learning

Must-Read Non-Fiction Books For College Students

When you go to college, you meet new people, see new places, and learn new things. You undoubtedly have a lot to learn the next few years, so why not get a jump start? Books are one of life’s greatest teachers. They can influence how you see yourself and the world around you. With every book you read, you’re exposed to new perspectives that will help you understand others and open yourself up to all the possibilities ahead.

Taking the time to read improves your ability to focus, enhances your vocabulary, strengthens your empathy, and provides new experiences through a variety of characters. In a university setting, where people from all walks of life are studying different fields and engaged in different interests, a book can be the bridge to understanding your differences and pushing against your own assumptions.

We’ve created a two-part blog series full of must-read books for college students as a starting point to prepare you for this exciting chapter in life. While reading fiction takes you to the imaginative world, non-fiction unfolds the reality; you get to know real people and their lives. Reading about the experiences of others can teach you valuable life lessons, help you avoid pitfalls and make the most of new opportunities. In this first part, we’ll explore non-fiction titles. Be sure to check back for part two – fiction titles! 

Some of these titles may be familiar, others may not – but they all have a valuable story to share. These books cover everything from overcoming obstacles and following your dreams, to learning valuable life lessons about self-discovery, and more.

Non-Fiction:

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter And How to Make the Most of Them Now  by Dr. Meg Jay

Rather than falling in line with what everyone else their age is doing; this book helps twenty-somethings think about the choices they’re making now and how those can positively or negatively affect them later in life. The book covers topics ranging from self-care and healthy relationships to finding a meaningful career. Bonus: Check out this TED Talk where author Dr. Meg Jay shares three pieces of advice for how twenty-somethings can reclaim adulthood in the defining decade of their lives.

Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg

Following her first bestseller Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead – Sandberg has enlisted the help of experts for Lean In for Graduates, a handbook that offers instruction and inspiration for the next generation. Lean In for Graduates includes the full text of the original book as well as new chapters on finding your first job, negotiating your salary, listening to your inner voice, and leaning in for women of color and millennial men.

How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie

 Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People, first published in 1936, has been rebooted to include the complexities of modern times and will teach you how to communicate with diplomacy and tact, project your message widely and clearly, be a more effective leader, increase your ability to get things done, and optimize the power of digital tools.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes a deep dive into why habits exist and how we can manipulate them to our advantage. This book explores an interesting argument: The key to exercising regularly, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. By harnessing this power, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

I Want More Pizza: Real World Money Skills for High School, College, and Beyond by Steve Burkholder

By realizing that he had many questions about financial literacy while in high school and college, Burkholder became an educator and wrote this book to help other learners like him. The book offers actionable, easy-to-understand information to help students build good habits and learn how to live within their means.

Designing Your Life: How to Build A Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans 

In this book, Burnett and Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.

Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes, the mastermind behind TV favorites like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” chronicles how one little word changed her life forever. An introvert at heart, she explains how saying “yes” for one year impacted her in ways she did not expect. The book chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun – when Shonda learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes!

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

“Hidden Figures” follows the interwoven accounts of four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades as they faced challenges, forged alliances, and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by the Dalai Lama

Nobel Peace Prize award winners His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships, they are two of the most joyful people on the planet. In this book, you get to explore the Nature of True Joy and confront the Obstacles of Joy—from fear, stress, and anger to grief, illness, and death. They then offer us the Eight Pillars of Joy, which provide the foundation for lasting happiness.

Whichever you choose to start with – cross some of these off your reading list, and trust me, they’ll leave you feeling more prepared for the adventures ahead! 

Stay tuned for part two: Must Read Fiction Books for College Students. 
Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

The Best Documentaries on Netflix

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy learning new information in nice, digestible chunks. There’s nothing like a good documentary to make you feel productive while watching TV. If you feel the same, then I have great news for you! Netflix has a plethora of documentaries for you to watch and absorb passively on your couch. So sit back, relax, and grab your popcorn. We’re delving into the realm of documentaries!

American Anarchist - Documentaries

American Anarchist

It’s a story of passion, fervor, and regret. In 1971, William Powell authored one of the most controversial books ever written, The Anarchist Cookbook. The book contained instructions on how to make everything from weapons to illicit drugs. It quickly became the book of choice for social deviants, including terrorists and freedom fighters. But, after converting to Anglicanism in 1979, Powell devoted the rest of his life to making sure nobody ever reads his book again. This is his story.

cosmos - Documentaries

Cosmos

When you look up at the night sky, isn’t in wonderful? Have you ever wondered what’s up there and how it all works? Wonder no longer! Neil Degrasse Tyson is here to tell you in his classic dulcet tones. Cosmos succeeds in making its subject matter accessible with easy to understand examples and comparisons. It’s a very humbling documentary, reinforcing how small we really are in the face of the universe. We are all made of stardust, which is a pretty cool idea to ponder on.

