A Focus on Preparing Students for College & Career

There’s been a consistent emphasis on college- and career-readiness for students, as well as a demand for an enhanced skillset for teachers and staff.

Providing access to Hoonuit by Atomic Learning's online resources, such as self-management and soft skills, can help build sought-after skillsets for students, teachers, and staff—even parents!

Sample topics include:

6 Things College-Bound Students Need to Do NOW

Busy High School Juniors and Seniors can get tied up in the fun spring activities—prom planning, graduation pictures, sports—and procrastinate on a few very important items that they should do sooner rather than later, if they’re planning to attend college after graduation.

To help guide them on the right path, here’s just a few quick points to touch on with your college-bound student(s):

  • Visit a College Campus (or Several)
    Picking a college is a big step. One way to help determine if a school is right for you is to visit—virtually or in-person. Online tours are great if expense or distance is an issue, but keep in mind that video tours are edited to show the campus at its best. If visiting in-person, it’s often recommended to do so during the school year to get an accurate idea of what the campus would be like as a student.

    Related resource: What Should I Look for on a Campus Visit?
     
  • Put Thought Into Your College Major
    With the rising cost of college, it’s not very cost-effective to go in without a focused area of study. And, with a future career-path in mind, students can look into whether or not a college offers the desired course of study. While transferring to another college later is always an option, it’s important to note that not all courses transfer and such an option could delay completion of a degree and increase costs.

    Related resource: How Do I Choose a Major?
     
  • Apply to College(s) of Choice
    While application deadlines vary quite a bit, most seem to expect completed applications for new students in before February. If students have a specific school, or even a short list of schools, in mind, they need to consider any upcoming deadlines. (Coming in late isn’t a good way to get your college career off on the right foot.) Even if a school’s deadline is later than most, applying early may create a buffer to apply at an alternative school if a first choice doesn’t work out.

    Related resource: How Do I Pick the Right College?

“My 16-Year-Old is in College!?!” – Insights on the High School to College Transition

Guest blog post by Lisa Barnett (@atomic_lisa), parent and CEO of Atomic Learning and Versifit Technologies.

I am the parent of a new college student.  That in and of itself is a big deal for a number of reasons.  But in this case, said college student is also only 16.  Yes, she's a sharp kid, but not some prodigy.  

Our state has an amazing post-secondary enrollment option that allows high school juniors and seniors to attend college full-time and complete dual degrees, funded through the state.  So essentially, when she graduates from high school, she should also have her AA degree.

My daughter has not been a huge fan of the high school experience—she found the drama to be exhausting and she was regularly disengaged in her academics.  While she was a high performing student, she found classes focused on rote memorization to be a game that she knew how to play, but didn't feel she was actually getting any type of academic enrichment from. Partially through her sophomore year, she decided to pursue the PSEO option with our family’s support.  

Fast forward to four weeks ago; she started her first day as a junior is high school and freshman in college.

Pop Quiz: How Well Do You Know Atomic Learning?

If you are only using Atomic Learning for how-to technology training, you're missing out. While this used to be the core of our product, this content is now the bonus on top of a larger range of highly relevant topics in education.

Watch this brief video to discover what’s new at Atomic Learning—and feel free to reach out if you are interested in learning more about these resources for your school or district.

To help move learners beyond just knowing how-to use technology, check out a few of the available resources on the highlighted topics below:

Interested in learning more? Contact Atomic Learning at www.AtomicLearning.com/k12/request-information!

Planning for Prom: A Focus on Student Safety

For high school students across the country, prom season is just kicking off.

And, while they work on finding the perfect dress or tux, debating the merits of renting a limo, and a host of other details, it’s important to remind them to keep safety in mind. It’s not anything that anyone wants to talk about, but it’s an important topic that everyone—parents, schools, and students alike—NEED to discuss.

Statistically speaking, prom season is a dangerous time for teens. 53% of students reported consuming more than 4 alcoholic drinks on prom night1, yet 87% of teens surveyed felt their friends would be more willing to drive after drinking than call home for a ride?2 Beyond alcohol use, prom (and graduation) seasons see increases in teen traffic deaths3, and there is a perceived increase in teen sexual activity.

To help schools and districts begin countering these dangers, we’ve gathered several tips to help keep students safe—not only at prom, but in a variety of situations now, in college, and beyond.

