Editor’s Choice: 50 Of The Best Educational Toys & Gifts For 2020

Editor’s Choice: 50+ Of The Best Educational Toys & Gifts For 2020

by TeachThought Staff

Ed note: The following links are affiliate links. You can read more about our affiliate policy here, but the general premise is that we receive a very small % of revenue from anything you buy via clicking. If you want to make sure Amazon, for example, receives 100% of any revenue, you can search for the product without using the link.

We worked hard on this list. Though we’re still updating it (with more info, age recommendations, etc.), we tried to collect a wide variety of ‘widgets’ that teachers and parents might find useful when shopping for children. To that end, we’ve got everything from horticulture kits to video games to books to microscopes, engineering kits, and more.

If you’re still shopping for Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, or any other holiday or celebration that involves children, we hope this list is useful. We’ll update it regularly so that you can find value in it not just for the holidays, but anytime throughout the year.

Editor’s Choice: 50 Of The Best Educational Toys & Gifts For 2020

1. K’NEX Education: Intro to Structures

With 207 pieces and 13 different models, kids have a variety of ways to experiment with building structures and exploring their creativity.

2. Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game

A cooperative board game that explores healing herbs.

3. Thoughts & Feelings

This card game will aid in teaching children how to express their thoughts and feelings with a variety of issues, including changes within the family, trauma, grief, anger, fears etc.

4. Periodic Table Playing Cards

A double deck of regular playing cards that are designed to not only teach them the Periodic Table of Elements but also multiple languages at once. These cards feature the element in English, Spanish, and French, the atomic number, the category, the mass, the boiling and melting points, period and group, natural state and common usages.

5. GoPro HERO

This one is a bit pricey, but if you’re buying for a child that will actually use this camera, they can film almost anything, anywhere, for any reason.

Compatible with all GoPro mounts, this high-quality video camera is waterproof, small and lightweight, and is (mostly) user-friendly. Quikcapture mode turns your camera into a one-button camera, too.

6. Nature’s Blossom Bonsai Garden Seed Starter Kit

This kit comes with everything you need to grow four different types of miniature trees. The seeds are organic and the growing pots are biodegradable. This kit even comes with a manual to help you learn how to best take care of your trees.

7. Art 101

This wood art set comes with 142 pieces to let creativity flow. The wood case conveniently stores every piece in a perfectly organized way.

8. VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch

This kids version of a smartwatch lets them play games, complete challenges, take pictures and video. Not only can it be for fun, but it has a calendar and a calculator built in to help with all school needs.

9. Nancy B’s Microscope and Activity Journal

Bring hands-on science experiments to life with this dual-microscope and a twenty-two page journal. The microscope has a light and zoom features.

10. The Civil War For Kids

Kids can learn about history in an all new way with 21 activities designed to make learning fun.

11. CINEMOOD 3-in-1 Magic Camera

This 3” portable projector is kid-friendly and projects images over 12 feet. Watch the pre-loaded Disney and kid-friendly content or stream your own movies. With HD and no requirements to connect to an outlet or computer, this device is perfect for families, travel, parties and more.

12. Nintendo Switch

Nintendo’s latest gaming console (Nintendo —> Super Nintendo —> Nintendo 64 —> Nintendo GameCub —> Nintendo Wii —> Nintendo WiiU—> Nintendo Switch), the Nintendo Switch is focused on gaming that can happen anywhere—in the living room or on the go. Nintendo’s systems never have the wide range of games enjoyed by Sony PlayStation or Microsoft’s Xbox, but the quality of the games for these systems is generally high—and less violent, aggressive, and ‘competitive’ than other systems, too.


13. RiddleCube the Game

14. Spirograph

Inspired by the original 1965 Spirograph, this set is sure to entertain for years. With Spirograph’s interlocking wheels and gears, anyone can draw beautifully intricate designs

15. Holy Stone Predator Mini RC Helicopter Drone

This drone is complete with a 6-axis gyro stabilization system that will let you fly with a range of 30-50 meters. Easy controls for any levels of players to fly.

16. Same Here Sun by Silas House

In this extraordinary novel in letters, an Indian immigrant girl in New York City and a Kentucky coal miner’s son find strength and perspective by sharing their true selves across the miles.

17. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl 

Roald captured a world that captured the imagination of millions, and a boy who captured their hearts.

19. Mini-Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre

Start a mini farm on a quarter acre or less, provide 85 percent of the food for a family of four and earn an income. Mini Farming describes a holistic approach to small-area farming that will show you how to produce 85 percent of an average family’s food on just a quarter acre.

20. Little Big Planet 3 for PS4

Explore all levels of the Imagisphere and meet all the new inhabitants of the Bunkum planet.

21. Toysmith Euler’s Disk

22. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel

Multi-use easel to inspire painting, drawing, and countless ways to play creatively.

23. The Way Things Work Now by David Macaulay

Macaulay updates the bestseller, “The Way Things Work” to capture the latest developments and technology trends that most impact our lives.

24. National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the World

Help kids explore the world. Packed with more than 100 colorful photos and activities to get them exploring and thinking, this book is sure to spike curiosity. 

25. Bug Catcher & Viewer

Easy to use design helps kids of all ages explore the earth and insects around them.

26. Nature Kaleidoscope Kite

This kit includes all parts to make an 8.5 inch kaleidoscope that you can color and change to fit all imaginations.

27. Farming Simulator for Xbox 360

With new machines and tools, manage your farm and carry out missions to go from one level to the next.

28. Telescopic Fishing Rod Pole with Reel Line Lures

Full fishing kit perfect for any level fisherman; deisgn is compact and easily portable.

29. Shrimp Bubble Aquatic Ecosystem

Self-sustaining, semi-closed bubble ecosystem comes pre-assembled and ready for live marine shrimp.

30. Art Master Kids Desk

A kid desk that has multiple molded-in compartments and a hinged dry-erase writing surface that wipes clean easily.

31. VTech KidiBeats Drum Set

Learning drum set has three drum pads and cymbal each with its own unique sound for sensory development.

32. Osmo Genius Kit

Turn your iPad into a hands-on learning tool. Take core subjects like math and spelling and make them into a game.

33. Pirate Navigation

Fully functioning, 6” brass telescope with a wooden box!

34. Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity Set

This set turns coding into a hands-on analog activity for tactile and visual learners.

35. Bloxels

A mix of physical and digital tools helps you create your very own video game.

