College Planning Resources

College planning is never simple, and it needs to be a team effort. These TeachersFirst-reviewed resources can help parents and students take the steps that are important to a successful college search.

 

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How to embed almost anything in your website - Amit Agarwal

Grades
K to 12
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This simple blog site offers directions for embedding practically anything in a web site. Directions are included for photos, RSS feeds, YouTube videos and other videos, podcasts, and...more
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This simple blog site offers directions for embedding practically anything in a web site. Directions are included for photos, RSS feeds, YouTube videos and other videos, podcasts, and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): images (265), photography (160), portfolios (28), resources (112), video (253)

In the Classroom

If you have students creating projects using online tools, embedding is often the best way for them to collect projects all in one place. Often the tools are not clear about how to manage the details of embedding, to this reference is very helpful. If your students create ME-portfolios to showcase their work to colleges or potential employers, embedding is a must. Link to this site from your class web page of general resources to help today's tech-savvy students learn how to embed from various applications. Provide this link on your class website, wiki or blog for students (and parents) to access at school and at home. Teachers can create a class wiki or web site using embedding, even in school-subscription web site services. Share your elementary class's creative projects by embedding them on your class site so parents can see their great work. This site wil help you learn how.
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YPulse - Anastasia Goodstein

Grades
6 to 12
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YPulse is the authority to consult when you want to know more about tweens, teens, and the young adults of today. This is where you can learn more about the ...more
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YPulse is the authority to consult when you want to know more about tweens, teens, and the young adults of today. This is where you can learn more about the tech savvy youth culture who will soon shape our world. There are several categories to choose from: age, education, style, culture and trends, movies, music, gaming, and media and entertainment. There are also main pages across the top. At the time of this review, the Point of View page was full of informative articles about what the millennial citizen does and does not consider risky behavior. The Millennial Voices page has the latest blog posts from some of their Youth Advisory Members. These members are from all around the world and their ages vary from 13 to 23. YPulse's primary audience is media and marketing professionals; however, there is much to glean for parents, teachers, and counselors. Stay informed by signing up for their daily insight newsletter on the Point of View Page.

tag(s): careers (132), media literacy (58)

In the Classroom

Teachers and counselors can stay up to date with student trends. Use specific articles as discussion starters that could lead into a survey, debate, or essay. Include some of the articles as you discuss consumerism and how ads target teens. Ask whether students of 13 have the same way of thinking as a college student. Ask what are the similarities and differences, and why. Use the book reviews for book talks in your classroom. For older students, you might also want to introduce them to this site and get their take on whether YPulse is correct about their opinions.

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About.Me - Tony Conrad, Ryan Freitas, Tim Young

Grades
6 to 12
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Promote yourself for college or future jobs by creating your own "me portfolio" website. No matter your age or stage in life, in today's world you are what Google shows ...more
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Promote yourself for college or future jobs by creating your own "me portfolio" website. No matter your age or stage in life, in today's world you are what Google shows about you. Take control of your online presence to show your chosen audience what YOU want them to know. You are more than your FaceBook persona or Linked In profile. About.Me allows you to create a "hub" with links to your online projects you want visitors to see. Upload a photo, write a short piece about your interests, then link to your online content and social networks. There is also an Assets page where you can download the About.Me logo and colors to add to other pages and projects you have on the web so visitors will link back to the hub and discover your other projects. Before creating your About.Me website, you might want to read about "branding" yourself on the Student Branding Blog reviewed here. The information on the Branding Blog applies to any adult, too. The Terms of Use for About.Me prohibits creating fictitious personas.

