Do Schools Teach the Right Subjects?

Education in America has been declining steadily for the last 30 years. All studies show that kids in public schools are lagging behind their counterparts in other countries. This is a real concern and just part of the big problem with the economy and the future of the country.

It’s a difficult situation and certainly not an easy one for the students who are looking for colleges and Universities to prepare them for a role in society.  There is more choice too, an almost bewildering selection of opportunities.  Indeed from the comfort of your own home, you can fire up a high speed VPN and even take your degree online in a country on the other side of the world.

When kids graduate from high school they should either be prepared to enter college or be able to go out and find jobs for 18 year olds. Getting a higher education is preferable but not every kid is cut out for that. For those students that don’t go on to college, they need real training to be able to compete in the workforce and today’s schools aren’t helping enough with that.  There are real issues with an under educated workforce but there are similar problems with students being qualified in the wrong subjects.

There is little point for students to spend years studying a specific subject if there is no real demand for their skills when they leave.  You can of course argue that University teaches much more than the specific subject they study, yet it can be disheartening for people to discover their knowledge is not always required.  Then there is the real danger that they spend years relaxing and changing their Netflix IP (to access more films) while ‘expecting’ to walk into a job at the end of their studies.  Of course, it may never happen.

This is especially problematic now that colleges cost so much which means fewer students are able to afford them. It is a real dilemma for many students who wonder whether they should risk going into debt for that college degree or whether they should just try to get a job straight out of high school.

With little being taught in schools today about how to get a job, what will be expected of them, how to deal with a manager, and other things like that, they are ill quipped to prosper in the work force even if they are lucky enough to get hired. Public schools should start teaching what kids need: the solid basics like math, English, science, and history as well as real life job skills and information for those that might not go on to college. We have to start giving our kids better tools to deal with the real world before we turn them loose in it!

Is eLearning for Everyone?

Education is changing, and at a speed that can sometimes seem a little bewildering.   The electronic age has brought many changes to the way we live and the way we learn is changing too.

Some people resist it, but eLearning is without doubt the way of the future. Not everyone has access to the top notch universities such as Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, or Harvard and Yale in the United States. No matter how much money fine institutions like this have in their budgets, there is always going to be a limit to how many people can benefit from their expertise in person. Online and distance learning, on the other hand, provides the potential for people around the world to gain access to the very best professors via the internet. Now a boy or a girl in a small town in India or China can potentially watch lectures taught by the finest professors in a field online.

While it is early days yet, support for this kind of content delivery is slowly spreading among colleges and universities worldwide. Even students preparing for college have opportunities to learn from the best online. Not every high school or secondary school student has access to the best teachers where they live.

If they find themselves struggling with a particular subject or concept – let’s say Geometry – they can simply tap the abundance of resources on the subject available for free online. Many school teachers post information about the subject they teach simply out of a passion for teaching. The type of teacher who has this kind of enthusiasm is very likely to be able to engage with their viewers with their passion for the subject in a way an average teacher may not.

Even if we forget about the established sources of educational material, there’s still lots online.   Just imagine the material available on a handful of public broadcasters – the BBC allow you to download whole series and watch them offline.  That’s thousands of hours of multi-million pound educational programmes at the touch of a button.  Although it has to be said there are some restrictions on where you can download from so you may need a VPN in some cases (see notes below).

With ever growing budget problems for a growing number of educational systems around the world, I have no hesitation in predicting that we will see more people turning to eLearning resources to enhance – or even replace – traditional classroom based learning techniques. We should not fear this change, but rather embrace it an opportunity to better educate our children – something which is surely need

Notes:

How to Change IP Address to United Kingdom

 

Does Alcohol Reduce Dementia Risk

We’ve often seen studies that suggest moderate alcohol intake can actually be good for you. The problem is that these studies are often fairly small and then will be seized on by the media to splash across their front pages.

After all it’s we like headlines like this –  alcohol makes you live longer, donuts cure cancer, lack of exercise promotes a healthy brain and that sort of thing.   Yet underlying much of these studies are lots of caveats that when you read them pretty much destroy the beneficial conclusions.

Yet there has been enough positive signs about one of the scourges of modern living – alcohol, that perhaps there are really some benefits after all.  This latest study which has spanned three decades found that even heavy drinkers are more likely to reach old age without dementia that those who are teetotal.

