100 Excellent Continuing Ed Sites for Teachers

Posted on August 04, 2009

By Donna Scott
As a teacher, your job is to provide knowledge to others, so it’s essential that your own learning is up to date. However, it’s not always easy to keep up with work and school at the same time. Fortunately, there are lots of resources you can take advantage of, and we’ve highlighted 100 of the best websites teachers can use for continuing education here.


Through these organizations, you’ll find useful learning resources.

  1. University Continuing Education Association: This association supports higher education for life.
  2. Association for Continuing Higher Education: This network is for leaders of lifelong learning.
  3. The National Guide of Community Schools of the Arts: Find an online searchable listing of arts schools that offer continuing education here.
  4. International Association for Continuing Education & Training: The IACET sets the standard for lifelong learning.
  5. American Association for Adult and Continuing Education: Become a part of this association to benefit from and support continuing education.

Blogs, Books & Advice

Check out these resources to find advice and more for teacher continuing education.

  1. The Academic Blog Portal: Use this portal to find educational blogs in a variety of different subjects.
  2. Learning Point: Check out these books that can improve your skills and knowledge as a teacher.
  3. Coolmath: On this site, you’ll find tips, resources, and more for teachers taking online continuing education courses.
  4. Distance Education: A Consumer’s Guide: Find advice for distance education in this guide.
  5. Deb’s Continuing Education Blog: Read this About.com blog to learn about online learning and more.
  6. Suite 101 Continuing Education: This blog explores tips and topics related to continuing education.
  7. Continuing Education: Tom Kaun’s blog offers news and resources for those involved in continuing education.
  8. Rick Osborn’s Continuing Education Blog: Read what Rick Osborn has to say about higher education, training, and related topics.

Distance Education

With these sites, you’ll be able to complete continuing education credits from wherever you are.

  1. ArmchairEd: You can earn university teaching education credits from home with this site.
  2. University of North Dakota: This university offers online degrees in counseling, leadership, instructional design and more.
  3. The eLearning Center: Find education in just about anything from the eLearning center.
  4. Promethean: Promethean can help you become a super teacher.
  5. Inspiring Teachers Webinars: Inspiring Teachers offers online webinars, perfect for busy teachers.
  6. Concept to Classroom: Find a variety of workshops from Thirteen on this site.
  7. JER Group: Get insight into behavior, learning environments, dealing with parents, and more with this school’s workshops.
  8. CE Credits Online: Get self-paced, standards-based continuing education from Seattle Pacific University.
  9. Online Learning at New Jersey City University: Find a variety of online workshops for teachers with New Jersey City University.
  10. Video Courses for Educators: Check out this site to find video courses for teachers.
  11. Continuing Teacher Education: The University of Phoenix offers online courses in just about any subject you may need.
  12. National University: Take one course per month with National University.
  13. Accredited Online Bachelors Degree: This site offers information on distance education generally as well as provides lists of free open courseware classes.
  14. The University of Western Ontario: You can take full distance courses in your home over the Internet from University of Western Ontario.
  15. Successful Schools: Find resources and online education from Effective Educational Practices.
  16. Eco-Psych: Find education and nature-ecopsychology learning online here.
  17. Western Governors University: You can earn a variety of degrees, certificates, and endorsement programs through Western Governors University.
  18. Virtual Education Software: VESi offers courses and professional development.

Topic Specific

These learning sites offer education in history, reading, technology, behavior, and much more.

  1. American Museum of Natural History: You’ll find online seminars on science from this museum.
  2. ADD Resources: Get free teleclasses from this ADD resource site.
  3. Parent Coaching Institute: Get parent coach training through this institute.
  4. Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools Online Workshops: Review these continuing education workshops online to learn about drug and violence prevention.
  5. T3 Professional Development: In T3, you’ll find quality professional development for math and science in the classroom.
  6. US Department of Education: Check out this site for safe and drug free school workshops.
  7. Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association: Learn the essentials of spotting drugs in the classroom from the NEOA.
  8. CeeBT: This website offers continuing education for European biology teachers.
  9. EcoPsych: On this site, you’ll find nature connected learning and healing.
  10. Brains.org: This site offers practical classroom applications of current brain research.
  11. Pharmacy Technician Certification: This site offers information on medical health and pharmaceuticals.
  12. Astronomical Society of the Pacific: Check out this society to find online workshops for astronomy learning.
  13. CEU4U: This site offers continuing education for grief, development, and special needs.
  14. Council for Exceptional Children: Check out this site to find web seminars on exceptional children.
  15. Youth Change: This site’s workshops offer problem-child problem solvers.
  16. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: This museum offers an online workshop for teachers to learn more about the Holocaust.
  17. First Year Teacher Course: Reading Rockets offers a self-paced free online course on teaching reading.
  18. Smithsonian Education: Here you’ll find a museum writing workshop from the Smithsonian.
  19. The Heritage Institute: This site works to educate for humanity and the world we want.