Pumping Iron - Documentaries

Pumping Iron

If you’re at all interested in bodybuilding as a sport, this is the documentary for you. Originally released in 1977, this film follows Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno as they vie for the title of most aesthetic man alive. Pumping Iron pulls back the curtain on how the sport is fraught with body image issues and subjectivity in judging. This documentary is also a deluge of information about Schwarzenegger and Ferrigno. It’s worth a watch if the sport even remotely interests you.

Do you have any favorite documentaries? Leave them in the comments below!

5 Reasons to Integrate Multi-touch Screens Into Classrooms

With the latest in mobile technology, tablets are now transforming higher education through multi-touch displays. Aside from social interaction, this technology can’t be ignored in hands-on learning, as they provide what most educators refer to as tactile and intuitive interface. In a 2012 Pearson Foundation survey, it’s revealed that tablet ownership among college students and college-bound high school seniors have tripled. Fast forward to 2014, you can now see students carrying multi-touch devices freely in campus.

kyle blog

However, students tend to misuse them, exhausting it for non-scholastic endeavors. In this article, we’ll try to get rid of this idea by giving you valid reasons to integrate multi-touch screens in the classroom.

  1. Brings real-life visuals

Despite the availability of tablets from Apple, Samsung, and Google, tablet technology still hasn’t reached its pinnacle. Multi-touch  has laid out its plan of a new interactive display that allows you to interact with real-life objects through the Enriched Reality. Reportedly, Enriched Reality is a series of displays, which detect every object it interacts with, including the ones placed on the system.

Ideally, you’ll be able to use your fingers, hands, and pens to navigate the Enriched Reality, which initiates a collaborative approach with your professors to shed light on a specific topic.

It also has networking capabilities, social media integration, and third party application hosting to continuously use your productivity apps.

  1. Redefining how information is presented

“Learning is no longer just a linear process but one in which all information is connected seamlessly and visually, displayed on a high-definition screen,” Verizon Wireless wrote, stressing the importance of tablets in higher education. The article highlighted the importance of organizational applications, paving the way for a deeper way at which you can think and present information.

The company said that there are plenty of applications which you can use as a student presenter, wherein you’ll reinforce your class report with stunning film graphics, videos, documentaries, and games to engage with your classmates through play. Also, you can now communicate freely with them, as well as ask for initial assessments and evaluations.

  1. Mastering language courses

Aside from Math and Science, Mark of Edudemic discussed the importance of a multi-touch device to help you excel in language classes. For one, there are digitized pens which you can use for writing, especially in getting all requirements done on the go.

Another reason is that most manufacturers have now equipped their devices with an advanced palm rejection feature. It allows you to rest your hands in the middle of the task, without necessarily affecting productivity. While texts and diagrams clutter on your screen, this feature still allows you to access movable icons of specific applications.

  1. Affordability and flexibility

Going to college, especially abroad, is also equivalent to investment. Thus, you have to save enough money. While buying a multi-touch tablet is also a wise investment, the same Verizon article mentioned above said that they are less expensive than laptops. You’ll also get savings from e-books. For instance, you may resort to a Kindle alternative of Martin Tovee’s An Introduction to the Visual System, which costs $33.60, as opposed to the physical version costing around $130.

These devices are flexible – you can use it solely for classroom purposes or for entertainment. While reading a required e-book, students are still able to socialize through the social network integration to find encouragement.

  1. Perceptive Pixel Technology is on the rise

Just like Multi-touch, Microsoft is also poised to release its own multi-touch and pen devices, which are based solely on Perceptive Pixel Technology. In an interview with Alex Williams of TechCrunch, Microsoft General Manager Jeff Han said that these devices will use pen and paper “to create what is equivalent to the human as the user interface.”

In the education system, Han pointed out that these devices are aimed to resolve user interface issues such as the “fat finger problem” (pressing multiple buttons due to large fingers). Whether in the classroom or not, you can still touch the displays for remote collaboration with your teacher and peers. This is in line with the true essence of Perceptive Pixel Technology – broadcast and geo-intelligence.

The good thing about multi-touch technology is that it improves every second, thus the chances of using it in the classroom has become limitless. Do you have other ideas on how to use this tech solution in class? Share your thoughts below.

As an online student, Kyle Albert has the knack of strategically using mobile devices in terms of collaborating with instructors and peers. For him, a tablet is a one-stop repository device, as it can replace a standard laptop on a number of ways. Reach Kyle on Google+.

 

Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad

During your time in college, you may have an opportunity to study at an institution in another country. Many college students partake in this opportunity, as it can be a life changing experience. Here are some of the top reasons to study abroad:

1. New Way of Learning

You may have a 4.0 GPA at your home institution, but wouldn’t it be great to step outside of your old familiar classrooms and libraries? Studying abroad can offer a fantastic opportunity to continue your studies in an environment that is completely new and fresh.

Studying Abroadimage source

2. Travel

Once you graduate college and have a full time job, you may not have the opportunity to spend a few weeks or months in a foreign country. Take this time to travel while you have minimal responsibilities elsewhere.

Study abroadimage source

3. Interact with other cultures

Everyone does not have the opportunity to interact and make friends with people from other countries. Studying abroad could give you the chance to see what college life is like in a country that is unfamiliar to you.

