young student writing on the blackboardOne of the hottest topics in Educational Technology is the 21st Century Science Classroom. It is being discussed in faculty lounges, in teachers’ conferences, and even on social networking sites. People – parents, science teachers, and education specialists – wanted to know what it is and how it is done. Insights and interpretations are offered and analyzed.

Parents, teachers, and education systems specialists are all assigned to equip our children with the four C’s of 21st century skills –communication (effective transfer of information in scientific practice), collaboration (cooperative inquiry and investigation), creativity (innovation and artistry) and critical thinking in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields (STEM) – having the information and skills to carry out further education, to engage in the global marketplace and contribute meaningfully to the society.

Facing the inevitable changes in education and in technology, various state-run efforts and government-sponsored organization such as Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards acknowledge these changes and incorporate these key skills into tiered academic contents and standards frameworks as early as kindergarten. These redesigned standards can transform the science classroom and science learning.

The 21st Century Physical Classroom Arrangement
Aside from revolutionizing learning environments by installation and application of gadgets (audio-video conferencing, interactive whiteboards etc), 21st century science classroom should mirror an adjustable learning environment – moveable fixtures and equipments to conform to ever-changing teaching and learning needs. It all derived from the idea that teaching and learning are fluid processes; they cannot and should not be just contained in four walls of classroom. As such, new classroom design models have emerged to suit the philosophy. An excellent example is the classroom at the School of Environmental Studies in Minneapolis, an almost-transparent school building which also transfers academic learning into outside field.

The 21st Century Instructional Model: The Flipping
Flipped Classroom Model utilizes technology in providing instruction at home by watching interactive video lectures and explanation of science course content and moving the homework/assignment completion, laboratory and examination to the classroom. According to Jonathan Bergmann, a flipped classroom pioneer, it is not synonymous with online videos. The rationale also goes that students can spend the class time at school in working on their homeworks or any gaps around the lesson with the teacher as their guide.

The 21st Century Science Teacher
One does not stop at reinventing the science curriculum and the science classroom. Though no technology could fully replace carefully planned lesson and teaching methods, changes must be done in the direction of integrating technology into science teaching methodologies as well as in the role of educators as well. From being the provider of information, the science teacher becomes facilitator of learning. It could be tricky. The right tools should be properly utilized to meet the teacher’s objectives and the tools’ effective integration into lesson to turn learning engaging and relevant. And after becoming proficient in application of these tools in teaching, educators can adopt them to fully realize the technology’s positive effects on students’ learning and on themselves.

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lady reading biology textbookSaving money on textbooks is one of the many challenges college students face. Analyzed insights and useful suggestions in saving money on textbooks are offered and discussed.

Nothing is considered as indispensable in going to school as textbooks, whether for research, reference or casual reading. Most college students say they can do without anything but textbooks. Sadly, textbooks have been always expensive and can bust your meager budget. And to rub salt in the wound, economy seems go downhill, driving people to cut back on spending.

So if you’re a college student and want to scrimp and save money on textbooks, you’ve landed on the right place. Check out these tips to help you save money on textbooks.

When the (Right) Time Has Come
Unless you can easily pull off the lifestyle of rock stars, do not shop for textbooks when the prices are outrageous; that’s when the school break is over and you’re going back to school with a tan. Try to do your do your textbook shopping before you grab your surfboard and head to Ibiza. Remember, textbooks prices are relatively lower when there’s no demand. It saves you worries especially when you come home broke after the vacation.

Tender Loving Care
Oh yes, textbooks deserve to be taken care of. And this TLC can help you recoup the money you’ve spend on your textbooks. As soon as you’re done with the books, sell them. Chances are students are more willing to pay for a used but well-kept textbook than for a worn-out one.

Hooray for (Sales Tax) Holidays
Shop textbooks during Sales Tax Holidays when tax on retail merchandise levied by the government is exempted and will not be collected from the consumer at the point of sale. To make it short and sweet, less spending and more saving. Hey, 5-10% sales tax on merchandize cost is a big money, right?

Check the Difference
Shop around ’cause different bookstores offer different prices. Check out bookstores then compare their prices. The money you’ve saved is worth the time and effort you spent.

Buy Used
It is better to buy used books should you just need it for a term or so. They would just cost you around $50 – $80 a copy compared with $100 – $200 that you would spend on a brand new one.

Go Online
You may want to go online than shop your books at your local bookstores. Online booksellers offer savings up to 35% and shipping is usually on them.

Ask for Discounts
It is so easy. Flash a smile and ask for a discount. Booksellers would not think twice to give discounts when they want to keep their old customers and to attract new.