Development & Collections

Find collections designed for learning and development here.

  1. HotChalk: Get connected with Professional Development modules from McGraw-Hill.
  2. American Memory: See collections resources in a variety of topics from the Library of Congress.
  3. Teaching American History: Learn about this professional development program from the US Department of Education.
  4. Exploring Data: In this collection, you’ll learn about teaching statistics and data exploration.
  5. 4 Blocks Model: You can learn about the 4-Blocks Literacy Model through this regular column.
  6. ED Pubs: You can order free US Department of Education publications from this website.
  7. Inspiring Teachers Recommended Authors: This resource recommends a variety of quality authors for continuing teacher education.
  8. Engaging all Learners: This site offers a variety of activities for engaging learner types.
  9. Highly Effective Teaching: Through HET, you can learn about integrating curriculum through brain based learning systems.
  10. NOVA: Explore science through PBS’s NOVA resource.
  11. Teacher to Teacher Initiative: This initiative provides teachers with technical support, professional development opportunities, and recognition.
  12. CAUSEweb: Get resources for teaching statistics from this website.
  13. The Chance Project: This project will help you learn how to use current news for studying probability and statistics.
  14. Exploratorium: In this website, you’ll find an online museum for science, art, and human perception.
  15. Teacher Quality Enhancement: Use these grants to improve your teaching quality.
  16. WebQuests: With WebQuests, you’ll be able to get web based teaching education.
  17. National Writing Project: With this project, you’ll improve your writing skills as a teacher.
  18. Arts in Education: Use this program to improve your arts education for teaching.


These universities offer free and open courses for anyone, including teachers, to take.

  1. MIT: MIT’s OpenCourseWare is easily the most complete collection of open courses available online.
  2. Utah State University: Utah State University’s Open Courseware has research and literature courses for teachers.
  3. Notre Dame OpenCourseWare: Check out Notre Dame’s collection of Open Course Ware to learn more about the topics that are important to your teaching.
  4. OpenCourseWare Finder: Use this website to locate open courses for continuing education.
  5. FETP OpenCourseWare: Become a part of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program through this OpenCourseWare.
  6. Open Yale: Get an Ivy League continuing education through Open Yale.
  7. Stanford on iTunesU: Get continuing education to go with Stanford on iTunesU.
  8. Tufts OpenCourseWare: In this collection of courses, you’ll find life sciences and more.
  9. UChannel: Find public affairs lectures, events, panels, and more from all over the world on Channel.
  10. Open Video Project: This directory is one of the largest directories of educational videos.
  11. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: The Open Course Ware at Johns Hopkins offers education in public health and more.
  12. Open Learn Learning Space Directory: Check out this collection to find great nuggets of information for learning as a teacher.
  13. OpenUW: Find courses on history, health, and beyond on OpenUW.
  14. World Lecture Hall: Through the World Lecture Hall, you’ll find free online course materials from around the world.
  15. Open Courseware Consortium: Find course materials for continuing education on the Open Courseware Consortium website.
  16. ArsDigita University: On this website, you’ll find useful computer science lectures, coursework, and exams.
  17. UC Irvine OpenCourseWare: Study economics, math, business, and much more through UC Irvine’s OpenCourseWare.
  18. Open Learning Initiative: Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative covers math, science, and more.
  19. United Nations University: United Nations University offers courses designed to advance knowledge for human security, peace, and development.
  20. Sofia: Check out Sofia to find free intellectual assets you can use for continuing education.


Check out these communities to find great resources for continuing education and more.

