Tag Archives: learning support

5 Tips to Improve Your Writing

Academic writing is a challenge for most students entering post-secondary education. In response, most institutions developed their own resources to assist students struggling with academic writing. Still, some students prefer the convenience of online resources. For example, a short 12-minute YouTube video with over 500,000 views, posted by the YouTube account “Learn English with Emma [engVid]”, recommends 5 simple tips to improve academic writing skills.

Emma, an English teacher who primarily works with ESL students, outlines 5 ways to improve academic writing with the use of simple sentences, stronger words, and active voice. Emma’s energetic voice, a white board, and several great examples make this video enjoyable and educational.

After investigating “engVid,” I realized Emma is only one of 8 teachers who have posted a collective 550+ lessons online. I would recommend exploring some of their videos if you are an international student, learning the English language, or would like some comedic relief (I would recommend Ronnie’s videos). Similar to “Khan Academy,” in my post a couple weeks ago, Emma and her colleagues have adapted to the fast-growing technology age.

Be sure to like/comment this post if you enjoyed reading!
Let me know if you have topics you would like to discuss in future blog posts in the comments below.
I would love to hear from you!

Have a great day!

Video

TED Talk: Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education

Ah… my first blog post, how exciting! Like most students, when faced with a question, challenge or problem, I turn to the internet! While browsing, I stumbled upon this amazing TED Talk.

What I particularly liked about this video was the use of humour to keep the audience entertained. I laughed when he mentioned: “Here I was, an analyst at a hedge fund. It was very strange for me to do something of social value.”

Being a student, I can relate to Khan’s emphasis on “humanizing the classroom.” Often, I have felt like a zombie, mindlessly recording notes. Khan proposed the idea to allow students to go over the lecture material, via his online videos, as a form of “homework” the night before lecture. This would allow the professor to go over problems during class time to reinforce understanding of the topics discussed in the online videos. This also provides students the opportunity to learn the material in the comfort of their home and at their own pace.

The developers of Academic-Zone have taken a similar approach with their learning modules—offering resources that students can explore 24/7/365, at their own pace and based on their own need. As a student, I believe Academic-Zone is an easily accessible resource for today’s student and addresses many of the issues discussed in this video.

If this topic interests you, read more about it here!: http://blog.ted.com/2014/01/15/salman-khans-ted-talk-ignited-the-conversation-about-online-education-why-hes-doubling-down-on-the-school-of-the-future/

If you enjoyed this post and/or have any comments or thoughts about Khan’s video, please leave me a comment.
Thanks for reading!

What is Good Teaching?

In a post on the Canadian Education Association (CEA) blog, Dr. Bruce Beairsto, a professor at Simon Fraser University, shares his insight on what is effective teaching. He explains that teaching is an art as well as a science—that teaching goes beyond communication and it is the student response that determines the effectiveness of the teacher.

“…teaching is an iterative process of trial and error, guided by careful observation of student response (aka formative assessment).  The teacher adapts instructional technique depending upon student response until the desired responses are achieved.  When that happens, teaching has occurred.”

What are your thoughts? What factors contribute to good teaching?

Read the full post here.

Canadian Education Association website.

Exploring Different Ways to Teach Math

Math. It’s a word that strikes fear into many students. Whether or not you’re a math major, at some point you may have to use math in post-secondary. For example, Sociology students are required to take a course on statistics, but it may have been years since they’ve taken a Math course.

At Academic-Zone, we approach this challenge with our online Numeracy-Zone module. The module is broken down into four topics: Calculations, Statistics, Algebra, and Equations & Lines. Mathematical concepts are explained using real-life examples and the module’s easy-to-navigate design allows students to explore based on their own needs and interests.  Math is learned through doing, and our modules provide students with many opportunities for practice through interactive exercises and quizzes.

There are many different ways to effectively teach math. One approach is through the use of games. In an article on Forbes, Stanford Mathematician, Dr. Keith Devlin, explains why video games are the perfect way to teach math. He explains that math is not something you know, but rather an activity that you do. He argues that games encourage students to do, by providing challenges and rewards.

What are your thoughts on the use of games as a tool for teaching math? What other strategies do you use to teach or learn math concepts?

Check out the full article on Dr. Keith Devlin here.

Will Teachers Eventually Be Replaced?

Is it possible for technology to replace teachers? Some people view it as a strong possibility, while others believe teachers won’t be replaced any time soon. As technology continues to evolve, it may seem as though the possibility of teachers being replaced by technology and online learning is becoming more and more likely.

However, an article on the Huffington Post explains why this won’t be happening. “Technology Will Not Replace Teachers” provides some insight on why teachers are irreplaceable. It talks about how technology is only a supplementary tool to enhance or improve on current teaching methods, and is not a lesson on its own. The author brings up a very interesting point, mentioning that with this increase in technology in the classroom, there is a greater need for teachers. He explains that teachers are needed to figure out how technology works for each student based on their individual needs, and where its use is most appropriate.

