Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New to Financial Literacy? There’s an App For That

For young people, particularly in high school or college, the ins and outs of managing money may be somewhat foreign. Most public schools don’t offer courses in personal finance anymore, and in college, such courses are electives at best. However, financial literacy is crucial to survival in the modern world. Young people especially need to develop skills like budgeting, paying bills on time, and regular savings if they want to reach financial stability and be prepared to apply for loans and credit cards. Luckily for these technology natives, there are several smartphone apps that can help build and nurture these skills.

Better Money Habits by Bank of America and Khan Academy. Millennials love nothing more than a YouTube tutorial. This video series walks viewers through the the basics of bank accounts, budgeting, balancing checkbooks, etc, which are all crucial pieces of knowledge for any person.

Left to Spend: A beautiful minimalist app, Left to Spend visualizes your budget into committed money, bills, and, as the name suggests, what’s left to spend. For visual learners, this app beautifully displays, in bar graphs, where your money is going and the remainder you can spend at your discretion. This is an especially useful app for college students who are just learning about budgeting their money.  

LearnVest: With this app, a financial planner is always at your fingertips. LearnVest is an all-in-one location for calculating your net worth, planning for long-term goals, suggesting insurance plans, and offering news and practical advice for your financial prosperity.  

Prosper Daily: Formerly BillGuard, this app analyzes your spending, calculates your credit score, and stores all of the data from all your cards and accounts into one place to help you see where your money goes and how your activities contribute to your scores and goals. With more young students opening credit card accounts these days, this app can be incredibly valuable, allowing users to maintain their credit early on, in order to prevent themselves from winding up in any unnecessary debt. 
With tangible apps like these, young people can get a handle early on how to manage their money wisely and plan for their futures.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Most Important Startups of 2016

What are the most important startups of 2016? The truth is it is really difficult to say. Sources are not all in full agreement on this subject. There are, however, some companies who make multiple lists. Here then, in no particular order, are those important startups:
Belong is a talent acquisition business based in Bangalore, India. It was founded in 2014 by Sudheendra Chilappagari, Rishabh Kaul, Saiteja Veera, and Vijay Sharma. They scan the internet, social media, and various other public sources to find potential candidates for specific jobs. Their investors, Blume Ventures and Matrix Partners, sunk $5 million into the company. They currently employ almost 70 people.
The Republic of Singapore-based company Carousell was founded in 2012. Carousell is reportedly a simple, convenient way to sell underused and unused property. It is said to be as simple as Snap, List and Sell. Users can also shop, chat live and purchase items all via the Carousell app. There are millions of things to choose from at any given time. The Carousell investors include Sequoia Capital, Golden Gate Ventures and 500 Startups.
Inverse is a San Francisco Bay Area-based company in California. Founded in 2015, it is a technology-driven media business. They cover current digital culture, motion pictures, music, news, science, television and innovations skewed to a mainly millennial male audience. Some of the companies who currently are invested in Inverse include Crosslink Capital, Greycroft Partners, and Rothenberg Ventures. The business currently employs approximately 30 people.
Founded in 2014, Mobcrush is a mobile community and live game streaming platform. Mobcrush was formed with the precept that they could provide inspiration to many different people throughout the world via their mobile device-related games and software. They received $15 million worth of investment funds from CrunchFund, Kleiner Perkins, and Lowercase Capital.
This San Francisco Bay Area-based company in California was founded in 2013. Alexis Ohanian or Sam Altman’s began the company with more than $17 million of fundraising money. Patreon is essentially a platform that permits content creators like artists, authors, musicians, photographers and YouTubers to create web pages for their work and solicit support from fans. The community currently includes more than 2,000 creators. They have more than 40 employees.
Product Hunt
Launched in 2013, Product Hunt is a website that allows users to share and discover new products on a daily basis. Some pundits believe this is one of the most significant platforms of the year. Apparently, both venture capitalists and those in the tech industry use the website to learn about new startups. Now business people use the site to launch their new products. Their big investors include Greylock Partners, Naval Ravikant, and SV Angel.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Coolest Technology in the Classroom

