Tips For Keeping Kids Safe Online

The proliferation of social media, online gaming, online forums and cell phone usage have given today’s children technological access never dreamed of just a generation ago. Children now have access to a staggering amount of online content, people and information. With these advances, parents now have even more challenges when it comes to keeping their children safe and happy. They want them safe from predators and happy in the sense that they are free from online bullying. Both of these concerns are foremost in the minds of parents as their kids create Facebook pages, play online games, and text incessantly.

Here is a rundown of some of the top threats to your children’s well-being. In a constantly connected world, knowing where the danger lies is the first step in prevention and safety.

Predatory Adults

According to enough.org, there are currently over 600,000 Registered Sex Offenders in the US and more than four percent of all children, while online, will be exposed to some form of suggestive solicitation from an adult. Naïve or rebellious children could fall prey to these online predators.

Peer Bullying

The media has covered some high-profile cases of teen suicide and online bullying in the last couple of years. According to some statistics from the US Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 52% of students report being cyber bullied at some time, while 25% report repeated bullying via their cell phones or social media profiles (statisticbrain.com).

Inappropriate Content

Pornography and inappropriate content is everywhere on the internet. According to Alexa.com, four of the top twenty sites with the highest web traffic are pornographic in nature. When you consider what often comes up in a search engine when entering a seemingly innocuous search, or the amount of inappropriate spam emails you receive, it’s not hard to see why this is such an issue with keeping kids insulated from inappropriate content.

Narcissism and Compulsion

Children, and especially teens, are hyper-aware of social status and image. This mindset can lead to unhealthy amounts of time on such social media sites as Twitter or Facebook. Kids get caught up in trying to be constantly aware, connected and interacting online in the hopes that they will gain acceptance or be more popular.

Secrecy

Further data from the US Department of Health states that only 52% of teens exposed to bullying or inappropriate solicitation, report the incidents to their parents. There are no numbers on exposure to inappropriate content but it is probably a safe bet that a lot of those incidents go unreported as well.

All of these threats are very real and, considering the amount of time children spend online, could present themselves on a daily basis. Here are some tips to help keep your kids safe, while bridging the gap between parental monitoring and proper education for your children.

• Kids must “friend” their parents on Facebook and allow them to be “followed” on Twitter. As teens get older, parents are certain to receive pushback but this is a surefire way to see what your kids are posting and what is being said about them. It is a fine line between monitoring and interference, so caution is advised.

• Do not let kids create their own personal email addresses until they reach a more mature, responsible age. Any account being created online, should be linked to the parents email. This will not only let you monitor what sites your children are registering for but will usually require that you authorize usage and provide you with time to either discuss any concerns with your children or deny the request.

• Make sure that your kids are educated on what’s appropriate to post online and that they never provide contact information or post inappropriate or suggestive pictures of themselves. In today’s world of social media, kids can be their own worst enemy. They shouldn’t post anything online that they wouldn’t want on a billboard, as this is essentially what online posts are. And removing or controlling content on the internet once it’s out there, is not a simple matter.

• Young adults tend to want to add as many other peers as possible to their social media circles. But the reality is that many of these “friends” are not vested in your child’s best interest and oftentimes become a source for ridicule or cyber bullying. Make sure your kids only accept requests from friends they know and trust.

• Strict rules and guidelines need to be set forth and agreed upon prior to allowing kids to go online. These rules and guidelines should also be revisited often as your children’s online experience grows. You should set limits on what’s acceptable, limit the amount of time spent online and make them understand what you will and will not accept in terms of behavior.

• Children are by nature naïve, curious and trusting. This is dangerous. So monitor your children’s activities. Review their browsing history through the browser tools. You can also purchase programs that will enhance your monitoring capabilities.

• Set your parental controls on your computer. Every operating system and browser has a set of parental controls. You should be certain to set the appropriate limits or settings for each. You can also adjust the settings on Google and the other search engines to be strict, ensuring that only appropriate content is returned regardless of the search.

