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Archive for the ‘Learning Tools’ Category

Quick Response to Online Learning

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Have you noticed those squares of strange symbols on buildings, signs, in stores and magazines? We are even seeing them migrating to education. Quick Response (QR) codes are used to provide information, show a website, view a picture and a host of ways yet to be discovered. QR codes are similar to bar codes, but they can hold a lot more information. Instead of requiring a bulky hand-held device to scan them, modern cell phones and mobile devices can scan them.

QR code consists of square, black dots arranged in a grid on a white background. The grid can be read by a camera or another imaging device and then interpreted. Information is extracted from the horizontal and vertical components in the image.

However, have you noticed something about all those codes you’ve been seeing? You are right! They seldom have an explanation of how to use them! So, are you wondering how?

Well, it’s actually pretty easy…but you have to have the right tools. To use QR codes conveniently you must have a smartphone or tablet computer equipped with a camera and a QR code reader/scanner application feature. Luckily, the newer smartphones and tablets available today often have an app pre-installed on them. However, if you don’t already have the reader on your device, it’s nothing a quick push of a button can’t fix. Merely visit your phone’s app store such as Android Market, Apple App Store, BlackBerry App World, etc. and download a QR code reader/scanner app. With a wealth of free QR code generation tools available online, this is a medium that requires little or no background knowledge or searching in order to find useful and helpful resources.
QR codes are used in online instructional material created by Knowledge Headquarters, Inc. for K – grade 12 students. The company’s main product is eTutor, an accredited online private school serving students throughout the world. QR codes are included in eTutor lesson modules, study guides and worksheets.

A student completing a worksheet as part of the eTutor learning program may need additional information or a skill to complete his work. Using his smart phone he scans the QR code from the worksheet and it will take him to appropriate, related information in order to successfully complete the worksheet.

Another student may be working on a history lesson module using her laptop computer. She wants to share with her friends an interesting fact she has just learned. She scans the QR code at the top of the lesson module and transports it to her smart phone.

While the eTutor program is easily accessible on laptop computers, tablets and smart phones, the use of QR codes gives students and parents an alternate way to use and view instruction. QR codes are intended to be used with portable, connected devices. Most students have them, expect to use them, and are excited by the prospect of being able to use them in instruction. Additionally, the use of mobile technology and resources that support it frees students, parents, and learning from the confines of traditional settings. Learning can happen in more authentic contexts, or at times and in places that are convenient to students.

QR codes let students be active in their learning. They provide true interactivity and engagement, which translates to more effective and efficient learning. Knowledge HQ has been at the forefront of online instruction since the late 90s. The company continues to keep abreast of the latest technology and how new innovations can improve and enhance the teaching-learning process.

Making Time Count

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

time.gif (19378 bytes)What is the one thing you give your child that you can never replace? Time. You cannot buy it, sell it, rent it or change it. All you can do is use it!

You cannot change the quantity of time you have, but you can change the quality of your time.

  • Write down the things that are most important in your life. Chances are that your family will be at the top of the list.
  • Try to remember how you have spent your time during the past few days, hour by hour. Does the way you spend your time reflect your priorities? How much time was spent with your children? How important were the things that you cannot remember?
  • Make a plan for how you will use your time in the week ahead. Write it down. Include time with children in your plan. Check to see how you did at the end of the week.

We do what we think is important. Deciding what we think is important can be the first step in making time count.

Seeing With Words

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

At a recent dinner meeting I was seated at a table with a visually impaired woman. She graciously helped all of us at the table understand her needs and quickly learned a lot about us. When communicating with visually impaired people, these suggestions might help:

  • Identify yourself and introduce anyone else who is present.
  • When offering a handshake, say, “Shall we shake hands?”
  • When offering a seat, place the person’s hand on the back or arm of the seat.
  • Tell the person when you need to end the conversation or when you move.

