Tag Archives: back to school

Top Apps for Back to School 2013

Schoolboy With Digital Tablet Sitting At Desk In Classroom“We are heading towards a paperless classroom,” says Sherry Maysonave, a former educator and author of the children’s e-book series EggMania: Where’s the Egg In Exactly (for the iPad). Maysonave has become an expert in technology in the classroom and emphasizes the benefits for both teachers and students. “Digital media offer children a whole new way to learn. Some people mistakenly think of ebooks as digital pacifiers when, in fact, they’re actually vitamins for the brain and can open up whole new stimulating worlds for children,” she said.

According to Maysonave there are now more educational apps than ever before. Many are for students, but there are also several for teachers and parents. Whether it’s helping to boost a child’s reading skills, make a teacher more organized, or helping parents stay in the loop, digital technology is adding several new tools for education.

Here is a look at some of the best apps for the upcoming school year:

iHomework

Students can manage everything they do inside and outside of the classroom with the iHomework app. Quickly enter homework assignments, course and teacher information, important tasks, and reading in a fun, intuitive, and convenient way. Keep up-to-date with school work, grades, to-dos, teacher’s information (create a contact list of all teachers!), and almost everything else you need during the school year. Set reminders so you never miss assignments or tasks. This ultimate school organizer is available for iPhone/iPod touch, iPad, or Mac ($1.99).

Remind101

Remind101 gives teachers a way to use text messaging to connect with students and parents. The free app, which is used by more than 200,000 teachers, allows teachers to send a message to a single student, group of students, or whole class, without displaying any phone numbers. It’s an easy way to communicate outside of the classroom without risking privacy issues on either side.

gFlash+ Flashcards & Tests

Available for both iOS and Android (free with upgrades available for varying fees), gFlash+ is a handy and innovative learning tool for students of all ages to create digital notecards. Its goal is simple: make studying easy and fun. Its integration with Google Docs allows users to create and share flash cards easily and on the go. gFlash+ allows users to create, download, and edit flashcards in any subject they would like. In-app purchases are also available and allow students to upload flashcards with information on specific tests (SATs for example) and subjects.

TeacherKit

The ultimate app for helping teachers get organized, TeacherKit helps instructors avoid piles of paperwork and combine all notes and grades into one simple digital system. With TeacherKit teachers can take attendance, keep a gradebook, maintain a seating chart, compile notes on student behavior, and even upload student ID photos. It’s truly an all-in-one app for instructors of all grade levels. And best of all, it’s free.

Pencils, Words & Kids

Pencils, Words & Kids (PWK) is a creative writing app that helps teachers and students with the creative writing process — specifically, to make it more fun and get the school year started right. PWK ($4.99) is based on the premise that writing is like weightlifting: every repetition makes you stronger. PWK has 203 inspiring photo prompts and 81 entries of kids writing, original artwork, and inspiring scenes. The photos show what real writing looks like and will fuel brainstorming for stories, essays and poems. Reading is emphasized as part of the PWK creative writing process, so the app includes commentary from authors and writers on the books that inspired them to write.

My Words

This is an app that makes life easier on special-needs children who are non-verbal. Created by the mother of an autistic son, My Words ($9.99) facilitates communication for people with a wide spectrum of special needs by allowing users to simply tap a word in order to play it audibly. Users can create custom word lists in which each word is associated with a sound and a picture. My Words has also been used by people who are trying to learn a new language.

Ways Back to College Has Changed Since the 80s

September means many things to many people.

For football fans, it’s the beginning of how they will shape their lives for the next five months as the NFL gets its season underway.

For the parents of youngsters, it’s a small sigh of relief as school once again resumes, bringing more of a set schedule to their children and more peace to the household.

Here at the Jersey Shore, it means the fist-pumping, club-going crowds that unfortunately represent this scenic stretch of coastline return to points north, a sort of migration carried out under the power of Escalades and new Camaros.

Ways Back to School Has ChangedAnd for a good percentage of those who graduated high school in the spring, it means heading off to college and entering one of the most important phases of a young adult’s life. While nearly all colleges and universities are physically the same as they were in the ‘80s and ‘90s, there are some pretty significant differences in how incoming freshmen from decades past and those who are a part of the class of 2016 settle in to campus life.

Here is a look at the differences between heading off to college in the age of Facebook and text-speak  and going off to college in the awesome ‘80s.

Keep It Light

In the ‘80s, things were bigger. Hair was bigger (although it still is at the Jersey Shore). Microwaves were bigger. TV’s were bigger. And PCs were bigger and something your girlfriend’s nerdy older brother had in his bedroom (along with Dungeons & Dragons posters). Moving into your dorm room in the ‘80s required some heavy lifting, as it seems electronics of the ‘80s defied logic and physics (how could a black-and-white TV with a 13-inch screen require three people to carry it?)

Flat-screen TVs of today can be carried under one arm while keeping your other hand free to take video of your first steps on campus while simultaneously checking out your new roommate’s Facebook photos.

Make a Connection

Keeping in touch with family back home and friends now scattered throughout the country once required breaking out pen and paper and finding a stamp (a “stamp” is something issued by the government that allowed you to send something hundreds, even thousands, of miles away for just pennies) and mailing a letter.

Or if you really wanted to summon the wrath of your parents, who just shelled out $1,500 for your first year of university schooling (yes, things were cheaper in the ‘80s), you’d dial up your buddy at UNLV, talk on a land line for 20 minutes, and rack up a $75 phone bill (yes, some things were more expensive in the ‘80s).

Today, there really is no disconnect. Communicating is for the most part cheaper, and something you can do instantaneously. Perfect for requesting more Top Ramen or a regional delicacy from home, such as pork roll. Pork roll is a Jersey thing, often traded like a precious metal on faraway campuses.

Book Smart, Pound Foolish

Doing research and writing papers used to require a bit more heavy lifting, from the 42-pound word processor used to churn out Psych 101 papers to the 8-inch-thick book on Chaucer checked out from your school’s library.

Of course, students today still use books and libraries, but there is a growing reliance on, and acceptance of, using tablet computers for everything from note-taking to conducting research to actually replacing college textbooks.

Fashion-Forward

One would like to say the fashion of the ‘80s remains just where it belongs – 30 years in the past and seen only in dog-eared photographs in some forgotten box in the attic. But what’s old is new again, and from neon sunglasses to polos with the collar raised, elements of the ‘80s are alive and well at today’s institutions of higher learning.

Let’s just hope these don’t make a comeback.

Fast facts from August 1986 and August 2012

Weekend Box Office:

1986: Stand By Me, Top Gun

2012: The Expendables 2, The Bourne Legacy

Top of the Charts:

1986: Madonna, “True Blue”; Top Gun Soundtrack

2012: Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Getting Back Together”; Flo Rida, “Whistle”

Car of Choice:

1986: Chevrolet Celebrity; Ford Escort

2012: Ford F-Series truck; Toyota Camry

Cost of Annual Tuition, Private, Non-Profit Four-Year School:

1986: $10,000

2012: $35,000