  1. Ednet: Ednet discusses the Internet as a tool for education.
  2. K12Admin: This group is for K-12 school administrators.
  3. Projects-L: Join this list to discuss teaching via the project approach.
  4. Math-Teach list: In this list, you’ll learn about mathematics education.
  5. Edtech: Learn about educational technology with the Edtech listserv.
  6. Future Teachers Forum: Discuss education and more with future music education teachers on this forum.
  7. Middle-L: Share and learn about middle level education from this listserv.
  8. The Apple: This site is a great place for teachers to meet and learn.
  9. Teacher Educators’ Network: This network offers discussion on teacher education, inquiry-based learning, and more.
  10. LM_Net: Join LM_NET for library media networking.
  11. Ecenet-L: On this listserv, you can discuss early childhood education.

The Fundamentals of Feedback for Online Students

Posted on April 03, 2013

Of all the massive open online courses out there, what are the odds that the one to devolve into a massive mess in its first week would be called "Fundamentals of Online Education: Planning and Application"?

On January 28, the Coursera class went live, and instructor Fatimah Wirth of Georgia Tech kicked things off by inviting her 41,000 pupils — many of them educators themselves — to form themselves into groups via a shared spreadsheet in Google Drive. Two hours and a crashed Google server later, students were voicing their confusion and consternation in hundreds of threads on the class forum. The group situation was not their only concern; many had trouble understanding class requirements or getting videos to play. By February 2, Coursera had announced it was suspending the course.

It's a tribute to MOOCs that this is the first major story of a massive open course falling on its face. Many educators have praised Professor Wirth for her willingness to even tackle the subject, much less push the envelope of the world of online education. And even though it didn't come off as planned, the class managed to teach us all about an important aspect of online learning: the impact of student feedback.

Whether they're reaching out for help, expressing gratitude for a particularly exceptional lesson, complaining about a shortcoming, or just proving that they're out there and they're listening, both for- and not-for-credit online students maximize their learning experience when they give their professors feedback.

Courses For Credit

In general, online classes taken for credit are much closer to the traditional classroom experience. Because they're much smaller (and paid for), professors can be expected to respond to feedback in a timely manner. Of course, the reverse is also true: one student of 30 has much less room to hide than one student of 30,000.

Participation in for-credit classes is even more vital in an online environment than a traditional one because the teacher is not able to see confusion written on a student's face as he lectures to know he needs to go back and review. If the professor hears silence from the student quarter, he has to assume everyone is up to speed in their learning. This participation applies not only to how much a student is learning but how well a professor is communicating.

Debbie Morrison is an online curriculum developer for The Master's College, who has taken both for-credit classes and MOOCs. (She was one of the 41,000 students of "Fundamentals of Online Education" and wrote about her experience on her blog.) She said she always tries to incorporate student comments with the closed, for-credit courses she designs.

"I like to analyze student feedback at two points in a newly developed course: first, halfway through, which serves as formative feedback that allows the instructor to make any adjustments to the course before it ends by reviewing the student responses," she said. "The best method is an anonymous survey with three or four open-ended questions that students can freely expand.

"The other point, which I recommend for all online courses, is the end-of-course feedback survey. This provides summative feedback for the professor, course designer, and institution administrators. This feedback is helpful for identifying the course from several perspectives: the technical experience (problems with videos, logging on, etc.), the instruction, the course interface, etc."

Since online schools are on the forefront of educational technology, students have an important role to play in shaping what works and what doesn't. For example, student feedback has helped educators develop some good practices for instructional blogging. Most online schools continually seek out feedback through permanent web forms, while others, as Morrison mentioned, employ surveys either before or after a course begins.

Some of the tips for for-credit classes can also apply to open courses, but they're especially advisable when you're enrolled in an online school where you'll be taking more courses in the future.

Read the syllabus first.Teachers of online courses — for-credit and otherwise — are no different than those in traditional classrooms in that they don't much appreciate questions that are plainly answered in the syllabus, introductory video, in the first forum thread, or somewhere else on a course's web page. Before you add a question (or worse, negative feedback) to a forum or email the professor, make sure your criticism does not qualify you for one of online students' most annoying complaints.

Be tactful. That being said, legitimate suggestions for improving a course's user-friendliness can be effective, if delivered appropriately. After all, teachers are people like the rest of us, and they're apt to respond much better to a polite private email than a snarky forum post that the entire class can see.

