The Starbucks holiday cups are coming!

Here’s a quick update that should help you have a better day. It might be the biggest news of your day, come to think of it. The Starbucks holiday cups are coming tomorrow! That means your local ‘bucks is going to start serving those wonderfully designed red cups starting on November 1, 2014.
You may not be as excited as the Daily Genius team is. We’re so jazzed about them that we’re actually in Starbucks right now. No kidding. We got the skinny (see what I did there? Starbucks joke anyone?) from a barista who said to expect the red holiday cups starting tomorrow. They’re trying to run down their inventory of the boring old white and green cups now.
Hope this cheers you up a bit and makes you smile. Have a great day and be prepared for the holiday season getting officially underway at the stroke of midnight!
starbucks holiday cups

Read More

How to use 15 apps in a single iPad classroom

There are hundreds of thousands of apps in the Apple App Store right now. Tens of thousands in the education section alone. It’s basically impossible to identify the ones that will work for you let alone actually try out each one on a large enough scale to understand how and why it works (or doesn’t) for you.

How To Use 15 Apps In A Single iPad Classroom

The friendly team at We Are Teachers has done some of the legwork for you, though. If you only have a single iPad classroom right now, you’re in luck.

  1. Unsure who to call on? The Stick Pick app makes the decision for you. It’s like the sorting hat in Harry Potter
  2. Too Noisy monitors the sound level and will tell the classroom to quiet down. Like that would ever be necessary….
  3. Want to incentivize and gamify classroom behavior? Try out Class Dojo.
  4. Want to stay on track? The Classroom Timer app will let you know when to move onto the next lesson.
  5. Create a ‘listening area’ in the classroom and let students use the Audiobooks app for listening time then can earn on Class Dojo.
  6. Want some project-based learning? Use the Storybook Maker to let your students write and use their imagination.
  7. Accelerated Reader is a popular method of gauging comprehension. The app is top notch.
  8. Use the Random Fact of the Day app to let students read aloud the interesting factoid to the class.
  9. Got a Google Chromecast or an Apple TV? A projector? Use Google Earth for some in-class exploration.
  10. Want to make sure students stay on track while reading? Try the Running Records Calculator.
  11. Students need a bit more tutoring? Try the HMH Math on the Spot app.
  12. Have students take a turn doing online research using Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  13. Try out the WunderMap app to learn about geography and weather at the same time. Google Maps also fun!
  14. Want to have a study area in the classroom? Let students take turns making study aids with Flashcards+.
  15. Try out The Scoreboard to keep track of the best (and worst) behavior in your class!

one ipad classroom

Read More

How wearable tech is transforming health and fitness

The fact that there’s a Smart Bra specifically to measure breast perspiration makes me think that the tech industry is still over-dominated by men, but that aside wearable tech is starting to have a significant impact on health and fitness.

The fact that the big companies are moving in shows that they expect it to be a boom market. Nike, Google, Samsung and Apple are all already in there, with even Facebook entering the market. All that investment already means you can cover yourself head to toe in gadgetry which means that someone is making money. But it also means that the generation of data and the constant nudging of behaviour has the potential to transform health and the relationship between users and doctors.

As a statement of where the wearable health tech market is, this, from Fjord, is useful. Not surprisingly, the majority (70%) are about monitoring, and nearly 60% are specifically monitoring health (rather than fitness). Only 7% look to what might be termed mental health – for sleep and for state of mind. Do you clean your workout gear properly, if not then take a look at sports laundry detergent.

From your headband to your smart socks, wearable tech is starting to impact your life and becoming normal.

If you call measuring breast sweat ‘normal’.



Read More

3 cheap ways to get a connected classroom

You don’t need to have an iPad for every student in your classroom to have a connected classroom. There. I said it. While the idea of having a synced and powerful setup of dozens of iPads might sound amazing, it’s a bit of a pipe-dream for just about every teacher around the world as the cost is out of control expensive. Seriously. There is a slight education discount when schools buy iPads and other education technology tools but it’s certainly not significant enough to make total device integration feasible. Just look at how it worked when the Los Angeles Unified School District tried to do a massive implementation. Not so great.

Let’s say you’re a school leader, parent, or teacher who wants to bring education technology into your classrooms. You don’t have millions of dollars but still want to figure out the best way to leverage the best of today’s technology for some authentic learning. What are your options?