Two Methods of Reading Instruction

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Consider the following two teaching methods in English Language Arts. Mr. Brown hands out a worksheet exercise to his first grade students on circling words that contain the same “ch” sound. This is an explicit exercise on phonics or basic skills instruction in reading. Mrs. Kato reads to the class and asks her first graders to write about the topic after the reading. Mrs. Kato was using the whole language approach to teaching reading. Which is a better method of teaching reading to children? Research says that a combination of the two methods or balanced instruction may be the most effective way to teach the beginning reader. This balanced instruction involves teaching the relationship between letters and sounds in a systematic fashion, and at the same time, children are being read to and reading interesting stories and writing at the same time. Researchers claim that the combination method presents the best of both worlds in teaching reading.

Tired of Political Campaigns? Think About This

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Does using shorter sentences and smaller words make a political candidate more attractive to voters? According to a study by two college researchers, it makes candidates more successful in getting their messages across to voters. Mary-Ann Leon and T. Harrell Allen of California State Polytechnic University studied the speeches of President Bush and Michael Dukakis during their two 1988 debates: They found: Bush’s remarks scored at the 8th grade level….making them clear to more than two-thirds of the audience. Dukakis tested at the 10th and 12thgrade levels….comprehensible to less than 50 percent of Americans. The difference: Dukakis used longer, more complex sentences and words than Bush did.

Outsmarting Stress

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
Relieve stress by understanding which brain hemisphere is stressed. If you feel depressed or emotionally overwrought, your stress is in the right hemisphere….the creative, emotional, holistic side.
What to do:
  1. Switch to your matter-of-fact left hemisphere by doing math, writing factual prose or organizing. The emotional right brain will calm down.
  2. If you feel time-stressed and overburdened, the left hemisphere is involved. Switch to your right brain by singing or playing a sport.
Jane Cole-Hamilton, Wellspring Seminars

TEN Ways to Make the Most of STUDY TIME

Monday, September 16th, 2013
Relax a bit after school before doing homework. Then….
1. Find the best time to study
After school, after dinner…..homework should have a definite start and finish time. If the homework is finished early, the remaining time should be used to double-check and review.
2. The best place to study
Homework headquarters should be away from television, stereo, telephone, and other distractions. A writing surface and good light are necessities. A small tale may be the best place for a young student, while a desk or table, even the floor or a bed, may work for an older student.
3. Be prepared
Have all the materials needed to complete assignments. Pencils, sharpener, eraser and paper for younger students, a pen, ruler, dictionary, thesaurus, and more may be necessary for older students.
4. Make a homework list
Make an easy two-part homework checklist:
______ List homework assignments in each class each day as they are made.
______ Check over the list at the end of the school day to make sure you have all the materials necessary to take home.
Show the assignment sheet to teachers. They can help to see that you have everything to complete assignments at home.
5. Keep a homework calendar
Record due dates for major long-range assignments on a special calendar brings the task into focus. Work backwards, identifying all the steps along the way to completion of the assignment.
If a short paper is due on Friday, the last step is to write the final draft on Thursday.
The first step is to begin reading and note taking on Monday.
6. Study rhythms
Tackle the most difficult assignments when you are most alert and save easier tasks for off-peak times. Schedule several smaller segments of time for memorization. It is easier to learn in short stretches than at one long session. Try using an easier assignment as a break from something more difficult.
7. When you get stuck
Ask these questions…..
  • Have you read and followed directions carefully?
  • Are you taking short cuts that are confusing you?
  • Are you using your book properly?
  • Read the directions aloud….now do they make sense?
  • Have you tried making a picture, table, graph, or diagram to represent the known facts and relationships?
  • Have you tried to sold a similar, but less difficult problem?
  • Have you checked the glossaries, the table of contents or the indexes for help?
  • Did you copy the words or numbers correctly?
  • Are you trying to do too much of the work in your head?
  • Have you checked for careless mistakes?
Still stuck? Do other homework assignments for awhile. Go to class early and check with the teacher. Remember…..teachers want success from their students.
8. Ask for help
It is okay to ask for help. Ask parents, older brothers and sisters, just ask.
9. Take a break
Schedule one or more short breaks during the study time. Stretching the mind for an hour, calls for stretching the body for a few minutes. Do jumping jacks, play ping pong or the drums…..get up and move.
10. Book bag at bedtime
Create a fail-proof method for getting completed homework assignments to school on time. A good slogan is “homework goes in the book bag at bedtime.”