Educating yourselves and your children is ultimately the most important step you can take. Sit down with your kids and set ground rules. Revisit those ground rules every time your kids get a new device, create a social media account, or register for an online gaming. Parents have the unenviable task of walking the fine line between building trust and keeping kids safe. Applying a combination of education, guidance and monitoring should help.

Online Learning – Training Webinar Success Tips

If you think that face-to-face training is the best way to do training, think again. New research shows that a blended approach produces 35-69 percent better outcomes than face-to-face alone.

What’s a blended approach? It’s a mixture of delivery modes, put together in a pattern to create the best result. For example, a blended course might involve one full day face-to-face, followed by several one-hour webinars delivered sequentially across a number of weeks. Another example might include a self-paced DVD program, followed by three two-hour webinars, followed by a live one-to-one coaching session.

The blended approach delivers even higher value than its impact on results in the workplace. It’s also an important part of reducing the need to travel for the training. Time in training sessions is time away from the job, so many employers are happier with training at the desktop that lasts only an hour or two. In addition, corporations worldwide are eager to eliminate travel, weather across town or halfway around the world. So, when your business offers part or all of its training online, you have a competitive advantage that companies that hire you will value.

So if your business delivers training services, it’s important to take a fresh look at how to restructure your training offerings to provide a significantly higher impact. If you plan on doing some live online training via Web conference technology, here are some success factors to help.

  • Keep your online learning session short.

    For training webinars, limit each session to one to two hours. One hour is best, but two hours works well when the training is interactive enough.

  • Tell students not to take notes, but instead to enjoy the experience of learning together.

    Promise your student participants a handout at the end of the session that captures all of the notes on the slides. If your slides are proprietary, you don’t have to give them a copy. Instead, give them a high-value handout that details the critical points, lists, and actions that are required for your participants to be successful. In an online learning environment, a short and focused PDF handout is better than long and comprehensive book.

  • Design your training webinar for vigorous, relevant, and continuous interaction.

    The toughest audience in the world is one that links from the desktop. At any moment in time, people are seconds a way from multitasking.

    The only way to keep people from multitasking is to create

    (1) extremely high value content,

    (2) delivered at a brisk pace,

    (3) intermixed with constant interaction that adds value to the experience of learning at that moment.

    When online trainers can’t see the students’ nonverbal cues, s/he has to be even more deliberate in building high quality interaction throughout the session.

  • Have students meet from individual desktops, not a conference room.

    To get the highest level of interaction, it’s best if each student links separately to the Web conference online learning session. That lets every student be able to participate easily and quickly in polls, chat discussions, imitation feedback, and voice interaction. When students meet from a conference room, sharing a computer inhibits rapid interaction that is needed to keep everyone else engaged. No one must be disadvantaged by location from being a full and equal participant in the learning.

  • Design your slides for brain appeal.

    Your students cannot see your face. But they can be very engaged by the PowerPoint slides that you use in your training webinar. Avoid standard Microsoft PowerPoint templates. Instead, find commercial templates that better express the theme of your training. Avoid clipart. Instead, use commercially available photo art and photo images. Avoid standard formatting. Instead, skillfully learn how to create and design slides that engaged the attention of your desktop students.

  • Team teach online learning sessions when you can.

    With experience and training, a single person can manage all aspects of an online learning session. But it’s better to team teach in your initial training webinars. For example, while one person instructs, the other annotates, manages polls, sets up chat discussions, observes the participation of the students, and asks questions to keep interaction going.

  • End with an online version of a standing ovation.

    You know that when you have delivered an excellent learning session. Students are eager to say how much they enjoyed the experience of learning with you. In an online learning environment, many trainers don’t get that feedback. Before you end the online learning session, ask students to use chat to tell you what they learned that they will apply. Encourage them make several entries. Then a moment later ask them what they enjoyed most about the class. They will be able to share their comments with the group or with you privately, as you specify. If you ask your student participants to share their comments publicly in chat, everyone will see dozens of positive comments that reinforce the high-value of your content as well as a very enjoyable interactive session, too.

