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Duolingo vs. Babbel

Duolingo vs. Babbel

So the time has come. A foreign language is calling your name. Maybe you want to brush up on some basic Italian for your two-week excursion to the Amalfi Coast. Perhaps you are relocating to Berlin for your job, and want to get familiar with German. As you search the internet for information on language learning websites, you can easily get overwhelmed with the amount of resources now available to you. If you are not after a private language teacher, Duolingo or Babbel could be your way to go.
This article looks to …

Best Color Printer for Teachers

Best Color Printer for Teachers

In our modern-day, being a teacher means going beyond the job description and providing an experience for students they won’t soon forget. Many times, creating this in-classroom experience means providing your supplies, including color printers.
Best color printer for teachers at a glance

Epson EcoTank ET-2720 Wireless Color All-in-One Supertank Printer with Scanner and Copier
Our choice: …

Amazon Prime for Teachers

Amazon Prime for Teachers

As of January 2020, Amazon has reported that over 150 million people have a subscription to their Prime service. Amazon Prime started in 2005 with their free 2-day shipping service. Since then, Amazon Prime has evolved into a rich program with lots of benefits. Unlimited TV, movie, and music streaming services, unlimited photo storage, Amazon Fresh grocery delivery are only some of their services.

As Prime membership continues to climb, Amazon continues to develop its Prime program accordingly. While just about everyone can find something beneficial in the Prime membership offering. There are some fantastic opportunities for teachers to make the most out of Amazon Prime with a 30-day free trial.

Here are some fantastic perks that teachers can take advantage of to make the most of their Amazon Prime memberships! 

1. Amazon Prime for Teachers – Ebooks for Education

Amazon ebooks for education is a program where books can be purchased electronically instead of in hardcopy format. The Amazon ebook program can be accessed online on Ebooks for Education.

Amazon offers popular textbooks, exam prep, and classic literature. Instead of purchasing 30 copies of a textbook, waiting for delivery, and handing them out to students, ebooks for education provides teachers with a much smoother process. Under the ebooks for the Education program, the books are electronically and synced to the student’s devices. Teachers can browse the offerings, create personalized groups for each grade level and class, and organize the books accordingly. It keeps all of the information for each class together in one place. They are easy to access. 

Once the user purchased and downloaded the books, the user has access to all textbooks through the Kindle app. The app is available for PCs and Mac, as well as iPhone and Android. Not only is this beneficial from a financial standpoint. The electronic versions offer both teacher and students additional benefits. The Kindle app allows users to highlight passages and take notes right in the ebook. For students, it’s a great way to notate important information, identify areas where they need more help, and keep class notes organized and all in one place.

Compared to traditional textbooks and handwritten class notes, the Kindle app makes it much easier for students to find information when they need it. It makes studying for tests a breeze. For teachers, the Kindle app is a convenient way to highlight and notate essential details to include in a later exam or a classroom lesson.

Best of all, the information can be accessed anywhere – at home on a desktop computer, or while on the go using a phone or tablet.

Ebooks for Education

2. Amazon Prime Student

The cost for Amazon Prime Student is $6.49/month after a six month free trial period. Amazon offers additional services at a lower price to students, such as their upgraded Prime Music Unlimited Service.

Once the teacher signed up for the Amazon Prime Student program, the first six months are a free trial period. You can use the membership for shopping, TV, movie, or music streaming, photo storage, or any other Prime service. 

For teachers who are pursuing advanced degrees, Amazon Prime Student is an excellent way to save a few dollars, and get all of the benefits available with a traditional Amazon Prime membership. To quality, the teacher simply needs to have an active email address for education by the .edu domain.

All in all, the Amazon Prime Student program is a good deal. It is half the price of the typical Amazon Prime membership cost of $119.00 per year.

So, for any teacher who is in the process of furthering their education, definitely take advantage of the Amazon Prime Student program.

Amazon Prime Student

3. Amazon Education Publishing and Amazon Ignite

Teachers spend an enormous amount of time during their careers, creating educational materials for their students. It isn’t easy. It’s a great feeling when original creations entirely energize students, making them hungry to learn more. Before independent self-publishing was readily available, most of this work never left the teacher’s classroom. Through Amazon Education, teachers can see their creations available for students everywhere.

Both Amazon Education Publishing and Amazon Ignite give educators an excellent opportunity to create and distribute their original educational materials for use by students & learners on both a large and small scale. 

Amazon Education Publishing

With Amazon Education Publishing, teachers will have access to a direct publishing service with which they can create print-on-demand textbooks, workbooks, test preps, and worksheets, as well as ebooks and e-textbooks. By using Amazon Education Publishing in tandem with Kindle Direct Publishing, teachers who choose to publish will see their creations for sale through Kindle.

The author will own the copyright for their materials, allowing them total creative control and the ability to make adjustments and updates for future releases. It is a great way to ensure that amazing creations by teachers are available to students all over the world. And best of all, it can even create a new income stream. Along with book format, Education Publishing also allows educators to publish original work in other forms, audiobooks and educational videos.

Amazon Education Publishing

Amazon Ignite

A similar program is Amazon Ignite which allows teachers to get even more creative!

It is for teachers of K-12th grade, and provides a platform to share and sell original classroom creations such as vocabulary crossword puzzles, worksheets, classroom games,  and test prep sheets. The Ignite store is full of all kinds of fun and educational tools made by teachers and other educators. 

Amazon Ignite

4. AWS Educate

AWS is Amazon’s cloud-based platform for businesses. It allows companies to utilize the cloud for data storage. AWS Educate runs proprietary programs for business. It also allows connecting with customers and managing their business without physical data centers. As seen with the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis, cloud computing is becoming more and more necessary in business and education today. This is because companies need to maintain a high degree of flexibility.

Because cloud computing is a growing field, Amazon has created AWS Educate. It connects teachers and students, and provides resources to teach students about cloud careers.  Teachers who join AWS Educate have free access to the AWS Educators Collaboration Portal and AWS essentials learning. They also get 50% off any instructor, led training, and 50% off AWS Certification.

Even for teachers who don’t teach technology-based programs or subject matter, AWS Educate still provides value. For example, in response to the COVID crisis, AWS Educate created free webinars to assist teachers in the transition to distance learning and online teaching. AWS Educate included seminars ranging from basic “How to set up an online classroom” to more advanced webinars on classroom best practices. With technology advancing at a fast pace, understanding how cloud-based services work is essential for everyone, regardless of industry. Teachers can take advantage of the discount class rate to learn more about it, and also enjoy free seminars to help them build their online classrooms.

AWS Amazon

5. AmazonSmile

AmazonSmile is a great way for teachers, parents, and administrators to help support their school. When shopping through the amazon smile program,  .5% of all eligible purchases are a donation back to the charity or school the shopper selects. The prices and availability of items using AmazonSmile is the same as when using a traditional Amazon Prime account.

The user simply goes to smile.amazon.com  instead of amazon.com. Once on the AmazonSmile site, the user will need to specify their charity of choice. Enter the school or school district name, and the decision will remain on the AmazonSmile account for all future purchases. The user can change the charity/school at any time, and any item eligible for the cashback donation will be notated with “eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on the product detail page.

Amazon Smile

As a special bonus, Amazon will run occasional promotions where certain items are eligible for more significant donation amounts.

Teachers and administrators can work with their schools PTA/PTO to encourage parents to set up their AmazonSmile account for purchases.  If a particular school or district is not registered for AmazonSmiles, they can go to org.amazon.com to complete registration.

Amazon Org Central

6. Amazon Associates

Many teachers today have a social media presence. For teachers who use social media to support educational endeavors, the Amazon affiliate program is a great way to connect with students and other teachers. It monetizes their site at the same time.

The Amazon affiliate program is called Amazon Associates. For teachers who have a personal website, a blog, or a YouTube channel dedicated to education, it is easy to sign up as an affiliate. 

Teachers will register with the Amazon Associate program by going to https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/. Once the user signed up, it is straightforward.

As teachers create their content, they can recommend specific products to their students. The recommendations can be learning tools, books, videos, and study aids. Then, simply provide a link for users that takes them directly to the products on amazon.com. Anytime someone purchased a product through the link provided, the Amazon affiliate will receive a 4% to 10% commission.

It is a great way to reach out to students and other teachers. Amazon Associates recommends helpful educational tools and products that make teaching or learning a more positive experience. It gives educators a chance to share what works for them. Users offer advice, plus make a little extra money too!  The Amazon Associates program provides step by step instructions on building the links to the recommended products. They provide help by simplifying the process for folks who are not entirely tech-savvy.