Ten Ways to Improve Writing Skills

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Why is writing important? It is functional. It helps us get practical things done. It is stimulating. Writing not only helps provoke thoughts, but helps us organize those thoughts in a logical, concise manner. It is therapeutic. It allows us to express feelings that may not be easily expressed in face-to-face communication.

  • Spend time on activities that require real writing rather than on short answers and fill-in-the blank exercises.
  • Spend time putting thoughts on paper in a logical, well-organized way.
  • Include research and brainstorming as part of writing.
  • Make writing useful.
  • Use drafts. Revising and editing are done by all good writers.
  • Respond to the ideas expressed in writing. The true
  • function of writing is to convey ideas.
  • Write about something that is of interest.
  • Take advantage of skills that lead to writing, such as, rhythms, reading, music, listening.
  • Reward writing that is clear and concise.
  • Write for real world applications, such as a letter to the editor, writing a resume or a job application.

Learning the eTutor Way!

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

eTutor lesson modules are grouped at Primary (about K-3), Intermediate (about 4-5), Middle/Junior High (about 6-8) and High School.  This cross-aging of lesson modules has been very successful for eTutor students as they can work at their own pace.  Some lesson modules may be easier and can be used for review and some will be more challenging. Students should do no more than four lesson modules each day.  We recommend one lesson module in each of the four major curricular areas.  One lesson module a day is sufficient for those who use eTutor for supplemental work or credit recovery. All curricular areas support one another.

Lesson modules take from one hour to one and a half hours to complete. Some may even take several days to complete.  The default for passing quizzes and exams is set at eighty percent.  Students are expected to fully complete lesson modules.  Parents or another adult are asked to review the finished Activities and Extended Learning with each lesson module since these are most often completed off line.  They can be used as a springboard for discussion, ‘What did you learn by completing this,” “How could you have done this differently,”  ”Explain this concept to me,” etc.

There is much reading and writing in the eTutor program and users will haveexcellent reading and writing skills if the program is used consistently. We suggest the student respond in writing to the Problem Statement before and after completing each lesson module to act as a self-check. The vocabulary words can be used for writing sentences or creating word puzzles.  Students should write a short description of each of the resource links.   eTutor is a Pass/Fail program.  Completed lessons are reflective of those where the student has successfully completed Quizzes and Exams.  Students are expected to spend approximately four to five hours studying each day when using eTutor for their full curriculum.   We suggest that the student keep track of his hours of study each day on a piece of paper or a calendar.


Traveling With Math

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Will you be traveling this summer?  Here are a few math activities that you can do with your child…

  1. Discuss directions (north, south, east, and west) to give your child a sense of coordinates.  Use street maps to find travel routes and addresses.  Have your child estimate the time of your arrival and compare that to the actual time it took to arrive at a given destination.
  2. Have competitions when traveling.  Count red cars or see who can find the largest number formed by the numerals on a license plate.
  3. Have your child practice record and read the large number on license plates viewed.  Find the largest number in a given time period of travel.
  4. Estimate, then time how long before a street light changes.  Estimate, then count how many stores are in a block.
  5. Point out speed limits and distances between towns.  Talk about the time it takes to get from one town to another when you drive at different speeds.
  6. Have your child check the odometer in the car to determine distances on a trip….starting point and ending destination.
  7. Find the differences between certain distances traveled.  Find out how much farther you traveled on the first day than you did on the second day.
  8. Practice reading the numbers on the odometer.