If there’s one thing that is often overlooked when it comes to instruction, it’s class size. A lot of people don’t even realize that there is a greater benefit to the student when smaller class sizes are in effect, rather than the large 20-something average you find in most public K-12 classes. In large universities, you’ll find even bigger classes! But here’s why these small classes matter so much:

1. More one-on-one attention.

It can be difficult to pin-point where to even begin with large classes, and most times, the students won’t get the same level of face-to-face conversation and guidance that they need in a large room. In a smaller class, your questions get a considerable amount of time for detailed answers. Should you be having a hard time with a concept, the instructor has the time and the ability to tailor the lecture or lesson on the spot and help you or your classmate grasp what you had both previously missed.

2. You get to know your classmates better.

Believe it or not, getting to know the person you’re learning alongside is extremely beneficial to your learning; not everyone learns the same, so you may take away something that your classmate didn’t, or vice versa, and not only does this give you a teaching or learning moment, but it also makes it possible for every student to succeed.

3. Less distractions and disruptions.

It’s hard to keep an eye on a classroom full of over 30 students, and we’d bet money that there are some that aren’t interested, and don’t want to learn. Those students will find a way to entertain themselves, and, like a wave, send disruption throughout the room. In a smaller class, a teacher can ask each student individually what they’re thinking, how they got to a certain conclusion, etc.

4. Your classroom becomes a community.

Due to the smaller numbers, you can turn to anyone and ask a question, and everyone will be able to leave input without the other person getting drowned out. Class discussions and debates are an important part of learning, and with less people occupying the room, the involvement of each student goes up.

Small class sizes are a blessing, through grades K-12 and all the way up to Graduate School, it’s been proven over and over again how good they are for learning, increasing moral, confidence, and overall grades and work quality. Once you start taking classes with a limited headcount, we promise you won’t want it any other way ever again!

We often hear the saying “our children are our future,” and we just roll our eyes because it’s hard to think about someone who can’t legally drive or vote or do anything remotely “adult” being in charge of us all.

But we need to.

If your child is on the cusp of graduating high school, or fresh and new to the world, we as adults need to think about how we’re preparing them to run the world, because, well, they will in one way or another. So how can we prepare our future leaders? Here are some ideas.

Education is a big deal when it comes to shaping our young minds.

Of course our kids are going to school — that’s kind of a mandatory thing — but are they enjoying it and taking away everything they can from it? We, as parents, guardians, teachers, neighbors — whatever — need to make learning fun! Let them explore their interests but also try to make their dislikes less of a chore. Introduce learning games, songs, or hands-on learning activities for older students. Keeping a balanced life between extra-curricular activities, elective courses, and other studies is also incredibly important, and when one takes over the others, it can cause a fall in grades, lack of sleep or proper nutrition, and even depression.

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics. S.T.E.M.

There is a real push for STEM activities now more than ever as the world around us moves forward into an age of technology. STEM education teaches teamwork and problem solving techniques, as well as encourages experimentation, knowledge application, and adaptation. It’s not a “nerd” thing anymore; there are real benefits to STEM education. Who knows, maybe your kiddos will find that they enjoy it!

The Arts.

With the same energy we praise and push STEM education, we also need to promote “the arts”; countless studies show how important it is to expose a child to a world of art, music, theatre, and the like as well as the classical reading, writing, and math. While it’s not something we should throw at the students and hope something sticks, let them explore both ends of the spectrum. An engineer can love theatre just as much, and maybe in the future, apply it to a career.

And lastly, emotional support.

Our future leaders will not be able to thrive without a support system, just as adults cannot thrive without one. While they may be smaller, students are still human and need that little bit of love. Teach them how to handle stress in a healthy, productive way — what coping mechanisms work for them as an individual? There are other ways that we can support and help them develop emotionally, such as encouragement, praise, and taking a genuine interest in their passions. Adults are the embers beneath their fire that keep them going when they run low, and the more we build them up, the better they will do. With these things in mind, we can help shape the leaders of tomorrow’s world, today.

You never really know what’s out there until you search for it. That’s probably the very paraphrased version of a wise proverb, but in this case, it’s literal! If you love technology and, honestly, you kind of have to at this point in the world’s evolution, you need to know that there are way more items out there for you to experience! Not just a phone or a tablet, but other cool tech tools for your main devices, and it’s like living in a spy movie. Take a look!

Portable battery banks.

These aren’t just those small blocks you saw dangling from a phone every once in a while, these things are legit. They’re compact, but have enough power to charge up to three devices at once! Some even have the charging pad, a USB port, AND a charging cable. Some banks are brand specific — Apple products, Andriod, etc — so be careful which one you buy!
P.S. The singular portable chargers are still very cool; they can come in cool designs like a keychain, or a carabiner (those metal hooks you use in backpacking or rock climbing).

Bondic.

It’s not something you would think about, but this pen uses liquid plastic to weld, repair, and build just about anything. It’s especially good for any techies who love to get into hands-on projects. Try using this next time you want to build a computer!

Drones.

These are basically the remote control cars of today, and are insanely cool! They run from small “toy” sizes, to large machines that are used in insurance claims, military operations, and other things. If you have an affinity for robotics or programming, definitely get your hands on one of these guys.

Photography lenses.

Believe it or not, they make extensions for your smartphone to turn your photos from good to unbelievable! They just snap onto the front of your camera, and give you a wide variety of effects, from fisheye to wide-angle! Add in a timer and a tripod, and who needs an old-fashioned camera?

Bluetooth speakers.

These are a necessity for anyone who likes their music. While these are more of a luxury, you can definitely put them to good use for a movie night in the living room, or a party at the beach. So long as you have a phone, you can pair it up to just about any Bluetooth device. Did I mention that they come in cool shapes and colors? Some are even water-proof and can float!

There are many different tools and fun little things out there to make your digital world a better one, all you have to do is give it a look!