Option 1: Buy one powerful device

iPad-air-2Your first option is to buy a single iPad, Google Chromebook, Amazon Kindle Fire, or other high-end tool that will make it easier for students to browse the web, Skype, and download useful apps. There are a boatload of ways to use a single device in a whole classroom of students. You can mirror the device onto a projector, use it to show videos, let groups use it one at a time, hold Skype Classroom calls, take attendance, offer quizzes, and more. It’s not the ideal situation but it brings some much-needed technology power into your classroom.

What you’ll need: $200 – $500, a reliable wi-fi connection, patience

What you get: access to a world of education apps, video calls, the ability to say you run a ‘connected classroom’

Option 2: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

smartphonez-fanStudents, teachers, parents, and just about everyone else has a powerful smartphone or tablet. If you’re in a developed nation, chances are quite good you could do a BYOD implementation with little concern over not having enough devices.

Your biggest concern would actually be if it might turn into a ‘who has money’ versus ‘who doesn’t’ as some students will have the latest generation of a device while others might not. The other large issue is over connectivity and interoperability. Large words for a simple problem: how do you manage a classroom of devices that run on an array of platforms? You’ll have Android, iOS, Windows, and other software platforms to worry about and will need to know how each one works.

What you’ll need: $0 – $100 (for a mirroring device like Chromecast or Apple TV if needed), a set of pre-determined guidelines for students and others to understand before bringing their device out in the classroom, patience, and the ability to manage a variety of software platforms.

What you’ll get: A ton of new ways to measure learning, get students collaborating, taking quizzes (e.g. Socrative), and knowing where they stand in the classroom (e.g. Class Dojo or Edmodo).

Option 3: Multiple cheaper devices


Amazon Fire TV Stick comparison chart

If the first two options didn’t quite help you out, fear not. There’s a third option that you should think about. You can always purchase and integrate a far cheaper set of tools that students of any age will be able to use. A prime example of this are the so-called ‘streaming sticks’ that let you mirror a device, stream content, play games, and more.

One of the newest and most interesting options is the Amazon Fire TV Stick. It’s basically the Amazon Fire TV but takes up less space and doesn’t let you download content. It’s a dongle that lets you mirror your device so you can display whatever you’re looking at to others. These kind of cheap tools are becoming a far more popular way to create connected classrooms without having to worry about cost.

The average stick ranges from $40 to $80 or so (prices vary). You could use a stick with a few Google Chromebooks (also quite cheap!) and really have a high-power classroom for less than $500 overall. That’s less than the price of one iPad for those keeping score.

What you’ll need: About $500 if you want a couple Google Chromebooks and a Chromecast (or similar devices), patience, research into the best education apps and services like Freetime from Amazon.

What you’ll get: Easy-to-connect services, a unified experience for students, the ability to stream education content, mirror devices, and do a lot of high-tech collaboration.

Which Option Is Right For You?

Honestly, there’s no right answer here. If you already have an iPad, perhaps investing in an Apple TV is the right move. If you have no wi-fi in your school, perhaps BYOD might work so you can use smartphones. There’s a lot to consider but hopefully this helped you out.

Want to contribute to Daily Genius or get more tips like this? Follow @DailyGenius on Twitter or perhaps like us on Facebook. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

[wpsm_button color=”orange” size=”medium” link=”” icon=”link” target=”_blank”]Buy Google Chromecast On Amazon[/wpsm_button]

[wpsm_button color=”blue” size=”medium” link=”” icon=”link” target=”_blank”]Buy Amazon Fire TV Stick On Amazon[/wpsm_button]

Note: Daily Genius uses affiliate links which means we receive a small payment if you make a purchase using this link. You are of course under no obligation to purchase anything. We do not accept payment in exchange for coverage or product reviews.

Read More

The teacher's guide to optimizing student feedback

Giving feedback is a huge part of teaching. Whether you’re teaching 8 year olds or university students, math or english, you give feedback on your students’ work almost constantly. The questions may be multiple choice, fill in the blank, short answer, or long essay format. You may be assessing students on their writing ability, cultural literacy, math, chemistry, foreign language, or some combination of the above. The feedback may be a part of a grade, or it may come at an earlier point in the process. Regardless of what you’re offering feedback on, the goals of feedback are for the student to learn more, more efficiently, more effectively, and to better understand the material at hand.
Many times, when feedback is offered on student work, it goes in one ear and out the other (or eye, perhaps). A corrected answer, a problem written out by the teacher, or an indication of what to do next time may put the right answer in front of the student, but it doesn’t necessarily help them to be able to do it or something similar to it correctly the next time around. It may be difficult for the student to take that feedback and apply it to a similar, but slightly different academic situation. Feedback should encourage students to be active in taking the feedback and making their work better, not just consuming teacher comments or correct answers.
Approaching feedback from the idea that you want students to actively use what you give them to change their processes also helps engage them in a number of other useful skills that you’re likely already trying to include in your classroom experiences, such as:

