Trending February 2024 # Building Student Agency With Genius Hour # Suggested March 2024 # Top 7 Popular

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The popular model of self-guided learning can be used to engage upper elementary students in conducting and presenting research—and learning to use new technology.

Like many teachers this year, I’ve experimented with different approaches to boost engagement in my classroom. I’ve found that Genius Hour, an approach I had used previously in the classroom that allows students to research topics of interest to them and is infused with some aspects of project-based learning, has opened new doors for my students. They are filled with enthusiasm about their learning and are always thinking of new topics to explore. Their learning is more meaningful to them now, which motivates them to think critically and creatively about their work.

One thing I’ve come to appreciate about Genius Hour is how it puts students in the driver’s seat: They choose what they want to learn while engaging in meaningful, relevant learning experiences.

Preparing for Genius Hour

Genius Hour falls into the transformative stage of the Replace, Amplify, Transform framework—a three-stage technology-integration model used to assess tech usage in the classroom. At the transformative stage, students use technology in ways that are new to them and construct their own learning experiences. Additionally, they engage a variety of 21st century skills such as thinking critically, working collaboratively, developing an academic mindset, and finally, learning how to learn. Repeated exposure and practice with these skills at an early age ensures that students are well prepared for continued learning throughout their lives.

To learn more about what Genius Hour would look like in my third-grade classroom, I researched the idea of brainstorming with my students things they were wondering about—having a list of possible questions for them to reference is a great resource for students who are stuck in the planning stages of their self-guided learning.

As I began to read more about the Genius Hour approach, I learned about how I could fit it into the curriculum and think of my role as a facilitator and coach. The more I read about Genius Hour, the more I could see how it important is to have clear expectations for students during their independent learning. Doing so allows students to focus on their research rather than struggling to figure out what to do.

Connecting With the Curriculum

As I got further down the road with my plans for Genius Hour, I identified the curricular connections I needed to take into consideration. Because the goal of Genius Hour is to provide students with the autonomy to choose their content, I needed to identify applicable standards that are related to the skills used rather than the content learned; standards relating to research and informational text writing usually fit the bill.

In addition to my county’s writing standards, I looked at the ISTE standards, specifically the setting of personal learning goals and action plans by students (1a), curating information from digital sources (3c), and creating a digital product (6d).

In the Classroom

When the time came to introduce Genius Hour, I created a chart filled with all the questions and ideas that were circling around in my students’ brains, such as “Why does it rain?” and “How is paint made?” This activity sparked students’ interest, and the chart worked as a resource for them to refer to if they ever found themselves a little short of inspiration, though the goal was for students to explore interest-based topics of their own choosing.

Before students could go out on their own, I modeled the research process by coming up with my own “I wonder…” statement and researching it on Wonderopolis in front of them, making sure to think aloud to guide them through my process. We also worked collaboratively to curate a list of behavioral expectations during Genius Hour, including staying on task, using technology responsibly, and having a growth mindset when working with technology.

After I modeled for students what I was looking for them to do during Genius Hour, we worked together to come up with a list of criteria that their final presentations should have, which included: 1) their researchable question, 2) their results or answer to their question, 3) images and/or videos that supported their learning, and 4) links to digital resources where they found answers.

I’ve found that Genius Hour runs best at the upper elementary level in a three-week cycle. The first week, students identify their “I wonder…” statement, begin research, and take notes on a capture sheet of their making. The second week, they work on creating their final product. Students have free choice when it comes to final products, as long as it meets all the criteria they created at the beginning of the process. The final week, students present their finished products to an audience of their peers, parents, teachers, and/or other students in the school.

My favorite part of Genius Hour is how creative students get with the final presentations. One of my students made a news broadcast on an athlete they researched, while another student created a Google Slides presentation about the ocean and the different animals that call it home. The kids have a blast and I am always amazed with the work they produce.

Genius Hour is an engaging, student-centered way to boost a whole host of 21st-century learning skills. Students have the opportunity to explore their own interests, deepening their learning on a broad range of topics, while simultaneously honing their ability to research, collaborate, communicate effectively, and creatively present their new learning through the use of different tech tools.

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Student Privacy Begins With This Simple Strategy

Giving students a Chromebook, tablet or other digital device to take home lets them continue their learning online once the school day ends. But turning the traditional classroom into a 24/7 learning environment, where students learn partly online using a blended or flipped classroom model, creates challenges for school IT leaders tasked with safeguarding student privacy and information.

