Category Archives: Education

Chromebook Headsets for Distance Learning

Believe it or not, we are already halfway through the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year, and as expected, it looks nothing like the school years we have experienced in the past. Due to the unprecedented events of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students are still participating in remote learning from home, while others have returned to in-person learning, either full-time or on a hybrid, part-time schedule. The fact that so many students are still attending classes remotely at least on a part-time basis means that teachers are using technology more than ever to help their students understand and engage in their lessons.
In both in-person and remote learning scenarios, headsets have become an essential part of the learning experience for students in elementary, middle, or high school. Those who are learning from home need a set that is comfortable enough to be worn all day, with a quality microphone and earphones that will allow them to clearly hear the teacher and respond to questions and in group discussions in a clear, easy-to-understand way. Those who have returned to campus need a set that is durable and can easily be transported to the computer lab and other areas of school without being damaged. Headsets that offer the right blend of affordability and durability can help teachers ensure that their students’ educational experience is enhanced so that they can benefit from their lessons regardless of where or how they are participating in classes. Here are our top choices for headsets that help make distance learning or in-person learning go more smoothly for everyone involved.

ThinkWrite Ultra Durable 90119 – Made to withstand multiple uses from students of all types, this headset is a must-add to your child’s school supply list. Its microphone cancels out noise, making it perfect for teachers who like to record their lessons, or students who like using voice notes to study for tests. Another feature of this headset is that it was designed for iPads and Chromebooks.

 

 

ThinkWrite TW120 Ultra Ergo – An ergonomic design helps students perform at their best without straining to see or hear. This headset is comfortable and durable. One of its best features is that it was designed specifically to limit exposure to damaging frequencies, which is a benefit for young ears. It is perfect for audio recording, testing and a plethora of other classroom uses.

 

 

Soundnetic SN250M – A lightweight option, the Soundnetic Disposable headset is affordable and perfect for cleaning standards. This headset is designed for personal use, so students can get a pair for their own use. The stereo speakers make it easy to hear audio, and the headset is compatible with many different tablets, phones, and computers. Students don’t have to share them, making them great for Covid protocols.

 

 

Cyber Acoustics AC-5008 – A classic look meets modern function in this headset. Its traditional round earphones are reminiscent older models, and also comfortable, durable, and easy to clean. This headset is adjustable with a microphone that can be used on either side. A USB plugin makes it easy to pair with many different computers and other devices, making it a good choice for use in and out of the classroom.

 

Cyber Acoustics AC-6012 – With a padded headband and padded earphones, this headset is also a great model that can be worn all day. Yet, it is also durable enough to be used in a classroom setting with multiple students. The surface is easy to clean and sanitize, and the volume control is easy to find and adjust, which is great for a multitude of students.

 

Cyber Acoustics AC-204 – Made with VoIP and gamers in mind, this headset is great for distance learners who need to use the headset for most of the day. It features noise-canceling headphones, which makes it easier for kids in busy households to hear their teachers, and it can be used with a variety of computers, phones, and tablets.

 

Hamilton Buhl Smart-Trek Deluxe Stereo ST2BKU – Schools that want headsets that are available for multiple uses will love this model. The headset adjusts to fit students of all ages. Its ear cups are soft and comfortable, but they are easy to clean in between uses, helping keep students safe and healthy. The cord is resistant to knots, which is a bonus for students who twist the cords.

 

 

Hamilton Buhl Smart-Trek Deluxe Stereo ST2BK – Students who prefer a headset that envelops the ear and cancels noise will love this headset. It offers excellent sound quality with adjustable volume, which is perfect for at-home students with multiple teachers. This headset is adjustable, making it perfect for a classroom setting, as it can be used by students of all sizes. It is durable too, with the ability to withstand multiple uses.

 

 

Avid AE-42 – For students who don’t take the best care of their school supplies, a durable headset is a must. This school headset is made to withstand the abuse that is common in classrooms from being dropped to cord chewing. Although it is durable, it’s also stylish and functional, and it can be adjusted for each user. As a bonus, it’s easy to clean, which is perfect for enhanced sanitation requirements.

 

 

Avid AE-55 – Not only does this model offer noise reduction and a cord that is easy to store, but the microphone can also be worn on either ear, making it easier for left-handed people to take notes during class. The Avid AE-55 is designed with comfort in mind and contains ergonomic elements to keep students from straining so that they can pay attention to the class rather than become distracted by their personal comfort.

 

 

Avid AE-36 – Available in a variety of colors, this headset allows students to express their personalities as they learn! The headset and the speaker are controlled from one jack, making them less bulky and easier to carry. The Avid AE-36 school headsets work with a variety of computers and tablets, including Chromebooks, without the need for extra attachments, and the sound quality makes it easy for a student to hear the instructor.

 

 

 

Though we are all anxious for things to return to normal as quickly as possible, there is a silver lining in all of this: affordable, durable headsets and other technology are more available than ever, which helps make the circumstances more adaptable. With so many available models of headsets, there is sure to be a pair for every student in any situation. Whether they’re being used for test-taking, homework, distance learning, or other uses, the headsets on this list will conform to sanitation guidelines while also being functional for everyday use. Give your student the best chance to succeed this school year via remote or in-person learning by making sure that he or she has the right headset to make this unusual school year as comfortable and productive as possible.