36. Melissa and Doug Suspend Family Game

An exciting balance game, fun for the whole family that will have everyone “hanging” on the edge of their seats.

37. Gravity Maze

A marble run and logic game all in one. With 60 challenges, there is sure to be hours of fun.

38. Minecraft Stop-Motion Animation Studio

Bring the Minecraft world into your own. Create in a whole new way with a smartphone app and your imagination.


39. Chain Reactions

Build 10 different moving machines with LEGO.

40. Magnifying Glass

Suitable for everyone on your Christmas list, this large magnifying glass can bring illuminated clarity to any project, lesson, or reading material.

41. The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game


This game can help with learning colors, matching skills, and fine-motor skills. The first to collect 5 acorns wins!

42. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

A popular choice got young male readers, follow the adventures of Greg Heffley from Kinney’s imagination. This time, Greg goes electronic free and tries the “old school” life.

43. Minecraft Story Mode

Take Minecraft to a whole new level with a story that you create.

44. National Geographic Geodes

Complete with a learning guide and 10 different rocks to break open, this kit will be sure to inspire the scientist within.

45. Kids First Science Laboratory

This kit comes with 24 tools and 10 illustrated learning cards to help your little scientist discover the world around them.

46. The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

Deborah helps kids turn frowns upside down in this rhyming bestseller.

47.  Little Kids First Big Book of Space

National Geographic helps kids explore space in a colorfully illustrated and fun way.

48. Roots

The perfect fusion of competitive strategy and silliness. Cultivate the perfect word combinations to win.

49. Snap Circuits Jr.

Help kids explore electronics with over 100 projects to create.

50. Magic Science

Let children discover the magic of science with their own at home Chemistry set.


30 Lessons For Teachers From Dr. Seuss

dr-seuss-advice30 Lessons For Teachers From Dr. Seuss

by TeachThought Staff

Dr. Seuss is gold–whimsical and visually interesting traipses through surreal worlds, and always full of life advice.

And life advice is learning advice, and learning advice–well, that’s why we’re all here, yes?

There are themes below that apply directly to the responsibilities of a teacher. Let’s face it–teaching is an emotional roller coaster, and a microcosm for life itself, full of tedium and wonder, disappointment and triumph, down days and days to celebrate. Take #11 for example–you have brains in your head and feet on your choose, you can steer yourself any direction you choose–can be both encouragement to elementary students, or high school students taking themselves–and life–too seriously.

But it can also be applied for teachers, who each day face the incredible task of pleasing administrators, outside experts, parents, communities, colleagues, and the students themselves. Sometimes it’s empowering to realize that no matter the outside “pressure,” you’re in the classroom for a reason, and have a world of potential in your hands each day to make decisions that impact lives.

A few other standouts from the graphic from

2. Don’t cry that it’s over. Smile that it happened.

6. Think and wonder, wonder and think.

13. Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

15. Everything stinks ’til it’s finished.

28. Step with great care and tact and remember life’s a great balancing act.

29. Unless someone like you cars and awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.

30. You’re on your own and you know what you know. And you’re the one who’ll decide where you go.



5 Tips To Pass The TExES Pedagogy & Professional Responsibilities Exam

5 Tips To Pass The TExES Pedagogy & Professional Responsibilities Exam

contributed by Scott Rozell,

The TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities test is made to determine whether the person taking it has the knowledge and skills that an entry-level teacher in Texas public schools must possess.

There are 100 selected response questions covering grade levels Early Childhood through Grade 12. You will have five hours to take the exam. However, if you are well prepared, you will not need close to that much time.

The questions relate to four different categories (domains):

  • Designing instruction and assessment to promote student learning.
  • Creating a positive, productive classroom environment.
  • Implementing effective, responsive instruction and assessment.
  • Fulfilling professional roles and responsibilities.

Before you even sit down to take the exam, prepare ahead for the day. Be on time! We all see those stragglers that have paid for the test, but then show up late and are not allowed to even take it. Darwinism at its best! Survival of the fittest. Kindly thank those people in your head for making it easier on you to acquire a teaching job.

Have your ID with you along with your admission ticket. Again, don’t eliminate yourself just because you forgot something in your car. Lastly, leave your electronic devices in your vehicle. There are no devices allowed during the test, so why even bring it in the building. That text from your mom to clean up after yourself can wait until after the exam.

Listed below are five tips to remember and follow when taking the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities Exam.

1. Answer all questions. Do not leave any blank. Questions that are left blank are automatically marked wrong. If you are not positive about an answer, quickly disregard the incorrect ones first. There is usually a blatantly incorrect answer option for every question on the exam.

2. During this exam, you are going to be prompted to recall information you have learned during your coursework. Do not just regurgitate the data and expect to get the question correct. You must think critically about this information, analyze it, and then apply it to the situation they are describing. Use proper judgment from there to determine what the correct action should be. Make sure to practice answering the questions. To find fantastic, realistic questions, use the 240Tutoring TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibility EC-12 Study Guide.

3. Carefully read the questions on the exam. There are many where the question will instruct you to choose ALL the correct answers. Some will have you click on the proper sentence in a reading passage. Others will have you click on possibly a graph or a table. Do not receive a poor score on the exam just because you became a bit excited and did not read the entire question fully.

4. The exam questions will ask you to recall proper information on handling different grade levels. You would not respond the same way to a high school student than you would a first grader. Carefully take note of the grade level that the question pertains to. Use your critical thinking skills to assist you in choosing the best answer to the problem.

5. Quite a bit of the exam can be common sense questions. You will not even need to recall all the facts you learned during your Education classes. Those exam questions are just trying to determine if you have common sense to go along with the book learning you have been doing. For some people, these questions on the exam will be the easiest part. For others, they may spend a lot of time trying to figure out the answers.

Scott Rozell is the Director of 240Tutoring, Inc. 240Tutoring is the premiere provider of TExES study guides and has helped over ten thousand teachers pass their certification exam and get into the classroom.

This is sponsored content. The company who sponsored it compensated us via payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will be good for our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”; image attribution flickr user tulanepublicrelations


5 American Inventors That Changed the World

5 American Inventors That Changed the World

by TeachThought Staff

America is known for being a place where people can think outside-of-the-box and innovation is encouraged. There have been so many inventors coming up with creative ideas the U.S. developed the concept of the patent. The first patent was issued in 1790 and signed by President George Washington.