Technology is a valuable resource the world over. In education and the classroom specifically, it is a path-maker, leading students of all ages into the most advanced and effective learning environs ever seen. For those interested in learning about the latest and coolest technology available in the classroom today, I have a quick but telling run down on the current state of the art. While there is certainly more going on in this realm than I could possibly encompass here within a single blog, these following, in-use concepts tell us where we are as a whole right now.
Early Education PC’s
First, it’s only appropriate to pay a nod to the use of computers in virtually every classroom and school subject today. Years ago, this was just an aspiration, but today, computers really are found in every school and virtually every academic confine. With this said, early childhood education approaches in many schools are utilizing actual miniaturized PC’s for early learners.
The products utilized here vary greatly and are easily found throughout the market. Regardless, they all center around the theme of an interactive, handheld computer that utilizes a screen, sounds, preloaded, school subject-based, fun learning programs, and various controls for deep interaction. Yes, even those in and just emerging from toddler-hood now have regular access to computing power that rivaled the million-dollar machines of yesteryear.
Computerized Human Management Systems
In the classroom as well as in the school administrative office, we are seeing a boom in computerized human management systems. These types of systems track attendance, guest entrance into the school, guest entrance into the classroom, even bathroom trips and other activities in and around the classroom. Manual entry, barcode scanning, fingerprint identification, and other means of measurement are now being used quite regularly. Whether for security purposes or academics only, computerized tracking, the past fodder of sci-fi mags and movies is now daily reality in schools across America.
Mobile Tech
As opposed to being outlawed and ridiculed, mobile technology is now becoming much more embraced in the educational world. In the class, some students are now allowed to bring their mobile devices and use them for networking with the school, their teacher, or even outside educational venues. Teachers, students, and even parents can as well communicate quite freely as it turns out via this technology. For learning and communication, cell phones and other mobile technology, we’re finding, really isn’t all that bad.
VR, also known as virtual reality is entering the classroom at a significant rate. So far, this technology has been mainly incorporated at the high school and college classroom levels, but will surely spread to the lower age groups with a little time. In these upper levels of education, the coolest and most eye-poppingly realistic experiences await students. Virtually dissect the human nervous system, study ecosystems and meteorology via a virtual flight, learn chemistry with booms and bangs that only happen virtually, or even visit an historical location without traveling a single mile.
The world of learning has never been so absolutely advanced. In ten years, I can only imagine what a similar article might look like reviewing the state of the art. This is where we are today and this is some of the coolest classroom tech in use that I know of right now.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Startups That Standout