The Best Headsets for Remote Work

Since mid-March, when stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic went into effect, our lives have undergone a significant change, and life as we know it no longer looks the same. Everything we do, from how we shop for groceries to how our children attend school, has been somewhat altered by the pandemic. We’re all doing our best to adapt to this seismic shift in our society so that we can safely get on with business as usual. 

One of the biggest changes we’ve had to cope with during these unprecedented times is how we work. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to telecommute to the office are now working from home in order to stay safe and socially-distanced from our co-workers. Even though we’re lucky to have the available technology that allows us to do this, working from home can still be quite frustrating, and not everybody has adapted easily to this new normal.

Take, for example, online meetings. Gone are the days of sitting around a conference room table, sharing ideas, and making plans with our colleagues. While not everyone misses this face-to-face approach (and, to be sure, there’s a lot to be said for attending meetings in cozy PJ pants), sitting on multiple video chats per day with co-workers and clients, interacting via Zoom or Google Meet where we once would have had face-to-face interactions, is not for everybody. 

For many employees, especially those living in cramped spaces with multiple distractions, working remotely has been among the most difficult aspects of COVID life they’ve had to adapt to in a relatively short period of time.

Those who have yet to embrace remote work and are struggling to concentrate can find an ideal and simple solution through the use of headsets. Using a headset helps create an instant distraction-free environment, no matter what’s going on in the background! Best of all, some headsets include special features such as muted microphones that can help minimize background noise coming from your end, providing a pleasant, focused call for all meeting participants. Here are our top choices for headsets to help make remote work go more smoothly for everyone involved.

Avid AE-36Available in a variety of colors, this headset allows you to make a statement while staying focused on a call. The headset and the speaker are controlled from one jack, making them less bulky and easier to carry. The Avid AE-36 headset works with a variety of computers and tablets, including Chromebooks, without the need for extra attachments, and the sound quality makes it easy for a student to hear the instructor.

 

 

 

Avid AE-42For those who don’t always take the best care of their office supplies, a durable headset is a must. This headset is made to withstand any abuse that may come to it, from being dropped by one of your kids to having the cord chewed on by a pet. Although it is durable, it’s also stylish and functional, and it can be adjusted for each user, in case you’re sharing with your partner or child.

 

 

Hamilton Buhl Smart-Trek Deluxe Stereo ST2BKRemote workers who prefer a headset that envelops the ear and cancels noise will love this headset. It offers excellent sound quality with adjustable volume, which is perfect for online meetings with multiple presenters. Its adjustable headset and durable construction give the Smart-Trek Deluxe the ability to withstand multiple uses.

 

 

Hamilton Buhl Smart-Trek Deluxe Stereo ST2BKUWork-from-home parents who want headsets that are available for multiple uses will love this model. The headset adjusts to fit people of all ages. Its ear cups are soft and comfortable, making it easier to sit through a long online meeting. The cord is resistant to knots, which is a bonus for those who tend to twist the cords.

 

 

Cyber Acoustics AC-204Made with VoIP and gamers in mind, this headset is great for remote workers who need to use the headset for most of the day. It features noise-canceling headphones, making it easier for people in busy households to hear their colleagues, and it can be used with a variety of computers, phones, and tablets.

 

Cyber Acoustics AC-6012With a padded headband and padded earphones, this headset is also a great model that can be worn all day. With its easy-to-clean surface and user-friendly volume control, the AC-6012 can help take your online meetings to the next level.

 

 

Cyber Acoustics AC-5008A classic look meets modern function in this headset. Its traditional round earphones are reminiscent of classic models, not to mention comfortable, durable, and easy to clean. This headset is adjustable with a microphone that can be used on either side. A USB plugin makes it easy to pair with many different computers and other devices, making it a good choice for a variety of uses in                                                                addition to remote meetings. 

 

Soundnetic SN250MA lightweight option, the Soundnetic Disposable headset is an ideal option for those of us on a budget. This headset is designed for personal use, with stereo speakers that make it easy to hear audio. Best of all, the SN250M is compatible with many different tablets, phones, and computers, giving you peace of mind that your equipment will work well with this headset.

 

 

ThinkWrite TW120 Ultra ErgoThis comfortable, durable headset features an ergonomic design that helps you perform at your best without straining to see or hear. One of the best features of the TW120 is that it was designed specifically to limit exposure to damaging frequencies, which is beneficial to your auditory health. In addition to being invaluable during online meetings, he TW120 is perfect for recording presentations, participating in conference calls over the phone, and listening to work-related video content without distractions.

 

 

ThinkWrite Ultra Durable 90119With its noise-canceling microphone, the ThinkWrite Ultra Durable 90119 may be the greatest thing to ever happen to your Zoom meetings! No more background noise from kids, pets, or neighborhood construction. The Ultra Durable 90119 is optimized for iPads and Chromebooks, making it a headset that your child can borrow for remote learning when it’s not in use by you. Perfect for the whole family!