The article ends off with an intriguing statement:

“A computer can give information, but a teacher can lend a hand, or an ear, and discern what’s necessary for a student to succeed, and to want to succeed.”

Do you think teachers can be replaced by technology? Why or why not?

For more reading on this topic, check out the original article here.

Third-Year Brock University Aboriginal Student, Biological Sciences

Colton Clause Biological Sciences Student at Brock University

Colton Clause
Biological Sciences Student

Hi, my name is Colton Clause. I am a third-year student in the Biological Sciences program at Brock University. I am also a student peer/mentor working in Aboriginal Student Services. I commonly see students coming into our office having questions on essay writing. Working hand-in-hand with Learning Services, the Aboriginal Student Services staff was able to create the Aboriginal Module of Essay Zone.

I am asking any Aboriginal students to comment on the effectiveness of the Aboriginal Module of Essay Zone. We are currently in the process of re-working the content to better fit the needs of students. This feedback will help us develop a better working version suited to an Aboriginal perspective. In your feedback, please reflect on our current information: whether it was relevant, beneficial, or if significant aspects are missing or not explained.

Our hope is that we can maintain our status as student-driven literacy support and continue to deliver accurate information about essay writing through an Aboriginal perspective.

My Experience with Academic-Zone

You may be thinking to yourself, what is the purpose of the Academic-Zone resources and how are they going to help me in my courses? Well, as a student at Brock University, I can honestly say that Academic-Zone was a huge help to me during my first year and helped me see what’s expected at the post-secondary level.

I used the Essay-Zone and Advanced Grammar modules in my first year Principles of Business course (MGMT 1P93). As part of this course, we were required to take a grammar and punctuation test, and we had three attempts to achieve a minimum grade of 70% or we would not pass the course. At the time, the test was worth 10% of our final mark and the grade we received on the first attempt would be the only one that counted. We used the Essay-Zone and Advanced Grammar modules to prepare for this test.

The majority of my preparation and studying for the test was done by using the modules. I passed the test on my first attempt! After using the modules, I saw a big improvement in my writing skills, particularly in grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. I continued to use Essay-Zone and Advanced Grammar throughout the remainder of my first term to help me with my writing in all of my courses. They were a huge help, especially when it came to writing essays. What I like about the modules is how they are very light on text and easy to navigate. The activities and mini-quizzes really kept my interest and helped me to learn the material more easily.

I highly recommend the Academic-Zone modules to all students. Whether you’re struggling with essay writing, grammar, punctuation, or even math, the modules will definitely help you out. I wasn’t struggling, but I was surprised by how much my writing improved!

Technology Will Change Education

I came across an article earlier today on how technology will change education. The article provided insight on how technology has changed almost all aspects of our lives. It goes on to state that education has always revolved around a teacher formally instructing students in a classroom setting, but with the emergence of interactive, adaptive learning software, technology could dramatically change the entire learning process. This relates to my recent post about how online learning allows students to be more self-directed and learn at their own pace, as opposed to an instructor’s pace. Although there are barriers to the use of technology in education, I agree with the author, in that it is very likely the implementation of educational technology will increase and expand sooner rather than later.

What are your thoughts on the use of technology in education? How do you think education will be impacted over the next few years? I will leave you with one quote from the article that really stood out to me and leave the rest of the reading to you,

We very well may be at the cusp of a revolution in education based on technological change.

Click here for the full article.

Module Update: Essay-Zone

Essay-ZoneEssay-Zone has been updated! Yes, that’s right, yet another update! This update includes three new updated activities, which are more intuitive and user friendly (the picture above is one of the new activities from Essay-Zone). The updated exercises also provide more valuable feedback for students.

We have also made Essay-Zone consistent with the other modules by incorporating the use of purple triangles to access the pop-ups instead of the blue question marks.

This update also brings a new feature to Academic-Zone. We are now able to embed PDF resources directly into the Academic-Zone modules. Students working through the module will have access to even more information. The resources vary from things like editing checklists to sample essays in different citation formats. These additional resources are now more accessible than ever before, and can be downloaded and printed off by students for use inside and outside the module!

Be sure to check back to see what other news Academic-Zone has to share for the upcoming 2013-14 school year.

New Module Announcement – Numeracy-Zone: Equations and Lines

Numeracy-Zone

The Academic-Zone team is excited to announce the release of another new module: Numeracy-Zone: Equations and Lines! This is the fourth module to be developed under the Numeracy-Zone title, other modules include Numeracy-Zone: Calculations, Numeracy-Zone: Statistics, and Numeracy-Zone: Algebra. Numeracy-Zone: Equation and Lines will be available to Brock students during the 2013-14 school year.

Topics covered include introduction to equations and lines, the Cartesian plane, linear relationships, using the equation of a line, graphing, and systems of linear equations.

As we continue to grow, we will continue to develop and improve the line-up of Academic-Zone modules. What module do you think we should develop next?!

If you are interested in learning more leave a comment or send us an email!