Amazon Affiliate

7. Amazon Business for Education

Amazon Business for Education is an excellent way for teachers and administrators to cut costs and streamline the purchasing process within their school or school district. A purchasing system set up by an administrator, Amazon Business for Education, is a user-friendly way for teachers to get the supplies they need for their classroom. Its design is for easy review and approval within the school’s chain of command. It provides extra perks such as tax-exempt status, discounted business-only rates, and flexible payment options.

Once an account is ready, users will enter their account portal and select the items they need. Once completed, the program works efficiently, with no paperwork. Natural approval processes for administration or department heads, and multiple quotes for details when necessary makes it even easier. It’s a program designed to help teachers get the necessary supplies into their classrooms as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Amazon Business

Summary of Amazon Prime for Teachers

Amazon takes education very seriously and supports schools, educators, and students through its various program offerings. Amazon strives to make education available through their digital programs and products to students anywhere in the world. For anyone interested in reading more about the various educational support programs from Amazon, simply go to Amazon Education and click on any of the program links available to learn more.

For teachers and other educators who have not yet taken advantage of everything that Amazon Prime offers, Amazon offers a 30 day free trial period for new users (unless eligible for the Student pricing). The trial period is a great way to review the various benefits that exist for educators professionally. Users can enjoy free TV, movie, and music streaming at home. And of course, don’t forget about their free 2-day shipping!

 

Choose Your Own Adventure Books For Adults

Choose Your Own Adventure Books For Adults

Ask anyone writing a book, and they’ll tell you that coming up with a classic run-of-the-mill ending is hard. Yet, there is a specific genre of books that challenges this idea and provides that a book should have dozens of potential endings–more than that–a reader should have control over the plot and endings along the way. This genre is known lovingly as “choose your own adventure.”
“Choose Your Own Adventure” Books at a glance.

To Be or Not To Be: A Chooseable-Path…

Online Education: Coursera vs Udemy

Online Education: Coursera vs Udemy

Online education is a big business. Market experts estimate that by 2025, online learning will be a $319 billion industry. Most people are familiar with online degree programs offered by traditional schools, online universities, or online services like iTalki, who offer one-on-one tuitions to learn a language online. As the online education industry continues to expand, we are now seeing the growth of online learning platforms. These platforms offer MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). These are individual courses open to anyone over the world. MOOCs are an excellent option for individuals, who want to sharpen their …

Duolingo vs. Rosetta Stone

Duolingo vs. Rosetta Stone

Are you looking to learn a new language? With all of the resources available these days, choosing a platform can seem like a daunting task. While researching language learning website, there is a good chance that you are trying to decide between Rosetta Stone and Duolingo. In this article, we will breakdown the features of these learning sites to help you decide what platform is right for you.

Competitor Overview

While both companies are looking to capitalize on the same language learning market, they have different methods to accomplish their goals. It is a story as old as time: The proven veteran Rosetta Stone in one corner, and the new, flashy, hotshot Duolingo in the other corner. Here are some more specifics about how these companies are run.

Rosetta Stone

To sum up, Rosetta Stone’s business model in one word: professional. The company boasts over 25+ years of experience selling language learning software to individuals all over the world. Their website lists their ticker symbol on the “about us” page (NYSE: RST). They have a whole section of the site dedicated to testimonials from their most renowned partners. Rosetta Stone uses a unique approach to teaching called Dynamic Immersion. It involves gradually introducing sights and sounds, words, sentences, conversations, and concepts in a way that’s supposed to accelerate the learning process.

Duolingo

Duolingo is a much younger company than Rosetta Stone, and their website reflects it. The company was founded in 2011 by Luis Von Ahn and burst onto the Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) scene. On their site, Duolingo mentions it is their mission to “make learning fun.” Their website is a lot more colorful than Rosetta Stone’s, with animations to go with their descriptions. Duolingo uses gamification strategies to help users learn a foreign language. Duolingo uses the modern idea of crowdsourcing to help structure their lessons and translations. Despite being younger than Rosetta Stone, Duolingo has risen in value faster. According to CB insights, in 2015, Duolingo was valued at 2.5 times the value of Rosetta Stone. 

Language Offerings and Usability

Duolingo is available on Windows, IOS, and Android Devices. Rosetta Stone is available on Mac, Windows, IOS, and Android Devices. Both of these language learning platforms offer a wide variety of languages to choose from. Duolingo provides more language learning opportunities for English learners than Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone provides 25 total language offerings, while Duolingo provides 35 total for English speakers (3 languages are currently in beta phase). See below for the full list of languages of both companies:

Rosetta Stone’s 25 languages include:

Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, English (American), English (British), Filipino (Tagalog), French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin*, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese (Brasil), Russian, Spanish (Latin America), Spanish (Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese

Duolingo’s 35 languages include:

English, Latin American Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, Arabic, Turkish, Hindi, Dutch, Swedish, Latin, Greek, Irish, Polish, Norwegian Bokmål, Hebrew, High Valyrian, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Danish, Romanian, Indonesian, Welsh, Czech, Swahili, Scottish, Gaelic, Ukrainian, Esperanto, 

For those that are taking a trip to the Far East, Rosetta Stone was traditionally seen as the platform to go to. However, within the last few years, Duolingo has bolstered their Asian language offerings with the addition of Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and Hindi. English and Spanish speakers make up the majority of the Duolingo customer base. English to Spanish learning, along with Spanish to English, are the top two courses by users, respectively.

Pricing

This old vs. new matchup of language learning platforms turns into an easy vs. complicated battle when it comes to pricing.

Let’s start with the easy pricing company:

Duolingo

Duolingo is FREE for usage. When you create a Duolingo account, you have full access to their products, whether you are on your phone or your computer. There are a few payment options within Duolingo, but these are more accessory features like avoiding advertisements rather than main components.

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone does have two different payment options that users can choose from. 

CD or download software option: If you are an old school learner, this option may be for you. CDs are best for users that are just getting started with either a new language or with Rosetta Stone’s platform.

You have the option to pay:

Single fee:

  • USD 124.00 to access level 1 of a language. It gives you about five to six hours of lessons.
  • USD 200.00 for levels 1-3
  • USD 250.00 for levels 1-5.

Subscription option:

The subscription is the payment model that Rosetta has been focusing on. For a recurring subscription fee, you can access all levels of a selected language for the duration of an online subscription.

Rosetta Stone offers three-month ($35.97), 12-month ($179), 24-month ($249) subscriptions or a lifetime subscription ($299). These lessons can be accessed on a computer, iOS, or Android device. 

Subscription service offers the flexibility for users to access Rosetta Stone on the go. For folks that are looking to use their platform on their commute to work or a long road trip, Rosetta Stone subscription service makes the most sense. If you spend most of your time on a laptop/computer, then the CD service may save you some dough.

No matter how you slice it, Rosetta Stone is going to be pretty expensive compared to Duolingo. But it’s not hard to find deals on Rosetta Stone that reduce the pricing quite a bit. For example, three out of the four Mandarin subscription services are currently offered at a steep discount. Rosetta Stone does offer payment plans to allow you to split up payments over time. It’s important to note that Rosetta Stone does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you don’t like the service.

Learning Strategies

Let’s get to the heart of the debate: what platform is going to help you learn a new language the best? Or the fastest? This question leads to a more nuanced answer, as both companies have advantages and disadvantages to their services. 

Duolingo

The new kid on the block narrative also fits Duolingo’s teaching style. What Duolingo’s looks to accomplish is to help the user learn a language in the context of a real-life situation. For example, some lessons will focus on ordering food at a restaurant because this is a situation a user would likely find themselves in.

As mentioned in Duolingo’s overview, the company’s vision is for participants to learn the language through “gamification.” If you are expecting a lesson plan in the classroom lecture style, then you will be in for a surprise! Duolingo’s motto from their website:

“Learning is easier when you are having fun.”

An essential point about Duolingo’s platform is that they keep a bilingual dialogue through many levels of their platform. It will be more welcoming for beginners that are still looking to fall back on their native tongue. Many users have found this style of learning to be quicker and more straightforward but less immersive. This is similar to having a conversation with a bilingual speaker who can correct your Spanish mistakes in English. 

Duolingo does not have strict lesson plans for grammar and language rule memorization. Their approach is that users should focus on learning a language the same way a child does as they grow older. It is a tactic known as “implicit learning.” For example, Duolingo would include common Spanish phrases like “¿Dónde está el baño?” (Where is the bathroom) in a lot of their lessons. The thought is that these phrases are again beneficial in real-life situations a user might find themselves in. The user would learn enough of these phrases to help them learn a language’s grammar and rules. 

