Archive for the ‘What can Dr. Doug do for you?’ Category

Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte Twenty Three Years Later

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019
Being Digital

Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte Twenty Three Years Later – It’s amazing how his vision at the time matches today’s reality. If you are looking for something cool to read, you won’t be disappointed with this classic that is still available online.

Introduction

  • In 1995 Nicholas Negroponte, the founding director of the MIT Media Lab, published Being Digital. While reorganizing my library recently I picked it up and started reading it again. As I read I was amazed at how prescient his thinking was at the time. I felt that he had a very clear vision of where advances in computer technology and the Internet would take us. Much of what he predicted has come to pass while some of what he predicted has yet to happen. If he got anything wrong, I couldn’t find it to any significant degree.

Death of the Videocassette

  • He saw the death of the videocassette and its associated rental businesses. He also saw services like Netflix coming due to the bandwidth of fiber and how it would be a game changer in terms of delivering content with copper serving as a stepping stone. He saw that advertising would be personalized as well. He also foresaw computers that would resemble thick pieces of paper like modern tablet computers.
  • He was sad that most of the research directed at the advance of television was aimed at refining the display and increasing sizes as opposed to improving the artistry of content. He saw no reason not to expect 10,000 lines of resolution. He also predicted that computers and televisions would merge into a single device, which they have for many people as they are no longer dependent on the time of day when they want to watch something. He understood that using a lot of different fonts was a bad idea. In this case, less is more.

As For Schools

  • He saw schools changing to become more like museums and playgrounds where children would assemble ideas and socialize with other children all over the world. While I’ve seen bits of this in some innovative schools, for the most part, we have a way to go to realize this vision.
  • The Internet would create a totally new, global social fabric. With the Internet, schools could spend less time shoving facts into kids’ minds and more time engaging them in designing and building like they do in the maker spaces found in innovative schools. He decried the force-feeding of students’ left brains in schools that diminish the arts and other extracurriculars. Unfortunately, this has only gotten worse thanks to test-based reforms forced on schools by the federal government.

From Bits to Atoms

  • He thought it was amusing that when ink is squeezed on to dead trees bits become atoms again. He saw the then-burgeoning field of multimedia as bridging the gap between science and art. He saw a day when most adults would also be computer literate. He predicted that virtual reality would allow you to put your arms around the Milky Way, swim in the human bloodstream, or visit Alice in Wonderland.
  • He foresaw digital appliances with no edge at all like high-end cellphones and tablets. He saw that size would be driven by the size of pockets and watches. He said the wristwatch would migrate from a timepiece to a mobile command-and-control center as it has on my wrist thanks to my Apple Watch.
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Creating Lasting Confidence by Emily Graham

Saturday, June 4th, 2022

Confidence
Creating Lasting Confidence by Emily Graham offers the kind of advice we all need to live a successful and happy life. This article is also loaded with links to lots more free advice and additional detail.

Introduction

  • Throughout the past two years, many people have found themselves becoming increasingly isolated and unsure of themselves due to changing conditions in the world amid the global pandemic. As the world begins to return to normal, you may feel insecure about returning to your social life due to the year-long hiatus from school, your workplace, and just about every other venue. Luckily, many lifestyle changes and habits can help build your confidence and ensure you’re ready to return to the world as your best self.
  • Taking care of your body and mind goes a long way toward promoting confidence in all aspects of life. Dr. Doug Green’s blog shares a few ways to help you stay healthy and confident.

Start a Fitness Routine

  • Countless studies illustrate the positive correlation between exercise and confidence. You don’t have to become a professional athlete to gain these benefits, however. Here are some examples of ways you can get started with fitness, no matter your current level.
  • Try Jazzercise. This is a fun way to get exercise, and it’s a great start if you’re a beginner or you want to exercise with others.
  • Join a gym. A wide variety of gyms offer different services and equipment. You can compare gyms in the area through ranked lists.
  • Take yoga classes. Yoga offers a range of physical as well as mental benefits, making it a great all-around confidence booster.

Practice Mindfulness

  • Incorporating a mindfulness meditation practice into your life can help you remove negative thoughts that contribute to low self-esteem. It also helps to practice in a space free of negative energy. Mindfulness meditation encourages you to see what’s right in front of you instead of worrying about past or future events that are out of your control. This practice can be done in many ways, each of which can help you to become more confident in yourself.