The study was from the University of California and tracked over 1000 middle class men and women and their alcohol intake.   The participants had their cognitive health checked every four years, during the study using a standard dementia screening test.

The study was the first to consider people’s cognitive health later in age and they found that not only did those who drank moderately live longer, they also had a much higher chance of avoiding mental illnesses like dementia.

Unfortunately if you think that is too good to be true and there must be a catch – well there is.  If you drink too much alcohol, you actually put yourself at risk of developing alcohol related dementia.   So in effect you have to be careful that in avoiding one risk you don’t put yourself in a higher risk of something similar.

It’s becoming evident that alcohol can give lots of benefits to people especially in old age, yet if you stray over the line then those benefits disappear very quickly.  It is why some people are  trying to encourage the new strain of alcohol treatments which don’t stop drinking but merely encourage moderation.

One of these methods is called The Sinclair Method which is a relatively new treatment for those with alcohol problems.  The idea is that using a drug called Nalmefene, you can actually block the pleasurable endorphins released into the brain when we drink.  The idea is that this discourages excessive drinking by creating the buzz that alcoholics end up searching for.

The drug has been approved by various countries including the UK’s National Institute for Health care Excellence which has approved the drug under the brand name Selincro which is now available by prescriptions in the UK.   It has been seen in clinical studies to not only be highly effective in treating heavy drinkers, but also encourage sensible drinking in moderation.   Which if the Californian study is to be believed will have extra benefits to all concerned.

It should be remembered that with any study you should also consider what wasn’t included.  So before you start guzzling from that wine bottle consider that out of all the participants there were virtually no heavy drinkers.  This means that there was no way of assessing what damage might be done to individuals who did drink too much including their cognitive health.

Further Reading/Citations

National Institute for Health care Excellence  – https://www.nice.org.uk/

Articles on social, medical and political issues –  http://cipec.org/

The Development Of Educational Thought

How much does the way we educate our children have an effect on the development of our society?  It’s an interesting question and ones that has been consider down the ages.  There’s no doubt of the overall effect of education down the generations but does it have an impact on our own lives in the shorter term.  Can educational policy really affect the society we live in today?

Education plays a special role from the arrival of humankind in its onward travel. At the history of this emerging worldwide state of 21st century, education has incomparably hard roles to perform. Even the ‘global family’ becomes a close -knit community, decreasing and eliminating geographical, cultural, linguistic, cultural, economical and the rest of the barriers and the use of education must experience a marked shift.  We are all much more aware from communication between our peers to the ability to stream things like the BBC news to electronic devices in our pockets!

At this age of renovation and redefining, the concept of education needs to be rebuilt, redefined and altered assimilating the great portions of their past and shedding the bad ones.

Actually, the simple idea of education stays intact in its own assignment however, pedagogy and methodology must be reviewed. That’s what T.S Eliot said,

“It’s in reality region of the use of education to help us escape, not out of our own time — for we are bound with that — but by the intellectual and psychological constraints of our own time. “

The instructional leadership in this century is endowed with all the noble function of handling these modifications in an effective and proper method.The most crucial challenge of education is to keep up with the understanding society. The knowledge and information evolve, grow and are obtained at an alarming rate. The instructional leadership must assist the institution encircle the exploding growth of understanding lest it’d stay obsolete. This highlights the instruction being current and clinically researched. This paradigm change is a result of the giant leaps in communication and information technologies which may be manipulated as an advantage as opposed to a challenge.

Therefore, the actual concern in education now is in the successful management of the intricate phenomenon. Hence, the academicians have to be dynamically ultra paced from the pedagogic procedure.The maximum advantage of rivalry is that the talisman of all 21st century. This pursuit for excellence prioritises the need for validity in most areas. The quiescent knowledge imparted through traditional methods may render the primary and the agent in the instruction much behind the signals of this moment.   It doesn’t matter where you are, or how you were brought up there’s now an equality to education that didn’t exist before.  The small boy in a little Spanish town can learn English directly from UK TV online from Spain if he so wishes – he doesn’t need an English teacher.