The flipped classroom model has turned the traditional classroom “into one without walls,” writes Alan Joch for EdTech Magazine. According to chúng tôi 78 percent of teachers now use a flipped learning model of some kind. But every connection point to a school’s network or cloud-based education service is a potential security vulnerability.

To combat these potential vulnerabilities, Joch writes that K-12 leaders should consider investing in a “security as a service” solution, which offers “a practical way to access the latest security applications and expertise, all for a predictable monthly fee.” These solutions typically include central consoles for monitoring the latest security threats — as well as tools for setting up virtual LANs and encrypting sensitive data.

Trusted Learning Environment Seal

According to the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), schools must have concrete policies in place to protect student data, and they must communicate those practices clearly to parents in order to earn their trust. In partnership with AASA, the School Superintendents Association, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) and ASCD, CoSN has developed a new program that recognizes school systems for implementing student data privacy measures that meet high standards around five core areas: leadership, classroom, data security, business and professional development.

To meet these standards, CoSN recommends that school districts perform regular audits of their data security practices and publicly share the results of these efforts. They also should establish purchasing procedures that make sure their ed tech vendors are safeguarding student information. Schools meeting these requirements will be able to display the Trusted Learning Environment (TLE) Seal, signifying their commitment to protecting student privacy.

Keeping Software Updated

Another key aspect of keeping student data secure is making sure all devices have the latest software updates applied, says Amy McLaughlin, director of IT operations for the Oregon Department of Education.

“Old, unpatched systems are more vulnerable to security risks,” McLaughlin says. “And having the ability to shut down a device that is lost is also important. Make sure your students and teachers know who to contact if their device is lost, so you can remotely shut it down so somebody else isn’t using that device and its credentials to gain access to your network.”

Using a mobile device management solution allows school IT staff to push out updates to student devices from a central console and shut them down remotely, making it much easier to manage security. With Chromebooks, IT staff can do this through the Chrome management console.

User Education Is Most Important

According to McLaughlin, the most important aspect of data security is user education — and student privacy should begin with teaching students what it means to connect to a network and have a username and password. “I think the training and the education should come before the technology,” she says. “When we give students a username and password, we should be telling them to keep this information private and to change their password regularly. I’ve seen instances where teachers hand out a username and password to every child in the classroom, and every child’s password is the same — or it’s easy to guess based on the construct.” McLaughlin notes that students and teachers should also know that “when they walk away from a device, they need to lock their system so somebody else can’t access it using their credentials.”

McLaughlin concludes: “A lot of the things that schools should be doing are very simple. The technology part of data privacy and security is easy; it’s the human element that is most challenging. The earlier students can learn good digital citizenship and management, the better.”

Learn about more ways to ensure your students’ data is always kept safe and secure here.

Building Links With Content? Get Your Point Across!

Before you read the rest of this post, think about this: if you’re trying to build links by having great content, you need to be very careful about how your points come across to people. Just because you know what you mean does not mean that others will. Unfortunately, the written word does not come with all the tones and gestures that go along with other forms of communication.

Here’s a sentence written (or typed, rather) with words that depend upon inflection and context in order to get its actual meaning across to the world.

“Of course, I’d be utterly thrilled to babysit your nine children for free.”

Sincerity or sarcasm? Responding to the question of “what would you charge?” or actually making the offer to babysit for free? Making the offer when you haven’t yet been asked to babysit or agreeing to do it after feeling terribly sorry for the mother with these nine kids? It’s very difficult to tell, without proper context and some sort of cue.

Just the other day, for example, I emailed my staff that things would be better once our company was comfortably ensconced in a bigger office, and this, to me, meant that we were looking, but to others, it meant that we’d found something suitable. Very easy to see that both ways, I think. If you tend to be a bit wordy, like, um, me, well…if you write like you talk, you could be in trouble.

Here’s a headline that I just saw on a local news site:

State Leaders Recall Jim Long at Council Meeting

Here’s another one from CNN:

Pope Urged to Act on Holocaust-denying Bishop

OK the meaning of this is highly obvious to me because I am somewhat informed about what goes on in the world, but let’s pretend that I am my mother, Pat. (shudders, husband shudders even more violently) I see this and think that the Pope is going to do something (not sure what, not quite sure about exactly who the Pope is, wondering if this is actually Max Pope who used to be the principal at the local school) about the Holocaust, despite what some bishop wants. I can seriously see her spreading that rumor, just as she did when she told everyone my cousin’s wife was leaving him for another woman when it was, in fact, another man but that’s neither here nor there. I’ll stop right there.