Since then over 6 million patents have been issued. On that list of recipients, you’ll find some of the world’s most renowned inventors. Let’s take a look at a few inventors that personify American ingenuity.

Benjamin Franklin

Few men stand out in American history like Benjamin Franklin. Inventor, forefather, and statesman are just some of the many titles he held in his lifetime. Among the historical autographs for sale today, Benjamin Franklin is one of the most sought after. Despite never having been president, Franklin has clearly reached that status in history, partly due to his contributions as an inventor.

Benjamin Franklin was a truly curious individual with a quizzical mind. He’s credited with having invented:

  • Bifocal eyeglasses
  • The lightning rod
  • Flexible urinary catheter
  • Glass armonica
  • Long arm reaching tool
  • Odometer
  • Swimming fins
  • The Franklin Stove

You may have also learned in grade school that Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity. While that isn’t quite true, it’s close. After retiring from publishing at the age of 42, Franklin spent most of his time conducting electrical experiments. He ultimately figured out a lightning rod that was wired to the ground could absorb the electricity and protect buildings from fire.

Thomas Edison

History will forever know Thomas Alva Edison as the man who invented the light bulb, but his contributions to society go far beyond indoor illumination. Edison took Franklin’s discovery of electricity and found a way to harness it. What he was able to accomplish gained Edison notoriety and respect that is still earned today.

Thomas Edison’s most noteworthy inventions include:

  • Incandescent light bulb
  • Phonograph
  • Motion picture camera (Kinetograph)
  • Kinetoscope
  • Telegraph-related products
  • The carbon transmitter
  • Alkaline storage battery

Edison’s inventions became so widely adopted other inventors worked on their own electrical patents that improve his designs, which is a testament to how Edison influenced others. Edison himself received an astounding 1,093 patents solely or jointly in his lifetime.

George Washington Carver

As a botanist, chemist and inventor, George Washington Carver was sure to make a discovery in the agricultural world. He just couldn’t have guessed how big it would be and that it would create one of the biggest food industries in the country.

Edison may have specialized in electricity, but Carver’s expertise was peanuts. In his lifetime Carver invented more than 300 products mostly from peanut components. His inventions included:

  • 78 different food products
  • Dyes
  • Inks
  • Plastics
  • Laundry soap
  • Laxatives
  • Hand lotion
  • Shaving cream
  • Fuel bricketts (a form of gasoline)

Carver is also credited with helping to establish the agriculture department at his alma mater Tuskegee University. Through the department, Carver helped develop crop rotation methods and identified alternative cash crops for the local area.

Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was another electrical genius. The name is familiar today because of the high-end electric vehicles that are named after the Serbian-American inventor.

Tesla was an electrical and mechanical genius. He was a physicist, electrical engineer, and mechanical engineer. His training and aptitude for electricity helped Tesla discover ways to generate electric power. By far, Tesla’s most notable invention was the first alternating current (AC) motor. Without it, we probably wouldn’t have electric vehicles today.

Around the same time, Tesla also invented AC generation and transmission technology. Unlike his competitor Thomas Edison, Tesla didn’t amass a fortune in his lifetime, but he did leave a lasting legacy that’s now changing the auto industry.

George Eastman

Photography enthusiasts can thank George Eastman for their favorite hobby. Eastman was an inventor and entrepreneur during the late 1800s when photography technology was rapidly advancing. He wanted to find a way to bring photography to the masses and his solution was the Kodak camera.

Eastman’s development of roll film made photography possible for average people because no chemistry was needed. With the help of chemist Henry Reichenbach, Eastman was able to invent transparent film that could be stuck straight into the camera. For decades the technology allowed people to document their lives and capture memories as they happened.

image attribution flickr user hanssplinter


American Classical School In Nigeria Seeks ‘Founding Leader’

American Classical School In Nigeria Seeks ‘Founding Leader’

contributed by Flo Falayi


Who do we need?

Are you an experienced educator, passionate about developing better ways of teaching and learning, with a track record of developing other teachers and prepared to lead a school? If so, we invite you to apply to become the head of school for the 2017/18 school year.

Who are we?

American Classical School is a new private, classical, international and independent school that is opening in Nigeria to offer excellent education that is focused on both the cognitive and emotional development of students. 

We are guided by three core values:

Inquiry: fostering curiosity and a love of learning, a commitment to deep understanding, and learning how to think and how to learn

Caring: we care about each other, about ourselves, and the world we live in

Excellence: we hold high expectations of each other and ourselves, and of the quality of our work


Send your resume and cover letter to RECRUIT@ACSLAGOS.ORG and the HR Team will contact shortlisted candidates.


Cellular Senescence: We Age Because Our Cells Stop Reproducing


Cellular Senescence: We Age Because Our Cells Stop Reproducing

by TeachThought Staff

We’re all going to get old and die, which is both beautiful in a circle of life kind of way, and a major drag in a every other way kind of way.

But we must admit to never fully understanding–on a biological level–why this happens. A student sent this ASAP Science video our way recently, and we were struck by how simple simple this video makes it sound. But it begs the question–how long until we start modifying “telomere decay” ourselves?

UPDATE: Never mind–it seems we’ve already started.

Video: The Science Of Aging Explained

image attribution flickr user subantodebath; Cellular Senescence: We Age Because Our Cells Stop Reproducing; Video: The Science Of Aging Explained


There Is A Novel About Peer Teaching. This Is An Excerpt

There Is A Novel About Peer Teaching. This Is An Excerpt

by TeachThought Staff

Ed note: The following is excerpted from ‘Call Me Mary,” an upcoming novel by educator Evelyn Cole that dramatizes peer teaching.

We all went to the San Jose High School auditorium at two p.m. to listen to some university professor’s lecture, as if doing so would prepare us for high school sophomores. I expected to be bored, but like a good girl that I pretend to be, I said no more.

I sat with Alice and spotted Arthur behind us.  I ignored him. Besides, the visiting professor, a good-looking man in his thirties, appealed to me. He had blue eyes and light brown hair that stood up on one side with a cowlick that he pushed back when he smiled. Nice touch. And, his voice was rich, well-paced, and warm, as if he were used to giving lectures.  Moustachio introduced him as Dr. Jack Collier from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and then left him at the podium.

“Not bad,” I whispered to Alice. She frowned but soon smiled.

“You may wonder,” Dr. Collier began, “why a professor of philosophy would be asked to speak to educators hoping to help high school students get into and succeed in college. Actually, it’s a subject that interests me, so I volunteered when I heard about this conference.” He paused and touched his cowlick.