 

 

Avid -55Not only does this model offer noise reduction and a cord that is easy to store, but the microphone can also be worn on either ear, making it easier for left-handed people to take notes during online meetings. The Avid AE-55 is designed with comfort in mind and contains ergonomic elements to keep users from straining so that they can pay attention to the topic at hand rather than become distracted by their personal comfort.

 

 

With so many durable and affordable headset models available, there’s a model out there to suit virtually every remote worker in any situation. Whether you plan to use a headset for meetings, note-taking, recording, or just creating an environment free from distraction, our top headset choices are practical and functional for everyday use. Before you struggle through one more day of inadequate remote work conditions, make sure you’re well-equipped with the right headset to make your work-from-home experience as comfortable as possible!

The Best Headsets for Online Meetings

Since the onset of the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, life as we know it has been significantly altered. Everything from how we shop for groceries to how our children attend school looks different now, and we are adapting to this seismic change with pivots, workarounds, and other shifts to help us safely get on with business as usual.
One of the biggest changes we’ve had to cope with during these unprecedented times is how we commute to the office. Many of us are now working remotely, doing our jobs from home offices in order to stay safe and socially-distanced from our co-workers. While we are certainly fortunate to have the available technology that allows us to do this, working from home can be quite frustrating, and not all workers have had an easy time adapting to it.

This is especially true when it comes to online meetings. It is now commonplace to have to sit on multiple video chats per day with colleagues and clients, interacting via Zoom or Google Meet where we once would have had face-to-face interactions. For many employees, especially those living in cramped spaces with multiple distractions, online meetings have been among the most difficult parts of COVID life they’ve had to adapt to in a relatively short period of time.
For those who have yet to embrace online meetings and are struggling to concentrate, headsets can be an ideal solution. Using a headset can help you create an instant distraction-free environment no matter what’s going on in the background! Best of all, some headsets include special features such as muted microphones that can help minimize background noise coming from your end, providing a pleasant, focused call for all members of the meeting. Here are our top picks for headsets that help make online meetings go more smoothly for everyone involved.

Avid AE-36 – Available in a variety of colors, this headset allows you to make a statement while staying focused on a call. The headset and the speaker are controlled from one jack, making them less bulky and easier to carry. The Avid AE-36 headset works with a variety of computers and tablets, including Chromebooks, without the need for extra attachments, and the sound quality makes it easy for a student to hear the instructor.

Avid AE-55 – Not only does this model offer noise reduction and a cord that is easy to store, but the microphone can also be worn on either ear, making it easier for left-handed people to take notes during online meetings. The Avid AE-55 is designed with comfort in mind and contains ergonomic elements to keep users from straining so that they can pay attention to the topic at hand rather than become distracted by their personal comfort.

Avid AE-42 – For those who don’t always take the best care of their office supplies, a durable headset is a must. This headset is made to withstand any abuse that may come to it, from being dropped by one of your kids to having the cord chewed on by a pet. Although it is durable, it’s also stylish and functional, and it can be adjusted for each user, in case you’re sharing with your partner or child.

Hamilton Buhl Smart-Trek Deluxe Stereo ST2BK – Remote workers who prefer a headset that envelops the ear and cancels noise will love this headset. It offers excellent sound quality with adjustable volume, which is perfect for online meetings with multiple presenters. Its adjustable headset and durable construction give the Smart-Trek Deluxe the ability to withstand multiple uses.

Hamilton Buhl Smart-Trek Deluxe Stereo ST2BKU – Work-from-home parents who want headsets that are available for multiple uses will love this model. The headset adjusts to fit people of all ages. Its ear cups are soft and comfortable, making it easier to sit through a long online meeting. The cord is resistant to knots, which is a bonus for those who tend to twist the cords.

Cyber Acoustics AC-204 – Made with VoIP and gamers in mind, this headset is great for remote workers who need to use the headset for most of the day. It features noise-canceling headphones, making it easier for people in busy households to hear their colleagues, and it can be used with a variety of computers, phones, and tablets.

Cyber Acoustics AC-6012 – With a padded headband and padded earphones, this headset is also a great model that can be worn all day. With its easy-to-clean surface and user-friendly volume control, the AC-6012 can help take your online meetings to the next level.

Cyber Acoustics AC-5008 – A classic look meets modern function in this headset. Its traditional round earphones are reminiscent of classic models, not to mention comfortable, durable, and easy to clean. This headset is adjustable with a microphone that can be used on either side. A USB plugin makes it easy to pair with many different computers and other devices, making it a good choice for a variety of uses in addition to remote meetings.

Soundnetic SN250M – A lightweight option, the Soundnetic Disposable headset is an ideal option for those of us on a budget. This headset is designed for personal use, with stereo speakers that make it easy to hear audio. Best of all, the SN250M is compatible with many different tablets, phones, and computers, giving you peace of mind that your equipment will work well with this headset.

