Archive for the ‘Ideas / Resources’ Category

Research Conference for Undergraduates

To encourage and train our students to do research professionally, some national or international research conferences for undergraduates could be very helpful. So far, I find some resources collected here for future reference:

Categories: Ideas / Resources

Twelve Characteristics of an Effective Teacher

There are some good points from:

Characteristic 1: Prepared
The most effective teachers come to class each day ready to teach.
1. It is easy to learn in their classes because they are ready for the day.
2. They don’t waste instructional time. They start class on time. They teach for the entire class period.
3. Time flies in their classes because students are engaged in learning — i.e., not bored, less likely to fall asleep.

Characteristic 2: Positive
The most effective teachers have optimistic attitudes about teaching and about students. They
1. See the glass as half full (look on the positive side of every situation)
2. Make themselves available to students
3. Communicate with students about their progress
4. Give praise and recognition
5. Have strategies to help students act positively toward one another

Characteristic 3: Hold High Expectations
The most effective teachers set no limits on students and believe everyone can be successful. They
1. Hold the highest standards
2. Consistently challenge their students to do their best
3. Build students’ confidence and teach them to believe in themselves

Characteristic 4: Creative
The most effective teachers are resourceful and inventive in how they teach their classes. They
1. Kiss a pig if the class reaches its academic goals
2. Wear a clown suit
3. Agree to participate in the school talent show
4. Use technology effectively in the classroom

Characteristic 5: Fair
The most effective teachers handle students and grading fairly. They
1. Allow all students equal opportunities and privileges
2. Provide clear requirements for the class
3. Recognize that “fair” doesn’t necessarily mean treating everyone the same but means giving every student an opportunity to succeed
4. Understand that not all students learn in the same way and at the same rate

Characteristic 6: Display a Personal Touch
The most effective teachers are approachable. They
1. Connect with students personally
2. Share personal experiences with their classes
3. Take personal interest in students and find out as much as possible
about them
4. Visit the students’ world (sit with them in the cafeteria; attend
sporting events, plays, and other events outside normal school hours)

Characteristic 7: Cultivate a Sense of Belonging
The most effective teachers have a way of making students feel welcome and comfortable in their classrooms.
1. Students repeatedly mentioned that they felt as though they belonged in classrooms taught by effective teachers.
2. The students knew they had a good teacher who loved teaching and preferred it to other occupations.

Characteristic 8: Compassionate
The most effective teachers are concerned about students’ personal problems and can relate to them and their problems. Numerous stories established how the sensitivity and compassion of caring teachers affected them in profound and lasting ways.

Characteristic 9: Have a Sense of Humor
The most effective teachers do not take everything seriously and make learning fun. They
1. Use humor to break the ice in difficult situations
2. Bring humor into the everyday classroom
3. Laugh with the class (but not at the expense of any particular

Characteristic 10: Respect Students
The most effective teachers do not deliberately embarrass students. Teachers who give the highest respect, get the highest respect. They
1. Respect students’ privacy when returning test papers
2. Speak to students in private concerning grades or conduct
3. Show sensitivity to feelings and consistently avoid situations that unnecessarily embarrass students

Characteristic 11: Forgiving
The most effective teachers do not hold grudges. They
1. Forgive students for inappropriate behavior
2. Habitually start each day with a clean slate
3. Understand that a forgiving attitude is essential to reaching difficult students
4. Understand that disruptive or antisocial behavior can quickly turn a teacher against a student, but that refusing to give up on difficult students can produce success

Characteristic 12: Admit Mistakes
The most effective teachers are quick to admit being wrong. They
1. Apologize to mistakenly accused students
2. Make adjustments when students point out errors in grading or test material that has not been assigned

Rescue Corrupted Disk / SD Card, etc.

About a year ago, my macbook pro died with a corrupted hard disk. I tried multiple ways, the disk just could not be fixed and was not readable or bootable. I had to replace it with a new hard disk, and I was still considering the possibility to get the files back. I tried an open source recovery tool, and it really helped. The basic method was:
1. Make a bootable USB drive;
2. Reboot the system from the USB drive;
3. Run the tool and recover the corrupted files from the dead disk to another selected place.
This tool worked on the command line, but I could not exactly remember the name so far.