Thinking about this should help you learn how to write better content that will get across your intended point, even when we’re dealing with bots. Taking into account all the rumors of bots becoming more in tune with picking up on context, I’ve yet to really see any good examples where that was the case, but it’s definitely important to see your content as both a user AND a search engine will see it. Otherwise, who’s going to link to that great content?

How To Make A Genius Bar Reservation

Do you have a problem or a question relating to your Apple products? Apple offers a variety of tech support options for its customers. Some of the support options include (a) phone (b) live chat (c) email support. However, you may need to get hands-on, personal support and help from an Apple expert, especially if you are having a hardware problem (like a cracked screen problem, water damage, etc). You may have to bring your device to your nearest Apple Store.

Apple offers tech support inside every Apple Retail Store. This support is offered by the Genius Bar stations. Employees of the Genius Bar, called Geniuses, specially trained to help customers with Apple hardware and software.

In order to visit the Genius Bars, you may need to make a reservation. You can schedule a reservation time online before coming in. This article explains how you can make an Apple Genius Bar appointment.

Apple has recently changed how genius bar appointments are made. Apple has made it a little bit difficult now. It seems that Apple wants to offer support mainly via online live chat or phone calls.

What is the Genius Bar

The Genius Bar employees, called Geniuses, are specially trained and certified Apple experts. The main jobs of the Geniuses are to help Apple users with hardware and software. They can answer your questions, provide personal supports, and offers repairs. Most of the services they provide are free. They can do repairs, but you have to pay for non-warranty services if your device is not covered by the Apple warranty, an AppleCare plan.

There are two ways to make a Genius Bar reservation at an Apple Store:

You can use the Apple Store app or,

You can make a reservation via the Apple support web site.

1. iOS device / Apple Support App and Genius Bar appointments (the easiest way)

Tap Get Support

Select your device. For the purpose of this article, we selected iPhone X and then Repairs & Physical Damage and “Buttons not working”. Note that some problems will only let you receive support via phone calls or live chat sessions. 

Tap Bring in for Repair and find a location and date and time and then tap Reserve. Then your reservation will be made. 

It will probably say “You don’t have any reservations”, since you are trying to make a reservation. To make a new reservation, tap Find a store 

2. Genius bar appointment via the web site

Without downloading and installing an app, you can also get an appointment via Apple’s support web site. Here is how:

Select the device or the service that you need help with. For the purpose of this article, we will select the iPhone option.

Select “Bring in for Repair”

You will be asked to enter your Apple ID and password

Select your location. You can search by city, zip code, or name. You can also browse all Apple retail stores. Find the closest Apple Store that you want to go to.

Select the date and time 

Then your reservation will be confirmed. 

Now you have your Genius Bar reservation. Apple will also send you a confirmation email. You can easily cancel or reschedule it if you want to. Make sure you back up your device before going.

How to prepare for your appointment

Before your appointment, you may want to prepare for your appointment. Do not forget to back up your data (you can use iCloud). Make sure to bring all of the hardware (that you are having issues with) with you. For example, if you are having issues with your Mac, bring all of the accessories such as your mouse, keyboard. You may also be asked for your sales receipt.

Make sure that you know your Apple ID password (you may have to turn off Find My).

And lastly, do not forget to bring your ID with you.

Your Genius Bar appointment may last about 15 minutes. If your device needs a hardware repair, the Genius will discuss with you regarding your repair options. This may include any applicable charges.

See also: How to Cancel Your iTunes (apps, iTunes Store, iBooks, etc) Purchases

Process To Start A Collection Agency

What is a Collection Agency?

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How does Collection Agency work?

When a debtor defaults on its debt or misses scheduled loan payments, the lender reports the delinquency to a credit bureau. Then within 3 to 6 months of the default, the debt is turned over to a collection agency.

a) If the borrower pays

Suppose the collection agency can recover the debt successfully. In that case, the lender who hired it pays a certain percentage of the recovered fund in exchange for its collection effort.

b) If the borrower doesn’t pay

Suppose the collection agency cannot recover the debt. In that case, it usually updates the debtor’s credit report with a “collection” status that deteriorates the debtor’s credit score, which can potentially affect the debtor’s chances of getting a loan in the future.