This was getting interesting. Alice nudged me.

“You’re going to be working with high school students,” he continued. “I teach a class on the history of intellectual thought to college sophomores and tackle the problem of explaining Kant’s critique of pure reason. For example, traditional metaphysics tried to describe objects that were beyond the scope of the senses and divided objects into a world of sensations and of intelligible observation.  It claimed that human reason understood the nature of purely intelligible objects. According to Kant, ethics, on the contrary, treated the practical use of reason as if it were concerned only with their relation to pleasure and pain.”

He grinned at all of us. “You following my pedantry?”

A few guys nodded.

“Yes, the relationship between pleasure and pain—women know that well.  Kant maintained that metaphysics had to be confined solely to the discovery of rules, facts which govern the sensible world, while ethics had little to do with facts.”

He let his eyes roam over all of us. “Okay, try Aristotle. He sought the medium between extremes, in this case between the senses and reasonable thought.  But, really, all thought begins in the body. And high school sophomores are into their bodies.”

I was beginning to dig this guy and could barely sit still. Alice nudged me as if to tell me to behave myself.

Dr. Collier continued. “So are college sophomores. Yet, it’s my task to get them to understand the intellectual thought of great philosophers. Suddenly I realized that I understood them much better after having taught this very course for two semesters. I decided to assign them the task of teaching the concept of one of these philosophers to a small group of fellow students.” He grinned. “You can imagine how that went.”

Now the guy really had me where I lived.

“I told my students,” he continued, “that my grandmother had described going to a one-room school out in the farm country of Western Massachusetts. She was taught how to read by a ten-year-old boy. When she was twelve she taught first graders how to read and fourth graders the how and why of English grammatical relationships. She said she tested really high in a big city high school in Boston. And that’s why I decided to require that each of my students teach philosophy.”

I started to stand up and cheer. Alice restrained me.

“You want to know what happened? I asked my secretary to make twenty copies of three major principles of Kant, Aristotle, and Plato, and took them to my sophomore class. I passed out the copies and told the students to choose which topic he or she would like to explain to a small group of classmates.  Well, one young man said, ‘Why do you say we have to teach each other? We’re not getting paid, you are.’

“I answered that I was getting paid to make sure they learned how to think.  So, I insisted that they choose a topic from the list I’d given them and figure out how to explain its thesis to someone else. One boy muttered, ‘What a piece of sh*t.'”

“I roared at him, ‘Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. Leviticus 24:14. You should have seen their mouths drop. Then I told them I’d been cursing for two days. They stared at me and then laughed. I excused them early to go prepare their lessons for the following week.”

He smiled at us for a few seconds and then said, “Forcing your students to teach whatever you want them to learn will give them more self-esteem than any current program promoting it. My sophomores amazed me, so I did the same in all my classes. Many of my colleagues hate me now.  Professor prefer to lecture. I urge you to take the risks. Thank you for listening to me.”

I wanted to give him a standing ovation, but restrained myself and did no more than wear out my hands clapping.

Alice said, “Wow, you sure got support for your teaching ideas.”

I wanted to rush to the stage, but the philosopher was surrounded by a gaggle of Ph.D’s and Ed.D’s.  Still glowing, I left with Alice.

* * *

We’d spent a whole week planning how to draw out a bunch of students in a local high school by placing them in small groups to relate specific problems in science and math to those in history, language, and literature. The guys in Washington who invented this conference decided sophomores would be our greatest challenge because they’re cocky about having survived their freshmen year.

When our group of educators entered the classroom, we heard the sixty or so sophomores in this huge room talking out loud. Not only that, several dropped their books on the floor and threw spitballs at each other. Cacophony!

I was the only teacher in my group of educators. Although we’d planned for the high school principal from Oklahoma to introduce us, they all looked at me.

“You start the class,” the principal said, and hovered with the others behind the teacher’s desk.

I realized that not one had been in a classroom for years, so I took another look at the territory ahead and climbed up on the desk. My head grazed the chandelier hanging from the ceiling and set it swinging. I didn’t say anything. I just stood there. In two minutes the room grew still. All those sophomores just stared at me. I felt great.

“We,” I said, pointing to my huddled group of administrators, “are here to make you smarter by letting you plan lessons and teach each other in a group of no more than eight.  I’ll call on you at random to form a group, give you some problems to solve, pay you to solve them, and then wander around the room to answer any questions you might have. First group leader, you in the red sweater.”

I pointed to a boy in the first row. To my surprise, he stood and asked six others in the room to form a group with him. The group selection continued without a snag. I got down from the desk. My little group of educators surrounded me and Moustachio just grinned ear to ear.

“How are we going to pay them?” The superintendent from Oregon hissed at me.

“I thought we’d figure that out later. Maybe pizza.”

“This is amazing,” Arthur said. “C’mon guys, let’s help her pass out the assignments.”

And so it went with our students the rest of the week. We never did have to pay them. They were paying themselves in excited pleasure. Alice’s group had a worse time of it. She had to take over their class with her whistle and put the kids in teams before her group of educators could go anywhere.

image attribution flickr user woodleywonderworks; There Is A Novel About Peer Teaching. This Is An Excerpt


10 Factors To Consider When Choosing A College

10 Factors To Consider When Choosing A College

contributed by Alex Hepgurn

Choosing a college for study can be a taxing experience and which criteria you should consider and value isn’t always clear.

And it’s also not always black and white. There often is no right or wrong choice; you can make all the informed decisions in the world and not find out until years later what you didn’t consider. However, it is prudent to learn and do everything in your ability to prevent these regrets later on.

Here are some tips to help high school students choose a college.

10 Factors To Consider When Choosing A College

1. Available Programs

This is the principal factor to consider when deciding which college to choose. Whether you want to study arts, sciences, medicine, law, most universities have specializations. To know which university specializes in what is everything. While extracurricular activities and sports teams and technology matter, if you can’t learn what you want to learn, what’s the point?

For example, if you are interested in studying engineering, look for colleges that offer popularing and emerging engineering degrees, then talk to existing recent students, look up reviews on online, and so on.

Furthermore, even in these branches, there is a divergence based on the type of study. Computer Science Engineering (CSE) is an entire branched course itself. The same is the case for any field. Bachelor of Arts (B. A) degrees are offered to linguists, journalists and Bachelor of Law (B. A in Law, or B. L) to law students.