  • Creating instead of just consuming
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Collaboration with peers
  • Adaptability
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Seeing opportunity rather than negativity (in feedback)
  • Innovation

That said, feedback does take quite a bit of time. So how do you optimize student feedback to ensure that it packs a big learning punch without giving yourself what could turn out to be another 80 hour a week job? With a few transformations of your current feedback processes, you’ll be on the right track, working smarter – not harder- when you give your students feedback. Try these tips for optimizing student feedback in your classroom and let us know how it goes! Drop us a line in the comments below, mention @DailyGenius on Twitter or head over to the Daily Genius Facebook page and leave us a message there.

Optimizing student feedback

Some simple transformations can engage students in improving their work, and require minimal effort from teachers.
Transformation 1: Rather than writing a number of comments on the student’s work, the teacher writes one overall comment identifying general areas of improvement. The student then reads those comments and must go back through their work to identify specific areas that need improvement.
Transformation 2: The teacher writes multiple notes in the student’s work, but does not offer an overall comment or specific items to be changed or improved. The student then summarizes the teacher’s commentaries and uses that to identify specific areas of improvement.
Transformation 3: Identify the ‘great’ parts of a student’s work without identifying specific reasons why it was great, elements it included, etc. The student then must identify the ‘why’ in each instance.
Transformation 4: Rather than giving a correct answer or solution to a student’s incorrect response, identify that the response is incorrect, and have the student correct it. Give hints if necessary.
Transformation 5: Create a group or pair peer assessment activity. The teacher will give some general comments about the work, and the peers should identify some specific areas where that feedback would apply, and the students all work together to improve upon the work.
optimizing student feedback

Read More

A crowdsourced list of the best Learning Management Systems (LMS)

If you’re looking to boost your skills or enhance your understanding of a tough topic, you’re probably going to be searching for the best online courses so you can save time and a bit of money. After all, taking a $50 Udemy course is cheaper than hiring a tutor or enrolling in your local community college, right? There’s a lot of appeal, to be sure.
But what happens when you want to offer up your skills in the form of an online course? You are probably hunting around for some of the best Learning Management Systems (LMS) so you can help share your understanding. There are a ton of options out there (as you can see below) so we’ve gone through and compiled a list that we hope to crowdsource using your knowledge. All you have to do is vote up (or down) your chosen LMS. Don’t see one on there that you you think belongs?
We’ve worked hard at trying to figure out which LMS is worth trying and which is not. Each of the options below have been reviewed for their usefulness, ease of use, and flexibility. For example, we tried to include as many SCORM-compliant options as possible since that’s a popular way to bring in high-quality content no matter which platform you choose.
This list won’t ever be finished. It’s a work in progress that we’re trying to make as useful as possible. If you have a particular feeling about LMSes in general, be sure to leave us a comment or share your thoughts with us via Twitter sometime. We love to tweet and chat about this kind of stuff!

The Best Learning Management Systems: How This List Works

  1. First, review the LMS options that you don’t currently know about. Check those out! Take them for a spin. See if they have features you’ve been looking for.
  2. Now, vote up and down the best and worst, respectively. Make sure your favorite option gets some love.
  3. Don’t see a particular option that you think belongs here? Add it at the bottom of the list and vote it up!
Read More

A no-nonsense guide to the best study habits

No matter your age, profession, or location you’re going to have to study for things for most of your life. If you thought you were done studying when you graduated with that degree, you’d be wrong. We could all use some helpful study tips since there are going to be presentations, meetings, interviews, and a lot of other professional experiences that you’ll need to be prepared for.

That’s why this straightforward guide to better study habits is worth a close examination. Check out some of the many tips that are presented in an efficient manner on this visual below.

As you can see, the guide is really designed to help the modern connected classroom student. This means there are tips for studying in a distraction-free environment, how to properly use flashcards, and more.

Figuring out the best study habits is tough and usually takes someone a lifetime. I wish I had this guide during my time as a student but am still finding it quite useful despite being a bit, well, older.

Tough Questions: The Best Study Habits To Know About

Does music help or hurt your studying? Studies show listening to music while studying actually lowers your retention rate. That being said, I can only focus with some light background music on and can’t concentrate well enough without it. So, choose what works for you. That goes for all of the tips in this guide.

Do laptops help in the classroom? This is a relatively controversial question with a difficult answer. There’s a constant push to bring technology into the classroom but not always for the right reasons. As you can see in this study from A Science Direct, most students who use laptops in class use it for non-academic reasons. Instant messaging, e-mail, and even just to play games.