Practice Socializing at Work

  • Many people feel they’ve lost their confidence at work due to changing work conditions. The Pew Research Center has found that during the last half of 2020, an estimated 71% of Americans were working from home—a 50% increase from before the pandemic began.
  • One way you can take advantage of this situation to help you build confidence is to practice socializing and getting along with your coworkers and teammates. Taking a chance and talking to someone new or finding common ground with a coworker you’ve previously had conflicts with can go a long way toward improving your own self-confidence. Try using techniques such as cooperative communication or avoiding generalizing to get along with all your coworkers.

Start Your Own Business

  • One of the most confidence-inspiring things you can accomplish is planning and starting your own business. There are a host of steps to take to get a business off the ground, but one thing you should definitely consider is a cloud-based invoicing solution when the time comes. You’ll be able to provide your clients with digital, customizable invoices which will make everyone’s life easier.

Confidence That Lasts

  • With just a few small lifestyle changes and practices, you can discover your best qualities and gain lasting confidence. No matter where you are in your life, there’s always something new you can discover about yourself that you can take pride in.

Emily Graham

  • Emily is the creator of MightyMoms.Net. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms — from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family. You can email her at emilygraham@mightymoms.net. She lives in Arizona.

Dr. Doug Green

  • Dr. Doug Green provides byte-sized professional development for administrators, teachers, and parents. For more information, please visit his website or contact him today at Doug@DrDougGreen.com.
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First-Year Teachers Can Use These Strategies to Prepare by Emily Graham

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

TUtoring
First-Year Teachers Can Use These Strategies to Prepare

Starting your first year of teaching can be challenging, even with student teaching experience under your belt. You may be anxious about meeting fellow staff members or about how to exercise control over the classroom so that everyone has a fair chance at learning. You might also feel stress over the preparation that goes into a new school year, which is common even for educators who have been in the business a long time.

There are many ways you can ready yourself and your classroom without stress, but the key is to get organized as early as possible. You can also look for resources online that will help you stay focused. Dr. Doug Green has great tips for educators who need a little boost when it comes to professional development.

Here are a few strategies that will help you prepare for your first year as a teacher:

Get your files together

Whether it’s a lesson plan template or a seating chart, keeping your files neat and organized is an essential part of preventing stress or anxiety as a first-year teacher. Separating your documents can lead to important info getting lost, which will affect both you and your students. Keep everything together by using an online tool that will allow you to add pages to PDF so you never have to worry about keeping up with multiple documents. This is a great way to start off the school year since it will help you manage anything classroom-related–including parent consent forms and emergency information–all in one place.

Get to know your new coworkers

You might also learn some great organization tips from your new coworkers, who can help you set up your room or give you pointers on how to manage everything during your first week. Depending on how your school is set up, you may come to depend on the teachers whose classrooms are closest to yours when you need help, so it’s a good idea to get to know them before the school year starts. Ask administrators about upcoming faculty events, and reach out to individual teachers in order to introduce yourself. You can also offer your help to them in the weeks leading up to the first day of school.

Focus on the priorities

As the big day inches closer, it’s important to keep your priorities in check so you can ensure a smooth transition for yourself, your students, and their families. Once you’ve gotten to know some of the other teachers, focus on setting up your classroom, but realize that you don’t have to make it look like a picture-perfect wonderland all at once. Getting organized and creating simple, useful areas in the room is much more important than going all out with a decorative theme and besides, you can add to the classroom aesthetic as the year goes on, especially when different holidays roll around.

Set some guidelines

Once your room is set up, it’s time to think about a careful set of guidelines that will help your students and their families navigate the first weeks of school as smoothly as possible. This will also be helpful to you, of course, and will allow you to save time and energy. Consider the details; depending on the age of your students, you might set rules about how everyone will move to different stations around the room, take restroom breaks, or manage their behavior. Be sure to create a guide for family events, orientation, and conferences as well, so that parents will know what to expect.

Breaking into your first year of teaching can be a trying experience, but it can also be a joyous one. With the right preparations, you can ensure that your classroom is well-organized and that your students have the best possible environment for learning.

Emily Graham
Emily is the creator of MightyMoms.Net. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms — from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family. You can email her at emilygraham@mightymoms.net. She lives in Arizona.

Have an education question for Dr. Doug Green? Get in touch today via the contact form.

