"I went to a four-year university." "That job requires a one-year certificate." "It’s a two-semester course." "She’s a fifth-year senior." What do these expressions have in common? They use time as the yardstick for higher education.
Essentially, this means measuring not how much you’ve learned, but how long you’ve spent trying to learn it.
The conventions of the credit hour, the semester and the academic year were formalized in the early 1900s. Time forms the template for designing college programs, accrediting them and — crucially — funding them using federal student aid.
But in 2013, for the first time, the Department of Education took steps to loosen the rules.
The new idea: Allow institutions to get student-aid funding by creating programs that directly measure learning, not time. Students can move at their own pace. The school certifies — measures — what they know and are able to do.
Illustration credit: LA Johnson/NPR
We all know the joys of having small children. Unfortunately, reading inane bedtime stories isn’t one.
Sticky, hyperactive toddlers have no idea what’s going on in these brutally repetitive ‘night night’ books and just want some form of visual entertainment. But being the responsible parents we are, we can’t just plop them in front of the TV. That would turn their brains to jelly and damage them more than those nonorganic baby carrots.
So we resign ourselves, night after night, to reading monotonous tales of kittens with mittens and barnyard animals who just can’t stop making sounds. We read until we can barely fight off sleep, yet our adorable munchkins are as wired as a Ritalinfueled fighter pilot.
But now there’s a solution. Magic Story Maker.
With a title designed to fool your children into thinking it’s for them, this magical app places interesting current news stories you actually want to read about sports, science, travel in the midst of colorful children’s tales designed to excite your wide eyed, drooling offspring. Yet when they eagerly reach for the iPad, they won’t realize they’ve already fallen into a trap what better way to make them snooze than reading them the latest movements of the Dow Jones?
The app comes with three built in themes designed to entertain the simplest of minds “Jungle Jimmy”, “Where’s That Pig”, and “Princess Awesome Saves the Day”, with additional ones available for purchase at 99 cents. While the themes are delightfully repetitive for children, uptotheminute news stories from USA Today make them different for you every time.
Would this work? My daughter can full-on read now, and would catch wise to this scheme immediately. But maybe your kid wouldn’t? Worth a try! Download Magic Story Maker here
This is great
Uggggghhhhh, my love-hate relationship with the morning workout! (Those are my actual morning shoes this AM at 5:15!)
I am NOT a morning person. This cannot be stressed enough. (If you need verification of this, please ask my poor dear father who unsuccessfully tried to make me one for all 18 of the years I lived under his roof.) So you can imagine how much fun it is for me to get up early and then actually go DO something!There’s nothing the morning version of me would like more than to just hit that blessed snooze button 1 more time!
But that “Morning Tamara” is an idiot. Here’s the awesome thing about morning workouts:
Those of you who have worked with me know that I believe getting on (and sticking to) a plan that works for your schedule is one of the MOST important things you can do to have success with your health and fitness goals. For me, being a morning workout girl is the only way that’s ever going to happen. If I save it for the end of the day, it probably won’t happen.
Maybe you’ve tried to start a morning workout routine but failed. Don’t let that stop you from starting again…you can do it if you decide!
I’m putting a theory out there and I’m calling it “Bowl-o-Food.” It goes something like this:
Since dinners consisting of a bowl full of fresh and colorful ingredients are easier/cheaper to make in bulk and easily served in a variety of ways, following a “Bowl-of-Food” diet is a great way to have fun and STAY CONSISTENT with your healthy-eating goals!
It sounds scientific, I know.
Basically, I find that when I “invent” a dinner consisting of fresh vegetables, whole grains (brown rice, quinoa or whole wheat pasta), beans and some great herbs and spices (You could definitely add some steamed shrimp, grilled mahi mahi or roasted chicken breast too!), I feel JUST as fulfilled and “comforted” as I would if I had some of my favorite comfort foods. The awesome thing is, a typical “Bowl-o-food” meal takes almost NO time to make, costs next to nothing and makes me feel like I’m fueling my body properly! Once I changed my mind that “dinner” didn’t need to be “PORTION A with SIDE DISHES B AND C,” I started to get creative and having a whole lot of fun mixing and matching my meals. You really can’t mess it up if you’re using ingredients that you love! Just chop, heat and stir!
And you don’t have to keep it in a bowl…
Here’s my favorite “Bowl-o-Food” recipe for you to try:
Get creative and add your favorite ingredients like some leftover roasted chicken breast, cumin, fresh jalapenos or even a little pineapple! HOW EASY IS THAT?!!
I’m feeling a bit sheepish, to be honest. All this fanfare about launching My Accountabilibuddy…and for what? I got all excited and shipped it out the door and then COMPLETELY. FREAKED. OUT. The goal I had was to get it out into the world, but I hadn’t thought about what came next.
I’ve spent the last few months going through some very special “phases”:
That, sadly, is where I landed and I’ve been feeling pretty darned crappy about it. I have beautiful, supportive people in my life who ask me about My Accountabilibuddy all the time (And one, in particular, who regularly calls me out on my slacking behavior), but up to this point I’ve not splashed the water on my face and said, “Enough!”
Have you ever undertaken a challenge that you fizzled on? One to get healthy or change your life in a serious way? My journey with My Accountabilibuddy is just like any other good and important thing that is HARD…sometimes you’re just going to be terrible at it and sometimes it’s ALL YOUR FAULT. And that’s okay. You’re going to lose your focus, doubt yourself, find excuses, or make a bad decision that takes you down the wrong path. The really cool thing is, whether it’s eating right or sticking with an exercise plan or even starting a business, you can always start over.
Yes, you might have lost some momentum.
Yes, you might have completely missed a great opportunity.
Yes, you might have to start back even further than where you began.
But that should never stop you from starting again if it’s truly something that will bring beauty and joy to your life.
So I stand before you today as just a regular, old, non-perfect human who has decided she will start again.
It’s amazing what you can get done when you just decide to.
A few months back I read this amazing book by Seth Godin called “Linchpin.” I picked it up on a whim and had absolutely no idea that it would change my life.
This book essentially called me out on all my crap. I realized that I was procrastinating on all the important things I should be doing and that I was busying myself with the unimportant. Mr. Godin challenged me to “ship” my art. That is, to harness my potential (my “genius” as he calls it) and put something of meaning and importance out into the world. This is when the real plan for “My Accountabilibuddy” was born.
I’ve proven myself right and risen to my own challenge. I feel invigorated and unbelievably excited. Who the heck knows what my little Frankenstein will become, but I’m loving this! I hope you enjoy what I’ve put together so far…it’s only the very beginning.
Today is Shipping Day.
The superpup (not being particularly helpful) and me in the final hour before the launch! Yes…that’s the face of a girl who’s happy!