What’s the most important study tip you should know about? Time management! Be sure you know what you’re going to try to accomplish before you sit down in the library or at your desk. If you go about trying to memorize something as it appears in the book and then go back later to check that it was the right thing … you may find yourself having wasted too much time on unnecessary details.

The biggest failure factor for studying students? Poor time management and being distracted. Want to set yourself apart from the class? Focus on your studies when you’re actually ready to do the work. If you have 4 other things you need to do today, don’t make studying the first one. The more things you can cross off your mental checklist prior to studying, the better. When it comes to technology, be very careful of how you use it and try not to get sucked down the proverbial wormhole that is social networking, blogs, and general web surfing.

Those are just a few of the big questions about studying that are answered in this handy guide. Be sure to read through the whole thing as it’s jam-packed full of ideas. Got a few other study tips you think others should know about? Answer them on the new Learn Egg forum that’s built just for education! You can leave your answer there or mention @dailygenius on Twitter or like us on Facebook to keep the conversation going. Looking forward to studying with you!

how to study


Read More

This group participation rubric is perfect for project-based learning

Finding effective ways to measure learning is a challenge. Figuring out what works is one of the toughest parts of education and it’s no surprise that there are a slew of ideas out there on how to make authentic learning happen. One of those attempts has come in the form of a popular Educause report that goes into a pretty deep dive on major topics like authentic learning and grading. Basically, it wants to help answer the question: how do you know if students are learning? It’ll take more than a quiz and a grade, that’s for sure.
In an effort to come up with a solid answer, the Educause Learning Initiative report (download the PDF here) included a helpful group participation rubric that might go perfectly with project-based learning and many other group-based activities.
The following rubric is designed to be used to better understand (as both a teacher and a student) how much is learned during group work. This means a teacher should closely examine this guide and identify which criteria have been met and how. Then, a student should also take a look and self evaluate to understand how they, well, understand!

Should Group Activities Be Graded?

Typically, teachers don’t want to offer a particular grade to individuals participating in a set of group-based activities. There are a lot of questions asked (from the report):

  • Should all members of the team receive the same final evaluation, or should distinctions be made, and if so, how?
  • Can individual contributions be separated out from the collective performance?
  • And what about variations in critical time management and interpersonal skills?
  • How can an instructor tell whether a student is pulling his own weight or simply going along for the ride?

This rubric serves as a potential solution to the problem and answer to these questions.
It’s one of the best visual guides I’ve come across in recent memory. What would you change? Would you use this tool in your classroom or offer it up to students? Would you make any changes? Share them with the Daily Genius community on the Facebook page or perhaps mention @DailyGenius on Twitter – we’ll retweet and share!
group participation rubric

Read More

These tricks by funny teachers are a real treat

It’s just about Halloween so we wanted to share some of our favorite funny teacher tricks (and treats). That’s because teachers are a curious bunch. They know a thing or two about tickling the funny bone and getting students to smile. During our research, we discovered that most of the examples of funny teachers are actually a bit unsafe for work so we opted to not include them. Do a quick Google Image Search and you’ll likely see what we’re talking about.

Some Of Our Favorite Funny Teachers

  • Some of our favorites include the final one where the teacher responds to an April Fools Day prank by writing everything on the chalkboard sidewise. Trust us, it’ll make more sense when you see the original prank.
  • Another one of our favorites? All the silliness in the yearbook pages. If you’re at all involved with helping students run their yearbook, give some thought to doing what some of these funny teachers have done. Just make sure you know the yearbook layout person or perhaps the photographer.
  • Finally, the one where the teacher is using a BLOW TORCH and shooting it at the ceiling of the classroom is,um, insanely dangerous. Don’t ever do this. Seriously. You’ll burn the school down.

Want to share some of your favorite teacher moments? Let us know about them on the Daily Genius Facebook page or head over to the @DailyGenius Twitter account and mention us. Or maybe Google+ is your jam? Whatever you prefer, keep in touch and share the good times with us. We love to smile too!

Always read through the entire quiz before starting!

quick test

This seems way too dangerous…

This teacher tied a sleeping student’s shoes together

students asleep

Best homework assignments ever?

best homework ever

Teachers everywhere: please put this on your desk immediately

problem students

R.I.P. Mozart

mozart students

This quiz question really checks if students are paying attention


This joke is truly electric!


Who let these two near the yearbook photographer?