Duolingo does offer some flexibility to fit different types of learning styles. If the user wants a more explicit learning experience, Duolingo does offer tips and tricks for explanations during lessons. As a modern, crowdsourced learning platform, Duolingo believes they can personalize learning for all of their 300+ million visitors. They boast a machine learning Algorithm that will pair a user with their proper level of learning. It is also important to note that Duolingo offers many different levels within their lesson plans. It would likely take years for a user to complete every level within a language from start to finish.

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone takes a bit more of a traditional (serious?) approach to language learning. One massive difference between Rosetta Stone and Duolingo is that Rosetta Stone does NOT offer a translation back to a user’s native tongue. It certainly creates a challenge upfront for a new language learner. However, what Rosetta Stone wants is for the user to be reading, hearing, speaking, and writing with this foreign language alone. This is a deep, immersive dive that the Duolingo experience does not provide. Rosetta Stone throws you into a foreign country where no one around you speaks your native language. 

Rosetta Stone boasts unique features that Duolingo does not have. Users benefit from a speech recognition engine called Trueaccent that can help a user with pronunciation. As one might imagine, pronunciation is critical for a learner that will be using a language verbally. Trueaccent looks to teach pronunciation in a manner that written text simply cannot. Rosetta Stone has a deep staff of tutors, and offers live tutoring sessions for its members. This is more typical of a classroom setting for users that learn better through personal interactions. On their very own website, Rosetta Stone gives an interesting perspective on their paid-for services.

One FAQ addresses the question of why use Rosetta Stone if there are free language learning services already available. They respond by saying their staff is made up of professional linguists rather than from a crowdsource background with unknown qualifications. Rosetta Stone is looking to capitalize on users that have tried free language learning platforms. They are looking for those that want the immersive, deep dive into learning a language thoroughly.

The Verdict

So if you have made it this far, you are probably dying to know the answer. What service do I choose? As much as I dislike the “cop-out” answer, my verdict is that it depends. What is your reason for wanting to learn a new language?

For Travellers

If you are traveling to a foreign country for a week or two and want to get the basics, Duolingo would seem to be the best option for you. Their whole gamification strategy revolves around you learning in scenarios that you would face in real life. Plus, Duolingo is completely free, so what do you have to lose? For the novice looking to get their feet wet with language learning, Duolingo is the platform that seems to make the most sense.

For Work and Study Abroad

Now, if you are studying abroad for a semester in a foreign land, or are going to relocate for a job in another country, your decision will be different. If you are going to an area where your native language is still spoken regularly, maybe you can get away with using Duolingo. But if you truly want to commit to fully immersing yourself in a foreign language, giving Rosetta Stone a shot makes sense.

Rosetta Stone offers many resources that you simply won’t find at Duolingo. Trueaccent is a tool that can help you nail down proper pronunciation, a skill that is crucial for your ability to interact in person. You can have a tutoring session with a live Rosetta Stone teacher to test out your language repertoire. While Rosetta Stone’s services come with a cost, there is a good reason for this. The company has been a household name in language learning services for over 25 years. Rosetta Stone has built a long-lasting reputation for guiding individuals in the language learning process.

In Summary

This heavyweight language clash ends in a split decision. Duolingo has done an unbelievable job taking market share from Rosetta Stone and making a name for themselves. Yet it seems unlikely that Duolingo will be offering up the kind of white-glove service Rosetta Stone currently offers to their paying customers. In the language learning arena, there is room for two all-star caliber companies. If you prefer to learn a language in one-on-one tuition online, than iTalki is the way to go for you.

The 6 Best Reading Chairs 2020

The 6 Best Reading Chairs 2020

Whether you’re visiting Hogwarts, Narnia, a chocolate factory, or the Shire, putting aside your work or prep books to get lost in a novel is a relaxing adventure. Being comfortable while visiting is very important. Nothing interrupts a great experience like a crick in the neck or a pain in the back.  Below are the top 6 best reading chairs reviewed.
Best reading chairs at a glance

Christopher Knight Home Felicity Mid-…

Skillshare vs Udemy

Skillshare vs Udemy

Online educational platforms have taken the world by storm over the past several years. More people are enjoying their offerings of convenience, affordability, and an array of options. When it comes to providing a quality education, top educators in world-renowned universities have partnered with services that aim to bring their resources to people in the most accessible way possible.
Two of these platforms, Udemy and …

edX vs Coursera

edX vs Coursera

More options for receiving a quality education have come in the last several years. There have been new opportunities for people to take advantage of, regardless of where in the world users are. Students and knowledge seekers can receive instruction on subjects of their choosing. And this without the process of being formally accepted into accredited universities and paying exuberant fees.

These education platforms have become popular for their convenience, quality of courses and competitive pricing structures. Many students are turning to them to fulfill unique needs that traditional services might not always be able to provide.  

The options of these courses will appeal to those seeking further education. Or others who want to change career paths and offer an immersive outlet for those who just want to learn more about an interest. Two of these particular services, edX and Coursera, are worldwide platforms from top universities that offer specialized experiences. They are extremely appealing to seekers of online learning. 

What is edX

edX is a platform founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is a massive online education provider that offers degrees in a variety of fields such as engineering and computer science. This program offers over 2500 courses, and some are even free of charge. This program has partnered with many top-class institutions and organizations from around the world. Berkley, Boston University, and The University of Texas Systems are two examples. Their courses provide quality resources. Industry-leading corporations and nonprofit organizations alike support this platform. Over 20 million students and counting have registered.

edX aims to break traditional barriers in finding an education such as pricing and location. It is is a service that anyone can access if they seek to pursue interests in their many offered fields. 

What Does edX Offer

edX is for people seeking to expand their horizons into more specific fields. They primarily specialize in science and math-based courses. Popular subjects include Computer Science, Language, Data Science, Business & Management, and Humanities featuring courses like programming, full-stack development, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, writing, business analysis, or literature. With the 2500+ courses in their repertoire, you will find something even if it’s in a more niche category.

Students have praised this platform for its transparent pricing structure. Users have the availability of free courses and flexible options. It’s easy to find the right program you’re looking for. You can narrow your search by availability, subject area, or level. All you need to know about each course, like how long it will take to complete, will be clearly defined so you can make your decision easier. 

There are hundreds of programs and even a few degrees from edX courses. These include their Micro Bachelor Programs for Undergraduate Education, a program that allows users to earn real college credit at an affordable price. These credits are fully transferable and even stack with the credit you might already have obtained. The Micro Masters program is similar for deeper learning into graduate-level classes. The classes offered in these programs are taught by educators in prestigious universities. They can accelerate your path to obtaining a complete master’s degree.

Pricing And Length

Most of the edX courses are free, but the ones you have to pay for are listed clearly and distinctly. For example, their paid Micro Bachelor courses average at around USD 166 per credit. Most fees for these courses range approximately USD 50-300 and typically offer certificates upon completion. edX has also implemented a financial assistance program to aid those seeking more advanced material but unable to pay. Prices for each course are displayed prominently. You will have every detail you want to know laid out in a simple to find way. 

A majority of the intro courses offered by edX are self-paced and run around 6-8 weeks in duration, with approximately 8 hours of course work per week. As the courses advance, they provide more timetables. But every course is self-paced, meaning you can set a schedule that will work for you. In a dedicated Course Tools section, you’ll find essential dates such as deadlines for work and the end date. 

edX Pros and Cons

Pros

The significant advantages of edX are transparency and affordability. Their subjects all have interesting allures that many will want to take up their free options to learn more. edX also features a great selection of deals and discounts for their paid courses. It means that a topic out of your price range one day could be within your grasp the next day.

Cons

Some cons of edX, however, are that not every course will offer a certificate or diploma. Some of these are just limited to specific fields like Computer and Data Science. If you are leaning into other areas, like Media or Architecture, you might not find all the resources available for most STEM classes. Another downside is that there are not as many options for interaction with peers as social interaction is an inherent sacrifice of online education platforms when compared to traditional outlets. It would have been nice for edX to implement some options to help offer alternatives. 

edX Summarized

To summarize, edX is an excellent platform that you should take a look at if you are interested in pursuing education on newer subjects. There is always something unique to be found in its collection of high-quality courses. The free library is large enough to offer a diverse skillet for helping discover new interests. Those with interest in the fields of Science, Engineering, Math, and Technology will especially find a lot to chew on as these fields with the most attention. 

Thousands of courses all range from simple introductions to topics, deep dives into technical details, and fully-fledged programs made with the intent of advancing your degree and career. edX features courses provided by prestigious universities and partners. These are world renown names like Georgetown University and Caltech, so you know for sure that you’re getting the best experience and education without compromise. 