Borrow
To help you save money, start considering borrowing. Buying all the books that you need will surely bust your budget. It is high time to extend your network of friends (and acquaintances). Borrow books from them (perfect timing and approach is the key) and of course, return the favor, lend yours when you don’t need them. Check if your library has agreement with other libraries so you can also apply your lending privileges.

Public or Campus Libraries
There will be instances which you will need certain textbooks for a very short time. You don’t have to buy those books and all you got to do is check first if your public or campus libraries got a copy sitting in their shelves. Many are mistaken in thinking that public libraries don’t have great selection.

Discount and Coupon Codes
Search for discount and coupon codes online for added discounts. If you’re new or frequent customer, you may want to sign up for online bookstore’s email subscription. Discounts on rush shipping, free shipping, and prioritized order processing are some of its perks.

Try a tip or two on how to cut the costs of your textbooks. If you have one for yourself, we would like to hear from you.

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Object-Oriented Programming in C++IT students do not need to buy expensive college textbooks anymore. Here are several books that they can use when taking up important courses.

Information Technology is a popular college program these days. It is not surprising that many reference materials for its courses can be found, accessed, and downloaded online. What’s more? Many of those e-textbooks are for free.

Here are several IT books that can easily and quickly be accessed across the Internet. These are mostly in the form of e-books. The materials are distributed free as part of publishers’ commitment to contribute to a cheaper and more practical education cost.

Excel 2010 Advanced by Stephen Moffat
This e-book is actually a manual. It can be used as a reference material during and after an advanced level training course for MS Excel 2010. The book covers important topics that IT students should know about the program. The material is divided into various sections, each covering a part of the advanced course.

Microsoft Office Excel 2007 by Torben Lage Frandsen
It is always much easier if you know how to do it correctly. That logically applies to the use of the popular Microsoft Office Excel 2007. If you think you know everything about it, you could be surprised to discover more tricks and tips. This e-textbook can teach college students how to properly and effectively use the program’s tables, formulas, and charts. There are chapters that concentrate on making calculations, formatting cells, and using important and complex functions.

PowerPoint 2010 Advanced: Slides, Animations, and Layouts by Stephen Moffat
Microsoft Office PowerPoint is another widely used program in the suite. This textbook is designed to serve as a self-tutorial about the use of the program’s exciting and interesting features. Do you have questions about specific tasks using PowerPoint 2010? Expect to find the answers as you go along. There are slides, animations, and layouts that can surely make reading this reference material much easier and engaging.

Internet Marketing by the Internet Marketing Academy
Internet marketing is a highly important subject today. It can practically be useful and profitable. Do not be surprised to discover many of its components like search engine optimization, blogging, social media use, and more. Students can get overwhelmed about the numerous possibilities and opportunities. IT students should learn how to integrate marketing principles and techniques into their work.

Object Oriented Programming Using Java by Simon Kendal
Programming is a basic IT course. There are Object Oriented approaches that could be applied to it. After reading all chapters, there is a major case study that will facilitate application of all principles and techniques learned. It will culminate in development of an entire Java program.

Connecting with Computer Science (2nd Edition)It is logical that most of the popular computer science textbooks are those that introduce college students to the subject. Here are five of those according to book retailer Barnes & Noble.

What are the best selling computer science textbooks in the market today? According to US-based book retailer Barnes & Noble, the most purchased books in the subject are still those that introduce college students to computer science.

Interestingly, many students from other courses and disciplines are enticed to buy such books when they get interested about computers and programming or when they take basic/introductory computer science electives. Here are five of the most purchased of those reference materials.

Computer Science Illuminated (5th Edition) – by Nell Dale and John Lewis
The textbook provides an overview of basic computer science principles and a solid foundation for students who are embarked on this exciting and dynamic discipline. The content unfolds the numerous layers of computing using a language-neutral perspective. This is an ideal reference material for introductory computer science courses.

Invitation to Computer Science (6th Edition) – by Judith Gersting and G. Michael Schneider
This bestselling textbook offers a flexible approach to the computer science course. It features a comprehensive introduction to basic programming concepts. Modules are available for C++, Java, C#, Ada, and Python. Additionally, the book’s latest edition has new chapters discussing security and entertainment, updated feature boxes, and broadened coverage of wireless networks.

Analyzing Evolutionary Algorithms: The Computer Science Perspective – by Thomas Jansen. The book introduces students to techniques for analyzing evolutionary algorithms and many other random search heuristics. Those are applied in different contexts throughout the book especially in optimization as well as analysis of algorithms, which have advanced further in the past several years. Thus, this is an ideal reference material for undergraduate and graduate students who are engaged in theoretical analysis of algorithms.