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Hacking Student Learning Habits: 9 Ways to Foster Resilient Learners and Assess the Process, Not the Outcome by Elizabeth Jorgensen

Monday, September 5th, 2022

Hacking Habits
Hacking Student Learning Habits: 9 Ways to Foster Resilient Learners and Assess the Process, Not the Outcome by Elizabeth Johnson offers a host of great advice that beginning and veteran teachers can use to help their students form efficient learning habits. If you want to shift student focus from grades to learning with a bigger purpose, start here. Every leader should be sure to add this fine book to their professional development library.

Introduction: Implement Process-based Assessment

  • As the subtitle implies, the goal is to focus on the process, not the finished product. The teacher provides feedback (no grades) to all students and tells them it is to help improve their work and not to judge anyone. Students are expected to make mistakes and learn from them. All work requires revision. Students are given ample time to write and revise in class, so late work isn’t an issue. By engaging in expected behaviors and habits, they earn points. Points are never taken away and can be used to generate grades if necessary.
  • Do not use grades or rubrics. Rubrics are not used as they stifle creativity, prevent risk-taking, and provide a blueprint for blandness. All it does is expedite grading. It is also necessary to write a lot and to get feedback from the teacher and your peers. In the beginning, students and parents get letters from the teacher and a former student outlining expectations. (See the appendix for these letters.)

1. Create Process-Based Learning Habits: Support Skill-Building

  • The goal is for students to form habits that allow them to be their best, develop higher-order thinking, and solve problems. Habits like reading each day, and getting proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition should be on the list. Students need to gather ideas, attempt challenges, collaborate, celebrate small victories, and play. The focus should be on effort rather than results. They should know that they have the power to improve and control their own progress through the habits they form. When possible, students should set goals.
  • As a teacher, focus your energy on the things you can control and teach your students to do the same. Look for allies at conferences, on social media, and in your own school. Experiment with better ways to engage students. Share student work online and in school displays. Students should feel like it’s not about getting something done; rather, it’s about the process. Their big goal is to become self-directed learners.

2. Encourage Practice, Not Perfection: Performance with Daily Habits

  • The important thing is to convince students of the benefits of accumulated daily practice. Remind them that their favorite sports stars practice every day. You can’t do yesterday’s practice tomorrow. Daily production increases confidence. Assess them on their ability to work through the process of practice. Inspire students to set process-driven goals. They need to identify with your help the behaviors they need to repeat each day. Seeing others be productive can exert powerful pressure.
  • They should share their practice and receive feedback from each other, their teachers, and ideally, their parents and other family members. They should view feedback as a collaboration rather than judgment. They should value improvement over outcomes. Be sure not to average grades if you do give them. Efforts should simply add to previous efforts. Have face-to-face meetings with parents whose students struggle and have the students run the meeting that deals with the class problems and forms a plan.
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Harnessing the Fidget by Amanda Winstead

Sunday, May 22nd, 2022

Widget
Harnessing the Fidget by Amanda Winstead explains how to deal with kids who can’t sit still. If you want a fidgety child or adult to be more productive this article will help.

Introduction

  • Fidgeting is often associated with a lack of attention or disinterest for both kids and adults. However, it’s not without its benefits. Whether your children are clicking pens or playing with actual fidget toys, fidgeting can actually contribute to enhanced focus and increased information retention — and not just during their youth. Learning how to make the most of fidgeting can help students achieve long-term success, even after they graduate from school and enter the workforce.
  • Harnessing the fidget can require different methods from student to student. However, when you identify one individual’s needs, you can help them turn their fidgets into a tool, rather than a distraction. Let’s explore how fidgeting can present itself in toddlers and kids, why it helps with focus, and how you can productively nurture fidgets.

How Fidgeting is Identified in Young Kids

  • Fidgeting doesn’t always look the same from student to student. In fact, several fidgeting styles are commonly seen in young children. For example, while some students prefer to keep their hands or mouths preoccupied, others fidget by moving their entire bodies.
  • No fidgeting style is inherently bad, but students often won’t know how to use their fidgets positively without the guidance of adults. But with the help of educators and parents, children can successfully get the stimulation they need without distracting their peers or losing focus themselves. For example, while kids with busybodies may constantly shift their weight in a chair without guidance, teachers who offer wobble chairs or resistance bands can help them achieve movement in a non-disruptive way.
  • Identifying each child’s fidgeting style can help you transfer their movement to a better outlet, so every student can achieve equal focus in class.