Find a Course at edX

What is Coursera

Coursera

Coursera is another extremely popular option for students seeking an excellent online educational platform. They were founded by Stanford in 2012 and are a booming service with over 4,000 courses in many fields. They offer degrees and certifications, ranging from Bachelors to Masters that industry professions recognize and love to see.

Coursera partners with 200 top universities and companies, including Google, Amazon Web Services, the California Institute of Arts, and the University of North Texas.

Over 60 million users have taken to this service and like it for its vast resources, easy to use interface, and prestigious connections. Their mission was a world where “anyone, anywhere, can transform their life by accessing the world’s best learning experience.” They have been making many strides to turn that dream into reality. Users will have access to high-quality career credentials, and industry leaders around the globe will recognize this.

What Does Coursera Offer

Coursera benefits all kinds of users with its array of diverse options. These options include online courses, some of which are free, others at low cost, that offer mobile support, and deliver shareable certifications upon completion.

They offer specialized programs based on your chosen field that you can complete at your own pace. These courses will give you real-world applications of your studies and let you master new skills in just a few months.

Their most attractive options, however, would have to be their complete degree options. With these programs, you can earn a full 4-year degree from a top-class university at your own pace 100% online. They have over 20-degree programs, such as a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science from the University of North Texas, a Global Master of Public Health from Imperial College London or Master of Data Science at the National Research University Higher School of Economics.

Coursera also offers Master Track certificates, which separate portions of master’s degree programs into segments, so you can go hands-on with accredited skills that count towards your degree. 

Coursera Pros and Cons

Pros

One of Coursera’s strengths are the options for peer interactions. Online education typically does not factor in the human interaction side of a physical university. Still, Coursera attempts to mitigate that through peer assignments where you and fellow students can collaborate through various options.

Coursera is also popular for the intuitive user interface. All courses are easy to access, and the attractive layout makes finding every option and setting easy. You won’t have to look very far to check what you need to, as the interface is clean and approachable. They also have several video tools, interactive labs that offer fun challenges, and great mobile phone support in the event you want to take your education on the go.

Cons

Some of the downsides to Coursera, however, are that despite being cheaper on average, their subscription method of payment. Some of the payments are unclear, so it might be a little hard to tell how much you’re going to pay if you don’t do a little extra research. For example, a price could be listed as an amount per month, but the course itself could last much longer than a month, making you pay several times more of that amount to complete the class.

Another downside is that despite having such a massive and diverse range of courses, only a small handful offer complete degree options for Computer Science, Business, Data Science and Public Health. They also offer many more Masters programs than Bachelors, so you might need even further requirements to take full advantage of those options. 

Coursera Summarized

Coursera has partnered with many industry-leading institutions. That has led to a strong assortment of course options. Do you want to learn how to eat healthy? Take the Stanford Introduction to Food and Health course. Have you ever thought it would be cool to learn how detectives do their jobs? You can start with the Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination Course from West Virginia University. No matter how unique or niche the subject, you’ll probably find quality and engaging resources for it on Coursera. 

Coursera is a strong option for receiving your online education. They offer a larger number of courses and resources than anyone else, and you are sure to discover something that will suit your needs. Users get a wide array of advanced tools to make your experience as smooth as possible. Be sure to study the pricing structure of your choices carefully, and you’ll be all set to start an educational adventure.

Find a Course at Coursera

edX vs Coursera: How Do They Compare?

edX has advantages when compared to Coursera in that they offer more resources and different options, such as cost and specializations. It has influenced many people to choose this service. While pricing is the biggest advantage, there are a few other factors that might lead to choosing edX over Coursera as well. 

edX features courses tailored to more specific fields. Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Humanities, and emphasized. Students in these fields will find more resources. More niche and technical subjects such as neuroscience or analytics, or any real deep dives into subjects are more likely to have tools in place at edX. Many users of both services that edX has a far easier billing process, and it’s easier to see what exactly you’re paying for and where it goes. 

Coursera has benefits when compared to edX in cases that might draw you more towards this service. Their online degree program is the biggest advantage in this regard. They offer advanced access not seen anywhere else. edX places more emphasis on STEM fields, but with Coursera, you’ll find more varied options in a variety of other fields, such as music. Coursera is the more popular of the two options, boasting a higher user base of students. It’s also notable that Coursera adds new courses on an almost daily basis. It might discover a platform for a new interest every day. On average, Coursera is the lowest cost option for the kinds of services offered. 

What Sets Them Apart

While both services are similar in the quality of education and layout of courses. What sets them apart from each other is that they emphasize different things.

Coursera focuses more on variety, having tons of courses in almost every subject you can imagine. edX, on the other hand, goes for a deeper dive into STEM field courses among a few others, offering a more extensive array of technical details onto those given subjects. If you’re someone who wants to explore every nook and cranny of a given topic, or if you’re someone who wants to learn all they can about new fields, you might find a different experience depending on where you go. The types of degree programs and what institutions offer them differ on each platform as well. 

For example, edX offers a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management from Arizona State University, and Coursera provides a Masters of Public Health from the University of Michigan. Every individual has unique needs and degree requirements based on their education status, but taking these online courses can help accelerate your path to those degrees regardless of what anyone’s situation might be.

Trying Them Both

Thankfully, both options provide enough free resources so you can try out both and see which one works best for you. The free courses provide excellent tours of each service, so you will know how everything works when you make your choice. Some of them don’t take very long to complete, and you can go at whatever pace you desire. This way, you get the ability to make an informed decision within a reasonable timeframe.

No rules are saying you can’t take advantage of both simultaneously. Each of these offerings is tailor-made for you to be as convenient as possible, and both services can be self-paced to mold around your schedule.

The diverse breadth of topics on each site provides alluring reasons to try both out. The best part is that you’ll be receiving a quality education in something new in the process. 

Resources They Provide

Both Coursera and edX aim to provide everyone with a quality education, no matter the individual reason or circumstance. As such, both provide a wide variety of accessibility and financial aid options that are sure to benefit users who need them. Each accessibility option is easy to locate and well explained to ensure that the learner’s experience is as smooth as possible.

At edX, all course videos include timed captions and feature a variety of languages. The platform works in conjunction with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines by the World Wide Web Consortium to provide common accessibility tools.

At Coursera, captions are also included, and you get the ability to download subtitles to read as a transcript. Screen reader compatibility is included to aid those with visual impairments. 

On both platforms, content is, for the most part, self-paced and accessible anywhere. Both include mobile compatibility for taking your work. At the same time, you commute or travel, and you can download courses to view offline in the event you are going somewhere without an internet connection.

Mobile apps from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store give easy access, and the UI for each platform, be it through their mobile component or web pages, is easy to navigate. There is usually no limit to how many times you can re-watch a lesson to make sure you get the most out of it. Scrubbing through videos to get to specific sections is quick and easy. 

Professors and Instructors

Each instructor is a leading expert in their field and works at a world-rated institution. When you enroll in these services, you can be sure that they don’t just pick people off the street, every educator on that platform has years of experience in their subject and know exactly how to convey every little detail to you in the best way possible. 

If you want to see for yourself, check out Coursera’s Expert Network. This service connects media reporters with over 250 instructors from top-level universities to share their stories, opinions, and expertise on topics.

For example, an interview with Dr. David Boyd, Hymowitz Family Professor of the Practice of Global Health at the Duke Global Health Institute, shares how health systems around the world are handling the global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Professor John W Budd, Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies at the University of Minnesota, shares how the future of employment is likely to change. This expert network allows you to get a glimpse of the instructors you’ll be working with when you sign up for these platforms. Each professor is accredited, and everything you would need to know, like their bio, subjects, and learners reached, are all easily viewable. 

Both platforms have millions upon millions of users who have taken part in their courses. With such huge numbers, you’re sure to know someone who has taken at least one, or have a friend of a friend who did. Asking firsthand opinions from people in your social circle is a great way to tell if each service is right for you. We all learn best by doing. Each of the free courses offered to give us easy ways to take firsthand look at the tools by ourselves.

Enterprise Options

There are other options that Coursera and edX provide that doesn’t just involve giving courses to teach students. Both platforms have enterprise and business options. They help companies to provide the best kind of training for their employees. These workforce training programs have industry-leading resources. The resources focus on transforming a company’s training and education process into something more advanced and efficient. These talent-driven courses are all curated to deliver quality experiences. They have options for businesses regardless of size and scale. 

edX Enterprise

edX for Business features customized plans and courses provided by industry giants. Companies can enroll easily, and courses are simple for every employee to access directly. These solutions directly integrate with existing educational platforms already in place. Businesses are provided with plenty of data and analytics so they can instantly see the results of where this investment is going.

edX has partnered with companies such as Microsoft and RedHat. They also partnered with institutions like the University of Oxford to provide the best education possible via over 2,200 courses in various fields. Their fields include Professional Skills, providing courses on Excel and Leadership, Business and Management, providing classes on Economics and Personal Development and Data & Analytics, with Java, Machine Learning, and Python all offered.