  • End the online learning session with a three-minute online survey.

    Most Web conference platforms will allow you to drop the student off at a website where you can poll them on the metrics that show the value of your online learning program or session. If a company hired you (vs. individuals), summarize the information from the feedback form, and send it to the client. If students registered independently, neutralize the feedback and post the data on your website, along with quotes (of course, by permission).

Teacher Tips: Dealing With Impulsive Behaviors From ADHD Students in the Classroom

Thank you to all of our professional educators who dedicate themselves to our children! We know how difficult it can be working with ADHD children, so here are your teacher tips for the week, brought to you by the ADHD Information Library and ADDinSchool.com. This is a sampling of over 500 classroom interventions for your use at http://www.ADDinSchool.com. Here are some tips on Dealing with Impulsive Behaviors: One of the hallmarks of children with attention deficits is the tendency to act impulsively (acting before thinking through the ramifications of behavior). Behaviorally, this manifests itself in a lack of understanding of cause and effect. Research also suggests that these students can often verbalize the rules in place for behavior but have difficulty internalizing them and translating them into thoughtful behavior. Difficulties in delaying gratification also add to the impulsivity. Some clinicians believe that this behavioral disinhibition (poor regulation and inhibition of behavior), rather than their ability to pay attention, is the primary manifestation of attention deficits and is more likely to discriminate these children from others.

By having students think “out loud” when they are problem-solving, the teacher will gain insights into their reasoning style and the process will slow them down before they respond impulsively. This will provide information about how they “see the world” and enable the teacher to begin to restructure inaccurate perceptions. Train your student’s teachers and other adults how to do this to provide an on-going technique in the classroom setting, where critical incidents often occur. Quite often, students will continue to have difficulty with certain types of interactions on a regular basis; difficulty in taking turns, over-interpreting others’ remarks as hostile, personalizing others’ actions excessively, and misreading social cues. With the help of your student, his teacher, and his trusted peers, common problematic themes can be identified. Role play hypothetical interactions involving these behaviors, preferably with supportive peers, identifying and practicing positive alternative responses.

Have your student practice these responses during the school day and have him and others give you feedback on their success. Identifying critical incidents that occur during the day will provide insights for program planning. The technique of “Stop-Think-Talk-Do” is central to many cognitive-behavioral interventions for students with attentional teaches the student how to “stop” before acting impulsively, “think” about the cause and effect relationships of his intended behavior, “say” or verbalize to themselves or others what they will do, and “do” the chosen behavior. Again, the purpose of the technique is to slow down response. Encourage thoughtful responding and decrease impulsivity by waiting 10 to 15 seconds to receive responses during whole group instruction. Keep the classroom behavior rules simple and clear. Have the class agree on what the rules should be. Define and review classroom rules each day. Implement a classroom behavior management system. Actively reinforce desired classroom behaviors. Use self-monitoring and self-reinforcement on-task behavior during independent work time. Use a kitchen timer to indicate periods of intense independent word and reinforce the class for appropriate behavior during this period. Start with brief periods (5 to 10 minutes) and gradually increase the period as the class demonstrates success. When necessary, develop contracts with an individual student and her/his parents to reinforce a few specific behaviors. Set hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly goals depending on the reinforcement needs of the specific student. Provide frequent feedback on the student’s progress toward these goals. Provide a changing array of backup rewards or privileges so that students do not “burn out” on a particular system. For example, students can earn tickets for a daily or weekly raffle for the display of positive behavior.