Why Fidgeting Helps Students Stay Focused

  • So what is it about fidgeting that makes it helpful for focus? Physical activity naturally boosts your body’s levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are two neurotransmitters that boost your focus and attention span. Since mindless fidgets — such as drumming fingers, squeezing stress balls, or walking while studying — don’t require any thought, they can offer these attention-boosting benefits while allowing students to zoom in on their primary task.
  • Fidgeting is especially helpful for kids with ADHD, who often need an outlet to release their high levels of energy. It can also help students with autism receive much-needed stimulation and cope with sensory overload. Students with anxiety may also be able to ease their nerves.
  • Suppressing movement, on the other hand, can make it difficult for some kids to turn on their brains and process the information they’re receiving from their teachers, books, or videos. Without fidgets, students may be overwhelmed by an entire room full of distractions.

Fidgeting Continues in the Workplace

  • Fidgeting isn’t just something that happens at school. When students graduate and start their careers, their fidgeting doesn’t go away. For many adults, fidgets promote engagement at work and enhance creativity. When workers give their natural movements an outlet, they can improve their performance at work and contribute more to their teams.
  • However, no company wants a nuisance in their office or on their video calls. Helping people nurture their fidgets in a way that’s not noisy or noticeable — perhaps by wiggling their toes instead of shaking their legs — can give them transferable skills for a professional workplace.

How to Nurture Fidgets at Home in a Productive Way

  • While parents are often accustomed to asking fidgeting kids to stay still, children can benefit more when their parents allow them to express their fidgets in positive, productive ways at home — not just in the classroom. Dedicated at-home learning spaces that are conducive to fidgets are critical in our modern world, in which digitized education reduces physical stimulation, especially for kids with ADHD.
  • On top of offering different ways to fidget from their workspace, parents can offer sensory play activities that stimulate the senses to continue their brain development after school. For example, Play-Doh and busy boards with knobs and dials can be incredibly stimulating, while encouraging kids to explore the world in a way that’s conducive to their learning and fidgeting style.

Embracing Fidgets Can Lead to Brighter Futures

  • While fidgets are often viewed in a negative light, they can actually aid students and adults in their educational journeys. Parents and teachers must increasingly support fidgets with the right outlets, rather than preventing them altogether. By giving students the right outlets, you can enhance their focus, memory, and even their creativity in the long run.
  • Personalize your support by identifying how your child fidgets, then provide non-distracting mediums for them to express themselves through movement. When students understand how to harness their fidgets, they can succeed in any learning or working environment without distracting their peers. This can be a huge win for any teacher or parent.

Amanda Winstead

  • Amanda is a freelance writer out of Portland focusing on many topics including educational technology. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.
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How Teachers Should Educate Students About Vaccinations by Amanda Winstead

Saturday, October 30th, 2021

Teach About Vaccines
How Teachers Should Educate Students About Vaccinations by Amanda Winstead is a resource that all teachers can use as they work to build vaccine awareness and knowledge. Since this is such a hot topic, students will likely have a level of interest that you can leverage to help them learn and grow in many ways. Thanks, Amanda.

Introduction

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted various areas of education. The most prevalent is how to safeguard students’ and teachers’ health while maintaining in-school teaching. Thankfully, the rollout of vaccines is starting to provide a tool to support this. These are available at the moment to adults and as such are primarily keeping teachers and students over 12 from experiencing the worst effects of the virus. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing vaccines for children. These are likely to become a reality for all students soon.
  • All this means vaccines are a timely topic for discussion in schools. There is a toxic culture of misinformation surrounding the efficacy and safety of these important health tools. While current levels of cynicism have reached new heights, this is nothing new. The anti-vax movement has long cast unnecessary and inaccurate doubt on vaccines of all kinds. It’s vital, therefore, that teachers become reliable sources of factual and scientific information on vaccines in general.
  • Let’s look into a few of the approaches you can use to have a positive impact on students during this time.

Vaccine

Use the Curriculum

  • Students are being surrounded by all kinds of information outside of school. What they don’t need from educators is another opinion on the subject. They need facts to help inform their knowledge about the efficacy and usage of the vaccine. A good way to approach this is by framing it within the context of their usual curriculum.
  • Biology classes are an important forum to present the scientific case for vaccination. Talk about the basics of how vaccines work as a way to prepare the body for the presence of a virus. Introduce them to the range of vaccines provided as standard for most children. Explore the role vaccines have in addressing illnesses like measles, tetanus, and polio. For slightly older students, it can be interesting to introduce the process of vaccine development. Go through testing and approval. This not only gives them a scientific understanding of vaccines but also helps to dispel fears about any risks involved.
  • However, science-based classes are not the only area of curriculum you can provide vaccine information. History classes exploring the development of the first vaccines by Edward Jenner can provide both background knowledge and perspectives of the way vaccines have improved our society. This doesn’t require you to rely on opinions about efficacy. There are objective facts you can provide about mortality and illness rates before and after the introduction of vaccines. Consider not just how to provide better vaccine information to your students but also how to incorporate it as part of their wider learning.