A Balanced Introduction to Computer Science (3rd Edition) – by David Reed
The content is particularly written to use the Internet as its central theme. As an introduction, students are oriented about the Web’s history, current uses, and available technology. There are experimental problems that use online-based tools that enable students to learn the fundamentals of programming through development of their own interactive Internet pages with JavaScript and HTML.

Connecting with Computer Science (2nd Edition) – by Greg Anderson
This textbook is most recommended as an introductory resource material to computer science. It facilitates readers’ engagement through relating core topics to industrial and practical applications. Moreover, the book is written in an informal, humorous, and comfortable manner to enhance learning and maintain interest.

student holding a bookCollege graduates must be better equipped with the right knowledge and skills to be able to qualify for better career opportunities in the future. Here are recommended courses that may further aid their professional development so they can easily jumpstart their careers after graduation.

Most students rant about the need to attend lengthy lectures and read incomprehensible textbooks. These methods may actually do very little in preparing them to take real jobs. That is why many universities and colleges are now innovating ways to boost learning and training experiences for their students.

Here are career-oriented college courses that are currently being offered by specific educational institutions. In the highly competitive job market, graduates who have received better and more effective training in college can truly stand out compared to their peers.

Speaking to Lead and Influence

St. Catherine University in Minnesota pioneers in offering this course. The class is specifically designed to help students become more comfortable in using office communication skills. The course aims to instill confidence on various forums—public speaking, meetings, group presentations, and interviews. Without any doubt, the skill to speak effectively will always be helpful to students before and after their graduation.

HR on the Ground

The course allows M.B.A. students at Temple University’s Fox School of Business to actually experience applying HR principles on the job. The university has a partnership with retailer Target, which has agreed to allow students to work with the company through giving consulting advice following thorough analysis of actual store performance. The analyses are evaluated by the professor and Target executives. Logically, students’ interaction with the company does not end there. Since 2005, up to 56 former students of the course have been hired to work within Target’s corporate level.

Research Methods in Cell Biology

Students who take up Biology and other related programs can truly benefit from taking this course. For more than two decades now, the Eastern Connecticut State University has been offering it to students. It is a subject that requires 6 hours each week for lecture and laboratory classes. What sets it apart from all other Biology classes? Students are required to isolate and eventually identify a protein using the concepts, theories, and principles they have learned in class. The aim is to simulate the feel of actually working in a real research laboratory.

Education to Business Program

Graziadio School of Business and Management of the Pepperdine University has become popular partly because of this course. Students are divided into groups and are assigned to work on solving problems that hurdle real businesses, which come to the university to obtain consulting assistance. Needless to say, this arrangement tends to be mutually beneficial. Companies save money while the university trains budding consultants on the job.

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ebook in an readerFree online college textbooks are available from many sources and projects, including the College Open Textbooks (COT). Here are five of the most sought-after reference materials available today from the project.

College textbooks can be expensive especially these days. Each year, tag prices of such books continue to increase. That is why free online college reference materials or open textbooks are gaining more popularity. Students can now enjoy high-quality books without spending too much.

The College Open Textbooks (COT) is a special project that aims to produce and distribute helpful reference materials to college students via the Internet. It is spearheaded by the Open Doors Group and the Silicon Valley Educational Foundation with funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Here are some of the top free online college textbooks from the project.

Principles of Microeconomics
Authors: Dr. Libby Rittenberg and Dr. Timothy Tregarthen
Since 2009, this book has been widely adopted in about 400 colleges for more than 1,200 economics-related courses worldwide. Its first publication was in 1996 and has since undergone several updates from the authors, who are both professors at the University of Colorado. The book aims to teach economics by facilitating a straightforward and accessible overview of the subject. It would help students to comprehend the actual usefulness of economics.

Project Management Skills for All Careers
Author: Project Management Open Resources
The textbook serves as a functional roadmap of the most important skills that are necessary to obtain success. It intends to fill the gap that is perceived to exist between education and life. The content contains instructions and guidance that are based on best practices. Moreover, there are real-life examples so that people from all careers can relate to it.

Collaborative Statistics
Authors: Susan Dean and Dr. Barbara Illowsky
It took several years for this reference material to be developed and completed. The book is intended for distance learning classes and honors-level/regular classroom settings. Introduction to statistics courses in college is the main concept. It is recommended to students in engineering or math programs who need to know statistics. Prerequisite subject is intermediate algebra.