  1. Set Expectations
    Share your school policies involving student behavior, including drugs and alcohol, and make sure students know the consequences—not only with students, but also parents. Keeping students safe is a group effort.
     
  2. Choose Chaperones with Care
    Consider recruiting faculty and staff that students will connect with to be present during the event—a student may be more inclined to share information about their peers risky behavior with a favorite teacher or feel more accountable for personal behavior when a coach or authoritative figure is present.
     
  3. Plan for Post-Prom
    If you don’t already, consider hosting a post-prom event to provide Prom-goers a fun (and safe) place to go after the dance instead of them potentially going to a party where alcohol and other substances may put your students at risk.

8 Insights to Help Students Be Successful in College

To help prepare students to succeed in college, an article from The Washington Post listed out a variety of things that students should be aware of—or at the very least start think through—when gearing up for college.

Here are eight quick tips to share with your students:

  1. Carefully plan your first-semester schedule.
    Planning out your schedule for the year can be overwhelming.  Things to consider: If you are not a morning person, signing up for a bunch of 8 AM classes, is just not practical.  Also, try not to overload yourself. The article suggested to “take a moderate load of courses totaling no more than 12 to 18 credit hours.” Check out Atomic Learning’s How Do I Prepare for a College Workload? course to better prepare.
     
  2. Take your roommate agreement seriously.
    No one ever said having a roommate would be easy. Especially when living quarters or dorm rooms can be cramped. Everyone has preferences regarding study time, overnight quests, food, furniture and more. The article went on to say, “Being upfront about your expectations from the beginning can help avoid problems later.” This course on What Concerns Should I Have About a Roommate? may also help.
     
  3. Get involved.
    The article explains “The best way to find your niche on campus is to get involved with clubs, service work or intramural sports.” Find what you like, and it will help introduce you to others on campus interested in the same things. Careful though, try not to overcommit yourself. Watch a course on How Involved Should I Be in Campus Life? for more insights.
     

5 Simple Ways to Develop Students’ Digital Literacy

While there are a variety of ways to help build and encourage your students’ digital literacy, we’ve gathered five of our personal favorites below that you can implement yet this year—complete with links to related resources to get you off on the right foot!

  1. Build an Understanding of Digital Literacy
    It sounds redundant, but helping students build an understanding of digital literacy is a fundamental way to develop digital literacy skills. Knowledge is power, and helping students to understand that digital literacy is about so much more than simply using technology creates a foundation to build on.

    Related resource: Literacy Reimagined (with Angela Maiers)
     

4 Soft Skills Every Student Needs Before College

While many occupations have specialized skillsets, there are underlying, often career-agnostic skills that individuals need to utilize on a daily basis. These skills, commonly referred to as career or soft skills, are a hot topic not only for many schools, districts, colleges, and universities, but also among companies seeking qualified job applicants.

A multitude of studies, surveys, education-related articles have published various takes on the importance of soft skills, yet often overlook what can be done to build these skills. In this post, we’ll examine four of the most discussed skills—and provide some of our own ideas and resources focused on building each individual skill.

  1. Collaboration
    One of the most sought-after soft skills is collaboration. It only makes sense, since so many professionals today work together on functional teams to achieve a common goal. As anyone who’s worked on a group project knows, collaboration is closely tied to other skills and behaviors, such as communicating, offering and accepting criticism, delegation, and a host of others.

    Students participating in extracurricular activities, such as a sports team or club, are already working on these skills.  Teachers can also support students’ skill building in the classroom with group projects. Outside of school-related activities, students can practice collaboration through volunteer opportunities or after-school employment. (If it seems like a lot to balance, be sure to check out skill number four: Time Management.)

    Looking for a place to start?
    Here are just a few Atomic Learning courses around this topic:
    Integrating the 4 C’s in Your Classroom

    Strategies for Working with a
    Group
    Evernote in Instruction
     

1 Statistic on Student Success in College that Can’t be Ignored...

An article posted by U.S. News stated that “As many as 1 in 3 first-year students won't make it back for sophomore year.” A staggering statistic that colleges can’t ignore. One might ask themselves, what causes so many students to end their college experience?

A lot of factors can be involved, including everything from lack of money and roommate issues to not being academically prepared or emotionally ready.