Global Friendshipsimage source

4. Expand your world perspective

It’s easy to get comfortable in your own mindset and cultures, but traveling internationally can give you a fresh perspective on the world, your life, and how it all fits together. The world will seem much smaller when you realize that we all have much more in common than we think!

Travel the Worldimage source

5. Learn a new language

Studying abroad can be especially beneficial to those studying linguistics or who wish to learn another language fluently. No amount of textbook studying can compare to one-on-one conversation with a native speaker of the language you are studying.

Learning New Languagesimage source

Have you studied abroad? What were your reasons? Let us know in the comments below!

Education Startups

When I was first thinking about education start ups, the first thing that popped into my head were websites like Phoenix University, sites to prep for graduate school entrance exams, etc. It turns out there are a lot more resources out there for students to utilize. There are now places where students can interact with professors, learn from tools tailored to their specific learning styles,  and study confidently. Eventually, I hope no one will have to worry about what kind of parking pass they need, cry on the inside from overpriced books they are required to buy, and be able work from home. Here are some great startups that have helped students relieve some stress while studying.

Grockit
www.grockit.com

Grockit puts the fun into studying by using online social learning services.  This company has developed a series of effective prep games for the LSAT, GMAT, SAT and high school AP classes.  Recently it has started a service called Grockit Answers.  Grockit Answers is a site that creates a question and answer page for any video on YouTube, allowing students to develop a better understanding on virtually any topic.  The company name comes from the work grok, which means to understand something so well that it becomes a part of you.  Grockit believes that students learn better through peer-to-peer learning rather than teacher-to-student and they are building their company around this belief.  With almost $25 million in funding, Grockit is well on their way to helping a lot of students.

2tor
www.2tor.com

Founded in 2008, 2tor partners with colleges and universities to build, implement, and market their online degree programs.  They supply the colleges with tools, expertise, and capital needed to develop and implement state-of-the-art online learning platforms.  2tor is able to enhance offline learning curriculum by creating an innovative online environment for students to learn.  With $64.8 million dollars in funding so far, this company is going to continue to grow and we think become a great success.

To give you an idea of the impact 2tor can have on a school, USC’s Masters of Teaching program had about 80 students before partnering with 2tor, and all of them were on its California campus. Now it boasts almost 1,500 students enrolled in the program across 45 states and 28 countries. They all pay the same full tuition and get exactly the same degree. 2tor handles the website, supplying the students with webcams, creating online teaching materials in partnership with faculty, the logistics of finding local schools were the students themselves can practice teaching. The company shares in the tuition revenue. 2tor has most recently partnered with UNC’s Kenan Flagler business school to help them bring their MBA online.

Inigral
www.inigral.com

When Facebook was originally started it was only for college students.  This meant that you had the ability to see who was taking the same courses as you.  Once Facebook expanded beyond the scope of just college students this feature was discontinued.  Inigral is picking up where Facebook left off.  By developing an app called Schools, Inigral is able to show students not only which courses others are taking on but also other campus affiliations.  This means that a student is able to see which student organizations others are joining as well as other’s athletic involvement, majors chosen, and which residence halls they are living in.  What is unique about this app is that Inigral is selling it and making the colleges and universities pay for it instead of the students.  With only $7 million dollars in funding, Inigiral is certainly still in their infancy and they have a lot of room to grow.

19Pencils
www.19pencils.com

19Pencils is an education startup that is geared towards K-8 educators, but can also be helpful to college students.  This site helps teachers and students quickly and easily find specific web content based on a topic.  It also allows educators to keep track of how much time a student is spending on a given task letting them see which students may need extra attention understanding and exploring a topic.  In addition, 19Pencils has introduced Playground where students can chat online amongst themselves sharing ideas and thoughts on assigned content.  While this startup is still in the very early learning stages, we think they have a great potential to grow into the education market.

“We’re so excited to be bringing easy-to-use technology to classrooms around the world. The 19Pencils educational ecosystem is a conglomeration of social bookmarking, online assessments, internet monitoring, and social media engagement – all working together to simplify and improve the educational process for both teachers and students,” said Neill Kramer, Co-founder of 19Pencils.” – BusinessWire.com (http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20111003005152/en/19Pencils-Introduces-Easiest-Share-Web-Based-Educational-Content)

Brainscape
www.brainscape.com

Brainscape is a simple and brilliant way to facilitate studying.  This site and mobile app let students use “smart studying”, where students study with interactive flash cards.  As the student completes each flash card they are asked to rank the difficulty of that question.  The more difficult the question is the more it shows up in the student’s deck of flashcards.  There are several sets of flash cards that are built into the program and students are also able to build their own set of flashcards allowing them to study anything at all.  They also offer online teachers and premium content, if you need that little extra help.  Out of all the startups written about in this post, this one is by far my favorite.  It is such a simple concept, but also such an important one.  Using flashcards is a way for students to study verbally and visually.  I think we are going to watch this company skyrocket in the coming years.

 

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