Introductory Sociology
Author: Open Doors Group
As an introductory material, the textbook has content that explores contemporary issues that students usually hear from the media. It is written to help develop sociological thinking among students especially when dealing with current issues. There are 21 short chapters that can be read and presented in whatever order, making it a really flexible reference.

Smarthistory
Authors: Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris
This multimedia e-book is about art history. It is becoming one of the most popular open educational resources today. According to estimates, the Web textbook is now generating up to 44,000 unique visits each month. There are about 300 videos and 290 art photos that make learning more engaging.

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biology textbooksSaving money on textbooks is no longer just an option but a necessity. In the present day, spending the least amount possible on textbooks is within reach through a variety of methods. The key is to think out of the box and be as savvy as you can.

The amount spent on college textbooks leave both parents and students at their wits end, however, this should not be the case. Luckily, there are ways to trim down your textbook expenses and go through college with less hassle. Read on and look into a few helpful tips on how you can save money on books.

Online Textbook Shopping

Given that on-campus bookstores can really be pricey, online shopping, however, can certainly be an ease. When you purchase your textbooks online, you will take pleasure in the comfort of comparing prices of one online vendor to another in the comfort of your own chair. Just key in the ISBN number of your required book on different search engines and the web could provide you with tons of matter-of-fact results at the simplicity of a mouse-click. In addition, you can also pick up the best offer including free shipping, money-back guarantee, coupons and other perks that help you save money on textbooks.

Used-Books Alternative

Online shopping for textbooks doesn’t only give you the opportunity to buy new ones but introduce you to affordable used-books as well. Another way of saving money on textbooks is going for the secondhand since it is still at the top of economical choice. There are at least plenty of online sellers that present an entire section dedicated to used-textbooks. It is, then again, very vital to check the required books you need for the coming semester at an earlier time. In this way, you can research them online and get instant online price quotes that might fit your budget.

Book Rentals

Another plus side of online textbook shopping is it doesn’t just give you the choice to buy new and used ones but also allows you to rent textbooks and save a hefty amount of money even more. Study shows that the demand for textbook rentals is rising now more than ever. Online book sellers allow you to rent for a specific period of time; some comes with a book return guarantees, free shipping and social service. Some of these online book sellers even offer a firsthand reviews of course and descriptive state of the book you are renting, let you compare the list price and the rental and best of all, they offer a significant savings of up to 60% or higher, at times.

E-Books Option

With the rise of tablet computers and electronic book reader, e-books are becoming an affordable option for college students to trim down their expenses on books. E-book versions give 75 percent discounts that can also be rented online for a cheaper cost and some are even available on the internet absolutely free.

In today’s time, it is but smart to explore possible options on how to save money for textbooks and go through a blissful time of learning in college.

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science textbookBuying affordable textbooks is one of the many challenges college students face. Analyzed insights and useful suggestions for buying affordable college textbooks are offered and discussed.

Nothing drains your pocket than going to college. College textbooks have taken a large part of students’ budget and it seems that college students are getting a lot of pressure in that department.

Here are some tips to for you to save money on college textbooks.

Just Do It…. Now
If you shop for textbooks a little too late, you might end up with pricey textbooks and this defeats your purpose of saving money.

Used Textbooks
Used textbooks should be in good condition before used-textbook-sellers put them up for sale, so quality should not be a concern here. Consider this- a Microbiology textbook which has a tag price of $200 in campus bookstores is offered at $80 in used-textbook stores.

Rent-A-Book
Start looking for online textbook rentals which can save you a third or even half over buying. If it’s an online rental, shipping is usually on them. It’s high time for you to express TLC. Go easy with your highlighter or better yet, put it away until you’re given a go by the rental stores.

Resell It
You can recoup your money back but not too fast. Student like you offload their books right after finals but don’t jump into the bandwagon so fast (supply high, demand low, price low). Sell them around a week before the school starts (supply low, demand high, price high; that’s the way to make money!).

Buy Online
It is way lot cheaper and you don’t have to make a beeline to campus bookstore. Shipping is usually free.

Try International Edition
It is possible to save up 75% on textbooks on its international edition.

Going Coupon-Clipping
See if you can find a promotional coupon before you buy textbooks online. Just don’t forget to enter the promo code before you check out the order.

Previous Edition
Check if the textbook’s previous edition will make the cut. Textbook on its 7th or so edition tend to have less difference from its predecessor.

ISBN
Knowing you’re shopping for the right book gives you a peace of mind. You don’t want to pay for and to receive a wrong book, thus saving you time and money as well.

