Citelighter is fundamentally about helping students and teachers improve learning and performance. But here’s something even more fundamental: why did we decide to tackle these enormous issues, and how are we going about doing it?
In the video below, Citelighter CEO Saad Alam discusses the personal experiences that sparked his passion to co-start the company, beginning with a simple story about his brother’s academic struggles. He also notes our constant engagement with teachers to improve Citelighter’s functionality, and shares our excitement around creating a Google Docs-integrated platform—one that’ll let us study and enhance students’ research habits. Take a look!
New York City stands out as an extraordinarily diverse place, as the Citelighter team that lives and works here is privileged to see and experience every day. From Spanish Harlem to southern Brooklyn to eastern Queens, a wide range of groups collaborate, create, and commingle here.
But how do they tweet? This unique map below, courtesy of Science News, provides an amazing illustration of non-English tweets sent across the city, with Spanish, Dutch, Russian, and more highlighted. Check it out!
We’re delighted to share with you this insightful infograph from our friend Allison at Onlineeducation.net – it presents some startling data on the challenges of online research as perceived by educators. Click the snippet below to check out the full graphic!
Online learning has exploded. Courses and course-offering institutions proliferate. Colleges eye opportunities to lure new students. Major institutions are piloting programs to allow credits for courses.
Sounds like a pretty good time, then, to introduce something like this:
Dubbed the “Online Students’ Bill of Rights,” it offers a bold paradigm for expectations and needs of students and learners in the digital age, confronting issues ranging from data collection to programmatic outcomes.
At Citelighter, we focus on making research and writing more efficient for anyone interested in learning. And the most basic and crucial component of learning, of course, is reading.
Linked here is a startling recent infographic on the state of reading in our schools among elementary school students—it shows just how important it is to academic and life success. Below is one element of it:
A more elaborate set of infographics was released recently by the United States Census Bureau, highlighting the strong link between school enrollment, attendance, and college success. Definitely worth checking out below:
As part of our recent redesign of the dashboard, we’ve dropped in a “Citelights” feed on the top right portion of the dashboard for logged-in users. This handy feature gives you a quick snapshot of Knowledge Cards and Citelighter Pro-accessible articles in an intuitive way:
Under the “Relevant” category, you’ll see material that’s most relevant to the projects and citations that you have created. Under “Trending”, you’ll find snippets from our most commonly accessed Knowledge Cards. And under “Citelighter Pro”, you’ll get pertinent article excerpts from the expansive scholarly library we offer for Pro users.
We hope you enjoy the new feature set, and we look forward to any suggestions on how to further enhance your research and citation experience!
The tools we provide are designed to aid students, teachers, and researchers. What connects these three groups is something that’s easy to forget when you’re focused on details: a passion for learning and knowledge.
Education News recently ran an illuminating interview with Professor Sir David Watson, a leading academic light who teaches at the University of Oxford, on a wide range of subjects, including his ideas on what the ideal academic system looks like, standard tests, emotional and intellectual development, and critical thinking.
One important theme he keeps returning to is instilling in students a global perspective and appreciation for critical learning:
“The public discourse is heavily dominated at present by a perception…of student instrumentalism. What counts is “employability” (even more than “employment”) and whether or not students are prepared for it. Meanwhile, students themselves confound expectation further: by returning to the liberal arts, by returning to volunteering (even while they simultaneously have to work much more frequently for money than their predecessors), and by reviving student-led political activism (all around the world).”
What makes this comment stand out is that online learning and online courses do tend to focus on what’s “efficient” and “practical”, especially in emphasizing convenience over physical classrooms. It will be interesting to see in the coming years whether this changes—or simply continues as produces students who are less civically minded.
In a largely unprecedented move, numerous major public universities have announced plans to offer free introductory online courses—with credit.
As the Times article explains, the schools will select which courses to convert into an online format and students who successfully complete those courses will earn credit toward a real degree:
“‘We’re taking the MOOC idea, but now it will be part of a degree program, not a novelty,’ said Randy Best, the chairman of Academic Partnerships, a company that helps public universities move their courses online.”
Schools involved in the bold move include the University of Cincinnati, the University of Texas, and the University of Arkansas.
The hope, of course, is to draw more students into public school systems facing budgetary problems due to state funding cuts; Masters and Bachelors programs will be offered.
The move represents an interesting, and increasingly strong, synergy between the world of MOOCs and brick-and-mortar schools, and shows that the relationship doesn’t need to be antagonistic.
At the Washington Waldorf School, the article notes, “you’ll find woodwork, cross-stitch and sculpture classes — but you won’t find web design, graphics or film classes. As schools race to the top, innovation here looks basic, artsy and unplugged.”
The school’s faculty chair advocates for the approach by saying, “”They’re comfortable in their own skin — in real interactions with people as opposed to what you see with teenagers today interacting with the device versus each other, which is sad.”
That educator is not alone. The article also points to two reputable polls showing that “teachers overwhelmingly believe digital technology is curtailing attention spans and critical thinking skills.”
This apparently widespread belief, and the attendant school movement to remove tech from the classrooms altogether, raise some challenging questions for those of us who work directly in the tech-ed space. Is there a point to be made that introducing technology tools to kids at too young an age can be a distraction? Or is that too sweeping a statement that doesn’t take into account the virtues of specific tech tools?
An article in Education Week earlier this month pointed to an increasing data trend showing that a supportive school environment helps students learn more effectively.
Summarizing the findings, the publication observed:
“Mounting evidence from fields like neuroscience and cognitive psychology, as well as studies on such topics as school turnaround implementation, shows that an academically challenging yet supportive environment boosts both children’s learning and coping abilities. By contrast, high-stress environments in which students feel chronically unsafe and uncared for make it physically and emotionally harder for them to learn and more likely for them to act out or drop out.”
The findings apply to K-12 brick-and-mortar educational settings, but it also forces one to think about how some of the prevailing issues might translate as schools increasingly look to online solutions. Could online education, for example, circumvent the troubling issue of bullying that has dominated headlines in recent years? Or would the influx of information, delivered through a computer screen without a sympathetic human guide, make students more prone to stress and anxiety?
As national education moves forward with increasing integration of online and real-life worlds, the consequences of these kinds of complex issues will doubtless demand the attention of educators.