To improve out of the classroom behavior, allow the class to earn a reward based on he compliments they receive on their behavior from other teachers, lunchroom staff, playground aides and principals. Avoid giving the whole class negative consequences based on the ADHD child’s behavior. The ADHD child, as well as the whole class, can benefit from implementation of social skills curriculum for the entire class. Modeling and requiring the children to use a systematic method of talking through classroom conflicts and problems can be particularly valuable for the ADHD child to implement this, teachers are referred to the literature on cognitive-behavioral approaches to developing the child’s self-talk and problem solving. Praise specific behaviors. For example, “I like how you wrote down all your assignments correctly,” rather than “Good boy!” Use visual and auditory cues as behavioral reminders. For example, have two large jars at the front of the room, with one filled with marbles or some other object. When the class is behaving appropriately, move some marbles to the other jar and let the students know that when the empty jar is filled they can earn a reward. Frequently move about the room so that you can maximize you degree of proximity control. When appropriate, give students choices about several different activities that could choose to work on one at a time. With students who can be quite volatile and may initially refuse negative consequences (such as refusing to go to time-out), set a kitchen timer for a brief period (1 to 2 minutes) after refusal has occurred. Explain to the child that the child can use the two minutes to decide if she/he will go to time out on her/his own or if more serious consequence must be imposed. Several experienced teachers insist this method has successfully reduced the extent to which they have had to physically enforce certain negative consequences with students and seems to de-escalate the situation. Hopefully these will help the ADHD students in your classroom to be more successful. You can learn more about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder at the ADHD Information Library.

How I Passed the CSET….Little Tips and Pointers That Made the Difference Between Pass and Failure

The CSET — Your Path To A Rewarding Career!

Few careers can provide the levels of responsibility, satisfaction and fulfillment that teaching brings to California educators. Each day, thousands of teachers across California help their students to study, to learn and to reach for their dreams.

Good Teachers Create Great Lives

Teachers can touch lives in ways that no one else can. Everyone remembers at least one teacher who provided them with encouragement and inspiration, with the help and advice that they needed just when they needed it most.

You are one small step away from becoming such a teacher.

Good Teachers Also Lead Great Lives

But teachers don’t just inspire and educate. As a teacher, you’ll enjoy respect from your family and friends, and a social status given to few other professionals. You’ll have long paid vacations that will enable you to travel the world or pursue your own goals. And you’ll have an income that will bring you independence and a career path that can lead you from challenge to success.

All that stands between you and a rewarding career of educating, guiding and inspiring students right now is your CSET test.

Pass The CSET exam, Pass On Your CSET test Knowledge

The CSET exam is a series of single-subject tests intended to prove to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing that you have the basic CSET test knowledge and ability to teach your subject in a classroom. There is also a CSET Multiple Subject exam which is required for K-8 certification.

Currently there is a

  • CSET Mathematics
  • CSET English
  • CSET Social Science
  • CSET Science
  • CSET Spanish
  • CSET Business
  • CSET Health Science
  • CSET Home Economics
  • CSET Physical Education
  • CSET French
  • CSET Spanish
  • CSET German
  • CSET Industrial and Technology Education
  • CSET Art
  • CSET Agriculture

    With hard work and, no less importantly, the right CSET test preparation, you should find it easy to pass the CSET and start your teaching career.

    What You Need To Know About The CSET

    Whichever subject you intend to teach, you’ll find that passing the CSET test will require you to make use of two sets of skills: recalling the CSET knowledge that you possess about your subject; and answering exam questions quickly and accurately.

    Both of these skill sets are vitally important on the CSET.

    What is the CSET?

    The CSET is a single subject exam, intended to replace the old Single Subject Assessments for Teaching and Praxis II tests. There are three types of test in the CSET:

    Single Subject Teaching Credentials are mainly used from grades 7-12 and authorize a teacher to teach one particular subject.

    Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials allow teachers to teach a range of different subjects and are generally used in elementary schools for grades K-6.

    Education Specialist Instruction Credentials allow teachers to teach students who have a particular disability or special need in grades K-12.

    Each exam in the CSET contains a number of subtests and lasts up to five hours. The sub-tests themselves are not timed however, allowing you to spend more time on areas that you find difficult and less time on the parts that you know best.

    Time management will be an important element in getting the score you need to pass the CSET exam and become a teacher.

    Two Types Of Questions, Two Types Of Challenge

    CSET exam questions come in two forms: multiple-choice questions ask you to choose the best answer from a number of options. In these questions, it is important to remember that the best answer isn’t necessarily the only correct answer. You may find that two CSET exam answers look correct but one answer will be more correct than the other. (This also means that when two answers look the same, you’ve got a 50/50 chance of guessing the right one.)