tag(s): college (43), internet safety (108), portfolios (28), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Counselors and teachers could work together to have high school students make About.Me the place they use as a "branding" home for themselves online. Start by making your own About.me page to mange your own professional presence and use as an example. Suggest to students that they use a "me portfolio" on About.Me for college apps, employment apps, etc. You might want to have students look at the "branding" suggestions from the Student Branding Blog before creating their page. Using About.Me is also the perfect opportunity to talk with students about their online presence and how outsiders might interpret what they decide to post on About.Me or any social network. Along with that discussion you'll want to review Internet safety and privacy. Consider using Internet Safety: Rules of the Road for Kids reviewed here. If you teach gifted students (13+) who are working beyond your regular curriculum, start by having them create a real world presence using About.Me, with parent permission of course. Use this space for them to publish links to their best work, especially projects that take on a life of their own long after the assignment ends. Have a student interested in international politics? Maybe STEM cell research? Have the share the class project that got the started along with essays about where they see themselves in ten years or portfolios of their related accomplishments, including those outside of school. This portfolio site is not something to "pile up" with everything. It is for them to present their best face to the public. Encourage them to take ownership of it.

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Presentation Tube - Dr. Alaa Sadik

Grades
K to 12
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Add narration to your PowerPoint presentations to create a great resource for any use. Download Presentation Tube and use the video presentation recorder to produce high quality, easily...more
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Add narration to your PowerPoint presentations to create a great resource for any use. Download Presentation Tube and use the video presentation recorder to produce high quality, easily shared, interactive videos. Combine all parts of the lesson: video, PowerPoint, images, Web sites, and even handwritten notes into the presentation. Upload and publish the finished video presentations to Presentation Tube. You can also post the URL or use the embed code on your own website, Facebook, or Twitter.

tag(s): video (253)

In the Classroom

Be sure that your teaching style fits the use of Presentation Tube before using in the classroom. Easily create presentations for students to access. Be sure to play with the software before using to create your first real product. Provide links to presentations on your wiki, blog, site, or other courseware site.

Time is always short in the classroom, and sometimes it's hard to make time for oral presentations. Have the students use Presentation Tube to report out their research, and you and their peers can watch it and grade it any time. Or, have students post their Presentation Tube to your web page or TeacherTube reviewed here, and they can view and peer evaluate the projects. You may want to create your own rubric with student input for this. See a selection of rubric makers here on TeachersFirst. Another idea would be to have students create a Presentation Tube for the results of their research, and then pause and comment during an oral presentation to the class. Students with speech difficulties or challenges with English fluency will appreciate the opportunity to prerecord their presentations without an audience. High school students can also narrate a portfolio slide show for Art school applications or a show of accomplishments for college applications. Students can package book reviews or author reports to be shared in the media center. In primary grades, have students narrate their portion of a whole-class slide show, then share it with parents and grandparents by url. They can practice oral reading as they share their story slides.

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I Need a Pencil - Jason Shaw

Grades
10 to 12
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Find 60 innovative SAT lessons, 800+ SAT practice questions, and countless useful features to help students prepare for the SAT and maximize their scores. I Need a Pencil started a...more
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Find 60 innovative SAT lessons, 800+ SAT practice questions, and countless useful features to help students prepare for the SAT and maximize their scores. I Need a Pencil started a few years ago by a high school student whose goal was to rewrite the rules for college/university admissions to enable students from all socioeconomic levels to have greater access. Shocked and inspired by a visit to an impoverished school, the creator of this site did not want income to determine outcome when it came to attending college. Having just taken the SAT and curious about how these students would do when it was time to apply to college, Jason Shah did some research and found that students from higher income backgrounds consistently outperformed lower-income students. Wanting to help to make a positive change, he put together a business plan and launched this free website, which he continues to keep up-to-date with help for thousands of students each month to improve their performance on the SAT.

tag(s): test prep (96)

In the Classroom

Project this website on your classroom white board to show all students the power and opportunity to improve their scores and make their college entrance dreams attainable. Demonstrate the easy to navigate menu of the available resources in addition to practice questions and advice, such as sample essays and the ongoing blog with responses to frequently asked questions, samples of exemplary college applications, and scholarships. Inform parents and provide a link for I Need a Pencil on your class web page. Make your guidance counselors, principal, and other administrators aware and ask them to include the website in the school's newsletter. Many school districts set aside a night to meet with students and parents of high school juniors and seniors. What a great opportunity to encourage them to use this web site.
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Knovio - Online Video Presentations Made Easy - Knowledge Vision