Cool Pool
Pool your online order with your classmates’. This will save you on shipping (split it among yourselves) or on purchase price of the textbooks.

Got any suggestions on how cut the cost of college textbooks? Drop us a line or two.

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University of MunichThere are six college courses that are currently popular among students. According to most experts, these subjects should be prioritized in 2013 because these can help students get better employment prospects when they graduate.

According to experts, the unemployment problem is not only due to the recent recession. Many graduates fail to get jobs because employers find them lacking necessary and important knowledge and skills. Job market success can be assured by basic knowledge of important and necessary subjects, which should be taken in college. Here are the top six college courses that should be taken by students if they want to enjoy more and greater employment opportunities after getting a degree. These courses are expected to be more popular this 2013.

Financial Planning and Management

Most colleges usually bury this helpful course within the business curriculum, wherein completion of basic accounting courses is a prerequisite. In some universities, this course is offered without prerequisites. Financial Planning and Management helps students easily understand accounting. They will learn how to project costs and revenues using the typical spreadsheet. The concepts can be applicable to jobs even in non-profits and the government.

Economics

It is a good thing that colleges offer Economics as a basic college course these days. The subject is usually divided into two categories: microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics is deemed as the more important because it offers a wider perspective on significant economic concepts like costs, value, and prices.

Statistics

Statistical data should be regularly reviewed not only by business managers but also by political leaders, educators, non-profit executives, and anyone who has a job responsibility. Students will always find this course very helpful so they could make accurate and reliable interpretations of quantitative information, which will be needed when doing research.

Calculus

This course can be very intimidating to most students but it can be very helpful as it clearly lays out important concepts of levels and rates of change. The basic lesson is about making quick estimates and doing further calculations. Taking just one course in Calculus can be enriching enough unless the student is required to take advanced Calculus courses before taking major subjects.

Computer Programming

Basic knowledge about Python, Java, or C++ is now considered very important. Manipulation, slicing, and dicing of data is a must for most jobs. Even a basic knowledge about actual computer programming can assure faster employability. Students can decide to take additional computer programming courses to learn more about the in-demand job.

Communications

It is surprising that many high school graduates today do not possess effective communication skills. Oral and written communication is an important factor when finding jobs. Many students often ignore the need to take Communications courses in college. Those who take such subjects end up getting more and better prospects after tertiary education because they can communicate well with potential employers and clients.

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girl reading narnia book behindBeing practical is the key to having green purchases. The trend of buying used books has been a practice encouraged by many. It is both economical at the time pleasant to the environment.

Book buying is a green endeavor, that is, purchasing used book. Being practical is the key to contributing to a greener environment as well as satiating those reading curiosities. If you are an avid reader, there is no doubt that you spend a lot for book purchases. Buying new books is indeed satisfying, as you turn from page to page; you seem to enjoy the book more. However, there is more delight in purchasing used books. Why? You can contribute to environmental conservation and save up on expenses. As a matter of fact, buying used books leads to three positive outcomes.

First, you get to save cash since the process of used books are severely lower than new books. Second, you contribute to a greener world less paper that is used for printing books. Lastly, you get to read the books that you want; but without keeping up with the cost of getting a new one.

Green purchases have been the trend recently; buying items that helps the environment is unquestionable a good move. From electronic devices that promises to be energy efficient, to trinkets made from recycled materials; going green is absolutely in. Going green in book purchases, if done, can be an excellent move shift towards a greener reading.

Pushing towards this means of green purchasing, you will contribute economically and ecologically. You spend less money at the same time you provide profit for the sellers, which advocate this kind of environment-friendly trade or business. As less paper is utilized, minimal resources are exploited.

Online shops like EBay or Amazon, by and large, provide used book options as an alternative to new ones. The prices of the used books may vary depending on the condition. As for textbooks, used ones are definitely cheaper than obtaining a fresh copy from the publishers. The prices of used textbooks depend on the edition and condition. Usually, if it is the more recent edition; the cost will be a bit higher. Still, obtaining used books is the best alternative to get much out of your budget.

Commonly, efforts towards green purchases are encouraged. It is high time to think green and consequently buy green. Though some new titles have no used counterparts, it would be easy to obtain after a month or so. Waiting for available used copies of that much-awaited title is surely worth it. Spend less, read more, and go easy on the environment!

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math textbookCollege textbooks are getting more and more expensive every year. This article will give students suggestions on how to buy cheaper textbooks and save money.

College students have always been plagued by the financial burden caused by pricey textbooks they have to buy every semester. But they do not always have to break their banks in order to obtain the books required of them by their professors. There are other ways for them to get hold of the books they need without dishing out a lot of dollars.