    Constructed-response CSET questions ask you to discuss, describe, analyze, explain etc. Often you’ll be asked to complete more than one task. Always read the question carefully and make sure that you have completed all the tasks.

    CSET Test Taking Tips for Essay Writing

    CSET Test Preparation– How To Cram Fast And Effectively

    Whatever your subject, the CSET exam is going to expect you to have memorized vast amounts of information. Some of that CSET information you’ll know well because you use it every day. But much of the details that will turn up in the exam will be the sort of knowledge that will normally have you turning to the books to find the answers.

    In the CSET, you’ll need to be able to recall those facts from your memory. That means being able to cram.

    Top Methods To Quickly Complete CSET Test Preparation

    At some point, just about everyone finds themselves having to cram for an exam. It might not be the best way to learn, but it’s often the only way to pass the test.

    There are a number of effective techniques that you can use to fill your head with the information you need to breeze through your CSET exam.

    1. Organize Your Priorities

    No one excels at everything. There will inevitably be some subjects at which you are stronger and others at which you are weaker. You’ll need to make sure that you spend more time memorizing and learning your weaker areas than your stronger ones for the CSET.

    Don’t worry if it looks like there’s a huge difference between the amount of work you have to do and the amount of time you have to do it. The next step will be to chop down the work and preparation required to pass the CSET.

    2. Pick And Store for the CSET

    Once you’ve identified those areas that will need the most work, read all the information through once. Highlight the most important points (don’t just underline: it’s easier to picture a highlighted page than an underlined sentence).

    There are a number of different methods that you can then use to store your CSET exam information in your head:

    o Break up what you need to learn into bite-sized chunks. There’s a limit to how much you can stuff into your short-term memory in one go. Take each piece a little at a time.

    o Acrostics help you remember a list in the right order by turning them into strange sentences. My Dear Aunt Sally is the famous way to remember to Multiply and Divide before you Add and Subtract. You can create your own acrostic for any set of facts on the CSET.

    o Turn your CSET notes into musical notes. If you can put the words you’re trying to memorize to a tune you like, you’ll find them much easier to remember. You might not be able to hum in the exam, but you can sing in the shower — and in the process, keep memorizing for the CSET;

    3. Get the CSET Rammed Right In There!

    Cramming only puts the information you want in your head for a short time (using what you’re memorizing will keep it there for the long term). In order to stop what you’ve memorized falling out before your CSET exam, you’ll need to keep seeing it and going over it right up until you need it on the day.

    Acing The CSET

    The actual content of your exam will depend on the subject you’re thinking of teaching. The official CSET study guides will tell you what you’re supposed to know before you walk into the CSET exam room. You should certainly be familiar with the CSET guides that apply to you.

    What the CSET study guides won’t tell you though is how to ace the CSET when you aren’t sure of the answer. That isn’t because you can’t do it; it’s because they don’t want you to know how to do it.

    Here are 5 Ways To Ace The CSET (Even When You Don’t Know The Answer)

    1. Do the easy questions first

    Use the first few minutes of the exam to zip through the paper. You’ll certainly find some of the questions easier than others. Do those straight away. It will make you feel a bit better and give you more time for the tough questions. And if you find yourself getting stuck on a question, make a mark, leave it and move on. Come back to it at the end when you’ll have more time, more focus and less panic.

    2. Use a process of elimination

    This is an absolute must on any multiple choice question. There will always be one or two questions that are outrageously wrong. Knock them out quick and your score doubles.

    3. Drop extreme language and numbers

    One way to pick the bad answer choices from the good is to look at the wording of the answers. The examiners generally prefer the correct answer to be wishy-washy. Any answer choice that uses words like ‘all’, ‘never’ or ‘always’ are probably wrong. Similarly, on math and science questions, the highest and lowest figures are usually bad choices too. Take them out.