Grades
3 to 12
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Knovio takes the pain out of PowerPoint presentations by bringing them to life with webcam and audio enhancement. Create a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, upload the file, press...more
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Knovio takes the pain out of PowerPoint presentations by bringing them to life with webcam and audio enhancement. Create a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, upload the file, press record, and present to your audience. If you are camera shy, disable the defaulted webcam to just audio! Share with people you select through the site's private spaces or share to the world via your social network. When sharing through private spaces, you will need your audience's email addresses. Additionally, when your recipients view your presentation, you will receive an email confirmation of when the presentation was viewed.

tag(s): slides (63), video (253)

In the Classroom

If you have students who are uncomfortable presenting in front of a group or who must be absent on presentation day, they can package their presentations using Knovio. High school students can share "packaged" projects as part of their student portfolio or college applications.

Knovio could take the lecture out of the classroom and free time for hands-on activities. Use this tool to record a presentation that you would normally share with your students in class, add it to your website or wiki, and assign it as homework for students. This allows you the ability to "flip" your classroom. Create student accounts using Google tools so that you can easily share your presentations privately and securely. With the email confirmation, you can be sure that your students have opened the presentation. To ensure that they have viewed the presentation, assign them to take notes from it or write a summary of it as an entry ticket to your classroom on the day after it is to be viewed. Students still have access to the "traditional" way of learning from the teacher; however now you have maximized learning time by allowing for extended thinking activities, laboratory activities, and other higher order thinking activities in your room. This allows you time to facilitate more group projects, student choice assignments, and a deeper level of understanding of the concepts that you are teaching. Knovio could enhance any online teaching, too! This way, your students can see, hear, and learn from you even when they are not in a real-time environment. Knovio would be a great professional tool as well. Administrators could use this to create presentations to share with faculty. Faculty could view on their own time so that when they get to a meeting, the discussion can begin immediately. You can even share information from Back To School night and know which parents actually viewed it.

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Spreeder - 7-Speed-Reading

Grades
7 to 12
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Learn to read at a faster pace with much better reading comprehension using Spreeder, a free online speed reading service. Use passages of your choice by simply loading (or copy ...more
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Learn to read at a faster pace with much better reading comprehension using Spreeder, a free online speed reading service. Use passages of your choice by simply loading (or copy and paste) the text, and Spreeder will pace through it at a speed you set. You can adjust your speed as your reading comprehension increases. There is also a feature to increase "chunk" size, an effective strategy used in reading instruction. Get the free app for Chrome or use the practice box on the site. There is a paid "training" portion for this tool. This review is only for the free portion.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): reading comprehension (116), test prep (96)

In the Classroom

In this era of high-stakes testing, it is imperative that students be able to read and comprehend at an expected rate in order to complete the tasks within the designated time. Think about the implications for improving state test scores and PSAT or SAT college entrance exams! Demonstrate Spreeder on your classroom projector or interactive whiteboard by copying and pasting practice passages from your state's Department of Education link to state testing. Link to SAT practice sites such as College Board SAT Preparation Center, reviewed here, or Test Prep Review, reviewed here. Provide opportunities for students to try it on individual classroom computers. Provide a direct link to Spreeder from your classroom web page or wiki. This will enable motivated students to take charge of increasing their own reading speed, or you may want to incorporate it with homework assignments and make parents aware of it.

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YouTube Teachers - Learn. Teach. Share - YouTube EDU

Grades
K to 12
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YouTube Teachers and the related YouTube EDU form an education-oriented area of YouTube that categorizes videos into subjects for easy retrieval. YouTube is a vast online video library....more
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YouTube Teachers and the related YouTube EDU form an education-oriented area of YouTube that categorizes videos into subjects for easy retrieval. YouTube is a vast online video library. You upload, view, share, and comment on content found on the site. Videos found on the full YouTube range from commercial to educational content. YouTube often has questionable content so is blocked in many schools. Some schools block YouTube simply because streaming video "hogs" network resources. If inappropriate content is your administration's main concern, YouTube offers a way your tech department can configure a limited access channel. See the explanation video and related information to share with the tech department here.