Make It a Discussion

  • Let’s face it, students rarely like to be dictated to. It doesn’t matter whether this comes from teachers, parents, or other authority figures. In all cases, it can elicit a frustrating sense of belittlement. It’s no different when it comes to the subject of vaccines. Instead of approaching vaccine education as something simply to be lectured on, get them involved in a more collaborative discussion.
  • As with any debate, it’s important to set boundaries. Provide clarity on respecting viewpoints and giving one another chances to speak. Make it clear that you will be facilitating their thoughts and ideas while not offering opinions of your own. It can be a wise option to clarify that the discussion is about vaccines in general. This can ease the tension of contemporary issues and open the floor to a wider discussion. Alternatively, you can provide a platform for questions to be submitted anonymously. Use a physical question box or online collaborative classroom software. Use these as the grounds to start structured debates to provide purely fact-based responses.
  • One of the most important uses of this type of discussion is it can highlight where the problematic areas of their vaccine knowledge are. The types of questions, arguments, and opinions offered can pinpoint what the most important areas of educational focus are. It tells you where additional factual resources might be required to give students the data they need to make informed decisions. It also gives you insights into their fears and what types of reassurance they might need.

Give Them the Tools

  • At its most effective, education is about empowering students to be arbiters of their learning. Sometimes the best gift you can give your students is the resources to follow their curiosity. The same approach applies to vaccine education.
  • One of the most important resources you can provide here is access to experts. Invite local public health professionals into the classroom to participate in discussions. Epidemiologists, in particular, have expertise in the analysis of the state of public health events, communicate protocols and factual data clearly, and often choose to specialize in infectious diseases. They will have access to the latest data on various illnesses and current vaccine safety information. As they are committed to improving public health, they are likely keen to engage with your students in meaningful and scientifically supported ways.
  • Alongside introducing them to sources of information, you should teach them to treat the information they gather appropriately. Show them responsible research techniques. Introduce them to activities to help them recognize credible sources of news and information. Highlight the questions they should be asking before trusting an article, research paper, or a statement by a public figure. Make sure they don’t just apply these in the outside world but in the classroom. Encourage them to question you if they feel the scientific or factual information in lessons isn’t solid. In essence, help them to become more discerning citizens.

Conclusion

  • Vaccines are among our most important health tools, even aside from the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to make sure students receive practical and accurate education on the topic. Work to make it a relevant part of the current curriculum and wherever possible encourage discussions on the matter. It is important to help your students to become more empowered researchers so they can make informed decisions going forward. As a teacher, you are uniquely positioned to make a positive difference in your students’ lives.

Amanda Winstead

  • Amanda is a freelance writer out of Portland focusing on many topics including educational technology. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.
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How to Be Connected With Your Students by Christine Allen

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

How to Be Connected With Your Students by Christine Allen will help all teachers strengthen the relationships with students that are vital to their success.
Relationships

Introduction

  • Some of us were lucky to meet teachers who managed to build a strong connection with them. Those who did meet them, know that teaching doesn’t have to be all about giving tests and lecturing. Teachers who manage to build a connection with their students, are able to inspire, to motivate, and to help them. And that’s an amazing thing.
    It is important for a good teacher to become connected with their students. This is probably the easiest and pleasant way to shape young peoples’ minds and to help them change their lives. For some students, school is a place that allows them to escape their unpleasant lives at home and to believe that things can get better. A good teacher can support them in that effort.
  • Moreover, if you know more about your students, you can understand why some of them fall behind in the class, why some of them don’t have time to do their homework, among other things. It is very important for the teacher to see the whole situation before starting to judge their students. However, despite the fact that many teachers understand the importance of building a connection with their students, only some of them actually know how to create and support this connection. This is easier than it seems. All you need is to follow a few simple tips.