ThinkWrite TW120 Ultra Ergo – This comfortable, durable headset features an ergonomic design that helps you perform at your best without straining to see or hear. One of the best features of the TW120 is that it was designed specifically to limit exposure to damaging frequencies, which is beneficial to your auditory health. In addition to being invaluable during online meetings, he TW120 is perfect for recording presentations, participating in conference calls over the phone, and listening to work-related video content without distractions.

ThinkWrite Ultra Durable 90119 – With its noise-canceling microphone, the ThinkWrite Ultra Durable 90119 may be the greatest thing to ever happen to your Zoom meetings! No more background noise from kids, pets, or neighborhood construction. The Ultra Durable 90119 is optimized for iPads and Chromebooks, making it a headset that your child can borrow for remote learning when it’s not in use by you. Perfect for the whole family!

With so many durable and affordable models, there is a headset for every remote worker in any situation. Whether they’re being used for meetings, note-taking, recording, or other uses, these headsets are functional and practical for everyday use. Don’t suffer another day with inadequate home office conditions- make sure you’re well-equipped with the right headset to make your work-from-home experience as comfortable as possible!

Post Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are always a busy time. With family visiting, kids off from school, and lots of events, it can be overwhelming. We’re here to help! We’re going to share the top gifts your students and family will love. These gifts are great for the technology lover in your life. You might even find something you can’t live without. In case you didn’t get everything on your Christmas list, we have you covered. From the hard-to-shop-for to the techie, we have something for everyone.

Cyber Acoustics AC-204 Stereo Headset:

If you’re looking for a gift for the person who is hard to shop for, look no further! This single plug and y-adapter headset is compatible with any hardware you could want to use. The adjustable over the head design fits comfortably on anyone. This is a true universal gift!

Soundnetic Deluxe Tri-Plug Multimedia Headset:

This headset is a great gift for the gamer in your life! With dual PC plugs that work with Chromebook and tablets, it also works with PC, MAC, smartphones, and media players. An inline plug control switch activates the headphone jack to be used, making it easy to swap between devices. On top of all these integrations, this headset provides excellent noise-isolation.

AVID Disposable Earbuds AE-215 Stereo Rubber Tipped Bulk Earbuds:

These earbuds are perfect for the active person on your list. An ideal choice for the gym, the silicon tips reduce ambient noise and can stay in during a workout. A 3-foot 10-inch cord provides extra length. These are a wonderfully affordable option when your gift list is long!

Edison Educational Robot Kit:

Kids from grades K-12 will love this robot kit! An educational gift that kids will actually want to play with, it instantly engages them. Designed to inspire an inventive spirit and get kids interested in STEM, each Edison robot features a host of sensors and can be programmed using a growing number of free software applications.

Thinkwrite Ultra Durable Headphones:

These sturdy headphones are perfect for the clumsy or destructive kid in your life. They are made of a special ABS plastic for maximum durability. Featuring a chew-resistant fabric cable to help prevent damage from even the most determined chewers, these headphones make a great gift for kids who put their tech through the worst.

HamiltonBuhl Primo Stereo Headphones:

Versatile enough to connect to almost any audio device, these are a great all in one gift! The headphones are rugged and feature a chew and kink-resistant cord. They also protect from unnecessary and distracting ambient noise. With washable leatherette ear cushions, these headphones will stay clean and ready to use anytime.

If these products have caught your attention, be sure to visit our website and see the rest of our gift options. You might even find something you need for yourself! We have tons of affordable and durable products. Shop our headphones, headsets, and earbud options for the special people on your gift list this holiday sea

Enhance your Tablet: Accessories you Need to Get the Most Out Of Your Device

Zagg book rugged
For iPad Air owners who are among you, the Rugged Book is the “most powerful and versatile wireless Bluetooth tablet keyboard” on the market. Are you ready to be the Bear Grylls of the tablet world? Is it a thing? Do not despair if you have another type of iPad: Zagg sells hard shell cases for the most part.
The fantastic magnetic hinge makes this tablet accessory able to act as a box, a keyboard, a movie theater and a book. It can be chargeable for up to two years (assuming one hour per day). With a backlit keyboard function, you probably will not need another case while your tablet is still active. Given the battery life of the Rugged Book, I was able to survive it well.

Tablet support
If you need to hold your tablet anywhere, it can be tedious for your weak little arms and lean against various household items as you try to stuff yourself – it’s impractical to see House of Cards. The Plinth Tablet Stand solves these annoying problems and also fits in your back pocket, so your tablet stays mobile. Designed and made in the UK, it’s done at the touch of a button and even appeared (pretty impressive) in Dragon’s Den last year.
It is versatile, adjustable and serves as a support for iPhone 7 Samsung S8, tablet (has an iPhone and iPad Pro 6+ above) or even your Nintendo switch, cell phone or tablet (with or without case). Did we mention that this is also a lifetime warranty?

Riva S
The Riva S is a high-quality Bluetooth speaker designed for music, movies, and large volumes of Netflix (now that Go Binge lets you see what you want) through your tablet.
With 13 hours of battery life, it’s perfect and a multi-party mode, the days with a small, small speaker, while you and a group of friends hear the terrible sound (which makes it shocking) have already left behind.
With water-resistance and the ability to sync two left and right channel speakers, you’ll enjoy it. You can even begin to believe that you are strange in all things.