YouTube is very valuable to educators looking for great educational content. There are videos for early elementary concepts like safety up through college level courses. YouTube has the ability to stream content into channels based upon your viewing preferences, and videos are easily marked as "favorites" to find in your history. It offers suggested channels based on your watching history including trending and popular videos. Parents can filter out objectionable content and comments using Safety Mode -- which is often disabled.

Create a YouTube channel to collect videos for easy access by students. Upload teacher-created videos for your class to your channel. Do you know a great video not featured on You Tube EDU? Suggest it for the EDU collection.

There are tools that allow you to download, clip, or display You Tube videos without all of the "see other" video recommendations, comments, etc. These tools include KeepVid reviewed here, TubeChop, SnipSnip.it, VIewPure, and SafeShare.

tag(s): video (253)

In the Classroom

Use YouTube Teachers/EDU to create a channel of appropriate videos for your class. Consider creating your own videos of content that can be uploaded to your YouTube channel. Use videos to introduce topics, dig deeper into the content, and review for exams. You may even want to try "flipping" you class so students view the video information as homework and practice with concepts in class the next day. Students can be given the task of finding suitable videos that take the content deeper for better understanding. Create video guides that go with the videos or quizzes that can be given at the end. Assign videos for students to view and give them time to use the information to create a presentation for the rest of the class.

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Marshmallow Challenge - Tom Wujec

Grades
K to 12
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Use a marshmallow challenge to motivate your students! The concept of this project is to have teams of people work together to create a free standing structure that supports a ...more
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Use a marshmallow challenge to motivate your students! The concept of this project is to have teams of people work together to create a free standing structure that supports a marshmallow. Sounds overly simple? Well, not always. The given materials for each team are simple, inexpensive, and require creative thinking and problem solving skills to use! All in all this adds up to a fun, interesting, and entertaining activity for young to older students, business people, and any group that needs to learn how to work and think together. Spaghetti, string, marshmallows and masking tape are all the supplies that you will need. Have fun with this, your students are sure to do so! The site recommends giving your class one hour to complete the project and activities. They also mention this project would work for smaller groups (4 students) up to larger groups (800), divided into groups of 2 or 4 and working together. There is a typo in the opening paragraph of the site. However the activity content was worth looking over the typo.

tag(s): creativity (109), design (84), engineering (125), problem solving (272), structures (24)

In the Classroom

This engineering challenge would be great during a unit on structures. However, in ANY classroom it would be a solid and creative way to teach design process, group skills, and creative problem solving. This activity is so versatile that it could be use in any grade, even at the college or business level. Of course in younger elementary grades, more instruction would be necessary and possibly some parent volunteers. Its lessons are multiple, from fluency, flexibility, possibility thinking, and promoting originality. In science classes, try including this activity in a lesson on gravity or forces. Prior to implementing this lesson, watch the TED talks video link for yourself. (These links are available at this site.) It is a worthwhile investment of seven minutes, and download and read the adobe acrobat file on the project. It may be a good idea, depending on the age of your students to create a short PowerPoint with the rules and instructions. Also, a visual timer and musical timer would be a great idea for this challenge. Use a site such as the Online Countdown Timer (reviewed here). Show the timer on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) so students are aware of how much time remains. The materials are best given to teams in a small brown bag so that there is an element of surprise and suspense during the instructional period. Another idea is to share this with your administrators, it would make a great challenge for a interactive faculty meeting especially if team building and thinking skills are trying to be built by the administration between faculty members.
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March 2 Success - US Army