Regulations

Several federal laws bind third-party collection agencies; some of their rules and regulations are as follows.

Calls: Collection agencies are allowed to call the borrowers only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Further, the agencies can’t call the borrowers if their employer doesn’t permit outside calls during office hours.

Mail: Collection agencies can send emails, but not postcards, as their content would be visible to others. In the case of letters, the envelopes shouldn’t include any language or logo identifying them as being from collection agencies.

Contacting friends and family: If a collection agency doesn’t have the borrower’s contact details, it allows one to contact the borrower’s friends and family. However, the agency is forbidden from revealing its identity to the relatives or discussing any aspect of the indebtedness with them.

Disclosure: Collection agencies must disclose their identity to the intended borrowers – who they are and what they should do to collect the debt.

Threats and obscenity: Collection agencies are not supposed to threaten or use profanity against borrowers. They are also prohibited from publicizing the borrowers’ situation.

How to Start a Collection Agency? 1. Understand the prerequisites of opening a collection agency

The legal requirements vary significantly based on the state where one intends to operate – each state has unique needs. Firstly, they should register within their state. Later it can register and possibly get licenses in other states too.

2. Learn about the various debt collection laws

Plenty of laws govern the actions of It, and each state has different rules and regulations. So, one must research to learn about the various debt collection laws. Some of the major federal laws that a collection agency must comply with include Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

3. Plan out capital and operating expenses

The prospective collection agency must plan and arrange the capital required to complete the initial phase. After that, it needs to plan the operating expenses for the first 2-3 years – basic office supplies, salaries, and other operating expenses. Further, registration costs, obtaining necessary licenses & bonds, marketing, and securing clients should also be factored into the expenses. The costs would vary based on the number of states one intends to operate in.

4. Acquire collection agency bonds and debt collection licenses

Assign a registered agent in every state for which one has a Certificate of Authority. A Certificate of Authority can be acquired from the State level Secretary, and it contains important information about the business, such as its official name, name of the owners, legal status, etc.

Some states mandate Collection Agency Bonds as part of the licensing process. A Collection Agency Bond is usually involved if the agency recovers the creditor’s money but fails to remit the funds.

After acquiring the Certificate of Authority and Collection Agency Bond (if required), one can apply for the debt collection license.

Tips for Dealing

It is difficult to deal with collection agencies, but it can be managed with some strategy. Here are some tips that can help deal with collection agencies:

The borrowers must learn about their rights per the relevant debt collection laws. They should immediately contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if the rules are violated.

The borrower should try to take control of the conversation, and he/ she shouldn’t agree to anything in the initial contact. Then, the borrower should collect the relevant information and set up a follow-up call with the collection agency.

If the borrower can pay the debt and it is the best option. Otherwise, the borrower can negotiate a payment plan with the collection agency that suits both parties.

Key Takeaways

Some of the key takeaways of the article are:

It is a third-party entity that creditors and lenders hire to recover their funds either in default or past due.

Several debt collection laws regulate the actions of collection agencies. These laws govern what they can do and what they can’t do.

To start, one needs to understand the prerequisites of opening the business, learn about the various debt collection laws, plan out capital and operating expenses, and acquire collection agency bonds & debt collection licenses.

Conclusion

So, it can be seen that collection agencies are an important part of any banking system as it aids in the recovery of bad loans. These agencies have their own set of rules and regulations that govern their actions. Several collection agencies are available, and lenders or creditors should choose any collection agency based on their specific requirements.

Recommended Articles

This is a guide to Collection Agency. Here we discuss the definition, working, and how to start a Collection Agency along with regulations and tips. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –

Master Dynamic Backlink Management With The Semrush Link Building Suite

Backlink profile management is one of the most important tasks an SEO professional can undertake.

However, so much goes into managing backlinks successfully, it can be daunting without help.

This year, Semrush dramatically improved the solutions we offer so that anyone can conduct dynamic backlink management with ease and right now our backlinks analytics is Free to everyone.

We recently asked our friends at Marketing Signals to take a test run of the new and improved backlink database.

Below is what Gareth Hoyle, CEO of Marketing Signals, had to say.

What Is Dynamic Backlink Management?