In entrepreneurship, conformity and convention often take a backseat to innovation and the masterminds behind that innovation. There are a few recently emerged startups in particular that exemplify this notion, and even when faced with skeptical aversion, they pursued their passion—only to see it pay off big-time. Their resilience drove them to take a unique idea and build a brand behind it, and the marketplace awarded them handsomely for the effort. Below are a few such stories that can serve as an inspiration to us all:
A unique name and a more unique product, Chocolate Pizza Company originated with Ryan Novak in his hometown chocolate shop in Marcellus, New York. As a high-schooler, Ryan got to know the ins and outs of the business as he washed dishes, mopped floors, and took out the trash. While he put in his time, he kept his ear to the ground, learning from the store’s owner Bonnie Hanyak.
In college at Syracuse for entrepreneurship, Ryan saw massive potential for the local shop. Its product, gourmet chocolate blended with homemade toffee that is then poured into pizza pans and topped off with nuts, candy, or white chocolate, was perfect to capitalize upon. At just 21, Ryan purchased the company from Bonnie and turned it into a national brand.
He saw deficiencies with the shipping company. They often lost shipments, damaged packages, and angered customers. So he switched to UPS as part of his expansion efforts, and was able to grow Chocolate Pizza by 365%. He also added a website, opened up three more physical locations, and even landed such distinguished accounts like Hallmark.
What did Ryan have to say about his resounding success? He remarks “I had a ton of people tell me to think about doing something else. But I believed in myself and I believed in this product. When you put everything you have into it, that can really pay off.”
The idea came to light when Eyal Levy and his pregnant wife, Noa, were looking for something comfortable and supportive that would let her sleep on her stomach. They found nothing. So they created it. During a transatlantic trip they stumbled across a stretchy fabric that they realized would serve as the perfect material.
Yogibo Max was born. It’s a 6-ft long bean bag that can be used as a chair, recliner, bed, or couch. It may not sound like much, but they began exhibiting it as various outdoor fairs and craft shows, and once people took a seat, they realized just how great Yogibo Max really was. The beanbag was not just another beanbag chair, and the incredibly comfortable furniture garnered the recognition it deserved.
Yogibo’s first store opened in 2010, and now there 18 retail spaces stretching across the Northeast. Revenue is now five times what it was only three years ago. When Eyal Levy was asked for his number one piece of advice, he replied “Entrepreneurship is a marathon that you run at a sprint pace.  There are a lot of difficulties, but you just have to persist and keep moving forward.”
Squeaky cabinet doors across the world fueled the rise of one of today’s largest online cabinet hardware distributors. When a company is distributing 20,000 parts in 28 countries, they must be doing something right.
The brainchild of Patton Abbe, was created in 1997 to fill a niche for do-it-yourself homeowners and small contractors. Ever since, it has literally doubled in growth every year and has expanded to include kitchen and bath hardware like drawer slides, pulls, and even handles to lazy Susans and organizers.
Even despite their enormous growth, Patton remains humble: “Understand your own limitations. Surround yourself with people who have the skills you don’t, and let them help you be successful.”
Success always lies ahead. The key is just to keep moving, keep failing, and keep getting back up.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

8 Useful Educational Web Tools for Research Students

The internet has endless research possibilities—but occasionally, there are so many options it becomes overwhelming for students to find the right tool. That's why this article is tremendously helpful. By placing everything students need in one concise but comprehensive list, Educator's Technology is making a difference.

Putting the FORM in Formative Assessment

With our current educational system so subject to standardized tests and universal benchmarks, it only makes sense that instructors seek to make the material as relevant as possible. This article does a fantastic job of showing how teachers are integrating technology in the classroom and are blazing the way for a more intuitive and engaging future. Check it out!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Why Teaching Mindfulness Benefits Students’ Learning

This wonderful article highlights the benefits of incorporating mindfulness into students' everyday academic routine. It makes a series of very interesting points worth reviewing. Take a look!

Stock Market Myths

The stock market is full of misleading myths. This misinformation then gets communicated to uneducated ears and they are believed to be true, thus warding off potential but less experienced investors. I'm going against the grain. That's why I wrote this blog awhile ago talking about some of the market's most pervasive (and damaging) myths. Click here to see more.
So often the mainstream media extolls the lives of the rich and famous, but it generally neglects the struggle those wealthy entrepreneurs and celebrities had to endure. I chose to pay them the respect their resilience deserves here. Check it out!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Is it becoming too hard to fail? Schools are shifting toward no-zero grading policies

This informative piece highlights a hotly contested topic in education with grace, tact, and balance. Articles like this promote healthy debate that can lead to the change we need in our schools and surrounding communities. For more information, proceed here.

Motivating the Unmotivated

The classroom beckons many questions, not the least of which is, how do we motivate the unmotivated? With so many kids who fail to understand the true value of education, it can be wearisome trying to motivate them to do school work. Yet, these same children must be set up for success. How do we do it? Here are my thoughts.

What Inspires Us?

Recently, I authored a blog post exploring the question, "What inspires us?" Is it a single moment of epiphany, or a maturation process molded by proper parenting and mentor figures? Although the question of nature vs nurture is one which will likely be around for a while, I chose to find out the answer by looking at these entrepreneurs' stories. Check it out!