Grades
7 to 12
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This free tool is designed to help high school students prepare for state standardized testing, better understand college admissions and financial planning, and generally help prepare...more
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This free tool is designed to help high school students prepare for state standardized testing, better understand college admissions and financial planning, and generally help prepare for their futures. Preparation for these types of exams can greatly increase scores, so why not use a free, already created tool. Sign up as a student, teacher, or parent/mentor. A logged-in user can access state standardized test preparations, SAT and ACT practice tests, flashcards for ACT and SAT test preparation, Zero Hour Threat (a cool video game to help increase ACT and SAT scores as part of the college entrance process), and college planning tips.

tag(s): college (43), test prep (96)

In the Classroom

Use this in junior and senior level courses to help students who are college bound prepare for SAT and ACT exams. It saves time and helps kids, no one can argue with those advantages. Try using this with younger high school (or even middle school) aged students in a gifted program to provide enrichment and early practice for early test takers. Be certain to provide this link on your class website for students to access at home.

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authorSTREAM - authorSTREAM.com

Grades
4 to 12
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authorSTREAM, an internet based presentation maker that is based on PowerPoint formatting, is easy to use and offers some very useful and unique features. Offering more than the basic...more
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authorSTREAM, an internet based presentation maker that is based on PowerPoint formatting, is easy to use and offers some very useful and unique features. Offering more than the basic PowerPoint creation greatly expands its value. Special features of authorSTREAM include the ability to make public presentations, download presentations as FLV, MP4, AVI, and WMV files, present live to an online audience anywhere in the world, and the ability to create a "channel" or collection of all your online work. With this application, you can add YouTube videos and sound narration directly to your presentations. Of these features, perhaps the two most unique are the ability to download in different formats. Using this, you can create a movie to be played on a television or create a file that can be shared by all of your audience on iTunes, since MP4 is iTunes language! With private presentations -- or even public ones -- you can protect access with a password. Also, this program has an add-on in PowerPoint that allows you to search web content directly from the application. This add-on is also free but does require a Windows machine; even if your Mac has Microsoft PowerPoint, it will not work properly. Talk about a time saver for Windows users!

tag(s): slides (63), video (253)

In the Classroom

Have you been contemplating a "flipped classroom" teaching style where you do the activities and hands-on things during class and the students listen to the information and lectures outside of class? This is a great tool for a flipped classroom or any use of sharable media. You can create your notes and lectures in PowerPoint, adding video clips and narration, download as an MP4, and then share with all of your students through iTunes. This greatly enhances the opportunities for extended thinking and active time in the classroom. More simply, try recording yourself giving an informational presentation, saving it here, and sharing with students via your website or wiki to access from home as a review tool or a catch-up for absentees. Have older students create their own presentations and share with the class and teacher via iTunes. Students who are normally very shy and uncomfortable can feel safe "presenting" in front of the class! High school students can also share links to their best work as part of a digital portfolio or college application. Art students can create online portfolios with narrated artist notes. Student-made book talks can be shared on iTouches in the library/media center. Link to them by QR code! Teachers at any grade level can share back to school night information with parents unable to attend.

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Five Card Flickr Story - CogDogBlog

Grades
6 to 12
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At this site students select 5 pictures from a random set of offerings and they write a story about the pictures. They can also write a new story about an ...more
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At this site students select 5 pictures from a random set of offerings and they write a story about the pictures. They can also write a new story about an existing set of pictures. Pictures are available from Flickr (reviewed here. You can save or send the story to parents or with a college application if so desired. Because some of the content is user created, you may notice some spelling errors. To save a story you must create a title, a nickname for yourself, and fill in the comments/explanation of the story. Stories can be viewed and shared by unique URL (web address), so it is easy to keep them in favorites or collect the links for en entire class stories. Be warned: as this is a user-created tool (and not constantly monitored) it is important to discuss proper language, proper use, and consequences with your students. Some of the content presented may include inappropriate language. Take caution and preview as much as necessary, if you choose to share the already created stories.