  1. Sell your old textbooks. One way to raise cash – and to lessen clutter in your room or apartment – is to sell your old textbooks. Rummage through your old things and sort books which you are sure you will not need anymore. You can sell them online, to local bookstores, or through holding a garage sale. The proceeds can help you buy a couple of new books, or if you prefer cheaper ones, second-hand textbooks which are still in good condition.
  2. Buy used textbooks. There are many thrift shops and e-libraries that offer college students used books at a fraction of the original cost. They are cheaper alternative to buying new ones (which can cost you hundreds of dollars every year). You can go to local and campus libraries to check if they have the books you need, or just go online and browse through several websites specializing in used books. These websites will offer you different prices, so make sure that you have compared the quotes they provide you before buying books. Also, take advantage of e-libraries that offer buyback promos on books you purchase from them. This way, you can sell your book to them at the end of the semester and get a portion of your money back to buy new set of books.
  3. Rent textbooks. Renting textbooks is another option to frugal college students. Many online bookstores offer book rentals at a relatively low price than originals. Renting can also save you the worry of figuring out how to sell your book after the semester ends. But you have to be extra careful with rented textbooks if you do not want to end up spending more than you intend to. Books with damages (torn pages, excessive writing and highlighting, etc.) will be deemed unusable and the company might have to make you pay the full price of the book.

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kids wearing 3D glassesEnough of the US-related education news for the past few months so let’s talk about what is happening in the education in other countries like the Philippines. The Philippine education system is gearing towards the use of new technology to complement the use of textbooks. 3D technology will soon be integrated into local college curricula to improve student learning and skills development.

The Philippine education landscape is about to integrate three-dimensional or 3D technology into its system. If plans push through, engineering students in some universities in the county will start receiving hands-on experience in the use of 3D designing computer program, which is being used by major engineering companies internationally.

The software to be used comes in various forms. Each is intended for digital production and manufacturing, virtual design, collaboration innovation, realistic simulation, and 3D mechanical design. It will facilitate a step up to the conventional use of textbooks through providing lifelike graphics and experiences. Students who will use the technology will be familiarized to use the necessary tools they will need to utilize when they actually work in the industry.

Using 3D technology

Moreover, designs to be created virtually can possibly be tested in real-life scenarios like those involving stress and heat. It will make it possible to virtually design just about anything from smart phones to buildings, and even consumer products like diapers.

The technology can be used through laptops, smart phones, tablet PCs, and just about any device that may possibly support and accommodate the program. This recognizes the expansion of scope of the digital age. Thus, students will be provided with more and better opportunities for modern collaboration and designing.

University of Versailles professor Thierry Chevrot said the 3D integration in Philippine education will further boost the engineering curricula and provide students with ideal supplements to their traditional or electronic textbooks. He added that 3D can be the best tool to induce learning strategies and techniques. He also asserted that this development will be most welcome because students will eventually have to use 3D technology when they graduate and take actual jobs especially in the engineering field.

Possible challenge

To some local educators, the real challenge will be integrating this technology into the curricula. Some skeptics point out that such new integration may not be based on product lifecycle management (PLM). It is expected that there will be setbacks and hindrances to make this integration really happen. Accreditation should first be obtained from the local commission on higher education. To do so, curriculum has to be adjusted and some textbooks will have to be replaced.

PLM is about culmination of software technologies, including electronics and mechanical design. The combination of things to make a product can be considered as PLM. Some experts point out that the 3D technology to be integrated into the Philippine education system can be supportive of PLM.

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Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago

Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago

There are many universities and colleges across the US. Most students find it confusing to actually choose the best institution where they will enroll in college. Those who have clearer goals regularly check out several lists of university rankings based on different criteria. Doing so may help in narrowing college options.

US News and World Report is a leader when it comes to releasing lists based on college, graduate school, mutual fund, hospital, and car rankings. Every year, new college students consult its annual rankings of best colleges in the US before they make decisions about which school to choose.

The US News and World Report’s Best Colleges rankings for 2013 are now out. The list is divided into two categories: National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges. Here is a brief rundown of the universities in the top posts.

Best National Universities

For 2013, Princeton University and Harvard University shared the top spot in the list of Best National Universities. Both institutions focus on research and are actively granting various degrees. Princeton is known for having association with numerous awards and successful people in various industries. Harvard University is best known for producing some of the best and most popular leaders of the country, both in government and private businesses.

The Connecticut-based Yale University is in the second top spot. In terms of producing some of the most notable graduates, this institution will not get left behind Princeton University and Harvard University. It is the alma mater of five US Presidents, 49 Nobel laureates, and 19 Supreme Court justices.