A recent article from The Chronicle of Higher Education provides several insights on the challenges that many students face during their freshman year of college. Although each student’s experience can be very different, there are emotional readiness factors that seem to overlap.

"Several factors can contribute to "emotional readiness," including students’ ability to adapt to new environments, handle negative emotions in constructive ways, and forge healthy relationships. The survey found that the more prepared a student is for the emotional challenges of college — and for the anxieties that might come with it, such as covering expenses, making friends, and dealing with increased independence — the better and more successful that student’s college experience is."

Preparing Students for College

To help schools prepare students for college, Atomic Learning subscribers now have access to College Success courses that address the skills needed for a successful college experience.

Learning topics include:

Are you ensuring students are college- and career-ready?

There's been an increasing emphasis on college- and career-readiness for students, as well as a need for an enhanced skillset for teachers and staff. Providing access to Atomic Learning's career and soft skills training can help build sought-after skills for students, teachers, and staff--even parents!

In an effort to improve service, one partner district’s IT team completed an online course on customer service, sharing: “The information and techniques presented were very helpful and proved that nobody is more deserving of over-the-top service than the teachers and employees of our district.”

With resources like the following, you, too, can better prepare learners:
Communication training
• Personal development resources
• Tools on preparing for college

Infographic: 5 Reasons to Teach Kids to Code

Wondering what all they hype is about coding? Check out the infographic below for some powerful stats on how teaching computer coding now can have lasting impact on students' lifelong success. And, if you are ready to try the topic out with your students, be sure to check out Atomic Learning's Coding in the Classroom training.

(Don't have access to Atomic Learning? Request more info on how to access this course and hundreds of others!)

Are Students Fully Engaged in the Classroom?

Are you actively involving students in the learning process? How are you encouraging and supporting teachers to create a more engaging classroom experience?

Atomic Learning equips teachers with the skills needed to engage today's learners with 24/7 self-paced training. In addition to online PD resources focused on teaching strategies, Atomic Learning also offers how-to videos on 250+ applications and a variety of assessment tools.

Take a look at some of the resources aligned to addressing student engagement:
Integrating the 4 C’s
Cool & Fun Classroom Tech
Software-specific Skills Assessments

Top 5 Courses for High School Seniors

College- and career-readiness is tossed around a lot in the education industry. Beyond imparting students with the knowledge they need to graduate, there are a couple things that can help smooth their way. We’ve compiled a short list of topics that are sure to help students be prepared for whatever comes their way. 
Not an Atomic Learning subscriber? Request more information.

Top 5 Series to Bolster Your Résumé

 
Atomic Learning has hundreds of courses focused on using and applying technology, but did you know that we also have training available for building in-demand soft skills that today’s employers are looking for? Here are 5 series that may come in handy for getting that coveted promotion or landing a new job:

Understanding the 4 C's (and Why They Matter)

Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking—or what are commonly referred to as the 4 C's—are critical to preparing today's students for tomorrow's workforce. In the words of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the 4 C's are Learning and Innovation Skills that are "being recognized as the skills that separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in the 21st century, and those who are not."

More than likely, you've at some point viewed a Did You Know Video outlining how quickly the world changes, including startling stats for education, such as how the top in-demand jobs in 2010 didn't even exist in 2004, or how the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that today's learners will have approximately a dozen different jobs before they turn forty...

With so much change, it's become nearly impossible for educators to give students the knowledge they need to succeed in life, so, instead of imparting facts and figures that may be quickly outdated, the approach of the 4 C's focuses on practicing skills that will create lifelong learners who are both college- and career-ready.

Let's take a brief look at each skill individually:

  1. Communication
    Effective communication includes not only the ability to express yourself both verbally and in writing, but also use and understand nonverbal communication, listening (including deciphering meaning and intent), and use media to support communications appropriately. Additionally, communication can include languages—to compete within today's global workforce. 

    TIP: To instantly make an impact on your own skills, view Atomic Learning's Effective Listening Training.
     

Working with Media Specialists on CCSS

A recent article by Middle School Teacher Josh Work of Maryland provided a great overview of the important role your schools media specialist can play in successfully implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In his words:
The implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and rapid integration of technology in schools around the country has created a shift in instructional design and practice. I have found the most valuable school-based resource for brainstorming, discussing, planning and implementing anything to do with technology has been my school's media specialist.