A company could have a team of 10 people or 10,000 and are sure to see massive ROIs from these services. Some companies that have taken advantage of these resources range from Goldman Sachs to MetLife to Sony Interactive Entertainment. 

Coursera Enterprise

Coursera for Business features curated collections of high-quality educational classes. The classes are all designed to bring a workforce the best resources possible. These programs are hands-on and allow employees to learn skills quickly and efficiently. The tools of these courses are in high demand. Even industry giants who have used these services to take their training procedures to new heights trust them.

Packages include their essential skills collections. These include examples like Business Skills for Engineers. Rice, UCI, and more, providing courses on AI for Everyone, Foundations of Everyday Leadership.

Also offered is Essential Skills for Data Science, from Google Cloud and Yandex, with Functional Program Design in Scala and Deep Learning in Computer Vision. These courses just scratch the surface of all these offerings. Businesses and employees alike are sure to appreciate every single one.

Conclusion

edX and Coursera offer distinct advantages in comparison to traditional educational institutions. Regardless of which one you choose—one of them being that every course is 100% tailored to your convenience. You decide when you want to begin and when you want to end. At a regular university, you would have to adjust based on semester times if the course you want is available.

Another advantage is that the internet is everywhere. Therefore, so are your classes. You no longer need to move to a different city or cancel your vacation plans to get to campus on time. Your coursework goes where you go. Be it a comfy couch at home or a beach in Hawaii. 

Finally, pricing is the most significant advantage that these platforms have. A typical 4-year University degree can cost you at a minimum of $25,000 with all additional costs. These online platforms reduce those costs significantly, and in some individual cases, eliminated. Most online courses don’t cost nearly as much.

Almost any user can take advantage of these services. Signing up is a simple process. For the most part, if users don’t have the proper credits, diplomas, or SAT scores, they might not get accepted into certain Universities. But with these platforms, there are alternate and quality options.

How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

As the world changes, the amount of children in homeschool is on a steady climb. More and more parents are seeking homeschool as their preferred education source for their children for a variety of reasons. Whether parents want to homeschool their children because of religious beliefs, bullying at public schools, or ill-feelings towards the state’s guidelines and policies, a cost comes with homeschooling. How much does it cost to homeschool?

Curriculum (USD 300.00- USD 600.00 per year)
Homeschool Accessories and Planners (USD 100.00 – USD 250.00 per year)

Homeschooling in California

Homeschooling in California

What do Ansel Adams (photographer), Louisa May Alcott (author), Benjamin Franklin (statesman, inventor), and Todd Lodwich (Olympic Skier) have in common? They all received their education through a type of homeschooling.
Investors are so convinced, that homeschooling becomes a trend in the future, that they invested $3.7 million in Primer, just last month.  (May 2020).
The modern homeschool movement began in the 1970s, with it being legal in every state. Some states were regulated, and some were not. In the 1980s, homeschooling changed as the view of public schools changed. Most of these views were based on …

Best Webcams for Online Teaching – Still Available

Best Webcams for Online Teaching – Still Available

Whether permanently or temporarily, there is a great deal of education taking place online. Teachers in one place and students in another. This is uncharted territory for many teachers, and they never believed this would happen, however, it has. As you begin to explore these uncharted waters, one thing you will need is a webcam.

Best webcams for online teaching at a glance (Updated July 2020)

  1. FONREST FHD 1080P Webcam
  2. Hrayzan 1080P HD Webcam
  3. Great choice: Logitech C270 Black Webcam
  4. Microsoft Lifecam Cinema
  5. AUKEY FHD Webcam, 1080p Live Streaming Camera with Stereo Microphone
  6. Our top pick: IPEVO V4K Ultra High Definition 8MP USB Document Camera
  7. Logitech Brio

A webcam will step up your video quality. Virtual learning can take place through numerous avenues that involve video chatting and video chat; you need a webcam. We have gathered a list of the top best webcams for online teaching to help the beginning of mapping out these waters for you.

Our Top 7 Webcams for Online Teaching Reviewed

As we researched the best webcams available, we looked for a variety of criteria. First, the webcams had to have excellent customer reviews. Next, we wanted to make sure that the specs were within the recommended range for a webcam for the purpose of online teaching.

Finally, we wanted cameras that were versatile enough that it would pick you up whether you were sitting right in front of it or up writing at a whiteboard. Finding the perfect Webcam can be time consuming and overwhelming. However, we know you will find a favorite within our list.

1. FONREST FHD 1080P Webcam

Compatible with both Mac and PC, this Webcam offers a 110° wide-angle, six-layer lens. It has a 1080P resolution with 5 million pixels and 30 frames per second. In the box, you will find the camera, a user manual, a tripod, and a 1.5m long cable.

Our Take

This camera is new on the market. However, it has a lot to offer. The built-in dual microphone allows you to be headset free. The microphone does an excellent job of canceling out echo and extra noise. The autofocus works nicely, so you aren’t having to adjust focus while teaching continually. The autofocus is also lovely as you move to teach, especially if you use a whiteboard to teach from. The built-in adjustable stand works with any computer or laptop, making set up easy, and if you don’t want to attach it to monitor or laptop, there is a tripod included as well. Having this tripod saves you from having to buy one.

We love that it is compatible with both MAC and PC. The USB plug and play makes it easy to set up and use. A driver must be installed on the computer before use, but it is easy to walk through. The color is great on the screen and with 30fps, so there is no choppy video.

A downfall of this Webcam is that it does not have great light sensitivity. There is poor picture quality in low light. To make up for this downfall, adding some light in your teaching area will help.

FONREST backs its product with a 12-month warranty and a 100% money-back guarantee. They also offer 24-hour customer service. It is great to see a company back their products as well as FONREST does.

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2. Hrayzan 1080P HD Webcam

 This Webcam offers the USB plug and play feature with no drivers needed. It has a 110° wide view angle, 1080P HD resolution and 30fps. A 50cm-2.5m focal length is provided in his camera.  Other specs offered with this camera include a privacy cover and a tripod. It is compatible with MAC, PC, and Chrome systems. A built-in auto noise reduction mic picks up voices at 5m. This Webcam offers low light correction.

Our Take

The very first aspect we love on this camera is the privacy cover. It gives a sense of security, so hackers can not hack your camera. Much like the FONREST webcam, this camera offers the same wide-angle, plug and play connectivity, and 30 fps.

Unlike the FONREST, this camera has low light correction. We did notice that although the camera claims to have a resolution of 1080P, it actually streams at 720, which makes it to an adequate streaming webcam for online teaching.

A couple of downfalls of this camera is that the four corners are often distorted because of the wide view angle. The center of the picture is clear, but the corners are out of focus. This camera also has poor color calibration. Users often look washed out; this can be changed by changing camera settings and changing light.

Unlike the FONREST webcam, there is no warranty offered with this Webcam and very little customer service support.

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3. Logitech C270 Black Webcam

Offering 30 frames per second, this Webcam has a built-in, noise-reducing microphone. This Webcam offers autofocus and auto light correction. It has a universal clip for monitors and laptops and is compatible with Chrome, MAC, and PC. It offers 3MP and 1280X720 video capture resolution. To connect to a device, this Webcam uses a 2.0 USB with plug and play.

Our Take

We love how easy this device is to install and use. It is truly a plug and play camera with a 5-foot cable. As soon as you plug it in, it works. This is nice for teaching because it is reliable to know it will be easy to set up before class. The picture is crisp, clear, smooth, and often better than the built-in camera that comes with a laptop.

A downfall of this camera is that it does not offer a tripod mount or a tripod, unlike the FONREST and the Hrayzan webcams.

Logitech webcams are in high demand and great for online teaching because of their clear picture and microphone capabilities.

The warranty offered with this Webcam is a 2-year limited hardware warranty.  Logitech also offers online support for this product through their website.

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4. Microsoft Lifecam Cinema

For online teaching, this camera offers 720p HD resolution and 30fps. A high precision glass lens uses autofocus to see the picture clearly. Microsoft uses its ClearFrame technology to create the video alongside its TrueColor tech. This camera can rotate halfway in both directions for an all-around video. A high fidelity microphone is also built into this camera. This Webcam comes with a lens cap.

Our Take

We are going to start off by saying this is a Microsoft item, so it is not compatible with MAC or Chrome devices. However, if you have a PC, this is a great camera. The high fidelity microphone produces high-quality sound that is sharp and clear.  Designed for business, it is the highest model of all the Lifecam cameras.