Best National Liberal Arts Colleges

This list of best universities and colleges emphasize undergraduate education. Those schools also grant at least 50% of their degrees in various majors in liberal arts like English, history, and philosophy. For 2013, Williams College topped the list. It is a small-scale four-year college that focuses on liberal arts. It has also topped the list of best colleges released by Forbes for 2010.

Amherst College is the second Best National Liberal Arts College. The Massachusetts-based institution has also ranked as the 13th best university/college in the list released by Forbes. Like Williams College, it used to be a men’s college until it became co-educational in the 1970s.

On the third spot of this list is Swarthmore College. Located in Pennsylvania, it is in history as among the first co-educational colleges in the country. It is noted for its rigorous intellectual character and commitment to its social responsibility. This school has always been associated with women’s rights as it has been organized by Quakers, which are prominent in women’s rights and abolitionist movements.

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ipad and ebooksAny university student knows that printed textbooks cost a significant amount of money, and there are demands to find alternatives to these printed textbooks. In this article, read about California’s answer to this problem – open source textbooks.

Last September 27, Governor of California Jerry Brown signed two new laws that will guarantee 50 open-source textbooks be provided for free to Californian public higher education students.

These 2 bills, SB 1052 and SB 1053, were introduced by 2 senators – Senate President Tem Steinberg and Sen. Elaine Alquist – in a bid to counteract the high costs of traditional textbooks. Because of this, some students struggle through the class without buying the book, or are forced to drop classes or stop their education altogether.

The first bill, SB 1052, will establish the California Open Education Resources Council or COERC. The COERC is tasked to research and choose 50 textbooks that will be turned into digital versions for open-source sharing. Once changed, these textbooks will not anymore be protected by traditional copyright laws and can thus be used by students for free. Open source originated from software developers who allow others to customize and reuse a computer software’s code under different software licenses.

Creative Commons, an organization that seeks to promote the sharing of creative work to be reused within certain purposes and boundaries by issuing licenses. Thus, the licenses work within the existing law to protect the creative content, but is freer than printed books under copyright law.

According to Harmon of Creative Commons, good ideas are able to spread more quickly when these legal and technological barriers are reduced. A CC license enables students and instructors to have free access to online course texts accessible through smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Students agree that this is a big help for them, reducing the $300 or more that they spend on college textbooks. However, the expenses might come back in another form. Still, the potential for students to save some dollars on books they only use for one semester is an important contribution of this law.

Students who are used to reading printed versions can also print these open-source textbooks for $20 each, so all students can find these open-source textbooks helpful regardless of their preference.

There is still opportunity for bookstores to sell, if students still wish to buy their own printed copy.

Currently, Washington State’s higher education institutions – both technical and community colleges – are currently using a similar program that creates digital, open-source versions of textbooks for students.

On the other hand, SB 1053, creates a digital library to keep these open-source textbooks, to be called the California Digital Open Source Library. With the passing of these 2 laws, California is showing its commitment to making education less expensive and more accessible to students.

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lady college studentIn these times, students are finding the need to live on smaller student budgets during their university years. This article gives you five simple steps you can follow to reduce your costs as students and manage within your budget.

A big part of being a student is living on a student budget – after all, most university students have to take out loans for college, and then work to have money for living. This, of course, means living on a budget that seems impossible at times. But by following some simple steps, you can spend four years in university on a budget and still have the full college experience – having fun and being young.

Here are 5 steps that you can take now to maximize your student budget:

  1. Learn how to cook – Just try comparing prices of eating out – even at the campus canteen or cafeteria – versus buying and cooking your own food, and you can instantly see a lot of savings here. Not only that, but you can eat healthier and control what you eat by making it yourself. Planning to spend the whole day in campus? You can also prepare snacks to bring along with you and escape the fast food and eating out that drains your wallet and doesn’t keep you healthy.
  2. Buy cheaper textbooks – Of course, every student will choose to pay less for textbooks over paying more. The question that remains is to know where to look to find the cheaper textbooks. Go online, look at online bookstores, for an easier way to find the best deals over the web for new or used books. You don’t have to walk over to the used bookstores as these sites will make the job easier for you. If you prefer using eBooks, you can also rent digital versions of textbooks online that are even cheaper than printed textbooks. Books are actually one of the biggest expenses of college students, so every dollar saved on this counts a lot.
  3. Work part-time – Although work can definitely mean less time for studying, socializing and other activities, you will not regret it come payday. You can add to your student budget by earning some more money. Look for some on-campus jobs that allow for flexibility in work hours.
  4. Be handy – Learn how to do things by yourself, rather than hiring other people, to do work around your dorm room – decorate it yourself, learn how to fix things and save money as well.
  5. Free is key – There are a lot of ways to get things for free – either through trials, student discounts or introductory deals. Look for events to go to that are free – after all, why pay when you can do these things for free?