To clear up what would be a legitimate criticism, Morrison said online students should be able to find information on the site about how to participate, a schedule of topics for the weeks, a place to access content, and resources for help (i.e. YouTube videos, Q& A page, etc.). This information should be easy to locate. If it isn't, you've got the ammunition for an email.

Keep up with the course. Many classes will make participation on discussion boards and forums a mandatory exercise, e.g., a certain number of posts and a certain number of replies. Know that professors can spot in a heartbeat the people that copy and pasting from elsewhere, just as they can spot the people writing just to write, with nothing real to add. You will be tempted to fall into one of those groups unless you're studying, keeping up with the material, and developing your own insights.

Go above and beyond. As an online student, it's more difficult to stand out and make your presence known to professors because you're not meeting in the same room. So you have to develop another way to show them you're absorbing what they're teaching. Strike up a conversation via email with them about a news item that's relevant to your coursework. Create a forum thread asking your classmates' thoughts on a book you read to help you in class that wasn't required. You could even write your prof a snail-mail letter once the class has concluded, thanking them for a good semester — you can bet they would remember that!

Open Courses

Open courses, especially MOOCs, can be a different ballgame from for-credit courses because of their potential size and the fact that instructors are volunteers. However, as we've already shown, students in these online classes can have as much or more sway on how they're developed and implemented by sharing their thoughts with their professors, the vast majority of who welcome such discussions.

John Owens is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Davis. His first experience with MOOCs, Udacity's "Introduction to Parallel Programming," is available now.

"I feel like the time I spend answering questions and discussing topics with students is one of the most gratifying teaching experiences I've ever had, and my understanding is it adds an enormous amount to the experience of the students as well," Owens said. "I think the ability for students to give feedback and ask questions during the class is critical to the success of the MOOC in terms of clearing up particular parts of lectures, extending what they learn into more advanced areas, bringing the external experience of students into discussions between students and staff, and keeping them excited about the material and how it might be useful to them."

Owens added that because his course makes use of pre-recorded videos (as the vast majority of MOOCs currently do), it's not possible to make changes once the course has started ("unless something has gone horribly wrong"). However, open courseware (OCW) professors can and do take student feedback into consideration after a course has ended and factor it into the updates they make. Follow these pointers for using feedback to its maximum efficacy.

Use the forum. Hands down, the heart of open course student feedback is the forum. It's here that students discuss anything and everything with their teachers and with each other. It was forum posts, not blogs or articles, that spurred Coursera to action on "Fundamentals of Online Education." Feedback posted here has the added benefit of helping anyone else taking the course who might have the same question.

Needless to say, different sites handle their forums in different ways. Udacity's Discussions page for a course lumps all threads together, though they can be sorted by activity status, newest, "hottest," most voted, and unanswered. Students can see how many views and answers a question has, and students may posts up or down based on their level of helpfulness. Udacity also has a full-fledged Feedback Program that seeks out input from current, former, and prospective students.

Coursera's class discussion boards are a bit better thought out. Forums are divided into sub-forums that, in addition to course-specific threads, usually include areas for questions and comments about the lectures themselves, clarification for assignments, general discussion, course material feedback, and technical feedback that Coursera staff members monitor. As with Udacity, students can see a post's views, votes, and replies at a glance, but unlike Udacity staff replies are clearly delineated with a gray icon saying so.

Bear in mind that most OCW professors are volunteers. Speaking of staff replies, teacher response times in a MOOC will vary widely from minutes to days to weeks, depending on the amount of students, the individual teacher's schedule, and other factors. But as a presumably self-directed learner, the MOOC student's expectations of a professor should be low; very low, according to Morrison.

"Quite honestly, I don't expect the professor to answer student questions," Morrison said. "A MOOC is completely different than a closed, for-credit online course, with 30 or 40 students maximum. A MOOC has thousands. I would not expect feedback, and it is unrealistic to think that the instructor reads every discussion board and can answer every question."

Depending on the size of the class, a professor may have one or more assistants who handle questions and comments for him or her. Of course, all that isn't to say MOOC professors simply post their videos and check back in three months. Many spend hours of their own time responding to forum posts. Morrison said that a Coursera course she's currently taking on e-learning and digital cultures has offered two Google Hangouts with the instructors where they shared some of the student feedback and posts from the previous week. In her Introduction to Sociology course, Professor Mitchell Duneier reads letters and specific forum posts students have sent and left.

