Category: International

22+ Tips on How to Work Remotely

Life often interferes with work. Vacations, conferences, PD–all these take us away from our primary functions and the environment where we are most comfortable delivering our best work. I thought about this when I read an article by a technical subject teacher (math, I think) pulled away from his class for a conference. Often in science/math/IT/foreign languages, subs aren’t as capable (not their fault; I’d capitulate if you stuck me in a Latin language class). He set up a video with links for classwork and a realtime feed where he could be available and check in on the class. As a result, students–and the sub–barely missed him. Another example of teaching remotely arrives when schools struggle with the unusually high number of snow days. So many, in fact, that they were either going to have to extend the school year or lose funding. Their solution: Have teachers deliver content from their homes to student homes via a virtual set-up.

And then, of course, there’s COVID shut-downs. Nuff said.

All it took to get these remote systems started was a problem that required a solution and flexible risk-taking stakeholders who came up with answers. Before we talk about delivering education to the students, let’s talk about the best way teachers can make this work for themselves–mostly seated, in one room, without the constant to-and-fro of students and colleagues. Here are some ideas: (more…)

Starlink–What is it? Why use it?

I’ve had a lot of trouble with my email the last few months. My newsletter is falling apart. My home email is changing servers–who knows what that will require on my part. My spam folder has had a mental breakdown and never (ever) works correctly. And, my internet services are suffering more than their usual annoying level of quirks and breaks.

I’m looking for a change. There’s one big option I’ve been watching for a few years: Starlink. It doesn’t use fiber or cable–it runs off satellites. I haven’t pulled the trigger (it requires geeky setup and a substantial startup fee), but every year, after every internet and email problem, it gets more interesting. Starlink probably won’t fix my email problems, but it might put a dent in my internet issues. Several friends and efriends use it and are thrilled with it. Liesbet over at Roaming About, a self-proclaimed nomad, happily roaming about South America, switched to Starlink and loves it.

One of the reasons I don’t make the switch is it’s not easy (and I like easy). It costs something like $600 in equipment and the monthly fee is somewhere around $150-$200, but to get away from the Earth-based internet problems that can be hacked, cracked, and virused is appealing. (more…)

Happy Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is a traditional Chinese festival that marks the beginning of the Chinese lunar calendar. The celebration usually lasts for 15 days. The date varies each year, based on the lunar calendar. This year, it is February 10, 2024.

During Chinese New Year, people welcome the new year and engage in activities that bring good luck. Some common practices include:

  1. Family Reunion: It is a time for family members to come together, similar to Western cultures’ celebration of the New Year.
  2. Feasting: Families prepare and share elaborate meals with symbolic dishes that represent good fortune and prosperity.
  3. Red Decorations: Red is a dominant color during Chinese New Year, symbolizing good luck and warding off evil spirits. People decorate their homes with red lanterns, couplets, and other red items.
  4. Fireworks and Firecrackers: The loud sounds of fireworks and firecrackers are believed to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck.
  5. Giving Red Envelopes (Hongbao): Adults give red envelopes containing money to children and unmarried individuals as a gesture of good wishes and blessings.
  6. Cleaning and Spring Cleaning: It is customary to clean the house thoroughly before the new year to sweep away bad luck and make room for good fortune.
  7. Dragon and Lion Dances: Traditional dragon and lion dances are performed in streets and public spaces to bring good luck and prosperity to the community.
  8. Temple Visits: Many people visit temples during Chinese New Year to pray for good fortune and make offerings.

Overall, Chinese New Year is a joyous and festive time aimed at ushering in prosperity, happiness, and good luck for the coming year.

–image credit Deposit Photos (more…)

The Importance of Technical Translation Services

When most people want to translate a page, the easy solution is right-click and select “Translate” from the drop-down menu. Or, they might go to Google’s free “Translate” service. But there are a lot of reasons those may not be good choices. They aren’t particularly accurate with contextual understanding and they may not be as secure as you need. For critical translations or professional content, a specialized translation service is a better choice.

The Ask a Tech Teacher team checked into this and came up with some ideas:

The Importance of Technical Translation Services

Technical translation services are vital, especially for a global business. They will allow you to easily tap into international markets as you will be able to provide more accurate translations. These translations may be of manuals, instructions, patents, or product information.

In this article, we’ll give you a comprehensive overview of the importance of technical translation services. (more…)

4 Approaches to Effective Second-Language Teaching

Learning a second language for many is complicated. Some of us are naturals at linguistics, others, not so much. Teaching means adapting to different students who learn in different ways. Here are four proven approaches, from the Ask a Tech Teacher crew:

4 Approaches to Effective Second-Language Teaching

In an article from the Michigan State University website, children who are skilled in at least two languages are known to possess cognitive flexibility. This allows them to focus on one task and effectively switch to another task. It’s not surprising for parents to want their kids to learn a new language. Training them is another story, one that second language teachers will need to handle.

Generally, there is no one effective approach to teaching a second language, which could be challenging given the individual differences and backgrounds of learners in a classroom. All it takes is knowing the strategies that help them attain full mastery of a target language. Check out the list below and see what approaches will aid you in teaching a second language:


IB Extended Essay Tips

Many students dread IB essays. But with the right approach, you can make the procedure exciting. Read how to draft an IB extended essay below

Writing Strategies for an Extended Essay in the International Baccalaureate Program

IB is a rigorous two-year project for personal and academic development. In the end, you receive a globally recognized IB diploma. But like all educational qualifications, it involves various intricate processes. One of them is the extended essay. It is mandatory for all students and is an independent piece of research that culminates into a 4,000-word paper. The paper provides an opportunity to investigate a topic of interest. However, more importantly, it contributes to the overall diploma grade. Let us show you some tips to help you draft a well-written piece.