Zendure A5 portable charger
The exhaustion of the battery is the bane of our lives. And one of the top five stress factors facing Millennials in 2017 (it’s a joke). Whether you are away from home and just need to make a call to go home, or if you are an expert in preparation, you want your tablet to work with enough energy.

The Zendure A5 will charge your device four or five times before it runs out of energy (we discovered that fact even more) and it works with a variety of USB devices. Unlike most portable chargers, they can charge you one of the most useful features we’ve seen so far. So you can charge your phone and the A5 at the same time. This smart charger can even go to sleep when not in use. It’s small, durable and we would not go anywhere without one.

 

Jive Soundproof Helmets
A beautiful pair of headphones that isolate the sound and do not break the shore, for all the time you want to watch programs and listen to tunes without being disturbed or disturbed by the outside world. It’s mostly loud in high fidelity voices and comes with all the sounds you expect from a brand like Brainwavz.
Stylish, with foam tips, they are probably the most comfortable headphones we’ve ever tried. The three-button remote control is as easy to use as the others, and the microphone means you’ll never have to remove it again.

BioliteCampstove 2
For eco-conscious campers and the greediest among you, this is one of the most innovative tablet accessories (seriously, who invented this, is that great?!) that we’ve seen so far.
Not only does this campfire burn a non-smoking conventional biofuel fires (sticks, wood, embarrassing pictures, cards/gifts from your ex) to boil water, it will also use this excess energy to generate electricity and charge your tablet
BioliteCampstove 2 is one of those futuristic accessories that can revolutionize the most traditional activities: camping outdoors. Who has the marshmallows now?

Brush and brush Sensu
We have to confess. Most of us have big fingers. Like great sausages for everyday tasks, such as the cleaning of tears and the use of our hands as utensils for eating, but for the most complex things, it is the use of tablets, we prefer the brush and brush Sensu.
Your tablet is more than just a big phone or a small laptop: it’s the screen you’ve always dreamed of. But what is a painting without a brush? (Note: it is a blank canvas). The Sensu can be a useful tool for writing and drawing, or it can be used as a universal pen. It does not hurt that it’s so lovely to see a calligraphic brush.

Things you should know about the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC)

What is PARCC?

PARCC or the partnership for assessment of readiness for college and careers is a group of states partnered together to develop a set of common students’ assessments. Developing the PARCC is handled by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The assessments by PARCC measure the knowledge and skills that give students confidence and success in the main academic areas. Such skills include evidence-based writing, mathematical problem solving, and understanding complex texts.

Who should take PARCC assessments?

As such, students between grades 3 to 8, inclusive, are given the opportunity to take online PARCC assessments in mathematics and ELA, each spring. PARCC results are used together with other measures to create a broader picture of a child’s progress. The other measures include report card grades, teacher feedback, and classroom performance. So, with PARCC you can be sure that a child’s development isn’t just based on their scores in school but on a statewide standard that compares the performance of children from different schools.

How are PARCC tests designed?

PARCC assessments are intended to assess the member states’ Common Core State Standards. On the PARCC website, are ELA test specification documents that should help you better understand the design of ELA assessments. Also available to the public are mathematics test specification documents that provide test blueprints and claims structures that outline the goals and format of the assessment. They also give evidence statements that link the content of the assessment to Common Core State Standards.

How are PARCC assessments taken?

PARCC assessments are computerized and are completed online. For this reason, some of the questions are multiple choice. However, others may ask the students to plot a point on a graph, shade an area or slot in their answer to an equation. For language tests, students might be required to read short passages and write short essays.

Are PARCC tests harder than other standardized tests?

These assessments are designed to be more rigorous than the tests offered in each of the member states. Setting high standards is important because they align to the CCSS which put emphasis on reading, comprehension, and critical thinking.

What are the cons of PARCC assessments?

Well, many complaints have come from younger students, the cause of disagreement since the test format and questions are too confusing to them. Again, there are those who have an issue with the time it takes to sit and prepare for the tests. They tend to think that this time could have been put to better use. However, there is also the question of the resources used by schools to upgrade technology in readiness for the tests. Those who belong to this school of thought say the resources used are unnecessarily too much.

Some have also expressed fears that teachers will end up teaching for the tests and nothing else. Others say that there are too much emphasis formal texts in ELA as opposed to creative writing and literature. As another form of standardized test, PARCC may not truly reveal the student’s knowledge, skills, and understanding. As much as PARCC assessments include test items across different levels of cognitive ability, there is no provision for the assessment of students with special needs, leaving out a key element of any assessment system. The requirement that students use technology may disadvantage many students from poor and low-income areas who do not have as much experience using computers.

What are the benefits of PARCC assessments?

The proponents of PARCC assessments believe that with more rigorous tests, students will be better prepared for colleges and careers. They are based on the CCSS standards that require students to show problem-solving skills. As such, the tests are designed to ensure students know how to solve problems rather than simply memorizing the correct answers. A comparison can also be drawn between students’ progress in the states, which administer PARCC tests, thus creating a common standard of assessment between different states.

Some of the proponents of these tests have also observed that PARCC tests make teachers more accountable. Holding the teachers in charge of tests provide a means of gauging and improving performance in the entire class. Since the tests have been created in collaboration with over 800 colleges, they ensure that students who graduate from high school are ready for college. Parents and teachers may also use PARCC assessments to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the students and any additional instruction required.

PARCC assessments are also so flexible that schools in their administration need not much time and resources. As others take the tests, teachers and students who are not taking them can be in class doing meaningful learning. The supporters of these tests also say that it is easy to tie performance in PARCC tests to the money spent by various states on education.

History of the SBAC and How it Rose to a Nationwide Movement

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) was created in 2010 with the aim of producing a universal assessment system to help students be well prepared for college and careers. The creation of the tests aimed to produce a vigorous assessment of the new, challenging common core state standards (CCSS) and help educators and school districts align teaching to these new standards. The SBAC originally consisted of a consortium of 30 states that submitted a proposal for a $178m federal grant to develop a new, groundbreaking series of tests for students. In 2014 the federal grant came to an end and the SBAC was transferred to UCLA and became a public agency.

 

The SBAC is funded by the memberships of the 16 states, that currently offer the tests, and all tests have been available for students to take since April 2015. Testing costs around $28 per student for the full package of resources and although it can cost states a significant amount of money to introduce, the resources that are included can actually end up saving money and time for educators. Around 220 colleges nationwide accept the high school summative SBAC tests as evidence for college readiness for credit level courses.

 

The progressive tests were created using a dynamic process of field-testing and in Spring 2014, 4.2 million students took the first field tests which facilitated the evaluation of over 19,000 assessment items. This allowed for the first set of achievement standards to be set, which were a starting point for discussion about achievement standards across the states that took part and as a baseline measure for the future.

 

The SBAC is designed to be a valid and reliable approach to student assessment, providing actionable data to provide interventions to help students succeed. For states offering the tests, the SBAC provides three components developed by nearly 5000 teachers nationwide:

 

  • Formative and practice assessments with a digital library of resources for students and educators.
  • Interim assessments
  • Summative assessments towards college and career readiness in English, Language Arts and Math

 

The SBAC summative tests are available for students in grade 3-8th and high school and are all administered via an interactive online platform. The tests take between 2.5 – 4 hours for each component and are either marked digitally or by qualified professional scorers. The marks for each assessment are available in 2-3 weeks for parents, educators and students. Each student receives a result of 1,2,3 or 4 on each test with 1 representing a student who is minimally qualified and 4 a student who is thoroughly qualified.

 

The movement towards rigorous and valid assessment helps both states and the nation ensure that students are leaving high school with a diploma that prepares them for adult life. The SBAC provides a way to ensure that every student succeeds and every school district is accountable for that because of the tests.

 

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Tablets

Buying a tablet can be an amazing experience. With its help, you can access great portability, lots of amazing apps and immediate access to the features that you might need. There are many tablets which deliver perfect results for business and other models are perfect for day to day users. But you do have to wonder, how can you pick the right tablet? Believe it or not, the entire process is easy if you know where to look and what you should look for. Because of that, we created a list with all those things you need to know when you purchase a tablet.

Pick the right brand

There are multiple tablet brands you can choose from, each one coming with its own unique set of features and benefits. You can either opt for Apple, Samsung tablets, Microsoft, Amazon tablets and so on. Of course, each one comes with its own operating system and features so you do get quite a different experience. It’s a good idea to go through trial and error. Find a local shop that allows you to test at least one model as this way you will see whether that tablet will suit your needs or not.

iOS or Android

The operating system is crucial for any tablet. Based on it you will be able to get access to a different App Store, applications and features created specifically for your device. There are many differences between Android and iOS, but you can also find quite a bit of similarities. iOS is great if you are a person that wants to access intuitive menus, wonderful native apps and a good selection of movies, books or music. On the other hand, Android has a larger selection of apps, it helps you access better customization options. You can also opt for Windows tablets that use the Microsoft tile system. These are good for working with familiar tools such as Power-Point for example.

Screen size and resolution

The screen size is up to you. Some people like the idea of having a tablet with a very large screen, so you can opt for 10 inch models or even 12” models like the iPad Pro. On the other hand, you can also pick tablets like 7” or 8” models if you want. The latter ones will fit in your pockets, so they will provide you with a better portability. Even so, the value you get here is amazing and you should think about the screen size beforehand. You also should think about the overall resolution. A higher resolution will provide more pixels on the entire screen. Thus, the visual experience will be more detailed. Opt for the highest possible resolution if you want to get the very best results.

Memory and CPU

A quad core CPU is standard on the medium-range models. Some newer tablets are featuring octa-core processors, while the less expensive ones will bring you single core or dual core processors. Usually, quad core processors are ok from a performance standpoint and affordable.

When it comes to the necessary internal memory, keep in mind that some tablets don’t allow you to add a memory card. Because of that, you will need to opt for more internal memory. Nowadays, it’s recommended to stick to around 32GB as an entry level, if you install a lot of apps or if you play lots of games you should consider 64GB or 128GB models.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

There will be times when you want to connect to the web, so a good Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection will come in handy. While most tablets have great connectivity features, including all the above. For the best results, you should still check if they have these features before you purchase.

Budget

Based on your budget, you might be limited to a certain set of tablets. Usually, a good tablet should be around $300, some models are over $400 and they are considered as top of the line. Entry level tablets can be found at $100 and if you don’t want as much processing power as a premium tablet you can easily get good results with $200 models. Remember that you should stick to your budget when you buy a tablet. There will always be some more expensive models with better features, so try to keep that in mind as it will help you quite a bit. It will not be easy to do that, but in the end results can be very well worth it in the end.

Waterproof or not

There are a few models which are waterproof, but these will usually have less processing power. Most of the time these are created specifically for professional users and they aren’t dedicated to regular users. Still, you can find yourself getting such a model if you want water-resistant tablets. If you want a good table that you use daily and you live in areas where it rains a lot, waterproofing can be a very important thing for you so try to keep that in mind.

What do you want to use it for?

You can find Tablets for professionals, for home use or for gaming. For example, models like the Nvidia Shield are created for gamers, whereas Microsoft Surface or the iPad Pro are designed with the business users in mind. Regular tablets come from different makes and they can be suitable for most home users without that much of a problem.

If you want to use your tablet solely for gaming, you do need to opt for a more powerful one. on the other hand, if you just want to use it at home for web browsing and e-mail, you can stick to the lower end models.

Conclusion

Yes, it can be very challenging to find a good tablet that suits your needs. But if you take your time and study the market you will find it very easy to pick the right model. Keep in mind that you should stick to your budget. Don’t rush, see what you want to use the tablet for and results can be very interesting to begin with!

10 Signs You Should Invest in Tablets

In the past few years, more and more people started to be focused on the idea of purchasing a mobile device. Usually, when you must choose between multiple devices like this you either have to pick between a tablet, mobile phone or a laptop. Laptops are heavy and smartphones can have a tiny screen, but tablets are a great middle ground that deliver a larger screen and good processing power for an affordable price. But is it a good idea to invest in a tablet? Will it last more than a tablet and how can you get the best results from it? Let’s find that out right now.

  1. Tablets are great for reading

A major benefit for many users is that tablets are very good for reading. Unlike e-readers that have e-ink screens, tablets have a customizable screen, the ability to change brightness and opacity as well as many other similar features. This makes it a lot easier for you to read the content you want and in the end the entire reading experience is a lot more interesting.  Plus, tablets bring you the ability to read multiple types of files. From PDFs to long web articles, comic files and so on, all of these run natively on a tablet while an e-ink reader will struggle with them.

  1. Portability

One of the main reasons why you have to consider getting a tablet is the portability you will receive. There will be no need for docking stations, tablets are portable and you can easily take them with you whenever you want. They work great for businessmen but regular people can also use them during their travels. It’s really nice to have a tablet when you need to access the web, stay in touch with friends/colleagues or when you need to enter a videoconference while on the go.

  1. Internet Connectivity

Some tablets allow you to connect to your 4G network or they can easily connect to any Wi-Fi hotspot. One thing is certain, you never have a problem finding a good internet connection nowadays so you can always reach anyone regardless of where you are. Thanks to owning a tablet, you will be able to get in touch with your family as fast as possible and results can be second to none all the time!

  1. Tablets are stable

Yes, unlike computers, the tablet OS is a lot more stable. There will be a few crashes here and there but you just need to restart the unit and you are back on track. This is great if you want to access special applications or features on your device and the results you get from here can be quite impressive in the end. That alone, combined with a very good debug system and plenty of reset options, makes using a tablet very easy and safe.

  1. Affordable

A great benefit brought by any tablet is that it helps you get access to great mobile apps on the inexpensive side. A tablet is a lot cheaper when compared to high end mobile phones or even regular laptops, so you should consider investing in a tablet if you want to have the very best results. Keep that in mind and the experience will be worth it in the end. Plus, you can use the extra money to purchase accessories or invest in other electronics of your own choosing.

  1. Tablets are great for multimedia

You can use a tablet to listen to your favorite music, you can watch videos on it or you can share content on social media. Yes, tablets are perfect for social content creation and they can deliver amazing multimedia features. They are a delight to use and the experience you get is a very good one. Plus, you don’t have to carry an iPod or similar unit around, you get a complete round of features in the same device which is very important.

  1. Great for business and productivity

Tablets give you access to the Google Play and iOS App Store, mobile app stores that are filled with great productivity tools that will help boost your productivity and take it to new heights. All you should do is to download the ones which seem promising and based on trial and error you can pick the right one to suit your needs.

  1. Easy to customize

One of the main benefits of owning a tablet is that it offers you endless customization options right from the start. This makes the experience simple and a lot more immersive than ever before. All you should do is to pick the right tablet for you and customize it in any way you want.