Take it outside. Because access to class forums is usually restricted to enrolled students, prospective students have no way of viewing them to learn about the course. For general reviews of open courses and their instructors, Coursetalk is an excellent tool. Courses offered by eight MOOC open courseware providers — including lesser-knowns like Venture Lab and Canvas Network — can be sorted by rating, subject, or university. Former students give their thoughts on how interesting the material was, how entertaining the professor, how helpful the tools were, and more. Knollop is a similar MOOC review site that includes offerings from MIT's OpenCourseWare, Harvard OLI, and Open Yale Courses.

Just days before this writing, another Coursera MOOC made news in the education world for its professor quitting the course, requiring the course's suspension. Though the details are still murky, the professor had apparently spent time arguing with students over the course workload, insisting he "will not give in on standards." In other words, he seems to have gotten fed up with all the negative feedback and thrown in the towel.

The moral of the story is that feedback can be powerful stuff. "Fundamentals of Online Education" proved that not once, but twice: thanks to feedback from students who wanted the course to continue, Coursera lifted its suspension the next day.

The Youtopian Ideal: Using Badges to Transform Learning

Posted on May 14, 2013

Check in on Foursquare, get a badge. Complete your Civil War essay, get a badge? Is this real? With edtech startup Youtopia, it's already happening. And it's building student engagement and interest in a tech-savvy, fun to use way.

The Power of Student Engagement

When students participate in activities at school, they build a sense of belonging. By being active, they're building both knowledge and relationships, but it's not enough. Students don't just need to belong and participate; they need to be engaged and invested in learning.

Student engagement happens when learners emotionally invest in their studies. Instead of going through the motions for grades, they're motivated to learn because they truly want to do so. Motivated, engaged students are excited about what education has to offer, and students who are positively engaged in learning are more likely to be successful. Higher student engagement is linked to higher grades and re-enrollment, making it an essential resource for learning.

Despite the importance of student engagement in education — especially higher education, where students are more likely to drop out — it's tough to maintain. A 2012 Gallup poll of K-12 students indicates that student engagement declines over time and hits a low in high school, with only four out of 10 students engaged.

Professors are pushing back against this decline by bringing in new tools including Twitter backchannels and mobile apps that can be used in the classroom to increase participation and motivation. They're even using adaptive learning systems to give students valuable real-time educational feedback.

But it's Youtopia, an educational startup that supports classroom management and student engagement, that's taken an interesting approach to mixing learning and game-playing. The app/service offers valuable tools for student engagement, bringing gamification to learning in a way that motivates learners to do their best, and it's growing in K-12 and higher education.

Rewards for Any Activity

Youtopia's tools allow professors to set goals and track any student activity, from completing a multi-part assignment to just getting to their seats on time. As they work toward goals, students are rewarded with badges to signify their achievements. This "allows teachers to plug in and gamify their course's rubric," according to Youtopia cofounder Simeon Schnapper.

Professors using Youtopia build a set of activities for students to perform, and students are awarded for completing activities with points and badges that acknowledge their hard work. "As students complete activities, they earn points on their path to mastery," explains Schnapper. Activities can be tracked using any type of metric, including hours of volunteering, pages read, or problems solved, encouraging students to see their progress and keep going, even when faced with long-term goals.

Youtopia also encourages collaboration with group goals and badges. For one project, the A/V Storytellers, students have the opportunity to earn a Collaborator badge by achieving tasks like creating a supportive environment, maximizing group performance, and showing respect for others. Instructors confirm these achievements and award points.

Motivation Beyond Grades

Class participation in Youtopia's system is completely transparent, spurring motivation and encouraging participation. Students can not only see what their classmates have done, but also find out where they rank among their peers. This, Schnapper says, "naturally spurs them to work harder with a little dose of healthy competition." Students can even share their badges with social media integration.

Youtopia supports a system of positive feedback for students, which motivates and encourages students to continue doing a great job. Feedback is most effective when delivered to an individual quickly and in reference to a specific action or behavior. By awarding badges or providing instructor comments on individual activities, professors can share positive feedback that resonates with students. And in Youtopia's system, the task of remembering to support each student with feedback is streamlined with management reports.

