Top 5 Apps for Boosting Productivity

Mobile phone apps are often all about fun and games, but they can also help you keep your life organized and increase your productivity! Here are the top five mobile phone apps to help you boost your productivity:

1. Evernote: Both a website and a mobile app, Evernote allows you to create different digital notebooks to keep track of everything in your life, from expenses to trip itineraries to meeting notes. Evernote lets you add screenshots and snapshots of your notes or receipts to your digital notebooks and tag them to keep them organized. This makes it easy to access them quickly when you need them!

2. Pocket: The user interface of Pocket is simple, easy to use, and allows avid readers to quickly and easily save articles and other web content to read later. When they are done reading the article, they can simply remove it from their reading list.

3. Workflow: With the Workflow app, managing your workflow has never been easier.The app allows you to customize your tasks so that you can skip certain tasks and prioritize others. Workflow allows you to create any type of button for any activity that you perform on a regular basis (i.e. order an Uber, call your mom…etc.) and with the click of a button, the task is completed!

4. Timeful: This is an intelligent calendar app, mixed with a to-do list. The app’s algorithm calculates and learns how you work and complete tasks, and suggests ways to build new habits, be more efficient, and get things done. 

5. Buffer: We live in the world of social media, and Buffer allows individuals to sync all their social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, and schedule Tweets and posts from one simple platform. 
    Using these apps can really help you boost your productivity and manage your time more effectively. Tell us about your favorite productivity app in the comments section below. 


Harvest Festival 

On October 24, 2015, Live Oak Elementary School’s Parent-Teacher Association hosted the Harvest Festival, a fall celebration for the whole family! Hundreds of students, parents, siblings, and friends gathered around in the Live Oak Courtyard for activities, performances, contests, games, arts and crafts, food, and more. Knodemy also set up a booth at the Harvest Festival, to show students and their parents what we are all about. We had robots set up in a large ring for the students to try and test out, and needless to say, they had so much fun with that! We also had computers set up for students to try the basics of coding, and for the knodemy instructors, Brian and Michelle, to show the students and their parents the wonders of coding. This was a great first glance at the kind of programs and courses that knodemy offers. Brian and Michelle showed the students the basics of programming languages such as HTML and Python, which provided a great preview of the things that students learn in a knodemy Code camp course! The parents and students were all impressed, and many of them signed up for courses and events, such as the hackathon!

We loved interacting with the students and their parents, and we cannot wait to see a them at our hackathons, classes, and other events in the future! Take a look at a video from the Harvest Festival below: 


Why Coding? 

Code powers our world. Every website, smart phone application, computer program, calculator, and even microwave relies on code in order to operate. Behind each one of these apps and devices, there is someone who wrote the code and created a program. Coders are the designers and creators of today’s digital age.

Coding is the essential literacy skill of the 21st century; the next generation is already immersed in technology and will interact with computer programming to perform the most rudimentary tasks. That is exactly why coding should be part of the curriculum in schools. Coding and programming challenge, and help learn problem solving. Designing a website or an app makes the mind work differently than memorizing historical facts or writing an essay. It stretches the brain, and fosters the growth of critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which is exactly what young students need during their crucial years of development.
Today we rely on technology to perform basic everyday tasks. Just on a daily basis, most of us use our smart phones, laptops, and smart TVs, all which are technologies powered by code. Learning how to code will allow us to understand how the intricate technologies around us work. It will provide us with a deeper understanding of the world around us.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in the computer science industry is projected to grow much faster than any other industry in the country over the next ten years. It is estimated that in the next ten years alone, there will be approximately 1.4 million computer science jobs in the U.S. Industries not even directly related to computers, such as banking, medicine, and journalism, will require computer scientists and coders as well. 
Coding is a skill that all students today should learn, and one that should be implemented into grade school curriculum. The world is quickly changing and transforming into one that is digital and code-based, and learning to code will allow students to more fully understand this world. 