By leveraging the functionality of the suite of backlink tools in Semrush I’ll demonstrate how you can streamline several tasks into one seamless process known as dynamic backlink management.

This concept is characteristic of the Semrush link building suite.

In essence, everything that has made Semrush the leading tool for online marketers (speed, ease of use, powerful functionality, constant innovation, an intuitive UX) can be leveraged to help create your backlink management workflow – saving you valuable time while delivering tangible results.

Semrush Tools to Help Streamline Your Backlink Management

Let’s look at four tools:

Backlink Analytics

Backlink Audit

Backlink Gap

Link Building Tool

Read on to learn how you can execute critical link management tasks with these tools.

The domain I’ll be using for the demonstration is chúng tôi one of the leading online toy retailers in the UK. This is large site has more than 600,000 backlinks and more than 15,000 referring domains, with a healthy global estimated traffic volume of 16.4 million monthly visits.

Backlink Analytics

Your first port of call when starting link management activity should be the Backlink Analytics tool. It gives a nice top-level overview with insights into how authoritative a site is.

Below you can see the overview screen itself showing the different data and metrics available.

One thing that’s awesome about Semrush is the graphical nature of each dashboard, so much data is easily accessible on one screen. For example, you can see:

Authority Score

Referring domain count

Backlink count

Estimated monthly visits

Top anchors texts

Follow vs. Nofollow ratio

Top pages

Anchor text wordle

Referring domains by Authority Score

This means you can quickly evaluate how authoritative a site is in a matter of seconds, as well as identifying areas that need attention.

The dashboard is so simple to navigate and the different charts provide lightning fast (but in-depth insights) into the nature of each domain you need to research.

For example, at a glance you can see there has been a steady flow of referring domains over the past year that has tailed off slightly in the last month. You can then formulate an actionable task based on this information (e.g., increase the link building velocity).

How to Find Fresh Links

One of the most common tasks anyone doing day-to-day backlink management will want to find is newly discovered links.

If you really want the data at your fingertips, there is also a handy hyperlink to the newly discovered links for each day from the overview screen. Handy or what?

This is useful in so many ways.

If you are running a digital PR activity or just want to find out which high-traffic publications have linked to you recently, you can use the tool to look for new incoming links, such as this one from The Sun last month.

The data also updates really quickly. For example, another link from the same publication here has a publication date of June 10, 2023.

According to the Semrush tool data the link was First Seen five days previous to the time of writing, which would be June 12, 2023, so two days after it was first published.

In fact, according to a test run in Q1/Q2 of this year, the Semrush link database outperforms the competition when it comes to which tools discovered the first new backlinks the fastest.

In the example below, you can see how Semrush is capable of seeing links at 9:40 a.m. to a piece of content that only went live at 9 a.m. the same morning.

Benchmarking Against Competitors

Who Are Your Competitors?

Knowing how far behind or ahead you are of the competition is a vital insight that should inform your overall link building strategy.

Backlink Analytics allows you to conduct a really quick competitor analysis within the overview screen.

The best part? You don’t even have to declare who the competitors are. Semrush does the hard work for you by finding similar sites within the same niche.

Once completed, Semrush gives you useful authority metrics (e.g., the number of referring domains, backlinks, IPs, monthly visits, ranking keywords).

One fantastic feature is that once you have selected the sites you want to compare to, all the charts update with the competitor metrics data giving you an invaluable graphic illustration of your site versus the competition.

You can then start to draw insights – for example, the competitor with the highest traffic score is also likely to have the highest number of referring domains and the highest authority score.

In addition, the illustrative way in which the data is displayed lets you look at trends, such as increases or decreases in competitor link building activity.

Which Sites Link to Your Competitors But Not You

Here’s another really useful feature.

Once you have run a competitor analysis in overview mode you can scroll down to the Top Link building opportunities widget where you’ll be able to navigate directly over to Backlink Gap and find a host of potential outreach targets.

You’ll see that a bunch of sites are linking only to chúng tôi competitors. You can then filter these (by Authority Score, monthly visits, etc.) to find the best outreach opportunities.

This process is another demonstration of how the Semrush link building tools suite lets you execute your link management workflow by finding relevant competitors and then providing you with a list of sites that link to your competitor (but not you).

How to Email Prospects Directly from Within Semrush

Once you find a list of prospects from Backlink Gap, you like the look of you can email them directly from within Semrush, so no need to open your inbox in a new window.

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