1. Take time to talk with your students

  • Even if you spend five minutes of your class talking with students, this can still work wonders. Ask them about their interests, hobbies, discuss new music hits or TV shows, and talk with them about their day and their plans for the future. The only important thing here is to be really interested in what they are saying. This way they’ll slowly learn to trust you. If you think that some of your students have problems, try talking with them in private. However, it’s important not to rush this conversation. Start only when you are sure that your students trust you enough to share private things.

2. Start class discussions

  • Most of the information in class comes from teacher. It can, however, be changed from time to time. A class discussion will allow students to communicate both with a teacher and with each other, to speak in front of an audience to express their points of view and to support them with arguments, to be the center of attention, and to learn more about their fellow classmates. You can discuss possible topics of such discussions with students. This way they’ll talk about things that interest them and you will learn more about them.

3. Go to see the events your students participate in.

  • Not every teacher has enough time and desire to pay attention to what their students are doing after classes. However, it’s one of the best ways to build a connection with them. If they like you, they will be happy to see you and to receive your support. Moreover, this way you will show them that you are really interested in them and in things they do. This way you may also be able to meet (or at least see) their families, to talk to them and to learn more about them. Parents too will see that you care about their children. This usually encourages them to communicate and to cooperate with teachers more. Even if you are very busy, you can add some events to your schedule from time to time. Just be sure to plan them as early as possible so you won’t miss them.

4. Show students that you are available.

  • This doesn’t mean that you have to stay after school talking with your students. These measures are required only in emergency situations. You can still show them that you are available during your working hours. Encourage them to come to you if they need something or just want to spend their break somewhere where it’s quiet. Tell them that you can help them both with their homework and their problems if they want to. And be sure to keep this promise. After all, if you want your students to rely on you, you have to become really reliable. I hope these tips will help you to gain students’ trust and to build a strong connection with them.

Christine Allen

    C Allen
  • Christine Allen from Chicago, USA, is young writer and blogger at essaystorm.com. She believes that you can get everything that you want. You just need to be sure in what you really want and be patient. You can follow her on Facebook and Google+.
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How To Know if a Computer Science Career Is Right for You by Craig Middleton

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020

Comp Sci Career
How To Know if a Computer Science Career Is Right for You by Craig Middleton is a reality check for students considering a career in this field. It’s a field where you can typically work anywhere and make good money as long as you can deal with the stress of deadlines. Share this with students you know who are good in math and science.

Introduction

  • Computer science is a field of study that can lead to some pretty appealing careers. However, pursuing this career path requires an immense amount of effort. In order to make the right choice as you enter the field of higher education, it helps to have an idea of what computer science education and careers are actually like and what it takes to make it. Here’s what you need to know in order to make the most informed choice possible.

The Tech Job Market

  • Computer science careers are associated with a paycheck that’s potentially quite high, and that makes pursuing that kind of career a fairly easy choice on paper. More importantly, specializing in computer science can all but guarantee you job opportunities after college graduation. With recent advancements in technology, modern businesses of all kinds and many entrepreneurs need skilled computer science specialists. This ensures that your skills will always be in demand. This kind of expertise, in particular, is so valuable because these skills don’t typically come naturally. This means that fewer people have developed the knowledge and skill required to manage modern technology at a professional level.
  • Taking the necessary steps to make yourself an indispensable asset in this way will be difficult, but it will be well worth it in time. There are plenty of resources online to build up your skills, that in return, will help you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs. You can take free courses about computer science found at codecademy or open culture. Exploring these options will lead you to a better understanding of yourself and your career goals. If you find that you have a passion and interest in these beginner courses, then you’ll likely gain even more passion for it as you advance through your education and career.

The Importance of Cybersecurity

  • Modern businesses rely on the internet for a variety of increasingly essential purposes. Companies depend on an online presence to maintain a competitive level of marketing, for starters, and online retail is a natural extension of the reach of any retail business. All of these online interactions open up companies to the risk of cyber-attacks because businesses are often targeted by hackers as a result of a perceived financial opportunity or simply a high profile target that can give them some clout in the hacker community. With the rise of apps for every brand under the sun, network and API security are an essential part of protecting not only the business in question but also the users of these apps.
  • Cloud storage is becoming a staple of modern businesses, and this style of file storage, while it’s generally more secure, requires additional cybersecurity protocols. Cybersecurity entails a number of tools and best practices used in tandem, making this field even more inaccessible to the average person, and that makes this kind of skill set indispensable in today’s job market. This role requires not only knowledge and skill, but also the ability to keep calm under pressure, because cyberattacks can be tremendously detrimental and need to be solved quickly.

