
Think about the last time you gave an assessment. I’m sure you prepared students for it during class, gave them materials to study, and supported them during the assessment. However, there were definitely a few students who struggled on this assessment. What happens next? You can either give them a re-take, give them another similar assessment, or say that is there only chance.
If you gave them a digital assessment you’d be able to see exactly which questions they got wrong in comparison to the entire class. You could see how much time they spent on the question and if the answer they chose was way off base…or close. You could tailor a new assessment based on just the problems/questions they got wrong and make sure they achieved mastery on those topics before moving forward.
Technology should change the way we do assessments forever, yet sadly many of us still give tests the same way we did 10 years ago. This is a tech purpose we can’t avoid any longer.

How the internet provides young people with a platform for learning

The internet has played, and continues to play, a vital role in educating young people about a wide range of subjects, as well as providing them with the opportunity to learn a variety of social skills and important life skills that will help them to go far; both professionally and personally. While numerous internet sites focus on traditional learning and research, the popularity of non-traditional ways of learning is rapidly increasing, stimulating a revolution in the way you can learn online.

Non-traditional learning online

“Brain games” have become increasingly popular, allowing you to play online while also stimulating your brain, improving your memory and increasing your ability to think critically. Online word games and puzzles, such as crosswords and Sudoku, improve your vocabulary and general knowledge, and your ability to think on multiple levels, a vital skill in any work environment.

Online courses have expanded vastly in the past decade or so, allowing you to access not only credit-earning courses with colleges and universities, but also college-level courses that you can take to help enhance your current learning and expand into different disciplines.

Learning life skills and social skills while sitting in front of your computer may seem to be an oxymoron, but the internet does offer a wealth of opportunities to connect with communities around the world, accessing their local knowledge and societies in a way not possible before. The BBC and other news outlets from around the world offer current events, international news and local tidbits that provide a fresh perspective and up-to-date knowledge about what is going on around us.

Connecting with people around the world is one of the most valuable attributes of the internet and, for young people, a wonderful way to gain access to and information about inspiring people throughout the world. The internet also offers many resources to young entrepreneurs to learn from those with experience, including where to start and what skills make for success in the business world. A great example would be researching news relating to Max Mosley, former head of the FIA, the governing body for Formula 1 racing. Safety had become a primary concern at the time of Mosley’s tenure as president and he promoted numerous changes to safety requirements and even track safety that have continued to enhance the sport long after his departure. He was also pivotal in bringing more environmentally friendly technology into the sport. Max Mosley’s business expertise, social skills, and genuine appreciation for his work and the positive mark he could leave behind him are all brilliant examples of what you can learn by simply researching a successful individual online.

Expanding your knowledge base through the internet has become easily accessible, and more powerful, than ever before. By utilizing a variety of educational games; distance learning and individual courses; as well as making good use of the news and research outlets available, you can arm yourself with the tools and skills needed to be successful as an adult.

The top 50 apps for creative minds

There’s an ongoing argument in the technology world about whether tablets and smartphones are more focused on consumption than creativity. As time has gone on, though, the number of apps helping us do more than passively read, watch and listen has grown. Many also fall into a longer heritage of technology that democratises activities like film-making, photography and music-making. Video and photography apps now contain editing features based on those used in professional software, but made accessible enough for anyone to use in a couple of taps, and music-making apps are reducing the barrier to making listenable sounds. In all cases, this isn’t about you suddenly becoming a professional just because an app is holding your hand – instead, it’s about opening up the experience of artistic creation to a wider audience.

Creativity means different things to different people. Apps such as Instagram and Magic Piano do not assume any prior experience in photography and music respectively, but are designed to help novices explore some of the intricacies of both art forms. For example, the grid that Instagram overlays on your photos as you edit them is subtly making you think about the composition of your shots, while its manual controls allow you to apply filters and processes such as vignette or tilt shift, once the preserve of professional photographers.

Other apps, such as Vine, cater to different levels of skill. Shooting a six-second loop and sharing it can be done by anyone, but creative micro-film-makers experimenting with stop-motion and visual trickery are producing genuinely imaginative work with it.

Similarly, music apps such as Figure are pitched at both a casual audience of music-makers who want to enjoy stringing some beats and melodies together, and professional musicians who want to use it as the audio equivalent of a doodle-pad when waiting for inspiration to strike. Meanwhile, apps like Korg Gadget for musicians and Photoshop Touch for designers are proving that smart devices can fit in to professional creatives’ working lives as useful tools, rather than mobile novelties.

Some apps are giving a new digital lease of life to older creative techniques – Dubble with double-exposure photographs, for example, – while others are creating new formats, like Frontback, with its focus on capturing the photographer as well as the scene in front of them.

So, you’re not David Bailey just because Instagram helped you share a nice photo of your cat, and you’re not Aphex Twin because a music app helped you make a nice beat. But you’ve had fun enjoying a little bit of the creative experience that those and other artists have made their work. With that in mind, here are 50 of the apps to unlock your creativity – and that of your children too, from coding to storytelling.


What are the top three e-learning trends to look out for in 2015?

Mobile learning will explode in popularity

According to projections by Gartner, a total of 320 million tablet sales will be made in 2015, compared to 316 million PC sales. Thats going to put a lot of mobile technology in the hands of people who’ve never had the opportunity to access e-learning in this way before. Just as the concept of Video on Demand is changing the way we watch television, the idea of Learning on Demand (or Courses on Demand) is likely to lead to a seismic shift in the way learners access training and development materials online. A number of short course providers have sprung up in recent years and content tailored specifically to mobile learning (short, bite-size and interactive) is going to become increasingly available for every subject area or interest.

BYOD will become accepted in the workplace

The explosion in tablet and smartphone usage is rapidly changing working practices. The days when handheld devices, such as mobile phones, had to be kept out of sight in the workplace are surely behind us. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a concept that has been around for a couple of years but many businesses have been reluctant to embrace the concept, mainly for data security and IT support reasons. However, as more workers are getting their hands on the technology, organisations are beginning to see the potential for mobile devices to increase collaboration and productivity. As BYOD policies become formalised, expect to see staff encouraged to make use of their own technology whether working in the office or remotely.

e-learning for onboarding will become the norm

Inducting and training new employees is a challenge for businesses both small and large. With an increase in flexible working practices, such as part-time and remote workers, online training can play a key role in getting new staff up to speed quickly. Training can be delivered at a time to suit both the business and the new employee. It can be scalable and cost effective and, combined with principles such as BYOD mentioned above (e.g. allowing staff to access unfamiliar training on a device familiar to them) will shorten the learning curve for new employees and let them focus on their job from day one.


Gartner projections on tablet sales: