Computers

Math and Science Technology

Online Class Experience Online Schools Learning Schools Technology and Engineering Careers Online Backup Services Mobile Workstyles More Speed Less Trouble Protect Your Smartphone

Gear Up For School With Education Technology

(NAPSI)—One of the best investments parents can make when it comes to equipping their kids for school is to give them tools that encourage success in math and science.

Multiple studies predict that careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will be among the fastest-growing, highest-quality jobs available when today's students enter the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of careers in STEM is projected to grow 17 percent by 2018, compared to just 9.8 percent for non-STEM jobs.

Integrating technology into science and math learning is a great way to engage today's tech-savvy students and make learning fun and interactive, while improving student achievement in these subjects. Here are helpful tips for parents to consider when choosing math and science gear for their middle school and high school students:

• Pick the right tool for the job. Graphing calculators are developed with teachers specifically for math and science learning, and research from SRI International shows that the devices increase student success in math when used effectively. Graphing calculators are also allowed on many high-stakes exams, including the ACT, SAT, AP, IB and many state tests, where tablets, mobile devices and laptops are not.

• Don't forget about durability. Is the product made to withstand being thrown into a locker or into the bottom of a backpack full of heavy textbooks? Buying a durable product is less expensive in the long run than purchasing a replacement or buying insurance to protect against damage.

• Look for technology that students can use both in class and at home. Get to know the school's policies about which technologies are allowed and supported in classrooms. Students should also be able to easily transfer their work from classroom to home. To help with that, there are TI-Nspire CX graphing handhelds. These include free student software that lets kids learn with the handheld in class and continue their studies with the software on a desktop or laptop computer at home. The user experience is virtually identical.

• Consider the longevity of your purchase. Will the product last for years or quickly become obsolete as newer versions are introduced? The TI-Nspire CX can be used in math and science classes from middle school into college, and includes free software and operating system upgrades.

Learn More

You can discover more about this useful technology online at http://education.ti.com or by calling (800) 842-2737.

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Getting The Most Out Of Online Class Experience

(NAPSI)—Whether you're a first-time college student or well into a degree program, chances are you have considered taking an online class. You're not alone. According to Pew Research Center, more than three-quarters of college presidents say that their institutions offer classes online and an estimated half of all those who graduated college in the last 10 years say that they have taken an online class.

Online classes offer flexibility and access to rigorous academic programs for students whose schedules make it difficult to be in the physical classroom. So how can you make the most of your online learning experience?

It comes down to personal commitment, said Nicole Cabrere, Ed.D., senior vice provost for Strayer University, which offers online undergraduate and graduate courses to students worldwide.

"It's amazing what can be taught online; courses from business to writing, even biology and how to dissect frogs," said Dr. Cabrere. "As a society, we're adapting to rapid advancements in technology, and our education reflects that.

"The key is to apply personal commitment and recognize that online programs require the same focus and discipline as campus-based classes."

Dr. Cabrere offers three tips for making your online learning experience a success:

1. Manage your time. In addition to the time you spend reviewing course materials and preparing assignments, you may have to build in time for live online discussions, viewing taped lectures and interacting virtually with classmates. It's important to understand the various requirements of your class and work them into your schedule.

2. Participate. "The fact that you are not in a classroom setting shouldn't take away from your active participation," she added. "To 'raise your hand' virtually, e-mail thoughtful questions to your professor regularly, participate in online chats and distribute helpful articles or other resources."

3. Network. Get to know your classmates and professors. Hold study sessions virtually through video chat services or in person with classmates in the area. Strayer University lets students connect with each other further by hosting Facebook pages for various communities such as writers or geographic areas. Your fellow students can share insights into occupations you're interested in. Be sure to add them to your professional network.

Before enrolling, Dr. Cabrere suggests, students should become familiar with the computer and space that they will use to take their online class. "Unless you are in a highly technical program, you will need basic computer skills to navigate an online class. If you run into trouble, don't be afraid to ask for help and raise that 'virtual hand' at any point."

For information about Strayer University's online and on-campus academic programs, visit www.strayer.edu.

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Learning Skills To Match Today's Workforce Needs

(NAPSI)—Did you know that the average American worker holds between seven and 10 jobs in their lifetime? Because of our rebounding economy, the U.S. is seeing a skills gap—a mismatch of open jobs with skilled workers.

This growing trend has led to certificate degrees as the fastest-growing form of postsecondary credentials in the nation. They are popular because they are affordable, less time-consuming and often lead to higher earnings.

Many online schools offer certificate programs that align with open jobs in the workforce. Approximately 450,000 workers in relevant industries receive training delivered online. Today, online schools provide vast resources to students—hands-on training needed to develop new skill-sets for jobs like small engine mechanics, veterinary technicians and medical transcriptionists.

Online schools also offer single classes that allow students to brush up on skills. Many schools offer classes like Business Writing or Statistics, which provide a grammar or math skills refresher.

Penn Foster is an online school that offers a variety of certificate programs that meet the needs of today's workforce; specifically, 40 percent of U.S. jobs are in industries that are related to Penn Foster's workforce development courses. The school works with students to help them achieve success and learn on their terms, offering open enrollment and a self-paced learning environment.

For more information, visit www.pennfoster.edu.

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Encouraging Children To Explore Careers In Science, Technology, Engineering And Math

(NAPSI)—For many parents, the road to a great future for their kids may be easier to find than they realize. That's because eight of the top 10 best paid majors are in engineering, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Children who learn the fundamentals of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects in early grades are better equipped to pursue an engineering career.

Parents play a vital role in shaping their children's education and career aspirations. Science and engineering fair projects are often students' first—and, in many cases, only—opportunity to gain hands-on experience with STEM subjects in ways that directly relate to their own lives, personal interests or aspirations. A science fair project can give your child the chance to create his or her own education experience, one that allows him or her to experiment, just as scientists and engineers do in the real world.

What Parents Can Do

To help your child stay excited about STEM subjects through a science fair:

1. Find a science fair at www.societyforscience.org.

2. Choose a science fair topic that means something special to your child. Don't start with a generic listing of science fair topics. Instead, start with your child's personal interests and go from there. For example, if your child likes video games, consider studying graphics processors. A website like www.sciencebuddies.org can help your child find a project geared to his or her interests.

3. Consider a mentor who can share his or her life experience with your child. Mentors can connect a child with real-world applications of their STEM studies. Microsoft found that 57 percent of STEM college students were inspired by a teacher or class.

4. Remember: There are no "wrong" results in a science fair project. Your child's original hypothesis may not be correct but it's learning about the scientific method and engineering process that really matters.

5. Parents don't need to be scientific experts to help their kids with their project. Offering support and encouragement and attending the science fair are just a few ways to help.

What Others Are Doing

One in five STEM college students said they decided to pursue a STEM career in middle school or earlier.

To give today's students a hand, the Broadcom Foundation sponsors the nation's leading science and engineering competition for sixth to eighth graders-The Broadcom MASTERS®. The winner is awarded the $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, but the thousands of young people who participate in the program through their regional and state science fairs are better prepared to meet the challenges of the future and lead the way with innovative scientific breakthroughs, engineering feats and technological know-how.

Learn More

You can find more facts and advice at www.broadcomfoundation.org/masters or call (949) 926-9500.

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Five Web Tips For Every Small Business Owner

(NAPSI)—Small business owners have to juggle multiple responsibilities and watch the bottom line. Although many turn to the web for marketing help and for services to run more smoothly, knowing some tips and tricks on how to better use these tools can make a big difference in terms of time, money and headaches saved.

David Friend, who was recognized by Ernst & Young as one of New England's Entrepreneurs of the Year, shares five tips to help owners be smart with their online efforts and their business.

1. Use social media platforms to connect with your customers. Whether it's Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Pinterest, these channels are quick ways to remind your customers of your offerings. Post regularly to stay top of mind; sharing an update once a week will keep your followers engaged.

2. Listen with your eyes. Online review sites, from Angie's List to Yelp, give people a number of ways to voice their opinions. Monitor these sites regularly to see what customers are saying about your business. And know the dynamic isn't just one way. You can use this as an opportunity to gracefully accept compliments or tactfully respond to criticism; however be careful not to engage in an argument.

3. You've got mail. In today's fast-paced times, consumers may find it easier to send an email instead of calling with a question or inquiry. Try to respond quickly, which will show customers that you care about them and that you are able to help them with any issues. A quick answer can improve overall customer satisfaction.

4. Beware of data thieves. With more business conducted online than ever before, cyber security should be top of mind. To protect your data, do not open suspicious emails, use strong passwords, and make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware signature database is up to date.

5. Make sure you're protected. Results from a recent study by Carbonite revealed that small businesses have big gaps in their data backup plans, which puts them at risk for losing valuable information in the instance of power outage, hard drive failure or even a virus. In fact, the study showed that small businesses continue to choose risky and unreliable technologies:

• 50 percent use external hard drives, yet 40 percent didn't start backing up until they experienced a hard drive failure.

• 42 percent use USB/flash drives primarily because it is perceived as easy, yet only 6 percent believe USB/flash drives are actually reliable.

• More than one-third use CDs/DVD drives to back up data, even though 62 percent feel they are inconvenient or risky.

Just like seat belts and insurance, you may only appreciate online backup after it's too late. However, its implementation is very easy and cost effective. It gives business owners peace of mind and more time to focus on the matters at hand. Online backup services such as Carbonite offer an affordable and reliable way for small businesses to back up their data, plus there's a 30-day free trial on its website www.carbonite.com.

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The Office Of The 21st Century: Wherever You Are

(NAPSI)—Remember when "work" meant you had to be in the office no matter what? Even if you needed to leave for a doctor's appointment or take a delivery at home, you'd still need to commute into the office, only to turn around and return midday, taking valuable business time. Chances were if you had the ability to work anywhere—or take advantage of what we think of today as a "mobile workstyle"—you would have had a more productive workday while balancing personal appointments.

Workers no longer need to be tethered to an office. The latest technology available on smartphones, tablets and laptops makes it easier to get your job done from a home office or a coffee shop. Plus, cloud computing—which allows workers to safely and quickly access work applications as long as they're online—ensures that you don't need to be in a cubicle to do your job.

Citrix, a company that designs cloud and virtualization technology, makes it easier to be mobile. A mobile workstyle enables employees to work from an optimal location, can boost productivity and increase job satisfaction, which in turn helps recruiting and retention.

"We no longer need to define the workplace as an office, cubicle or meeting room," said Kim DeCarlis, vice president of corporate marketing for Citrix. "Businesses that allow their employees to engage in a mobile workstyle will find they'll keep the best people, reduce stress and create a workplace that's conducive to results."

A mobile workstyle isn't just for technology firms. If you work for a local accounting or legal firm and your company loses electricity, this technology means you can work from anywhere and not get behind. If foul weather closes roads, being able to work anywhere can ensure that things stay on schedule.

The benefits of a mobile workstyle are too numerous to list, but here are a few:

• It keeps talent: Location becomes irrelevant, making it possible to hire employees that live beyond commuting distance.

• It's green: Fewer cars on the road means less air pollution.

• It's cost effective: Less office space means reduced real estate costs, and employees spend less on gas, plus gain precious time back.

So before jumping in your car to sit in traffic and run into your office, ask yourself (and your manager), "Where will I be most productive?"

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Tips On Taming A Computer For More Speed, Less Trouble

(NAPSI)—Most people depend on personal computers for so much in daily life and when the computer seems sluggish, unresponsive or just generally underperforming, it can lead to frustration. Fortunately, if your computer is misbehaving, there are five simple steps you can take to help get it back up to speed.

1. Defrag Your Disk. Computer hard drives get fragmented when programs are installed and uninstalled and files are added and removed. The files end up scattered around the hard drive so it's difficult for the drive to find everything you want in a timely manner. The built-in disk defragment tool can keep your computer running efficiently.

2. Stay Healthy. Just like humans, when a computer has a virus or is infected with spyware, it becomes sluggish and performance suffers. Keep your anti-virus program up to date and fight off cyber attackers. Run a full system scan every three to six months. Install an anti-spyware program, too.

3. Don't Be a Digital Hoarder. Whenever you install software updates, download images, save music files, edit documents or browse the Web, your computer accumulates files and programs, most of which are unnecessary. Use the built-in uninstaller to remove those unneeded files.

4. Blow it Out. Over time, the inside of your computer will accumulate a "blanket" of dust, which may result in a temperature rise inside your computer case. Open your computer case and blow out the dust using a canister of compressed air. Be sure to blow air through all fans in order to thoroughly clean them.

5. Upgrade Your Memory. Many computer performance issues can be resolved with a do-it-yourself (RAM) memory upgrade. Anytime you open your e-mail, surf the Web, watch a video, type a paper, play a game or just plain turn on your computer, the computer is using its internal memory. When a computer does not have enough internal memory to properly run its programs, it becomes slow and unresponsive.

Installing computer memory is a fairly simple process that requires no special tools or skills. However, finding the correct upgrade can sometimes be confusing as there are hundreds of thousands of options to choose from.

Crucial.com makes finding and installing the correct memory upgrade simple with free, easy-to-use online tools designed to help you quickly find a compatible memory upgrade. Using the Crucial Memory Advisor™ tool, you choose your computer make and model from a drop-down menu to see recommended memory upgrade options. Or, use the Crucial® System Scanner tool to automatically scan the computer to determine the current memory and view recommended compatible upgrades.

Visit www.crucial.com for more tips and information on getting your computer back up to speed!

 

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Protect Your Smartphone From Everyday Life

(NAPSI)—Staying connected to the world through your smartphone is becoming an imperative today. That means having the freedom to take your device to the beach, use it in the kitchen, out in the rain, on your bike or with the kids. New products are now available that make it possible for you to use your smartphone in all your daily activities.

The Technology

Smartphones are rapidly replacing single-function devices such as MP3 players, DVD players, Netbook PCs, GPS units, gaming devices and video cameras. Meanwhile, software developers have created thousands of applications that replace even more devices.

The Challenge

What that means, however, is that you will want to be able to use all these great functions and apps every day without restriction. Whether it is hiking, working out in the gym or playing with the kids, you want to be able to listen to music, browse the Internet and communicate with family, friends and work. However, these devices can be very susceptible to damage from impacts, abrasions, water, snow, dust, sand, work hazards, mishandling and general use in everyday life.

An Answer

In response, a new breed of case has recently emerged that offers full protection in a sleek design while maintaining access to all device functions.

This LifeProof iPhone 4/4S case provides complete protection against water, shock, dirt and snow and has a sleek low profile that barely increases the size of your mobile phone. So you can use the phone as a GPS system on a bike or a boat or an HD video camera on a snowmobile. Swim laps in the pool, bike through rugged terrain, drive cross-country on a motorcycle, all while having full access to every smartphone function. It's especially easy with such LifeProof in Motion accessories as bike and bar mounts, a belt clip, an armband/swimband and an adapter for GoPro mounts.

Learn More

Adventurers, road warriors, fitness enthusiasts or anyone who wants the freedom to be connected every day and everywhere can find further facts at www.lifeproof.com.

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