Photo: xSpaz/

Who wins when teachers play tug of war in your yearbook?

teachers rope

Photo: xSpaz/

And finally, the best answer to an April Fools prank by a teacher. Ever?

april fools teachers

Read More

Why it's time to start using a password manager

Unless you’ve been living off the grid as of late, you know that web security is important. While you may not be able to control things like massive data breaches from large companies, what you can control is your passwords. How strong are your passwords? Do you change them often enough? And if you use the guidelines for creating a strong password for each site you create an account with, how on earth do you remember all of them? Google advises users that

 “Using numbers, symbols and mix of upper and lower case letters in your password makes it harder for someone to guess your password. For example, an eight-character password with numbers, symbols and mixed-case letters is harder to guess because it has 30,000 times as many possible combinations than an eight-character password with only lower case letters.”

Some people (I’m looking at you, Mom) write all of their passwords down on a sheet of paper and keep it near their computer for reference. If you use your devices on the go or if there’s even the slightest chance that your paper might get thrown away, then this isn’t the greatest idea. Using the same password for all sites you visit? Also a bad idea. Instead, create super secure passwords, and use a password manager to keep track of them. We’ve created a list of some of the best, most secure password managers out there, along with some tips and tricks on choosing what one is best for you.

Questions to ask when choosing a password manager

Security. Usability. Reliability.

  • Can you use the app on all of your devices?
  • Is it simple to use?
  • What other types of information can it store? Credit cards (mobile wallet)? Receipts? Your personal information?
  • Can you search for specific information and passwords within the app?
  • Does the app guide you on password strength? Does it remind you when it is time to change your passwords?
  • What type of sharing functions are available, if any?
  • What type of encryption does it offer?


dashlaneDashlane is pretty much a one stop shop for everything mentioned above. It functions as a password manager, autofill helper, digital wallet, and monitors your online security. It offers (Advanced Encryption Standard) AES-256 encryption, which is (as of this writing) the strongest encryption available. Dashlane uses a master password (which they don’t even keep a record of!) to secure all of your other passwords. It offers you the ability to sync across devices (or not, if you choose). Two-factor authentication is also available. (If you don’t know what two-factor authentication is, CNET has a pretty solid explanation here). Dashlane will help you out with making more secure passwords if you need the guidance, and can even generate a strong password for you when you’re changing your password on any given site. You can also share passwords securely using the service – which is great for any accounts you share with others. The online wallet function is awesome – it autofills for you wherever you shop online, automatically saves a snapshot of your receipts, and is universally accepted. Dashlane is available for desktop, iOS, and Google Play. You can get it for free to use on any one single device, but if you want to sync across all of your devices and have your data automatically backed up, you’ll need to upgrade to the premium version for $39.99/year.


onepassword1Password offers many of the same features as Dashlane, which is what earns it a spot on this list. It functions as a password manager, autofill helper, digital wallet, and secure private notepad. It offers AES-256 using encrypt-then-MAC (when the plaintext is encrypted first, then a MAC is produced based on the resulting ciphertext, which are then sent together. This produces the “highest” definition of security in AE). 1Password uses a master password which safeguards all of your other passwords, and it offers an excellent ‘strong password generator’ feature. Sharing functionality is easy to use. The digital wallet and autofill functions are good, and in addition to storing your payment information for online shopping, you can also store information like bank account numbers, passport numbers, and more. You can sync your data across all devices quickly and easily, and when browsing online with your desktop or laptop, you’ll simply use a browser extension to access many of the features (like autofill). Browser extensions are available for IE, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. You can try out the fully functional desktop version for 30 days; after that you’ll need to buy yourself a license (between $35-$50, with free updates until the release of the next major version, which may require you to re-buy). The licenses are licensed per person per platform, not per device. You can also share with up to six family members in the same household, so there’s a good bit of leniency in there.


lastpassLastPass, as its name would imply and like the others mentioned above, uses one master password to safeguard your other passwords. It saves your passwords as you browse, autofills the information when you return to the site, and offers a nifty ‘profile’ feature that lets you set up a profile for each shopper, credit card, address, etc that you can use as you shop online. LastPass offers a strong password generator to help ensure you create secure passwords when you’re creating an account or updating your passwords. You can also create secure notes so that you have important information like bank account information, social security numbers, etc at the ready, but totally secure. It offers multifactor authentication for added security, and even offers a security check to ensure you’re changing your passwords often enough, not using the same password multiple times, and using strong enough passwords. You can get LastPass for free, but if you want to sync your data across devices and have access to your information on the go with a phone or tablet app, you’ll need to upgrade to the premium version, which is $12 per year.

Read More
1 67 68 69 70 71 118