Friday, July 29, 2011

Students Want Real-World Application and Relevancy

An article in eSchool News yesterday reports the top five things students say they want out of education. eSchool News gathered the students’ wants by asking its readers—teachers, principals, program directors, and superintendents—the question, “What’s the one thing you hear most often from students about what they want in school?”

Based on the responses it received, the top five things students want out of school are:

1. Real-world Application and Relevancy
2. Choice
3. Innovation
4. Teacher Mentors
5. Interactive Technology

The number one want—real-world application and relevancy—stands out as a need that a good IT curriculum will always meet. Students say they want real-world application and relevancy both as in classes that pertain to the real world, as well as hands-on experience and practice while in class.

For example, a professor at South University, said:
The one complaint I hear from students at South University is that they want more practical, hands-on experience and not just lectures and homework. I have worked hard to provide as much hands-on as possible. . . . My one disappointment is that our network administrators will not allow us to have students set up and experiment with computer networks due to a perceived notion that students will damage the corporate network. I have begun to build my own stand-alone network that does not connect to the campus network and am beginning to offer students the opportunity to experiment. So far, this technique is working well and students have learned a lot. I strongly believe I can produce graduates ready for jobs in the 21st-century workforce.

Students desire a clear connection to the relevance of their learning and how it can be applied in the real world. TestOut's LabSim IT training courses give students the hands-on experience and practice they say they want--and the professor and the network administrators don't need to worry about any equipment or networks being damaged. LabSim connects to the real world as students apply their new IT skills working on physical equipment and certifying to gain industry-recognized credentials.

How else do you think LabSim helps meet what students want out of school?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Look at Evolving Classroom Technologies

This image provides an interesting look at the changes in educational technology over the last two centuries, and shows how rapidly classroom technology is moving forward now. What do you think have been the most effective teaching tools? What are your favorite tools now in the digital age?

(image provided by OnlineSchools.com)

History of ed tech
Courtesy of: OnlineSchools.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why Students Need LabSim Training for Microsoft 70-642

This summer TestOut will release a revised LabSim course for Microsoft exam 70-642: Configuring Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure. The new LabSim 70-642 course will train students for Microsoft’s revised exam objectives.

Passing the Microsoft 70-642 exam earns students Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification. It is also one of the exams required for further certification under Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional (MCITP), one of the most sought-after credentials Microsoft offers.

Why should schools and colleges make it a priority to train students for 70-642: Configuring Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure?

After students graduate, many of them will find professional IT work in medium-size to large companies where they will work in complex computing environments. By training for Microsoft exam 70-642, students will be prepared for many of the leadership roles in server, network, and systems administration, including the following professional responsibilities:
• Configuring IT addressing and services
• Configuring name resolution
• Configuring network access
• Configuring file and print services
• Monitoring and managing a network infrastructure

Help your students prepare for the real-world IT work they’ll do after school ends by providing training with the new LabSim 70-642 course when it is released this summer. To learn more about the course, email TestOut or keep following the blog for further details.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

LabSim Allows Instructors to “Flip Class”

ZDNet’s Christopher Dawson reported last week on “flipped classrooms,” a hot topic at the recent conference of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) in Philadelphia. Flipped classrooms, Dawson explained, are when an instructor assigns class lectures as homework, usually recorded on video, and uses class time instead for hands-on learning, group work, or labs.

On ISTE’s blog, the conference’s presenters on flipped classrooms make the case that flipping a class “engages students to be independent learners.” In a flipped classroom, students are able to work at their own pace, and instructors have class time to work one-on-one with students and give individual help where needed.

As I read about flipped classrooms, I thought immediately of LabSim, a tool for teaching IT that gives instructors the flexibility to flip their classroom or arrange class time in many different ways to meet the individual needs of students. Many instructors who utilize LabSim courseware assign LabSim videos as homework. The videos, with recordings of industry experts teaching and demonstrating technology concepts, function as class lecture for many classes. As students watch the videos, they can pause, skip backward and forward, or rewatch the videos as many times as they need to fully grasp the content. Many students also utilize the Closed Captioning feature of LabSim videos to read and listen to the instruction at the same time.

When students come to class having watched the video already, they are prepared to take part in hands-on labs where they can practice the concepts they were taught in the video. Sometimes the lab completed in class is also from LabSim, and students work individually on the virtual lab while the instructor answers questions and gives one-on-one help. Other times instructors offer physical labs during class.

Instructors, how do you utilize the components of LabSim courseware to meet the individual needs of your students?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Technology Has Net Positive Impact on Education

Has technology improved the way you educate students in your classroom?

According to a May 2011 CompTIA study, IT Opportunities in the Education Market, 78% of educators surveyed say that the “proliferation of technology has had a net positive impact on overall education results, processes and performances. Among the positive impacts, 65 percent of educators said students are more productive today than they were three years ago due to the use of technology.”

Respondents to the CompTIA survey included colleges, universities, and K-12 schools. In all three groups, educators said the main reason behind their technology purchases is the desire to improve the overall education experience for students.

Classroom management software is one of the top technologies used by educators, with 70% saying they use it or will use it in the next 12 months. Classroom management tools, like those found in LabSim Reporting, help educators better understand students’ understanding of course content and where they may need follow-up instruction.

According to CompTIA analyst Carolyn April, technology in schools has advanced “how students learn, how teachers teach, and how efficiently and effectively educational services can be delivered.” April said that technologies such as tablets, netbooks, interactive whiteboards, and wireless solutions are furthering the reliance on IT by the education market.

What other technology implementations have helped students in your classroom? Please leave a comment or send an email to experience@testout.com.