Don’t let the fact that it was designed for business to deter you; this camera has a fantastic video that is clear, high quality, and their ClearFrame technology gives such a smooth, detailed video. The color is just as fantastic as the video quality. TrueColor Tech gives such a bright and colorful video.

This Webcam is great in any light, which makes it very versatile for online teaching. Want to take your teaching outside one day for a science experiment, this Webcam will deliver. Since this Webcam comes with a lens cap, it can be used as a privacy cover, much like the privacy cover that comes with the Hrayzan Webcam.

Microsoft offers a three-year limited warranty on this camera. Just like the Logitech webcam, this camera does not come with a tripod or tripod mount, which is the only downfall we see for this camera.

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5. AUKEY FHD Webcam, 1080p Live Streaming Camera with Stereo Microphone

Another new to the market webcam is offered by AUKEY FHD. This camera has a built-in stereo microphone. The specs for this camera include 2 megapixels, 1080P, and 30 fps. It has a fixed focus at a wide 65° angle. It comes with 1.8m USB cable and the ability to mount on a tripod.  It works perfectly with Skype and Zoom.

Our Take

The built-in microphone gives such a natural audio with an enhanced sound.  If you are a music teacher looking for a webcam, this is it as the sound is so clear. The image is sharp and clear. Much like the rest of the webcams on this list, this camera features plug and play USB connection. It has a convenient foldable design for easy transportation or to be packed away when it is not being used.

It is great for dim light, so if you teach in a poorly lit corner of your house or office, this camera is the perfect one for you. We love the fact you can mount this camera on a tripod.

We wished this Webcam was compatible with all devices. However, it is only compatible with Windows XP / Mac OS 10.6 / Android 5.0 or above. AUKEY FHD camera has a great warranty of 24 months.

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6. IPEVO V4K Ultra High Definition 8MP USB Document Camera

The IPEVO V4K Document Camera is not only a webcam but also a document camera. Offering 30fps, autofocus, and auto exposure, this camera has a three-axis tilt to capture from all angles. This camera has two modes, top-down mode for documents and a selfie mode for online teaching. It also has a detachable camera head that would fit on a tripod mount. It is compatible with PC, MAC, and Chrome.

Our Take

Unlike any camera on this list, the IPEVO V4K Document Camera is a two in one camera designed with educators in mind. In fact, it comes with dedicated education apps to help utilize Google Education, Google Drive, and Google Classroom.

To switch from top-down mode to selfie mode is so easy. It can flawlessly be done while teaching class. The document portion of the camera can shoot worksheets, books, drawing, crafts, and even 3D objects with a max shooting area of 13.46-inch x 10.04 inch. This is big enough for a textbook with both pages on the screen at once.

We love that this camera is multifunctioning. As if it couldn’t get any better, it is compact and can fold up into a backpack for easy transporting. This is our favorite camera on the list because of its functionality.

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7. Logitech Brio

The only UltraHD, 4K Webcam on the list, this camera is high end. It has a premium glass lens, 4K image sensor, autofocus, and HD 5X zoom. Powered by both optical and infrared sensors, this camera operates at 60 fps.  The Logitech Brio has a digital zoom and pan and three fields of view to choose from. It has two Omni-directional built-in mics which give a crisp, clear sound. This camera is compatible with PC, MAC, and Chrome. It is also Windows Hello certified.

Our Take

Like the Microsoft Lifecam, the Logitech Brio was designed for business. We feel that if it was designed for business, it would definitely be a great resource for online teaching. This Webcam is the most hi-tech on the list as it has facial recognition, and the price tag shows it. Rich in features and offering top-end resolution, the video is so true to life. It is as if you are sitting in the same room as the person you are talking with.

We really appreciate the autofocus and that it automatically adjusts to any light. This means it compensates for glare and backlighting. This camera comes with three different USB attachments, which is convenient to have options for connections.

It does not come with a tripod mount, which is inconvenient.  Similar to the OKIOCAM T USB Camera, it is not a plug and play camera as there is software that must be downloaded in order for it to be used.

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A Buyer’s Guide for Your Streaming Webcam

When looking for a webcam for online teaching, there are several specs to keep in mind. These specs are specific to online teaching, and finding a camera within these specs will ensure a camera that will get the job done and exceed it.  The specs to consider when purchasing a webcam are resolution, frame rate, and light sensitivity.

Resolution

Resolution is often measured in pixels or megapixels. A megapixel is one million pixels—the more megapixels a web camera has, the higher the quality of the video picture. Webcams’ resolution can also be measured in measurements such as 640×480 and 1600×1200. An average webcam has a resolution of 640×480 and is the recommended lowest resolution for a webcam for online teaching. Most of the cameras on this list are 1080p, which puts their resolution slightly above average.  Most laptop built-in webcams are 720p. Adding a 1080p webcam to your online teaching would be a great improvement.

Frame Rate

The next spec is frame rate. Basically, the frame rate is the number of frames a camera captures and displays in a given time. In this case, the time frame is a second, so we say frames per second or fps. The lower the frames per second, the choppier the video will be, and when the video becomes choppy, the audio becomes out of sync. It is recommended for online teaching to have a webcam that has 30 fps. All but one camera on this list operates at 30 fps. The Logitech Brio operates at 60 fps.

Light Sensitivity

Generally, a webcam requires a lot of light, especially cheap webcams. When searching for a webcam, it is important to find one that can handle low light.  A webcam with low light correction is ideal as it can automatically adjust to low lights and brighten up the video.

Conclusion

When purchasing a webcam, it is important to look at the specs and choose the one that is the best Webcam for online teaching. You will have better-focused students if the video is clear, crisp, and colorful. There are already enough distractions without webcam issues while teaching.

Choosing the best Webcam can be overwhelming; however, if you choose one on this list, you will be satisfied and have a great experience teaching online. Find the right one today and happy teaching!

What is a Living Book

What is a Living Book

A living book is a book that comes alive. The author writes with a passion that makes you want to keep reading. It is often written in narrative form and almost conversational. It is incredibly well-written with longer, more detailed sentences. Living books touch emotions, and visualizing what is written is easy. Ideas are a big part of the book. These ideas show characters who have critical thinking skills and think outside the box. Living books are excellent teaching resources to practice the student’s reading comprehension and to grasp their attention. It can be used as a discussion starter.
Living books at a glance

The 7 Best Insulated Lunch Boxes

The 7 Best Insulated Lunch Boxes

Getting fast food every day can be expensive and will inevitably run up your bills rather quickly. However, as someone who works and is always on the go, it might be all you have time to do. We found the best insulated lunch boxes, so you won’t have to worry about getting fast food ever again. Now, you can make food at home – hot or cold – and bring it with you to school or work.
Best insulated lunch boxes at a glance

MIER Adult Insulated Lunch Box

Best Memory Games

Best Memory Games

As our loved ones age, their cognitive abilities begin to slow down. Many seniors experience illnesses such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s and start to lose their memory. It’s all too common and horrible to watch without being able to do anything. Memory games and puzzle books are a great way to hold off this cognitive deterioration and support active brain use in their minds.

Best memory games at a glance

  1. Brain Games #1: Lower Your Brain Age
  2. Our favorite: Keeping Busy Wooden Tangram Puzzle
  3. Brain Games – Picture Puzzles: Remember When?
  4. Brain Games – Puzzles: Left Brain Right Brain
  5. Trivia for Seniors: 365 Questions and Riddles

Finding the perfect memory game for your senior loved one can be difficult as there are so many options available. How do you know which ones work? We’ve compiled a list of five best memory games for seniors – puzzle books, wooden tangrams, etc. – to make a choice a little bit easier. Your elderly family members will love the products, and you’ll notice a difference soon.

Top 5 Best Memory Games Reviewed

This list consists of puzzle books, trivia, and hands-on puzzles, which all support the retention of your loved one’s memory as they age. Every product on this list is a fantastic way to keep your senior’s mind active and their memory present. While we certainly have a favorite, each of the products on this list will be effective and beneficial if you choose them. We present to you our top five favorite memory games for seniors.

1. Brain Games #1: Lower Your Brain Age

This might be considered the ultimate puzzle book for adults and seniors. The vast amount of options available is simply staggering. There are about 215 puzzles in the book of varying styles and difficulties – anything from memory games to Sudoku to math puzzles.

The games in this book keep your mind active and to facilitate memory stimulation for adults and seniors. If a puzzle seems to be too difficult, the full range of difficulties enables you to practice until you’re great at them.

Our Review

There’s nothing more beneficial to an elderly mind than a book of stimulating and thought-provoking puzzles, and this is one of the best puzzle books available. Browsing through it, you encounter many different types of puzzles ranging from Sudoku, math, and word puzzles to crosswords, cryptograms, and more.