Technology in the Classroom: Good or Bad?

Technology has been on the rise for the past several years, with iPads, iPhones, and laptops in every corner that you look. Every place, whether it’s a home, classroom, restaurant, or even a park, now has its own WiFi network. New innovation: mobile apps, cloud technology, software programs, and much more are the basis of a huge industry, and one that is growing, creating jobs, and producing millions of dollars. This technology definitely has a place in the classroom, but whether it is distracting or useful is up for debate. Many teachers and college professors have implemented “no technology in the classroom” rules, for they fear that it will take away from students’ learning experiences. However, technology in the classroom can be really beneficial, foster growth, and enhance students’ learning experiences, rather than taking away from them.

Firstly, technology provides an infinite amount of additional resources for students. If they need to research a topic for a paper, huge information databases are available to them online with the click of a button. If they need extra help on a certain concept that they do not understand, videos such as those on Khan Academy are available online as well.

Secondly, technology enables students to work at their own pace. It allows students to engage with the information at a time that works for them, and helps them become more self-directed in the learning process.

Finally, technology keeps students interested in the lessons. When technology is integrated into lessons, students are more likely to be interested in, focused on, and excited about what they are learning. Virtual lessons, tutorials, videos, and educational games are a lot more engaging than a textbook!

The use of technology in the classroom can be extremely advantageous. Technology provides resources for the students, allows them to work at their own pace, and keeps them interested in the material. Technology is all around us, and is undoubtedly a huge part of the future, so integrating it into our educational system is absolutely essential!

Your Questions About the College Application Process Answered

college counseling

SATs, ACTs, AP exams, application essays, interviews, the Common App, letters of recommendation – all of these words and phrases can be quite overwhelming for juniors and seniors who are beginning the college search and application process. However, the experts here at Knodemy are here to help. We have all been through this stressful process, and we can help make it less stressful by answering your questions about the college application process:

  1. What factors should be considered when selecting colleges?

The answer to this question varies greatly from student to student, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to your priorities. Is it important for you to be close to home? Far from home? At a big, public school? A small, private school? Generally, however, here are some questions you should ask yourself when you are selecting colleges to apply to:

  • Does it have majors that interest you? This is an extremely important factor to consider because it determines whether or not you can go into the program and take the classes of your choosing.
  • Would you be happier at a large or small school? Large schools generally offer a wider variety of classes, and have more major and minor programs. However, they also have huge class sizes, with more than 500 students in a lecture hall. Small schools offer more discussion-based classes, and the chance to get to know your professors on a more personal level.
  • Do you prefer urban, suburban, or rural settings? Urban college campuses make you feel like a part of a hustling, bustling metropolitan city; there is a big nightlife scene and always plenty to do. On the other hand, rural college campuses are generally a lot quieter and more laid back.
  • Does it offer the extracurricular activities that you want to get involved in? If you know that you want to start a sports team of your own, make sure that the school you are applying to has a strong intramural sports program. If you know that you write for a publication on campus, look into the options that are available at the school.

2. What is the right number of college applications?

There is no magic number of schools that you should apply to, but do not apply to too many. Applying to more than twelve colleges can be considered excessive, and it is time-consuming and costly as well. Try to apply to two safety schools (schools that you are almost certain that you will be admitted to), two to five target schools (schools that you have a reasonable chance of being admitted), and two reach schools (dream schools, that you are unlikely to be admitted to).

3. How important are college visits?

College visits can be extremely helpful in differentiating one school from another, off paper, getting a feel for the diversity, energy, and personality of the campus, and in picking the one that is the “right match” for you. Never underestimate the “gut feeling” you get when you walk onto a college campus for the first time; it may be what helps you decide between one school and the next.