The Rise of the IT Department

  • The increased dependence of modern businesses on complex technology, both online and off, has led to an increase in the importance and representation of the IT worker. IT, or information technology, workers are a fundamental part of any digital-age business, because these professionals are those tasked with maintaining the various systems at play concerning data. This means that IT workers are on the front lines when and if malfunctions occur, and this is more important now than ever.
  • In many modern companies, malfunctions of all kinds can lead to the loss of valuable time, and it falls to the IT department to resolve these issues quickly and effectively. This requires expertise in understanding the how and why of technical difficulties regarding computers, modems, routers, and networks, and that knowledge can be put to use both to solve problems and to prevent them.
  • As businesses continue to lean on their IT workers, these qualified professionals continue to have job security and often fairly substantial pay. However, the tradeoff is that the job can be quite stressful. The study of computer science is akin to that of medicine. While the subject matter is inherently different, both of these disciplines require an immense amount of knowledge and the ability to put that knowledge to use in high-stakes situations. If you can handle that responsibility and have an innate interest in technology, pursuing this career path can be incredibly lucrative for you.

Another Career Guide and Doug’s Comments

  • Here is a computer network career guide that may also be helpful. As a former High School computer science teacher I have seen students enter and succeed in this field. The best went beyond expectations and branched out to learn programming languages on their own. If you can learn to program using online courses at your own pace you might have what it takes. If you get lost in programming challenges and lose track of time, that’s a good sign that you have the passion required. Thanks, Craig
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Making Homeschool PE Class Fun by Craig Middleton

Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

Disc Golf
Making Homeschool PE Class Fun by Craig Middleton offers ideas for parents who homeschool their children by choice. His suggestions are also good for parents who want to add exercise options beyond what their kids get at school. His advice on nutrition is also good for all parents. Remember, all parents are teachers weather they homeschool or not.

Introduction

  • Homeschooling is becoming more popular and can be both stressful and rewarding. (Doug: During the pandemic, many more parents have been homeschooling, but not by choice.) In addition to the core subjects of math, reading, and writing, an often overlooked requirement is Physical Education. Not all states require an organized PE curriculum, but any well-rounded education includes some form of the subject.
  • Going outside to play is a fantastic way to fulfill your state’s requirements while still teaching your children safe behaviors. There’s no need for a formal schedule or events. All you have to do now is get your kids going and have some fun while doing it.
  • Go outside and play with your kids if you live in the country or a neighborhood with playgrounds or popular play areas, or if you have a large yard. Yes, you can send your kids outside to play if they’re old enough, but setting a good example by going outside and being involved with them is even better. To be frank, adults need to get out and exercise more as well. It’s good for mental health and overall health, and it sets a good example for your children. Here are a few ideas to keep things interesting during your home PE sessions.

Indoor Activities

  • If you are a homeschooler of an older child, you can do more focused activities such as weight lifting, yoga, meditation, and nutritional meal planning. You can even investigate the possible benefits of supplements like protein powder, spices, and vitamins. For the younger kids, think more along the line of games like hopscotch, hot lava, or an obstacle course. Beginning yoga is a fun way to get kids to stretch and control movement. Simon Says a classic that involves listening skills and movement. Sometimes, a good old-fashioned pillow fight will leave you all breathless and in fits of laughter.
  • Don’t skimp on nutritional activities with the younger ones either. Let them help you plan and make simple meals. Hands-on activities will cement the message and teach lasting skills. You don’t necessarily have to stay home either. If it’s a rainy day, consider a trip to the local bowling alley or roller rink. Many towns also have indoor play areas set up with safe games and activities that should be opening soon. They may even offer homeschooler discounts on group admissions.

Outdoor Activities

  • Everybody needs fresh air. Options for outdoor activities for PE classes are almost endless. Pretty much anything that gets you moving is fair game. Riding bikes can be a great way to get exercise and teach the rules of the road. Relay races and obstacle courses are other favorites with kids of all ages. An excellent way to teach conservation and get some fresh air is to go for a hike in the woods. Have them collect objects like rocks, nuts, or leaves to examine later. Trips to parks or lakes are other fun options. Just remember to practice safety on the water. Don’t forget to take your frisbees and sports gear for impromptu games. You also might find disc golf courses where you live.