With 215 different puzzles, you’ll find yourself working through the book for months – it might even last you a year! The puzzles aren’t too simple nor too difficult and will provide the perfect amount of work to keep your loved one’s thinking and actions.

Our favorite feature of this book has to be the introductory read on brain fitness, where the book explains how to work and enhance your brain as you use this book – and in many other facets.

We did notice that the difficulty level of some of the puzzles seemed to be a puzzle itself as they were inconsistent and often misleading. Some puzzles might be easy, but a couple of hours later, you find yourself unsure of how even to start. Overall, this is a fantastic puzzle book with a variety that will keep your mind stimulated and active, especially in your later years.

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2. Keeping Busy Wooden Tangram Puzzle

While puzzles are a fantastic way to keep your mind active, some of us are more kinesthetic learners. For anyone who needs a more hands-on approach to keeping your mind awake and your memory running, this wooden tangram puzzle is a great option. It’s designed to aid those who have Dementia and Alzheimer’s and hosts a difficulty level designed for seniors. The three full-sized puzzle templates are perfect for all stages of Dementia.

Our Review

This wooden tangram puzzle by Keeping Busy has been tested and proven effective for anyone who has Alzheimer’s or Dementia. It’s as useful for your elderly loved one as it is fun. Your goal is to fill the template with the wooden blocks provided and make the desired picture. It’s much more difficult than you might expect, but not too hard that it puts strain on an elderly brain.

The smooth, wooden pieces are tactile and pleasing to hold, which inspires more creativity and encourages the use of motor skills. We loved the feel of these blocks and enjoyed simply holding with them and building with them. This is an enjoyable product and one that inspires memory functions, even when not using the templates.

We do wish there were more templates available in the initial package as some seniors might breeze through them and be left searching for another activity. The difficulty level does range rather well for all stages of Dementia, but even so, more templates would be beneficial to all. This product is a fantastic method of memory fitness for those who appreciate a more hands-on approach.

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3. Brain Games – Picture Puzzles: Remember When?

The perfect puzzle book for a memory jog, this book focuses on life in the early 20th century. It includes pictures, puzzles, and quotes that will bring your loved ones back to a time where they grew up. This puzzle book is mostly a picture comparison book where your goal is to find what’s missing between the two.

It includes 192 spiral-bound pages and ranges from the 1940s to the 1970s in terms of pictured eras – the period your elderly loved ones lived through.

Our Review

There’s no better memory exercise than nostalgia, and this book focuses on providing you with a blast to the past. The period it focuses on ranges from the 40s and home life during this time to civil unrest throughout the 60s and 70s. Political figures, cars, utilities, moments in history – all of them are re-portrayed and bound in this 192-page puzzle book. It allows your loved ones to reminisce while solving puzzles and keeping their brains active.

The varying difficulty levels allow anyone to use this book and experience its cognitive benefits. If you’re having trouble with solving a particular image, the answers are available in the back of the book so that it won’t go unfinished. The simplicity and comfort of this puzzle book is one of its biggest strengths.

We found it to be perfectly weighted in difficulty, and the trip down memory lane was impressive as well.

The main issue we had with this book was the repetitive nature of the puzzles. While there are varying levels of difficulty, it’s all the same type of puzzle. The lack of variety wasn’t too alarming as it tells you this is a picture matching book before you get started. We loved this book, and the nostalgia trip it brings your loved one’s down will be great for their minds.

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4. Brain Games – Puzzles: Left Brain Right Brain

What many puzzle books fail to realize is that there are two sides of the brain that operate differently – both of which need to be exercised equally. This book allows your loved ones to revive both the left side and right side of their brains to stimulate memory and creativity in their later years. The puzzles in this book have a wide variety and aren’t too difficult. They’re designed for senior minds and have an appropriate level of difficulty for them.

Our Review

It was refreshing to experience puzzles that focused on both sides of the brain. Every learns differently, and this book fosters that varying style of cognitive growth, especially in an older mind. The puzzles this book includes are both fun and focus on memory so that your loved one doesn’t have to work to keep their mind active. It comes with both picture puzzles and word puzzles, which allow you to focus on which side of the brain you’re using.

We loved the inclusion of narrative essays that explain the cognitive process and how to keep it active in your later years. This is essential reading for both you and your loved ones as it helps foster an understanding of what you need to do to keep their memory and their minds active. These were especially useful as they provided an understanding as to how the fitness of both sides of the brain was useful.

We did notice there was no real indication of what part of your brain the puzzles were intending to activate. For the most part, it wasn’t too difficult to code-switch as needed, but it would have been beneficial to have a helpful indicator. This was a fantastic puzzle book that helps keep your loved one’s minds active as they age.

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5. Trivia for Seniors: 365 Questions and Riddles

This is easily one of the largest books on our list as it hosts 365 memory riddles. This book is better suited for someone who works well in solving tricky wording and interesting word puzzles. It’s more of a trivia book than a puzzle book, but it works well to keep senior minds active and focused as they age. It comes in the form of a paperback or a kindle and is great for on the go learning and cognitive exercise for your elderly loved ones.

Our Review

To start, the title is a little bit misleading. Most of this book is simply trivia knowledge and questions with rather straight forward answers. When we picked this book up, we were expecting more of a riddle and a word playbook, but only found 365 different questions. That being said, trivia is a fantastic way to help improve your senior’s memory as it helps bring up past information they might have and stimulates cognitive growth.

As far as trivia books go, this is a fantastic option for your elderly loved ones. It’s mostly a generic knowledge style book that proves to be quite useful and can be reused over and over as a test to see how well they’ve grown. Many puzzle books are suitable for one use, but this book acts as a test that users can do again to improve upon previous scores.

Overall, this is a fantastic book that helps keep your mind active and offers a years’ worth of interesting and fun trivia questions. It’s a great way to spend the time and to bring together a retirement community.

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Conclusion

Speak to your doctor. Puzzles aren’t the final step to fending off diseases such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s; they’re simply a way to keep the brain active and support the duration of their memory. If your loved one is showing signs of early memory loss or either of these severe brain diseases, speak with your doctor to learn what to do next. The memory games we mentioned are great for supporting cognitive growth, even at later stages of life, but they aren’t the most significant shield for their memory.

Other care options exist that will help support your loved one’s minds as they go through the difficulties of aging. The memory games on our list are a fantastic way to be there for them and to assist in the retention of their memory. Supporting your loved ones in their later stage of life is now made more hands-on with the interactive memory games.

Best MCAT Prep Books 2020

Best MCAT Prep Books 2020

Many sites claim that they have the best MCAT prep books listed. However, not all of them hold equal value. To ensure that your successful career is covered, you need the best MCAT Prep books to help you prepare for and beat the exam.
Studying for the MCAT requires the right studying techniques and prep books to bolster your score. Here is a list of 6 best prep books for MCAT that can help you find the perfect material to help you ace the exam. Also, we interviewed a lot of med school students who got a high score (520+) on MCAT and creators of MCAT prep materials to come up with this list. 

Best ACT Prep Books 2020

Best ACT Prep Books 2020

Have you registered for the ACT? Whether you already have or you’re just preparing in advance, it would be best to invest in a comprehensive ACT book to ace the exam. Nevertheless, the amount of ACT prep books in the market can be overwhelming, making it harder to find the one that matches your strengths, weaknesses, or personal budget.
Continue reading this guide to discover the nine best ACT prep books that can help you get a good score and enter your dream college.
Best ACT prep books at glance

Our top pick: O…

The 5 Best Electric Lunch Boxes 2020

The 5 Best Electric Lunch Boxes 2020

Suppose you’re ever on the go or in a rush to get to work, school, or university having the ability to heat your food while en route to your destination is invaluable. A normal lunch box is great for supporting a sandwich or chips, but last night’s leftovers are out of the question. With an electric lunch box, you’re better prepared for that early morning rush out the door. A great electric lunch box will be able to heat your food and get you ready for the day. Whether at home, the office, or somewhere in between, an electric lunch box is a great way to keep your food warm throughout the day.

However, finding the best electric lunch box can be difficult as there are plenty of options available.

The 5 best electric lunch boxes at glance

  1. Our Choice: COROTC Car Electric Lunch Box
  2. YOHOOLYO Electric Lunch Box and Food Heater
  3. Eocolz 2-in-1 Electric Lunch Box
  4. Toursion Portable Food Heater 2-in-1
  5. AISme Portable Electric Heated Food Warmer

We’ve created a list of our five favorite electric lunch boxes so that you won’t be lost searching through features and reviews. Every box on our list will warm your food and keep your food warm while on the go. Say goodbye to waiting for the microwave or limiting yourself to cold items – electric lunch boxes are here to help.