2. Available Courses

This is obviously contingent on the subject or area of study in which you are interested. If you are interested in mathematics, you can get into teaching or actuarial sciences (statistics applied in finance and insurance), or computer sciences and engineering (most of a computer’s working is based at its core on mathematics) or delve into operational research.

The best university for you is often the university with the right program, and quality, compelling courses within that program.

3. Entrance Prerequisites

This is also a key factor, as some universities have different requirements than others. There are colleges that will filter and accept its applicants by their scores in board exams, and those with their own entrance tests to select the students most suited to them.

It would be wise to apply to an ample number of universities to keep your options open and leave you with enough choices. 42% of university applicants have insurance colleges that are just as hard, if not harder to get into as their primary choice universities, sometimes leaving them nowhere to join should they fail.

4. Culture

Each university has its own, unique culture and maxim depending on its students, its courses, athletic programs, extracurricular activities, and more. Ideally, you would visit each university of choice and check their qualities, their locations, basic facilities and such before applying.

Also consider club activities, personality development workshops, debates, elocutions, etc. are all activities that many consider essential to college life.

5. Location & Amenities

At some point, you will have to leave campus. Check out the bus fares in the local areas, availability of other modes of transport, shops close to campus, etc. Having hospitals close by or within the university is always great. If the college cafeteria is not to your liking or if you have specific cravings or needs, search for restaurants.

Wi-Fi is a basic requirement necessary for many people’s assignments, studies, sometimes part time work, and projects. Science students often need laptops with high-speed internet for engineering computations, computer science engineers need them for programming, editing, etc.

Arts students need them mostly for graphic designing, writing essays, and related project execution. Universities that promote computer-friendly environments are crucial in the 21st-century.

6. Work Opportunities

This is especially important for an expensive college: You’d probably need to work part time to make ends meet. Verify if the college’s schedule will allow it and look for places to work at near your campus so you don’t waste too much time traveling.

7. Up-To-Date Resources 

Technology, libraries, job placement services, academic advising, and other related resources can support a student in their success in a university. For example, for Science & Technology students who need laboratories to test and apply theory taught in class, the latest lab equipment, industry-related techniques are important.

8. Its University Rankings

Rankings given by sites such as QS World University Rankings will help you choose if you want to join the best universities. Look for the top universities within your chosen field of study. If you have a specific region in mind, look for the best universities within that area. This is only one metric for the quality of a college but is useful in creating an overall picture of which college you should attend.

9. Festivals & Fairs

The festivals and fairs conducted by universities are a matter of prestige and give industries the opportunity to get to know about the university, and can often be an indicator of how progressive, and student-centered the university is.

10. The Library!

You’ll be spending a lot of time here. Making sure the university you choose has a well-equipped library with a comfortable environment, up-to-date technology, and is generally an enjoyable place to spend time. A 24/7 café is a nice addition if you’re a night owl and need the occasional cup of coffee or a sandwich.

These are some tips and factors to keep in mind when making a decision about choosing a college to join in the 21st-century.

image attribution flickr user kcross


10 Ways Teachers Can Save Money On Printing


How To Save Money With More Efficient Printing


This is sponsored content.

10 Ways Teachers Can Save Money On Printing

The popularity of tablets and other digital devices for studying hasn’t changed the fact that print still plays a significant role in education.

Despite digital technology’s ongoing popularity, print is still the most effective learning medium for many students. It offers a quiet space away from online distractions, and enables them to better focus and absorb what they’re reading. On a deeper level, tablets may change the way students interact with text and affect their ability to consume and recall information according to researchers at EDUCause Review.

Unfortunately, printing can be quite expensive. This is especially the case for teachers who print in the classroom from personal printers. School districts frequently are tied to an incredibly limited budget on printer resources, and teachers will often take on the financial burden of buying printer ink out of their own pockets. Not surprisingly, this gets costly very quickly.

There are ways to use your printer that can do wonders for cutting costs without shortchanging your students. Here are a couple of helpful tips to help you use less ink and paper in your everyday teaching.

10 Ways Teachers Can Save Money On Printing

Draft mode. Your printer features multiple printing options to customize your ink use and print speed. When you’re printing documents that don’t need to look perfect (ie. letters to parents or event reminders), print them in draft mode. This mode uses less ink and prints faster than standard and high-quality print modes. While your prints may be lighter and your images less robust, your prints are more economical—something I’m sure the parents of your students won’t mind!

Font efficiency. Different fonts use different amounts of ink. While the difference between one typeface and another may not be huge per page, the savings add up quickly if you print a whole lot for your classes. Some designers have developed fonts explicitly crafted to use less ink in print. Fonts such as Century Gothic and Ecofont work differently and switching your font can make a difference in your wallet and the environmental impact your print makes.

Compatible cartridges. Buying black and color cartridges gets expensive quickly. Compatible cartridges purchased from established reputable retailers give you the same results as brand name ink but 40 to 60 percent less expensive. To illustrate, for the price of an original HP 564 standard cartridge ($14.99, prints up to 250 pages), you can get 600 total pages more from two high yield compatible 564 cartridges from LD Products ($6.99, each cartridge prints up to 550 pages). Compatible cartridges help you print more while you pay less.

Also, a quick note—you may come across a few articles that recommend HP’s Instant Ink service as an alternative to buying cartridges when they run low. A word of caution: this might sound like a good idea at first but be sure to read the fine print as there may be some things you should be aware of before diving in.

Reuse prints. Don’t reprint for every class, every year. Collecting up reading assignments and other handouts and reusing them will drastically reduce the amount of printing you do annually. You can even incentivize returning reading materials in good condition by offering extra credit on worksheet assignments. You can easily get two, maybe three runs on each printed packet before wear and tear takes over.

Both sides. Print out documents on both sides of the page whenever possible. Most office copiers and quite a few desktop laserjets offer double-sided print options as a standard feature. If you’re printing from your inkjet, you can re-run the backside of pages to print them again or use the back of each as scrap paper.

Reduce margins. The more words you can fit on the page, the better. Adjusting the margins on the top, bottom, and sides of the page before you print can put more text on each printed page, thereby using fewer supplies in the process. Reducing the size of your font will also use less ink and fewer sheets of paper, but do this only if it won’t affect text readability.

Print from read-only mode. A lot of websites today give readers the option to switch over to text only mode for ease of reading. If you are printing an article from the web, avoid printing the unnecessary headers, images, and most especially the comments section!