  1. They help you manage your time a lot better and easier

Time management can be very troublesome and stressful for all of us. But if you’re not careful you can easily find yourself losing most of the day dealing with day to day issues and postponing the most important tasks. With that in mind, a tablet will help you better manage your daily tasks by delivering special tools and apps that help you do exactly that. If you want the very best results, you just should get a good tablet and results can be amazing.

  1. Tablets adapt to your needs

All tablets are versatile; they are units that you can use for specific tasks depending on your needs. It doesn’t matter if you are a coach that schedules his team or an artist that creates beautiful art pieces, you can easily use a tablet to do all of that and so much more. It’s a delightful, unique experience and one that will pay off very well in the long term.

As you can see, there are many signs and reasons why you should invest in a good tablet. If you want to boost the way you work, you want to better manage your tasks or access the web while you are on the go, getting a tablet can be a very good idea. Plus, tablets can easily adapt to your own needs which is exactly what you want to have in the end! So, consider purchasing a good tablet soon as you will be very impressed with its versatility, usability and quality!

Comparing laptops to computers; what is best for your student?

Computers came into existence a long time ago. From the size of a football field, to a room, to a table and now to a lap; computer systems have also progressed as the World has moved forward. Being permitted only to influential offices when they were initially introduced and only being operated by a professional, now they have been given access to every human on earth. As a student, it becomes a tad tough to decide whether laptops are better or computers are more appropriate. Thereby, we shall see the pros and cons of various aspects of both, as to decide which one will serve the purpose better.

  1. Cost price: Due to the fact that desktop computers are larger and have more than one component attached to them that can vary per package, the prices are also in a wide array. However, the lowest price you must pay with the maximum number of gadgets is also pretty minimal and you can still attain a perfectly good setup. On the other hand, laptops do not have that much hassle attached to them, but to have the best package like speed, memory space, durability and sleekness you must pay a lot more. Thereby, judging by pricing, laptops can be heftier on the pocket of a student or an educational institution if they want the best one available in market.
  1. Handiness: Desktop computers not only have a monitor but also a processor that is quite heavy. To transport it from one place to another you need quite some time and effort. Furthermore, all the wires attached to a switchboard, to the monitor and the keyboard also need to be detached and carried along making it a very troublesome process. Howbeit, laptops have everything they need in their system so you can merely pick it up and put it in another place. As a student, that is the biggest advantage you can get because you can carry it wherever you want.
  1. Processor power: Since desktop computers have a larger sized processor, the power it harnesses is also proportional to its size. This means that more activities that involve heavy power can be done on the computer like gaming. Laptops have smaller sized and lesser powered systems, on which you cannot do very dynamic activities. In case of students, it depends on the type of study they have and how much work they need off the system. If the student is a graphic designing course, he must prefer a computer because they can install all his software easily. On the other hand, if they are fifth graders, a laptop will do just fine.
  1. Assembling: Arranging, setting and starting up a desktop computer is a cumbersome process owing to the large number of components involved. Thereby, it also takes up more area. To the contrary, laptops only need to be inserted with a battery the first time, and every time after you just need to click the power button to get it in use. So, for educational institutes that install them or students, laptops can save a lot of precious time, as well as space in the room. 
  1. Keyboards: In case of desktop computers, you need to purchase an additional keyboard, but there are so many options to choose from. There are different sizes, various types, numerous colors and eye-catching themes to your liking. In the case of laptops, the good part is that the keyboard is already installed so you need not buy an additional one, however you cannot customize it to your liking. Again, their ease to a student depends on the type of educational program he/she is in. If they need a larger keyboard with more features, then a computer would do. However, if his scope of studies does not require any fancy keyboards, a laptop is all he/she needs.
  1. Size of screen: In the case of screen size, both the subjects at hand are equal. Monitors, whether of the laptop or the desktop computer, come in all size ranges. You can pick the one you want. Both of them can also be connected to any external monitor like a television screen with a single cable so you need to worry about the size.
  1. Improvement: Everything changes after a while, new advancements and gadgets come into existence and you think about updating. Since the desktop computer has all externally attached components, you can change any one of them at any time as per your requirements. Diversely, the laptops and their components are not removable, meaning that you cannot upgrade them except for the hard-disk, memory and such. You can only purchase a brand new laptop. In this case, desktop computers have a clear advantage because as soon as a component wears out becomes out-dated you can change it.
  1. Repair: Same goes the case for repair. Since the components can easily come off, you can repair them, replace them and upgrade them with ease. However, laptops usually need to be sent to an expert to get it back into shape because you cannot repair it on your own, neither can you replace any component. Here, also desktop computers have a significant advantage.
  1. Fashion statement: Well, we cannot rule out the trends of the modern world can we? And that is laptops. While desktop computers still exist, they are now being considered obsolete, and laptops are readily taking their place more or less because of their portability and smoother designing. So if you want to follow the bandwagon effect, or simply to fit into your surroundings, a laptop will be a more probable choice.

In conclusion, whether you need a desktop computer for your student or a laptop, depends widely on the subject of the study, the requirements of the syllabus, the classroom ethics and the ease of the student. After assessing all these factors in light of the pros and cons mentioned above, the student plus the teacher can decide which of them is more suited.