Testing Concerns Dominate New School Year

Categories: Blog  K-12 Education  Company 
The days of summer are quickly fading and there’s a brisk chill in the air as Labor Day weekend approaches.  A majority of students have settled in the classroom filled with new aspirations and exciting challenges.
As we move forward, we can’t help but reflect on the previous school year.  That’s because we’re getting our first look at the results of the much anticipated Common Core-aligned testing across several U.S. states.

Scores were released earlier this week for Connecticut, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.  Overall, test results were higher than expected, but unfortunately it will not be possible to compare student performance to others nationwide as states continue to withdraw from the Common Core testing consortium in favor of creating their own standards.

Concerns with student assessments are ongoing as parents, educators and lawmakers try and resolve the issue.  Security violations, server irregularities, scanning errors, delayed results and diminishing school budgets are all factors that have compounded to create a difficult testing environment.  One state in particular, Indiana revised an act over the summer to provide students with the opportunity to use digital response technology as an alternative means to participate in high-stakes testing.  Turning Technologies worked alongside state lawmakers to showcase options in developing a secure and reliable testing experience.  We’re thrilled to be taking part in a special announcement on Tuesday, September 8th with Indiana leaders as additional information will be released regarding the act.  Make sure to follow us on social media for complete cover!

Tips for College Freshmen

Categories: Blog  Higher Education 
Looking back on my college experience, I feel by the end of my four years I took advantage of what my university had to offer. But I did learn a lot through those years and realize I could have done things differently my freshmen year to utilize my resources and gain a better first year experience.

Here are some things that I wish I knew or did my freshmen year.

Join clubs. Actually join them.
I remember going to my university’s organization fair and signing up to be in 8 different clubs. I ended up actually joining just 1 which was cancelled after 2 or 3 meetings. My mom told me in order for me to be away at school I had to be in 3 clubs or it wasn’t worth it to live on campus. I did not listen to my mother and wish I had. Join clubs to gain friends, new experiences, have a voice and to put on your resume. 

Make your dorm room comfortable.
I did not decorate my freshmen dorm room much and wish I would have because that was my home for 8 months. Decorate it so you are comfortable in your environment and are able to study and have friends there.

Do your best.
Don’t take classes for granted. I sometimes didn’t work as hard on a paper because it was just my freshmen year. But they do matter in the long run, even though they are freshmen courses. Try your hardest and be proud of every paper you turn in.

Try new things.
Going into college, I was worried that I wouldn’t do well in courses that I didn’t know much about. I wish I had tried more new things and taken advantage of the full college experience of trial and error. Take courses that interest you, but are not familiar with. You might find out that you have a knack in a new subject.

Take advantage of down time.
This one I did end up doing, but I wish I would have started earlier. Instead of taking a nap or studying during down time, I would sit in the cafeteria and talk which in the end wasn’t that beneficial to my college career. Take advantage of that time! Take a nap if you’re too exhausted, study for upcoming tests, organize your notes or exercise.

What do you wish you had known your freshman year?

Apples & Academics

Categories: Blog  K-12 Education 
Did you ever hand over a polished apple to your teacher on the first day of school?  The sweet fruit is synonymous with academics and knowledge, but I never really understood why.  Looking back, I (actually my parents) gave me a fruit basket to give to my third grade teacher Ms. Bickel for the holidays filled with an assortment of apples from your juicy Fuji’s to the more traditional Galas.

The gifting of fruit is often associated with hardships throughout world history.  We’ve seen the black and white photographs of people trying to survive the Great Depression by selling apples on the streets of New York City and Chicago to name a few for just a nickel.  Apples and academics date back to the 16th century when poor families in Denmark and Sweden would pay their educators in food.  Over time, the tradition caught on in the United States as children gave teachers apples because more times than not, their families would be responsible for providing educators with food and shelter.  As the lives of teachers improved and the need to offer them food disappeared, apples became associated with students “sucking up.”  This became well known in the 1939 Bing Crosby song, “An Apple for the Teacher.”  Crosby sings, “An apple for the teacher will always do the trick when you don’t know your lesson in arithmetic.”

And here we are today.  With classrooms equipped with more technology than a rocket, I would not be surprised to see teachers asking for an Apple® iPad over a Granny Smith.  If you can, keep the tradition going and show a teacher your appreciation by giving them an apple for the first day of school.

Switching to TurningPoint Cloud

Our newest case study outlines the switch one university made from TurningPoint 5 to TurningPoint Cloud. There are many institutions making this switch and finding that even though TurningPoint Cloud has the same polling functionalities as TurningPoint 5, TurningPoint Cloud has many overlying benefits because of the cloud component. To help other institutions with the switch, I’ve outlined some of the benefits that TurningPoint Cloud could provide.

Secure login and file encryption
Access software and stored files from any location
Regular upgrades, maintenance and customer support
Reduced time to benefit with easy to deploy and maintain software
Flexible organizational management
Every participant has the ability to participate and respond
Implement and support proven learning theories

Read our latest case study to further understand of TurningPoint Cloud.

First Day of School

Categories: Blog  K-12 Education 

Can’t believe we’re saying this, but it’s already back to school time. It feels like just yesterday when the final bell sounded marking the start of what seemed to be an endless summer.  Pool parties and cookouts are a distant memory now as the attention of teachers, parents and children focus on preparing for another school year.  Some do not look forward to replacing fun in the sun for a lesson on sunlight and photosynthesis, but there’s something special about the first day of school.  It’s an opportunity for a fresh start to discover your potential and challenge untouched possibilities.

Walking through the doors, your senses are immediately drawn to the smell of fresh paint and cleaning detergent while seeing rows of organized classrooms that glisten and ready to be used.  Butterflies in your stomach quickly dissipate as you see familiar faces dressed in new fall attire.  The bell rings and class begins with anticipation as you watch to see which of your friends will be joining you while also keeping an eye to the front of the room investigating your new teacher for the year trying to figure them out in the full 30 seconds you’ve been in class.  From there, the rest is history.

What do you remember from the first day of school?  Share your stories with us!