tag(s): writing (358), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Display the pictures on an interactive whiteboard or projector and have the students work in pairs to write stories. When assigning students to write stories about the pictures offered here, be sure to designate a specific number of words or sentences, since the stories already written and displayed are quite short! Share this site to explain the idea of the 5 random pictures. Then have the students take their own pictures and assign pictures to each other and write stories about them. Use subject-related pictures of science experiments or other content related subject matter for students to write about and display their understanding in a creative way. Use this site in world language classes, by having students write the story in the world language, rather than their native language.
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What is Lift? - NASA

Grades
6 to 10
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This easy to navigate site about airplane lift is brought to you by the people at NASA. It has interactive reading with links to more detailed information. There is a ...more
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This easy to navigate site about airplane lift is brought to you by the people at NASA. It has interactive reading with links to more detailed information. There is a great diagram and an accompanying video on lift. There are non-flash versions to view, too. This link is for middle school through college age students, but there is a link at the top of the page for younger students.

tag(s): aeronautics (13), aircraft (24), flight (36), gravity (45), nasa (39), newton (25), vectors (25), wright brothers (25)

In the Classroom

Show students the video about the Wright brothers. Then have them work independently on computers to read and explore more information about lift. Have small groups of students choose a project to complete using some of the blue links provided in the reading. For example one group could explore "vector quantity" and present it to the class as if they were explaining it to a fifth grader, making it easier for everyone to understand the concept, and definitely ensuring that this small group will internalize what "vector quantity" is. Have students use a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create and share concept maps of their assigned topics. The main bubble could be part of the concept in scientific language and the bubbles joining it could be the concept in kid language. Have groups present their project to the class as an assessment, and you could also embed it on your webpage or wiki for parents to view and students to use as a review.
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College Personality Quiz - US News and World Report

Grades
9 to 12
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One of the most difficult things about the college search process is knowing where to start. Many students find that first step so overwhelming, they delay beginning the search and...more
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One of the most difficult things about the college search process is knowing where to start. Many students find that first step so overwhelming, they delay beginning the search and may miss valuable opportunities. The College Personality Quiz is one way to help students get un-stuck. The Quiz takes a good 20--30 minutes to complete thoughtfully, and requires Java and that cookies be enabled in order to get the results. However, the questions that the student must consider will spark more concrete thinking about college choice, regardless of the specific results the Quiz returns.

tag(s): college (43)

In the Classroom

Include this site in your favorites for college bound students and allow students who have finished work ahead of their classmates to use their extra time by completing the quiz. Consider having students complete the quiz at home and journal (or blog) about the results they discover. Advise parents of this site and encourage them to review student results with their student. Of course, once the student has results, US News and World Report's website provides a wealth of data about specific colleges as well as their annual rankings of colleges by category.

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You Decide: Challenge Your Assumptions - WQED

Grades
9 to 12
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Does it sometimes seem as though students come to class with their minds already made up about so many complex subjects? You Decide is a site that guides students through ...more
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Does it sometimes seem as though students come to class with their minds already made up about so many complex subjects? You Decide is a site that guides students through a reasoned approach to making decisions about timely topics. Because this site is designed for the general public, not just for an educational setting, not all the questions will be relevant for students, however, there are plenty of engaging debates. Each question asks students to take a stand first, and then consider relevant information that may influence their opinions. Some of the topics at this time of this review included: Green Jobs, College Costs, Government Spending, Underwater Mortgages, Own or Rent, Spend or Save, and several others. There is a discussion forum and then a series of links to further information presented for each topic.

tag(s): politics (99)

In the Classroom

Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Have them choose a topic to explore and debate and then take turns using the resources provided to help build their arguments. A terrific component of this site is the ability to embed a widget into your classroom website that takes students directly to the site and one of its decision-making activities. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed that makes the widget update regularly. There is an archive of previous debates to explore. This site includes a forum/discussion board. Determine whether students may do this under your school's policies and whether forum submissions may display student names or initials. Then spell out both permissible use and consequences before you send students to this site. Some teachers obtain parent permission for students to participate in such a site. You may want to participate in the forum/discussion board as a class, using your own login.