Trading Grades for Badges

Why badges? They just work. They're a staple of social networking and gaming, and even in more serious settings like scouting or the military. They represent achievement, rather than winning or losing. And they encourage students to develop competencies in very specific measures.

Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan believes in the potential of badges: "Badges can help engage students in learning, and broaden the avenues for learners of all ages to acquire and demonstrate — as well as document and display — their skills. Badges can help speed the shift from credentials that simply measure seat time, to ones that more accurately measure competency. We must accelerate that transition. And, badges can help account for formal and informal learning in a variety of settings."

With badges like the ones earned through Youtopia, students can earn recognition for, and show off, what they've done. What students learn in school may not have a clear connection to what they'll do after graduation. But with badges, students can highlight their skills in a way that colleges and employers can understand.

Student Engagement in Action

Service learning is a great resource for building student engagement. With service learning opportunities, students are able to challenge themselves as they apply their education to real-life situations and see how their schoolwork is significant and valuable to others. Youtopia's system is designed to encourage these learning projects, giving students positive reinforcement and encouragement every step of the way.

Youtopia shared an example of Mr. Johnson, the head of service learning and an English Teacher at a prominent charter school in Chicago, who is using Youtopia to track service-learning curriculum. In Johnson's class, students are able to see real-time results and find out where they are on the pathway to completion in their service projects, and they can reflect on their experience with reports on what was meaningful to them. This gives students a chance to connect their learning projects to real life, not just in achievement, but in what their coursework has done for them personally.

Badges can be used to support positive learning practices as well. Ms. Hart, a Connecticut high school history teacher, uses Youtopia to reinforce essay research and writing tasks. In Youtopia, Hart maps out the steps required to write a research paper with badges for technical and experiential skills. A student who turns in all of their drafts, complete with bibliography and proper citations, gets points for each individual accomplishment as well as a badge for the overall project.

Student accomplishments can also be exported in a Youtopia Resume that highlights statistics like service hours, dollars raised, and activities and badges they've earned. This resume can be used to supplement college applications, and even find a place in noncognitive measurement that place value not just grades and numbers, but achievements and perseverance.

Tips for Using Badges in the Classroom

Experts see a future full of badges in higher education. What can you do to make them a part of your courses?

  • Award badges for positive actions, no matter how small. Badges can be awarded for showing completion of tasks, mastery of skills, or even just showing up to class. Professor Rey Junco suggests that teachers can encourage lecture engagement by awarding badges to students for class time check-ins with challenge questions. Other small badge ideas: those for posting on Twitter, commenting on the course blog, or offering peer review.
  • Scaffold learning with badges. Guide students through the steps of learning by allowing them to earn badges as they go along.
  • Encourage soft skills.: Achievement of 21st century skills like collaboration and problem-solving are difficult to quantify with a letter grade. With badges, you can show students what mastery of these skills should look like, and reward them when they've achieved levels of proficiency.
  • Make badges an incentive for letter grades. While badges haven't replaced grades just yet, they can be used in conjunction with the traditional grading scale. In professor Alex Halavais's courses, students earn letter grades by collecting an equivalent number of badges.
  • Search for badges within your field. Badges from Disney-Pixar, NASA, NOAA, and YALSA are available, and there are plenty more where they came from: Mozilla's Open Badges project supports 30 different badges so far. In addition to classroom-created badges, badges in this project can be added to a student's digital resume.
  • Keep it positive. Badges are inherently positive. They're fun, even cute, and they point out what a student has accomplished. Alternatively, grades (and especially low grades) can be negative, highlighting what a student has not been able to achieve. Maintain badges as a positive force, using them to reward students for commendable educational activities.

Achievements Unlocked

Badges, motivation, and engagement are all great, but do they work? Youtopia's clients believe so. "We've gotten positive feedback from teachers across the country telling us that their students are more focused and engaged when they know their positive actions are being observed and acknowledged," says Schnapper. "We're looking to connect with that same community in higher education to see how Youtopia can optimize how teachers and students teach and learn in the university setting."

Tools like Youtopia represent the next generation in student assessment, engagement, and growth. Students thrive on feedback and competition, this app greatly encourages that. And now, when students earn a Foursquare badge for checking out that new Indian place around the corner, they can earn a classroom badge for cultural diversity, too.