Be sure to print only the pages with the content you need. Some websites will automatically reformat pages for print, but taking special note of the way your print preview screen looks before you hit “Print” can help save unnecessary pages from being printed. As mentioned earlier on in the article, print on both sides of the paper and reduce margins if you can as well.

Team up and buy in bulk. There are times when you save money when you buy in bulk. When buying supplies, ask other teachers in your department and pool your resources. Buying larger increments of paper and ink allows you to tap into better deals offered by retailers.

Learn more about printers. Over time, printers break down and need replacement. When it comes time to swap out your old unit, be sure to do some research and learn what type of personal printer is best for your classroom needs. If you aren’t printing many photo quality images for your classes, a laser printer prints faster and requires less frequent toner replacements which can save you money in the long run unlike an inkjet printer.

However, if you rely on color prints for your instruction, an inkjet may be just what you need. If you’re shopping for a new inkjet printer, bear in mind that the cheapest printers can become very expensive down the road when you take into account the many times you need to replace ink cartridges. Doing a bit of research into different printer models and their efficiency ratings will help you find just the model you need.

Saving money on print is something you can do easily on your own today to help your bottom line. When working with colleagues in your department, school, even your district, you can help save a bundle of money (while using less resources too). Bringing down your print costs gives you more room in your budget to get the kinds of things that take your teaching to the next level.

The LD Products Content Team researches and writes about the ways individuals can cost-effectively utilize printing technology for improved efficiency at home and in the office.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated us via payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will be good for our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

10 Ways Teachers Can Save Money On Printing

System Shock Will Be Remastered If It Reaches Its Goal


System Shock Will Be Remastered If It Reaches Its Goal

by Terry Heick

One of my favorite PC games of all-time is being remastered in a kickstarter project due in 2017. That is, if it reaches its goal.

The immersive, haunting, and complex action RPG from the early 1990s was a way-before-its-time effort from Warren Spector–a huge leap ahead of simple (but equally brilliant) peers like Doom and Quake. Its unique narrative mechanisms mixed with stunningly creepy AI created an atmosphere that I’ll never forget. I can still remember hiding under a desk after running from a ‘zombie’–after 5 or so minutes of not moving, I stood up only to come eye-to-eye with the zombie on the other side of the all-too-thin glass. And when it saw me, it started beating on the glass with a wrench and moaning and NOPE. Escape–>home screen–>exit game.

And strangely, I can’t wait to visit it again. It’ll be released for PC and Xbox One–hopefully in late 2017 if all goes well. I’d play it in Dec 2018, too for that matter.

Few of you are likely to remember the game, or care for a new one, but just in case, the details are below.

System Shock Remastered Details

System Shock is a complete remake of the genre defining classic from 1994 built by a team of industry veterans. Remember Citadel.

System Shock was one of the first 3D games that took a methodical approach to exploration while revealing a story driven narrative through audio logs and messages scattered throughout the game world. It was a revolutionary step forward for the medium in a time when developers first began experimenting with interactive story telling.

Players were trapped aboard Citadel Station as they fought to survive against the cyborgs and mutated crew members corrupted by a maniacal A.I. known as SHODAN, one of the most treacherous antagonists ever conceived. System Shock offered an unparalleled experience that would solidify it as one of the greatest games of all time.

General Features

  • A modern take on System Shock, a faithful reboot; it’s not Citadel Station as it was, but as you remember it. Many improvements, overhauls and changes are being implemented to capture the spirit of what the original game was trying to convey, and bring it to contemporary gamers.
  • Re-imagined enemies, weapons, and locations by original concept artist Robb Waters.
  • Terri Brosius reprises her role as SHODAN, and new VO will be recorded.
  • Brand new musical score composed by Jonathan Peros.
  • The user interface, game mechanics, enemies, and puzzles will be updated to reflect modern aesthetics and sensibilities, while maintaining the feel of the original.

You can read more–about the team, stretch goals, and more–on the System Shock Remastered kickstarter project page.

System Shock Remastered Details


3 Ways Technology Has Changed The Modern Workplace


3 Ways Technology Has Changed The Modern Workplace

Contributed by Nathan Bachman

Not too long ago, workplaces were, frankly,  mess.

There was lots of paperwork to be dealt with, meetings had to take place in congested rooms with every needed to be physically present there, management had to rely on memos to get something across to the employees, heavy expenses had to be incurred to reach out to the clients, and communication across different hierarchical levels was pretty rare. However, all these operational and communication matters have now been greatly simplified and very much streamlined through the help of massive technological advancements that have taken place over the last decade or so. The influx of new technologies has dramatically reshaped workplaces, which in turn has facilitated businesses in running their affairs more smoothly and performing better than ever.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the ways in which technology has changed the workplace, mostly for the better.

A More Productive Environment

Businesses couldn’t possibly have survived in the fast-paced world without adding swiftness into their own operations as well. They were facilitated in this regard by technological advancements such as high-speed internet, smartphones and tablets, cloud storage, and so much more. Access to such technologies has helped them in optimizing time management and working on the go, which in turn has enabled them to get things done faster and perhaps with greater precision. Accountability has also increased as employers and managers have access to enterprise solutions such as Mobistealth text spy app, which have introduced unprecedented convenience into supervising workplace activities and communications. Access to such solutions is also proving immensely helpful in discouraging workplace distractions, especially the abuse of internet and mobile privileges, thus keeping employees focused on work and raising their productivity.

New & Improved Communication Options

The advent of emails had revolutionized business communications back in the day, but with the arrival of smartphones, VoiP services like Skype, social networking websites, chat apps, and cloud technology, communication has reached a whole new level. Emails are being exchanged on the go, meetings are being held through video conferencing, clients are being reached and updated on latest products, services, and offers within seconds, and documents are being shared from anywhere and at any time. Distances have become completely irrelevant, while collaboration among co-workers have improved massively. Of course, better communication with increased level of flexibility is also aiding business leaders in staying in close touch with their most invaluable resource, i.e. their employees, and therefore being able to manage them better.

Altered Risk of Security Breaches

Previously, businesses had a hard time staying on top of the food chain because they were extremely vulnerable to threats like corporate espionage. However, in the modern day and age, proper security channels have been implemented in almost every single organization, allowing critical information to be stay safe. It has also gotten easier to keep check on employees’ digital activities and communications to ensure they don’t engage in practices harmful to the interests of the business.