If you are interested in insulated lunch boxes, you can read more here.

Our Top 5 Best Electric Lunch Boxes Reviewed

1. COROTC Car Electric Lunch Box

The container of this box is made out of 304-grade stainless steel and PP plastic, both of which are easy to clean and resistant to heat. This package includes two different types of plugs so that you can heat your food anywhere – one for the road, one for home. An indicator light helps alert you to when your food is done heating and is ready to be consumed. With a 30-50-minute-long heating time, it strives to consume less power and be more energy-efficient.

Our Honest Review

This is one of the best electric lunch boxes we’ve encountered. It’s an energy-efficient product that can be used almost anywhere to keep your food warm while you’re out. The materials used in this product are designed to keep your food safe as you store it. No harmful products or inedible materials were used in the construction of this device. The PP plastic is approved for handling food, and the stainless steel won’t rust or dirty.

With the stainless steel, this is one of the easiest lunch boxes to wash. Simply remove the steel and place it in the dishwasher. We loved the ease at which this box could be cleaned – if you spilled something, one quick cycle and the spill was gone! Though part of the lunch box is made out of plastic, the product is resistant to heat, so no compromise is likely.

Our one issue with this lunch box doubled as a positive feature. This is one of the longer heating times on this list with 30-50 minutes before it’s ready, but that’s a feature that considers the vehicle. For anyone using this lunch box on the road, you won’t want to deplete your car battery after extended use, so the lower power consumption is a great addition for you.

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2. YOHOOLYO Electric Lunch Box and Food Heater

This lunch box is designed for compartmental use as it employs three separate compartments. The 110V is perfect for a quick cook in the home or office if you’re on the go. The curved hood of the lunch box allows for vertical storage, which offers more space. The interior is made of eco-friendly PP stainless steel, which is easy to remove and quick to clean. The insulated interior keeps food warm long after the heating is done.

Our Honest Review

We fell in love with this product rather quickly once the food began heating. It’s one of the quickest heating lunch boxes as the voltage can support lower heating times. The three-compartment design is unique and quite useful with this product. Most electric lunch boxes only come with one container, which can support a limited amount of options, whereas this one is better suited for multiple snacks and meals.

The eco-friendly stainless steel is about as easy to clean as you might hope it to be. It’s a simple procedure to remove and wash, which encourages you to do so after every use. It’s dishwasher safe, which offers you a hands-off washing process. When the insulation works properly, it keeps your food warm for the duration of the workday.

We did notice that some issues arise with the insulation, however, as it can easily become compromised, which cools off your food before you might intend to. The high voltage also makes it so heating in your vehicle and on your commute isn’t possible. Overall, this is a fantastic electric lunch box that supports office and work use and will keep your food warm for hours.

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3. Eocolz 2-in-1 Electric Lunch Box

This lunch box is one of the larger options on our list coming in at 1.5L of storage. The 304 stainless steel interior supports easy cleaning and food-safe storage. The PTC interior energy-saving components prevent overheating and will keep your food warm for hours after the heating process is complete. There are two voltage settings – one for the home (110V) and on for the vehicle (12V). Uses a waterproof design to keep it safe while washing.

Our Honest Review

This is a fantastic electric lunch box. It has some of the best features we look for in lunch boxes as it can be used on the go with the 12V car/truck settings and is easy to clean with the stainless-steel interior. When using this lunch box, we fell in love with the space it provided. Other products we reviewed were much smaller and could only support a few items, whereas this one has 1.5L of space.

The speed at which this lunch box can heat the food is amazing. It only takes 30-40 minutes to heat the food while others are closer to an hour. The insulation is strong enough to keep your food warm throughout the work or school day, even when the lunch box is turned off. Having the PTC energy-saving aspect helps guarantee your food won’t be overheated.

Our one issue with the product was the durability of it. It works great for the first few times we used it, but problems began to arise after a few uses. The plastic shell that this lunch box uses isn’t the strongest and could begin to falter after a while. Overall, this is a fantastic lunch box that will keep your lunch warm for the entire day.

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4. Toursion Portable Food Heater 2-in-1

This lunch box employs three different voltage settings to allow you to use it almost anywhere you need. If you’re in the car, it uses 12V, trucks use 24V, and homes use 110V. This enables you to keep your food warm in the office, at home, or on the go. There is a removable plastic container that allows you to separate your food and promotes easier cleaning. This lunch box employs a dual function heater and insulator to keep your food warm after heating.

Our Honest Review

Our favorite aspect of this electric lunch box was the ability to warm and go. If you’re in a hurry, you can heat up quickly at home or plug it into your vehicle while en route to your destination. The versatility of this product is unmatched. It might take a decent amount of time to heat your food when compared to other products on our list, but being able to take it with you proved to be invaluable.

Toursion includes a removable plastic container that supports food separation for anyone who wants more than one item in their lunch box. The container is admittedly smaller than those of the YOHOOLYO, but the ability to remove allows for easier cleaning. Having different energy settings makes this device safe to use and eco-friendly.

We found that when compared to other electric lunch boxes, this one did take a decent amount of time to warm up the food, and sometimes, possibly due to insulation leaks, didn’t warm up that well. This was only found to be the issue a couple of times when testing and, overall, this is a fantastic portable electric lunch box.

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5. AISme Portable Electric Heated Food Warmer

Much like the Toursion electric lunch box, this product utilizes a removable plastic compartment that can help separate your food and makes the device easier to clean. The interior is a thermoplastic which keeps food warm without becoming too hot itself. This is a 110V device which supports at home and in-office use – not usable in vehicles. The dish box is 0.45L, and the rice box is 0.6L, which provides ample space for your food.

Our Honest Review

Simple to comprehend and easy to use, this is quite the basic electric lunch box. It holds about a meal’s worth of food and offers a relatively quick heating process. We found this box to be dependable and good enough to keep your food warm. The insulation is sturdy and will hold the interior temperature for hours post-heating.

Most other electric lunch boxes use a stainless-steel interior, which supports heating and easy cleaning, but this one uses a thermoplastic, which is better for maintaining a temperature. The easy-carry handles function well and provide you the transportable nature you’re looking for in a lunch box.

With only the 110V setting, this product does not support vehicular use, which you can find in other similar products, but there are no insulation issues that we have found in other devices. The heating lamp is a little dim and difficult to see in the daytime, but this is a dependable and durable electric lunch box otherwise.

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What to Look for in an Electric Lunch Box

We’ve compiled a few tips on what to look for when shopping for an electric lunch box. These are the features that we kept an eye out for during our review process and should help pave the way for you to find the perfect box for you. Every item on our list has these features and makes great use out of them.

Transportable

You’re most likely on the go if you’re looking for an electric lunch box, so you don’t want a product that is clunky and difficult to carry. Compact lunch boxes are great because they can store a surprising amount of food and are easy to hide away while at work or school. The smaller they are, the easier it is to fit in your car.

Easy to clean

Products that are difficult to clean or stain easily just aren’t great. You’ll want a lunch box that will be a simple cleaning process and won’t leave memories of past meals you stored.

Good storage

Finding the perfect match of a compact and transportable lunch box that can store a decent amount of food is difficult. Many lunch boxes achieve this with removable containers – others simply make space be removing extra features.

Conclusion

When picking the best electric lunch box for you, it is important to understand where you will be using it. Lunch boxes from COROTC, Eocolz, and Toursion provide the most versatility as you can use them both in your car’s 12V outlet or at any workplace that has 110V available. On the other hand, heated lunch boxes from AISme and YOHOOLYO can only be used at home or workplace, where you have access to 110V outlets.

 

The 10 Best Teacher Planners 2020/2021

The 10 Best Teacher Planners 2020/2021

Every excellent school year starts with an organized teacher—what better way to be organized than to have a teacher planner that encourages organization. We have researched numerous planners and have come up with the ten best teacher planners that promote organization and framework for an excellent school year 2020/2021. 
Teacher planners at a glance

Our Choice – Overall: Blue Sky 2020-2021 …

LSATMax Review 2020

LSATMax Review 2020

Anyone interested in law school knows that the LSAT is critical. A student’s score on the LSAT can make all the difference in getting into their first choice of schools, or even getting in at all. Most schools report that the LSAT score is the most critical factor when making recommendations for admission, followed closely by the Undergraduate GPA.
Therefore, to get an edge on the competition, many students choose to take an LSAT prep course. However, with countless prep courses available, all promising to raise LSAT scores as much as 15 points or more, how does anyone know which LSAT course is the best choice? …