Co-op Activities

  • Most communities have organizations that offer cooperative homeschooling activities, including PE classes. These can be official organizations or simply a few families that get together to play games. These afford more opportunities for team activities like basketball, baseball, and soccer. Many times, recreation centers may offer their spaces free of charge to homeschoolers, giving access to equipment that may be challenging to obtain otherwise. Co-ops are excellent places for you and your kids to make friends and socialize while fulfilling an important educational requirement.

Organized Sports

  • Most states and communities allow homeschooled children to participate in organized sports through their local school systems. They will still be subject to any tryouts or requirements, but these programs could be a good way to play sports that most homeschoolers can’t provide. They also will fulfill the necessary PE requirements. If the local schools aren’t an option, most cities also offer intermural sports organizations kids can participate in that aren’t associated with public schools. AAU teams also accept homeschooled students.

Final Thoughts

  • When developing your homeschool curriculum, it’s important to remember some of the non-core subjects like PE, art, and music. Homeschooling can be very rewarding and a great way to give a wonderful education to your children. Make it fun!

Craig Middleton

  • Craig is a New York City-based retired business consultant, who is an expert in education and cultural trends. He has a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters in Education from St. Johns and loves sharing his knowledge on the side through his writing. If you have any questions or comments you can direct them to Craig at craigmiddleton18@gmail.com.
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Medical Binder Printables to Keep Your Health Records Organized by Cristina Thorson

Sunday, November 7th, 2021

Basic Health Info
Medical Binder Printables to Keep Your Health Records Organized by Cristina Thorson offers forms you can use to keep track of your medical information so you can easily share it with your physicians rather than just talking about how you feel and neglecting what you can’t remember. Thanks, Cristina.

Introduction

  • Whether you’re suffering from a chronic condition, wanting to keep your health information in order, or are somewhere in between, keeping a medical binder on hand can be beneficial. Having a medical binder not only helps you stay more organized, but it can also act as the single source of truth in case of an emergency.
  • Thinking about possible “what-ifs” is never fun to do, but making sure you’re prepared for emergencies can make a worst-case scenario a little easier to manage. Use the medical binder printables to start putting together your own health binder. It might save your life one day.

Basic Health Information Sheet

  • On a basic health information sheet, you should include the standard information that you might need to receive medical treatment. Usually, when you go in for an appointment, the healthcare clinic will need to have this information on file before you receive treatment.
  • The information needed is your full name, emergency contact information, allergies, date of birth, blood type, and any immunization records. Keeping this information up to date and on file can save time if you decide to transfer doctors, or if you start going to a specialized healthcare professional.

Medication Tracker

  • According to WebMD, about half the American population takes an average of four prescription pills. Some medications have conflicting effects which can have deadly consequences. If you keep track of your own medications, it will make it easier for doctors to ensure that they won’t prescribe anything that will have adverse effects on your health.
  • Documenting your own medications can also help you and your doctor figure out what has worked in the past, and what hasn’t. It can help you avoid repeating medications, especially if you work with a new doctor or you haven’t been to a medical professional in a while.
  • Keeping track of your blood pressure can save you a world of problems. Hypertension (or high blood pressure) has damaging effects over time, and many are unaware that they even have it. To record your own blood pressure, you should purchase a home blood pressure monitor.
  • It’s best to avoid caffeine and exercise at least 30 minutes before you measure, and try to measure at the same time every day. Self-monitoring is actually recommended by the American Heart Association for people with high blood pressure treatments. Even though home monitoring isn’t an adequate substitute for visits, it can be helpful when healthcare professionals are trying to gauge the effectiveness of their treatments.
  • Blood Pressure Log

  • It’s useful to be aware of your own medical conditions before a big life transition, like moving homes, leaving for college, or even planning for retirement. The temporary instability during these time periods may cause medical conditions to flare up. These changes may also influence your healthcare provider or the access to healthcare that you receive.
  • Start surveying the information in advance of these changes so you’re not overwhelmed during the transitionary period. Make sure your information is up-to-date and easily understood. Many use their smartwatches or their phones to log health information, but you could also try an alternative tracking method, like our printable sheets.

Cristina Thorson

  • Cristina is a part-time content writing intern at Siege and a full-time student at Boston University. She enjoys exploring new pockets of cities, culture, and cat websites (as well as alliterative expressions). In her spare time, she can be found reading books, commenting on movies, and writing anything from advertising copy to feminist satire.
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