There is no shame with being a smart college student, one who knows how to live on a student budget. In fact, once you master these simple steps, your friends will surely want to follow on your footsteps!

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Professor Tor Eika

Professor Tor Eika

Websites like Rate My Professor are popular with students as a means for rating former professors and finding information about new ones. In this article, professors speak up about the comments being posted about them on these websites.

Any university student asks about his or her professors for the new semester. After all, with the rising tuition fees, it is just right that students are looking to invest their scholarship or loan money on a class that is taught by a good professor, and of course, will give them a good grade to help with getting a good GPA.

Most students turn to their peers or other students who have taken the class before to give them feedback, but there are now websites that offer students a way to rate their professors to guide future students. Rate My Professors, a website founded by software engineer John Swapceinski in 1999 but has changed ownerships over the years to current owner MTV’s college channel mtvU, is quite popular – with more than 7,500 schools registered and more than 14 million comments and ratings from students submitted on the site.

It’s very easy for students to leave ratings on a website at the end of the semester, and given that it’s not an objective way to rating professors, the comments can vary from harsh to funny – with students commenting on professors’ style of clothing and plain good looks and sex appeal. The risk is students leaving exaggerated comments and new students avoiding or dropping from class without giving the professor the benefit of the doubt.

How do the professors feel about the site and specifically, what is written about them? Most of them know about the site, and some of them do check how they are being rated by former students.

One professor, Douglas Whynott from Emerson, admitted that he checked the site for the first time after his daughter mentioned the site to him and said that he is not rating too well on the site. After checking it out, Whynott was not really impressed and doesn’t understand the reason why he rates low, specifically what he is doing wrong in the classroom. The worst thing is the fact that only the negative comments are posted – he wonders what happened to the positive ones he receives verbally from the students. Thus, he feels the website is more commonly used for revenge, rather than constructive criticism.

Some professors, with more colorful comments not anymore connected with teaching methods, admit even that family members and friends also check out the site and forward the comments posted.

There is an estimated 5 million students using the site every month, thus the site sustains itself. Although the site in theory is good and useful, students looking for ratings of current professors should always remember to take with a grain of salt what they read on the website. Best see the professor and rate him yourself.

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Cary Nelson, President of the American Association of University Professors Universities use evaluations gathered from students to assess professors’ performance in classes. In this article, discussed are some factors that may make this tool not as effective.

Professor evaluations are powerful tools for school and university administrators to assess the performance and the teaching abilities of the professors. For students, there is a certain amount of power, or at least a voice, to give feedback on how well or bad their professors are. However good the intentions are for conducting evaluations, the implementation isn’t always as easy and there are several factors that complicate the process:

  1. Bias – Of course, in the same way that professors can also be biased and give higher grades to favorite students, students can also exercise the same power during evaluation time. Students who are given low grades can be seen to give unfavorable evaluations of their professors in return. Thus, administrators should know how to balance the differences in evaluations and identify ones that are biased.
  2. Timing – If administrators conduct the evaluations at the end of the semester, then professors have no time or chances to adjust their teaching style or make improvements until the semester after. Feedback should be given at an earlier point, for example during the middle of the semester, wherein students can already identify areas for improvement that the professors can work on for the rest of the semester. Administrators can also do an endpoint evaluation at the end of the semester, to assess whether professors acted on the feedback and suggestions and teaching styles have been improved. This way, evaluations truly become the feedback tools they are meant to be.
  3. Consequences – Although performance is almost always connected to rewards or worse, sanctions, the use of student evaluations alone can make it unfair to the professors being rated. If professors knew that their performance affects their job or their pay, then some will no longer do a good job and simply do what they can to impress the students. After all, sometimes the students don’t really know that what the professor is doing is best for them. For example, a professor can end up giving a lot of readings to give students various approaches rather than just one theory. And students might not always be happy about that. Administrators should balance student evaluations with other forms of information – teacher observations, student performance and the like – to form a fuller picture of the professor’s performance on the job.

Student evaluations of professor performance should be understood and respected by both students and administrators alike that these are tools to improve professors’ teaching. It is only in this way that evaluations can be done properly and used critically. After all, students stand to benefit in the end, with getting better professors and more learning.

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