Now, one of my SD Card corrupted. To rescue the lost pictures and videos, I searched online and found a tool named TestDisk & PhotoRec, command line based open source software. It works great. It just brings back my memory about the corrupted hard disk for the macbook pro. I am not sure if they are the same one, but they do work the similar way.

Keep a record here for future reference:

Apply Regular Expression Search in Word

Find and replace text by using regular expressions (Advanced)

Simply find Find and Replace” and select “wildcards”, and then you can apply the regular expressions. And the very basic rules are:

To find Type Example
Any single character ? s?t finds sat and set.
Any string of characters * s*d finds sad and started.
The beginning of a word < <(inter) finds interesting and intercept, but not splintered.
The end of a word > (in)> finds in and within, but not interesting.
One of the specified characters [ ] w[io]n finds win and won.
Any single character in this range [-] [r-t]ight finds right and sight. Ranges must be in ascending order.
Any single character except the characters in the range inside the brackets [!x-z] t[!a-m]ck finds tock and tuck, but not tack or tick.
Exactly n occurrences of the previous character or expression {n} fe{2}d finds feed but not fed.
At least n occurrences of the previous character or expression {n,} fe{1,}d finds fed and feed.
From n to m occurrences of the previous character or expression {n,m} 10{1,3} finds 10, 100, and 1000.
One or more occurrences of the previous character or expression @ lo@t finds lot and loot.

For representing the special symbols above, you can use “\” in front of the symbol to identify it. For example, if we want symbol “*”, we should use “\*” in the regular expression.

Teacher’s Training Website – CodeVA

In a conference, a colleague shared some resource for K-12 Teacher Training program:

Other nice resources for teaching kids programming include:

As K-12 teachers’ time is limited, and training is needed. If someone want to start some kind of K-12 program, it really need the collaboration, good organization, and strong teacher supports.

Categories: Ideas / Resources

Blender – Game Design

06/18/2015 1 comment

We are trying to find some FOSS (Free & Open Source Software) for educational game design. Especially, we would like to simulate some multi-agent environment, and design emotional virtual agents in it. Hope there is enough programming power in designing effective algorithms for agents. One of my students tried this, and here are some related references:



This one uses python 2.3 to write code.

If anyone knows any good game design engine, please let us know. Thanks.

Categories: Ideas / Resources

Summer Ideas for Students

1.Think of a job that does not now exist.  Write what that job looks like.  What would you do to make that job happen in the next 3 to 5 years?

2.Identify a job you are eying and write what is in your personality that makes you a likely person for that job.

3.Think of your dream-come-true.

4.Write something profound and share your profundity with a friend.

5.Travel to a foreign country, virtually.

6.Take a virtual cruise.

7.Visit your local county library.

8.Listen to soft music from a different culture and country.

9.Stroll in a park.

10.Go to a zoo.

11.Tour a museum.

12.Take pictures of flowers in bloom or of vegetables in a garden.

13.Trek up a hill.

14.Listen to the birds chirp and write a reflection poem of the birds’ chirping.

15.Throw a pebble in a pond and recreate through a painting the rippling of the water.

16.Make a pot holder, or beads, or a bracelet.

17.Learn how to operate a sewing machine.

18.Make a blanket or take a quilting class.

19.Crochet a tie.

20.Become involved in a community service organization.

21.Serve a meal to the elderly.

22.Chat with a fisherman about fishing on the banks of a waterway.

23.Watch the sun rise and sun set; and record the different colors that you observed.

24.Smell the coffee and explain its aroma to a friend.

25.Interview an elderly family member about your family tree.

26.Sing a song to yourself and identify your voice range and pitch.

27.Write about the venue of a stage performance.

28.Read a book about innovations; and think and write about something you would like to innovate.

29.Admire a work of art and categorize the art piece by its century.

30.Visit a church.

31.Travel with family members.  Write 2 paragraphs about a memorable summer experience.

32.Sketch out your “paradise.”

33.List 5 persons whom you admire and assess their characteristics that are impressive to you.

34.“Step-up” to the collegiate challenge of a rising junior.

35.Read. Read. Read.

36.Please add other suggestions:

(From: Quality Sophomore Initiative (QSI), Benedict College)

Categories: Ideas / Resources