4. What role do standardized tests play?

Although some schools are not emphasizing standardized tests as much as they once did, the large majority of four-year universities still require them. For most institutions, it does not matter if you take the SAT or ACT exam; both are administered several times throughout the year. Many students take both to figure out which one they are naturally better at, and end up taking that exam a second time and perhaps even a third time. It is generally a good idea to take the exam more than once to improve your score. Although there is no limit to how many times you can take the SAT or ACT, taking it more than three times can be considered excessive. Standardized test scores are important; however, high school transcripts hold more weight in the eyes of admissions officers.

5. How important are the application essays?

Essays are good opportunities to let the admissions officer know something about you that goes beyond numbers on a page. Express your passions, talk about leadership positions you have held, paid jobs or volunteer positions, life-changing travels and experiences…etc. In some cases, essays can be the “make or break,” but in many other cases, they are just supplemental pieces to your application. There is no definite answer to how important essays really are; it really depends on the school and the admissions officer.

We hope this post has been helpful to all of you out there who are beginning the college application process. It is easy to let this process overwhelm you, but just take it one day at a time and remember this key information.

How to Effectively Manage Your Time

Do you ever feel stressed out and anxious because you just do not have enough time to get your work done? Do you ever find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day? All this tension can be alleviated if you learn how to manage your time more effectively. Here are some great tips to help you manage your time and get all your work done without stressing out!

  • Prioritize. The first step of learning to manage your time is prioritizing. Make a list of the things that are of high priority to you, including studying for exams, writing papers, going to work…etc. Then, list the things that are of medium priority, and finally, the things that are of low priority. Make sure the high priority action items get done first!
  • Create a schedule. Whether it is a planner, wall calendar, or app on your phone, find an organization tool that allows you to create a schedule for your day. Write down all the things you have to do during each day, to ensure that nothing gets forgotten, and you are not scrambling to finish things last minute.
  • Avoid distractions. Determine the environment where you are most productive, and always work in that environment. For example, if studying with friends or in groups is distracting to you, you should avoid doing so.
  • Be flexible. Students and working professionals alike need to have flexible mindsets and flexible schedules. Build some wiggle room into your schedule to help you manage unforeseen obstacles. There will be ups and downs in your life, and you must learn to plan accordingly!

Learning how to effectively manage your time will ensure that you are more relaxed overall and that you get your work done! Share with us how you de-stress. Please leave your comments below.


Community College vs. Four-Year University

As students make their way through high school, many of them struggle to choose enrolling in a community college or joining a four-year university program. For many, the idea of independence draws them towards choosing a four year university program. For others, going to community college is just the easier and more cost-efficient option. However, there are many things that one should consider before making an important decision like this. In this blog post, I will discuss several of these factors:

  • Academic quality: Class sizes at community colleges are generally much smaller than those at large public four-year universities. On average, the student-to-faculty ratio is also much lower at community colleges, which means more one-on-one interaction with professors.
  • Tuition costs: There is no doubt that community colleges are much cheaper than four-year universities. Many cost just a few hundred dollars for full-time students per quarter or semester for tuition. In comparison, most four-year universities cost several thousands of dollars per quarter or semester for tuition, not including the rent, meal points, food, utilities, and other miscellaneous expenses. Going to a community college can save a great deal of money.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Although community colleges offer their students extracurricular activities, students at four-year universities tend to be much more involved with their respective clubs, newspapers, journals, fraternities, sororities, and professional associations. Organizations at four-year universities hold a wider variety of events, including meetings, socials, game nights, parties, outings, and weekend getaways, simply due to the greater flexibility of their students’ schedules.
  • The “college experience”: Four-year universities win hands down in this department. Whether it be joining a fraternity, supporting your school at a college football game, or deep, late night talks with your roommate, you are guaranteed to have a richer and more vibrant college experience (like the one portrayed in the movies!) at a four-year university.

In conclusion, there are many things to consider when choosing between a community college and a four-year university. At the end of the day, it all comes down to priorities. Ask yourself whether interacting with your professor, saving money, getting involved at school, or having the real college experience is the most important thing to you. Having your priorities in check will guide you in making this important decision.