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Dream It. Do It. - The Manufacturing Institute

Grades
6 to 12
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This site has a wide variety of tools to help with basic career exploration. The Dream Career Quiz is a good place to start. The answers, which seem to be ...more
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This site has a wide variety of tools to help with basic career exploration. The Dream Career Quiz is a good place to start. The answers, which seem to be based loosely on the Holland Scales, lead to further areas to explore. There are also links to information and videos about specific jobs, with an emphasis on manufacturing (hey, the site is sponsored by the Manufacturing Institute!). This may not be the best site if a student is sure she is going to college, but would be an interesting springboard for discussion--among students, between the student and parents, or for a classroom discussion--for any student regardless of her plans.

tag(s): careers (132)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites and allow students to access it when they are ready for a break or have some extra exploration time. Consider using the Dream Career Quiz results as a writing prompt. Use as a resource for students who are starting to think about what they might want to major in, or where they'd like to study next. Create a class wiki for students to share and comment regarding their own results or to profile different careers including ones they observe during Take Your Child to Work Day. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
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Skype - Skype Technologies S.A.

Grades
K to 12
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Every teen and college student knows Skype, the free tool for making calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. By downloading and installing free software and setting up...more
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Every teen and college student knows Skype, the free tool for making calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. By downloading and installing free software and setting up a free account, you can talk and/or make a video call to a similarly equipped computer elsewhere in the world for free. Skype uses a lot of "bandwidth" so is not suitable for very slow networks or dial up connections. It may also be slow at high-traffic times on a good network. Some patience and pretesting is required before you can be sure it will work for your needs. Connect to classrooms, experts, authors, virtual special speakers, or interview subjects using Skype.

tag(s): virtual field trips (48), webcams (6)

In the Classroom

Download and install the Skype software. If you are not allowed to install software on school computers, ask to have a single laptop available that is Skype-capable so you can borrow it or else explain to your principal that you are planning a series of Skype visits in your classroom so your techies will install it in your classroom. You will need a computer with built-in or separate microphone and speakers and optional webcam. If you plan to use a webcam, you must know how to start it. A single teacher-controlled Skype account will work in most school settings.

If you prefer written directions go to Help >> Step by Step Help to get started. Or ask a student to show you (without seeing your password). You will need to explore the tools in Skype to locate where to enter the SKYPE name of the person you wish to call, start the call, and answer calls. Do NOT set your copy of Skype to "remember me" on a school computer! If students are to participate in the Skype call, you may want to have a "hot seat" at the Skyping computer so they can sit at a mike so their questions will pick up better for the person at the other end.

Be sure to set Skype so it does not open every time you start up the computer. Manually start the program when needed and do not leave an obvious Skype icon on the desktop for "clever" students to find. Protect your password -- do not post it on the computer. A teacher-controlled account is best for Skype classroom use to prevent unauthorized calls by students. Your user name will show on the screen for students to see, so be aware of that when you create your account.

Anything you can do by telephone or video call you can do on a projector with your entire class. Connect the Skyping computer to a projector or whiteboard for the entire class to see if you are using video. (The video will be fuzzy, but good enough to follow a person's face.) Use Skype to talk to authors (check out their web sites or this blog for contact information). Have students write questions in advance. Use your contacts, web page "contact us" emails, and parent contacts to find others willing to Skype into your classroom. Interview scientists or government officials, deployed military personnel, or classes far away in a different culture or language. Younger students can compare weather, family life, community events, and more. Learn other ideas for using Skype in your classroom