Knowing that they are always being watched, employees also try to play it safe, and even if a competitor does approach them and offer a tempting incentive to turn on their current employer, they don’t do it because they know that the likelihood of them getting caught is pretty high. Stealing critical information might have been easy thing to do back in the day, but now there are prying eyes all over the place, the threat of data leaks have been substantially mitigated.

adapted image attribution flickr user vancouverfilmschool

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated us via payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will be good for our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Sponsored: He Struggled Reading, So I Bought Him An Audiobook


Sponsored: He Struggled Reading, So I Bought Him An Audiobook

by Amanda Casey

Reading is a powerful tool. It can take you to new world, expose you to life experiences, and open the doors to unimaginable places.

However, students with reading disabilities can be struggle to not just read, but to find any joy or utility support. They tragically see reading as an unattainable and trying chore, and can be left with a sense of defeat when asked to read independently. This was the case for one of my former students that had a brilliant and unique mind, but could not crack the reading code. That is, until he was introduced to Audible.

He desperately wanted to read ‘The City of Ember’ by Jeanne Duprau, a book that all of his peers were reading; however, the book was much too challenging for his current reading level. Looking into audiobook options for this student, I was lead to Audible. This company takes the written word and produces it into spoken audio entertainment.

After doing some reading, I learned that Audible has different levels of membership. You can choose the option of monthly or yearly membership, and with each you are provided with a certain amount of downloads per membership option. Audible allowed for me to create an account with a free 30-day trial where I was able to download one title free of charge.

It was with this free download that my student’s doors were opened. I provided him with the audio version of ‘The City of Ember,’ the same book that all his friends were also reading. The challenge of decoding the words was lifted and he was able to focus on comprehending, visualizing, and enjoying the plot and characters that were unfolding before him.

As it turns out, the student had a brilliant mind for comprehension and was able to synthesize and evaluate the information before him on levels much higher than his non-disabled peers. Since decoding was his challenge, Audible was the key to this student’s success.

Seeing this student’s success with the addition of audiobooks into his education, I began taking request from other students: What other books would they like to have access to? I used each of my monthly downloads to provide another student with an opportunity to experience a text without the barriers of decoding.

This process could be even more seamless with Audible’s new feature “Instant Book Share.” This feature that allows you share titles in your library with friends, family–or in my case, students. Using this easy to use feature you can instantly share audiobooks at no cost to you or the receiver of the audio book. If it is the recipient’s first book, they don’t even have to create an account or provide credit card information, which makes it simpler for students to benefit from.

The recipient would then be able to use one of the multiple options available. You can listen on the audible app, stream instantly, or download the audio file to play using iTunes or mp3.

Overall, Audible has helped me, as a teacher, to provide experiences to students that they would have otherwise not had. Audiobooks in general allow for barriers to be lifted and for students to experience the joy of reading without the struggle and failure. They have a chance to develop a love and passion for literacy while focusing on critical cognitive skills like visualizing, inferring, predicting, connecting, and more, thereby separating the skill of decoding from the deeper abilities of text deconstruction, subtextual analysis, and an overall appreciation for what books can do and mean to a reader.

As for you as a teacher? Why not consider ‘Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything’? With a free download and a 30-day trial, it’s an easy choice.

Bring your books with you while commuting, grading, on the beach, at the pool, at the gym–wherever you are, your library is, too. Comment below regarding your audiobook experience. Have you used it in the classroom? What tips would you recommend for teachers?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible. The opinions and text are all mine.

image attribution flickr user juhansonin; Sponsored: He Struggled Reading, So I Bought Him An Audio Book

TeachThought Updates & Events

Interested In An Ad-Free TeachThought? Sign Up Here

Interested In An Ad-Free TeachThought? Sign Up Here

by Terry Heick

TeachThought started off as a small teacher blog that I ran to share English-Language Arts teaching resources, and in less than 4 years has grow into something pretty cool.

But it takes a lot of work–running TeachThought as an organization is my full-time job. We have content, curricula, publishing, professional development, consulting–a lot goes into what we do, and so far I’ve financed it all with ads. Only I dislike ads.

Part of it is personal philosophy. While we all have material needs and no one is forced to click on an ad, making a living by enticing other people to buy things they may or may not need–that may or may not have anything to do with their classroom–isn’t my favorite thing, and I’ve been working to diversify the way revenue so that:

1. TeachThought can continue to grow new ways to ’cause’ innovation in education and

2. We can do so without selling anything that you can’t use in your classroom tomorrow to improve student outcomes–in other words, get rid of ads.

The other part is that beyond my personal philosophy, ads are a pain. I run TeachThought almost entirely by myself. Every hour I spend with advertising is an hour I could’ve spent writing, designing, speaking, developing, or otherwise helping you do great things in your classroom.

I could take down the ads altogether, but there’d be no TeachThought. While I work to pull the site from the teet of rampant consumerism, I asked readers a couple of months ago if there was an interest in actually paying for an ads-free experience. (We get many millions of pageviews per month, and make pennies on the ads compared to what ad serves earn, which also bothers me.)

To my surprise, many of you said yes, you might be interested. “Pay walls” are an old idea on the web that didn’t work, and while this isn’t exactly a pay wall, paying for content in 2016 doesn’t exactly feel progressive. But if it allows me to get rid of the ads, so be it.

So below is a form. If you’re interested in something like this, fill the form out. If not, skip it. Pretty simple. (Direct link here.)

This isn’t an actual sign-up page–by filling this out you’re basically saying you’ll pay for it if/when it becomes an actual thing.

Thanks for any feedback, and please use the “Comments” section liberally. I’ll read every word you write.

–Terry Heick

Director, TeachThought


Amazon Is Discounting Kindle To $49

Amazon Is Discounting Kindle To $49

by TeachThought Staff

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos recently announced the next-generation Kindle.

If you’re an Amazon Prime Member, you can grab the current-gen Kindles at a decent discount. Not enough to buy one if you aren’t invested in the Kindle ecosystem, but certainly worth considering if you don’t absolutely have to have the latest tech and have been eyeing a new eReader.

Apparently they’re doing to officially announce it next week, but the discount is already active. It didn’t show a discount until we both added it to our cart and started proceeding to check out, at which point it showed.

Note these are affiliate links, which means we get an indefensibly small % if you purchase after clicking. If you want Amazon to get 100% of the profit, just go directly to Amazon and search for the product directly.