    4. Identify similar answers

    Another way to hone in on the right answer choices is to pick out any answers that look the same. Usually on the CSET exam, two answers will be extreme, one will look right and one will be right.

    The one that looks right has been put there deliberately to confuse you.

    The examiners are hoping that as you rush through the exam, you won’t notice that there’s a better answer right next to it and pick the wrong choice. That’s mean, but it actually does you a favor. When two answer choices look similar, one of them is likely to be right.

    5. Use previous questions

    One of the great things about long exams like the CSET is that the answer to one question can often be found in another part of the test. It’s going to be almost impossible for the examiners not to repeat a subject or duplicate a point. If you’re scratching your head over a question, move on and keep an eye out for it later. There’s a good chance that they’ll give the game away in a different question.

    Those are just five simple tactics you can use to ace the CSET test. There are dozens of others and you’ll need them all to put yourself in the classroom and in front of the blackboard. To learn all the tactics you need, and to make sure that your CSET test preparation is right on track, check out our Study Guide and start your teaching career with top marks.

  • A Lesson in Education Technology From a Very, Very Old Tradition

    In Okinawa, Japan, women have been diving for pearls for more than 2,000 years. Traditionally dressed in only a loincloth, they would dive to depths as deep as 120 feet to find the oysters and mussels that produce pearls. This work was largely done by women because they were better able to endure the cold of the depths they were diving (Women’s bodies distribute fat more evenly then men.) The work was very dangerous, as you might expect, exposing them to predators, harsh environments and shallow water blackouts.

    In the 1960s, they were approached by a firm selling scuba gear. The company demonstrated that one person with the right gear could gather as many oysters as an entire village of women in a day. The results were enticing, but they also raised a number of very significant questions including which women would use the gear, and how would the profits be divided. A town counsel was called and everyone discussed the pros and cons of buying scuba gear. In the end, the decision was made reject the use of scuba and continue with their tradition.

    Today these Ama Divers, as they are called, still dive for pearls, though largely for the benefit of tourists rather than for the pearls they gather. Even scuba divers couldn’t compete with the advancements in pearl culture, where thousands of oysters could be grown in shallow depths and tricked into growing pearls in a confined area where they could be easily harvested.

    So what does this have to do with education? Look just about anywhere in the education industry and you will find wholesale attempts to introduce as much technology into the classroom as quickly as possible. There are even watchdog groups that report on the school boards that are acting the quickest to engage in these technologies. Blog after blog extols the virtues of employing the latest technological masterpiece, while those who are slower are looked down on as archaic and anachronistic. Some of these programs have good empirical data to back them up, many do not. Some programs are developed by wonderful people with altruistic motives, but many are being promoted by new non-profits that are little more than shells for large corporations who stand to make fortunes if their particular technology becomes the new standard.

    With all the hype and hyperbole that is flying around right now, it is virtually impossible to find a voice that will ask the tough questions about whether or not these technologies make good sense. Unlike the Japanese Ama Divers, there are few town council meetings to carefully consider what makes sense and what does not. One of the reasons the Common Core standards, good as they may be, are getting such resistance at the grass roots level is because the proponents have A) used a top-down approach, and B) have not been completely forthcoming about who the stakeholders are and who will profit when these technologies are adopted.

    Certainly there is nothing wrong with coming up with something new and making a profit on it; it’s the American way. However, using healthy political contributions to get the support of legislators in bellwether states in exchange for support for new programs is certainly less desirable.

    This doesn’t mean we need to be reactionary; it just means that we need to examine the new technologies that are introduced, checking the validity of their claims carefully before we purchase them. It also doesn’t mean we need to reject a promising new technology, as the divers did, if that technology can produce better results at a lower cost. What it does mean is that teachers and parents alike should ask the requisite questions to make sure we are getting the best bag for the buck.

    Progress and technology are wonderful tools when balanced with careful consideration and forethought. Let’s do the due diligence before we head down a rabbit hole that could take years to escape. It’s our future we are betting on here, and that is certainly worth our full attention.