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Study Stack - John Weidner

Grades
4 to 12
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This site is filled with study tools to help students learn information in a variety of subject areas. Stacks of topics related to geography, history, math, languages, medical, tests...more
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This site is filled with study tools to help students learn information in a variety of subject areas. Stacks of topics related to geography, history, math, languages, medical, tests (SAT, ACT, etc.), science and more are linked with collections of learning tools that include virtual study cards, matching games, word search puzzles, and hangman games. There really is something here for nearly all subject areas and grade levels! Students can select the tool that works best for them and work at their own pace until they are satisfied with their progress. If you can't find a stack to fit your needs, you can edit existing lists or create customized study stacks. The site also allows you to print out study cards, or export flash cards to study them via cell phones, PDA, or iPod. Email the stacks to peers or connect with Study Stack through Facebook. Some of the activities require Java. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): flash cards (46), greek (41), hebrew (14), latin (22), test prep (96), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Encourage parents to use this site as a study-at-home tool for their students. Link your blog or website to this site by entering your url at the bottom of the homepage. Make sure your guidance counselor at your school is aware of this site as a tool for studying those college entrance tests. Be sure to save this site in your favorites.

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Academic Earth - Academic Earth

Grades
10 to 12
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Ever wonder what it would be like to have open access to lectures at Harvard? Stanford? MIT? Academic Earth gives you that access in a limited fashion. This site contains ...more
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Ever wonder what it would be like to have open access to lectures at Harvard? Stanford? MIT? Academic Earth gives you that access in a limited fashion. This site contains thousands of video lectures by some of the most well regarded professors at several of the top universities in the US. You can sort the lectures by subject, by lecturer, by university, or by "playlist." The playlists sort lectures from various topics and multiple professors into thematic groups. Within individual subjects there are individual lectures and courses--collections of lectures by the same professor on a general subject. Watch a lecture on "The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877," or "The American Novel since 1945," or "Linear Algebra." The topic possibilities go on and on. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): college (43)

In the Classroom

These are college-level lectures given at Ivy-league universities. The subject matter and the complexity of the subject matter will be beyond many high school students, and the delivery format (video-taped lecture) means there is a certain "MEGO" (my eyes glaze over) effect when viewing these offerings. However, for gifted or academically talented students, these lectures may be exactly the kind of enrichment they have been thirsting for. Provide a link to these lectures for times when a student or two has gotten way ahead of the rest of the class. Let parents know about this site for home use. Refer students who are doing in-depth research. And in your own copious free time, check one out yourself! It may provide an idea or two to apply to an upcoming lesson of your own.
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College Grazing - College Grazing

Grades
9 to 12
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This site is another entry into the college search market. Designed to provide resources to prospective students, their parents, and their teachers or guidance counselors, the site...more
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This site is another entry into the college search market. Designed to provide resources to prospective students, their parents, and their teachers or guidance counselors, the site offers the usual links to financial aid information, advice on writing college essays and career guidance. Many of the links lead directly to resources developed by the US Department of Education or the US Department of Labor; reliable sources, but nothing new or innovative here. The fresh content here is a series of 13 short self-discovery quizzes that purport to help students sort out their feelings about college, and determine their relative readiness to attend. In keeping with the "grazing" theme (complete with cow logos and illustrations), these quizzes are called "munchings." It's kind of hokey, but it may be catchy enough to be effective. Once the student has completed all 13 "munchings," the site will generate a personalized report summarizing student responses. What is produced might generate interesting discussion among students or within families.

Using the site requires a log in (be sure to enable "cookies"). Log-in requires some personal information (first name, surname, email address, and description - if you are a student, parent, or teacher). Check with your administrator about allowing the students to register for this site using their own names. You may wish to set up a class registration instead of entering true data into the registration site. Another option is to create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

There is no charge for using the site, and advertising is very minimal and fairly unobtrusive. Parts of this website require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): college (43), financial aid (12)

In the Classroom

Completing the 13 "munchings" might make a good independent assignment for college bound students, followed by some sort of reflection essay. The tips for writing a good college application essay might also prove helpful in a writing class. We'll pretend we didn't think about what generally results when a cow digests its "munchings" and hope for a higher quality end product.
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