5 Quotes To Help Overcome The Fear Of Public Speaking


5 Quotes To Help Overcome The Fear Of Public Speaking

Creating an engaging and exciting presentation isn’t something that comes easy to everyone.In fact, according to the Washington Post, the biggest phobia in the entire country is public speaking – with over 25 percent of Americans afraid to speak in front of large groups of people. Although that might not seem like that many people, let’s get some perspective here. 25 percent of the U.S. population equates to almost 80 million people, or ten times the entire population of New York City. Peoples’ fear of public speaking beat out that of drowning, needles, snakes, heights, and even clowns.So take a look at some quotes by people who really knew how to work a stage and own a presentation. Melt your public speaking fear away with these five nuggets of knowledge.

On Making Your Point

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time — a tremendous whack.” – Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was arguably one of history’s best public speakers and most notable figures. The British Prime Minister was known for his inspirational speeches and witty comments. Here he’s saying that you need to throw subtlety to the wind, and if you have a point to make – make it. There is absolutely no need to waste anyone’s time. Cut to the meat of your presentation and leave the filler at the door.

On Preparation

“Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes was an American poet and author, he wrote on a wide range of topics, but was also a famous scholar and lecturer. Here, Holmes is making the point to be clear about the words you say and how you say them. Oliver Wendell Holmes was noted for appearing to be off the cuff with his lectures, yet they were well rehearsed. Preparation is a key factor to a good speech or presentation, a point he reiterated in his life over and over.

On Passion

“The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.” — Lady Bird Johnson

Claudi Alta Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson was a highly active First Lady with a very public presence, yet was rather reserved in her private life. The best way to get over your fears or social anxieties when it comes to presenting, performing, or leading a public event is to become so engrossed in the message you’re trying to convey that it becomes impossible to even consider what others might be thinking.

Passion is infectious and will spread like wildfire if it’s genuine.

On Pushing Yourself

“A book may give you excellent suggestions on how best to conduct yourself in the water, but sooner or later you must get wet …”  — Dale Carnegie

One of the original creators of the Self-Help genre, Dale Carnegie was a master orator and lecturer. He wrote the famous book “How to Win Friends & Influence People” which stated that no matter how many books you read and what understanding you think you have on certain concepts, you will never be able to gauge that knowledge until you actually go out and put it into practice.

On the Value of Fear

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.”— Mark Twain

 The famed satirical wizard Mark Twain also once said that people who gave speeches were either nervous or liars. Twain suffered from immense stage fright, which is why much of his work is written. Here he is saying that true courage is the ability to be afraid of something, yet do it anyways.

There are many ways to make your presentation great (supporting your content with pictures, GIFS or even using software add-ons that insert video in PowerPoint for you), but they all begin and end with your confidence levels and how you present them. As they say after all, there is nothing to fear but fear itself!


Download Your Official 2016 NCAA Bracket PDF Here!


Download Your 2016 NCAA Bracket PDF Here!

by Terry Heick

TeachThought is based in Kentucky, and Kentucky is basketball country.

That means in addition to frameworks on inquiry and critical thinking, you can also get your 2016 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Bracket here in PDF form. You can access it here on the NCAA site, or on our Google Drive here. (Our Director of Professional Development Drew Perkins is, for some reason, a Michigan State fan.)

My bracket will be garbage by Thursday afternoon, but what can you do? You print them anyway. Or use the app on  iOS. Or Android. Or the browser-based site. Or for Amazon Fire Stick.

Go Cats!

Download Your 2016 NCAA Bracket PDF Here! ; 2016 Men’s Bracket; 2016 NCAA Tournament Bracket PDF; Download Your Official 2016 NCAA Bracket PDF

TeachThought Updates & Events

On Pushback From ‘Pinterest Criticism’


On Pushback From ‘Pinterest Criticism’

UPDATE: After dozens of comments (not all got published) and even half a dozen emails today alone, this post has been pulled. Ultimately the message was not clear and the tone problematic, and I accept full responsibility for that.

Thanks as always for your comments, and passionate work. That always comes through with TeachThought readers, and I couldn’t be happier about that.

The original post appears below.

by Terry Heick

Thanks everyone for the comments on the recent ‘Does Education Have A Pinterest Problem?‘ article. (I also shared this note as an editor’s note there as well.) This post was contributed to TeachThought from an outside educator, as is about 10-15% of our content.

I chose to run the post because I think it makes some valid points and, more broadly, is asking some relevant questions, including: As sources of curriculum become more numerous and varied, what’s holding it all together? How can we fold in more diverse resources while creating a tighter, more ‘precise’ curriculum (i.e., use curricula to help create curriculum)?

An analogy here is to think of a chef, who used to buy all of his/her supplies from 1-3 vendors–with ingredients more or ‘aware of’ one another–suddenly buying from 100 different vendors. The upside is much potential for quality and diversity and new thinking. The downside could be a curriculum full of wonderful lessons that fail to resonate together. (Though this also gets at the idea that units may not be the best approach at all, which we’ve discussed before.)

I didn’t find this insulting of teachers (I am one, as is my wife), or critical of TpT (a site we plan to use more of ourselves to provide exactly these kinds of resources in the future), pinterest, or any other social media channel.

The general thesis, as I read it, had more to do with the idea of curricular and instructional design, for example: “One block is fine, but it’s sort of pointless without the others, and not at its best until everything is in order.” The last line also provides a great summary IMHO: “Pinterest is an easy way to get through the day, and a wonderful resource to supplement our pedagogy, but it’s not the final answer to this question of building brains.”

When you think about the movement from learning model to academic standard to learning target to unit design to lesson design to activity design, being concerned about the way the different pieces (that may not have been built for one another) doesn’t seem to be a stretch, nor does it assume that teachers are thoughtless and incapable. At TeachThought, we assume the exact opposite, in fact.

I’d pull the post if I found it insulting to our collective intelligence as educators (again, this post was contributed from an outside educator), but I enjoy being challenged, and hope that, at the worst, that’s how you’ll take this. I’m a huge believer in pushback, communication, and disruption. That’s how things change!

You can always email me directly to my personal email at 

Thanks for all that you do for education in your corner of the world.

–Terry Heick, Director at TeachThought

TeachThought Updates & Events

Proof That TeachThought Readers Are Smarter Than The Rest

Proof That TeachThought Readers Are Smarter Than The Rest

by TeachThought Staff

We’ve never been more proud of you. : ^  )

Which way? in TeachThought’s Hangs