Understanding the Requirements as a Key to Success in IB Extended Essay Writing

One of the mistakes university students make is ignoring the extended essay brief or paying little attention to the requirement. It is worse for distance learning since no one is around to offer guidance. But even the pros and cons of remote learning are intertwined. So, right off the bat, avoid this pitfall. The IB sets criteria and guidelines for the write-up. The requirements guide discussions to ensure the article meets the standards for successful research. Some of them include citation guidelines, research question formulation, word count, etc.


Here’s What to Know Before Studying Abroad in the US

While it’s become common for US students to study abroad, it is just as common for non-Americans to spend time studying in the US. If you live outside the US and are interested in study in America, here are some hints for how to make it happen, from one of our Ask a Tech Teacher contributors:

  • Where to apply
  • What to study
  • Type of Student Visa
  • Working while studying
  • Wrap up

Things to Know Before Studying Abroad in the U.S.

The United States is one the most popular study destinations for overseas students, boasting academic prowess and cultural richness. Since America is so broad and diverse, it is a perfect place for overseas students. 

You will be incorporated into a welcoming environment and will have the opportunity to experience different cultures while meeting individuals from over the world. Whether you want to work in the United States post-graduation or return to your native country, a US degree will expand your horizons and broaden your prospects.

If you’re looking forward to studying in the US but don’t know where to start, you can check out some courses at American International to see what interests you. Additionally, here are some things you should know before applying to any college or university in America:

Where to Apply

The United States is home to over 4,000 institutions for higher studies. You will also find that the US dominates world rankings of top 100 universities, with more than half of its institutions on that list. These also include eight prestigious universities, known as the Ivy League, that come under the top 10 universities in the world. The UK comes in second on the list. 

With many colleges having different types and expenses and demanding applications, numerous overseas students may find studying in the United States daunting. Aside from the most prestigious and well-known institutions, the United States offers a diverse range of quality universities with varying values, aims, teaching styles, and fee structures. 

The Wall Street Journal or Times Higher Education College Rankings may help you assess universities based on engagement, contact with professors, and general student experience. This will assist you in choosing the one that is most suited to your budget, interests, and goals. There are also several community colleges, public universities, and government-funded institutes with low tuition fees and great scholarship programs that you can apply to. 


What to Know Before Studying in the UK

Studying overseas is becoming more popular than ever. The Institute for International Education of Students (IES) explained why based on a survey they conducted to explore the long-term impact of study abroad on the personal, professional, and academic lives of students. Here are some interesting findings:

95% of the students who were surveyed admitted that studying abroad served as a catalyst for increased maturity

96% reported increased self-confidence

95% said it had a lasting impact on their worldview.

Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Ryan Hill, has an interesting discussion on how to study in the UK if you don’t live there:

First, if you’re interested in studying abroad in the UK, you’ll want to know the process before coming to the UK. As with any country, there are certain etiquette rules that you should be aware of. You should also know the differences between pants and trousers, but we will leave it up to you to figure this one out. The UK is a highly diverse country with many countries represented among its citizens. In addition to the vast cultural diversity, the UK is home to many unique landmarks and experiences.

There are many amazing places to study in the UK such as Reading, Oxford, Cardiff and many more cities. The UK has become a hub of amazing universities and student accommodation for them. This is unrivalled amongst many countries, and a top destination for international students.

How to Apply to Study in the UK

To begin the application process, you’ll want to find out if you qualify to apply for UK student loans and grants. UCAS provides guidance for searching for courses and will give you a unique reference number to keep safe. The next step is to choose a university. Choose a university based on location, accommodation, and the amenities it offers. Remember that you can apply to five different universities on one application form. Then, you can take a gap year if you’re unable to secure a place at a university straight away. In the UK it is far more common for students to take a year out and reapply for university, so do not feel you are missing out by waiting a year.


4 Long-Term Benefits of Bilingual Education

This is such a great article on the benefits of bi-lingual education. Sure, we intuitively know what these are, but what are the real metrics? From an educator with a passion for her calling, see if you have any reasons you’d add:

4 Long-Term Benefits of Bilingual Education

Raising bilingual children is the norm in Singapore. From an early age, the children living in this multicultural city are exposed to a number of languages at home, in their preschools, and in their communities. At the same time, the government here has adopted a bilingual policy wherein students are required to gain proficiency in English and their respective ethnic mother tongue, which is Mandarin for the Chinese*, Malay for the Malay, and Tamil for the Indians. If you’re staying in the country with your family for work, it’ll be a breeze to find a bilingual program that will provide your children with the right environment for improving their language proficiency. These schools can focus on your mother tongue, English, as well as other languages that your child might be interested in acquiring. With the assistance of the right bilingual program and teachers, your child will have a better chance of acquiring, retaining, and deftly using multiple languages.

The beauty of bilingual education is that it presents students with immediate as well as long-term benefits, many of which the children can utilize even as they find their places as productive members of the workforce and society at large. Here are some of the advantages of having your child undergo a bilingual education program and how they can benefit from it in the coming years.


Tech Tip #172: Translate Webpages In a Second

This is not part of the 169 tech tips for your class book but it will be when I update the ebook:

Tech Tip #172: Translate Webpages in a Second

Over the years, I get more and more views on this blog from non-English-speaking nations. I always drop in to visit and no surprise, their blogs are in their native language (as mine is). Sometimes they have the Translate feature, but not always. That stymied me for a long time. I had to copy the text into another webpage to translate it.

Then I discovered this.

To translate a webpage:

Right click on the page

Select ‘Translate’

A box pops up and you select your language.

Here’s a before and after:

It works with comments, too.

Ever since, I’ve gotten even more international visitors. I’m thrilled with that. (Note: This is in Chrome. It may not work the same in Firefox or Edge).