The item of an alma mater has to be outfitted with all the very best to confront the world forward of it. Unless the establishment succeeds in this noble mission, it will only be inserted up as one of others in the listing of those so-called countless colleges. Therefore, leading innovation in schooling ensuring amazing quality in the minutest of information and in precisely the exact same time being successful, the instructional leadership creates an institution a pace-setting one.An effective schooling is life schooling. Advancing one’s comprehension and imbibing proficiency become rewarding only as it results in the psychological intelligence and quality of life of the person. John Dewey defines,”

Education isn’t preparation for life; education is life itself”. 21st century gets got the largest chaos in its own priorities and values.

Together with attaining expert development in existence, the total maturation of the person needs a distinctive strain. Education must equip somebody to re-define and re-discover the civilization and worth for oneself. How a person takes conclusions and allots priorities depend on how well the schooling has enlarged his or her horizons. To dedicate oneself to the support of the country and his/her fellowmen, one wants to be bolstered by the caliber of schooling he/she receives. The question is if the contemporary schooling leads a student forwards along a course where he’s improved academically, culturally, emotionally, physically and emotionally or not.

“The most important part of intellectual education isn’t the acquisition of facts but learning how to make facts live.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes

The schooling is a vision, mission and a fire. The discipline of education consequently needs visionaries, missionaries and individuals with zest and zeal. If it comes to Indian instructional situation, a nation with human capital as the best strength finds, in precisely the exact same time, its immensely increasing population among the challenges in its path to higher heights.

Benjamin Distraeli says, ‘from the instruction of the people of the nation, the fate of the nation depends’. Considering that the population becomes armed with quality skills and education, the nation is going to have a strong advantage over the other countries in the emerging world. Especially for India, its potential lies in the way the young generations bring forth positive changes in all of the realms of political, economical, societal, religious so on etc.

As the schooling molds the generations, therefore is going to be the future of this society. In conclusion, G.K Chestertson professionally stated, “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from 1 generation to another”.

Technology Impact on Today’s Classrooms

It only seemed a few year ago since the very first computers entered our classrooms.    In the UK it was likely to be the BBC micro linked up to a portable television set or something hitech connected to a bright green led monitor.  Nowadays every child probably possesses more computing power in their telephones than an entire school IT department did in the 1990s.

Tech, really, proves to be a very helpful medium for facilitating improved understanding, but just until it is not utilized to replace the conventional, teacher-to-student interaction and classroom instruction. It’s simply by mixing it with the traditional one-to-all teaching strategy which technology can drastically alter the schooling system and the society in a number of positive ways.

 

This digitization has not just assisted students with their research and homework, but has also lent a beneficial hand in creating teaching a simple endeavor for teachers. Various difficulties, which bedeviled the instructors and the education system in years past today appear to have disappeared with technologies used for providing classes.

Among the most noteworthy effects of technologies on the area of instruction has become the capability to educate practically from any remote place on the planet. This necessarily means that the students from impecunious communities or the ones with certain disabilities, having access to computers, can find an opportunity to add education without leaving the confines of their places. Teachers can now post the assignments and study material online and enable students to gain access to easy education, irrespective of their physical location.

Equipped with better technology, teachers are now able to easily stimulate young minds by making the practice of learning more fun and interesting. Technology acts as just another important and equally practical tool in the toolbox of a teacher. New innovations such as presentations, audio-visual lessons, smart classes, and, most importantly, the world wide web, play a significant role in relieving a great deal of stress from the teachers’ shoulders. With a little bit of creativity and a suitable set of skills, teachers are able to use this pool of innovative technologies and guide students towards a better future.

During the pre-technology era, teachers necessary to submit the students’ data, assessment reports, individual grades, and examination scores manually. An individual can only imagine the level of stress an educator had to undergo for performing such tasks. However, with the installation of computer and the arrival of the world wide web, things have turned in the favor of the teachers.    Indeed there is a whole array of teaching materials readily available, indeed by using online proxies like this – you can access ready made lessons from the great colleges of the world if required.  All teachers will need to do is to upload the information virtually in real time, and produce the necessary reports in a hassle-free fashion and that too, without going through stressful and time consuming work.

The higher scope and use of the world wide web has made it fairly easy for the teachers to remain in contact with the students. The instantaneous exchange of information and ideas presents great benefits for both the teachers in addition to students. The technological marvels like social networking platforms, websites, forums, and discussion boards have assisted the teaching area to remain in contact with the pupils and keep them informed about topics associated with assignments, homework and test dates in addition to PTA meetings and upcoming events.

Licensed, gifted and experienced educators, who maintain an inexpressible passion for their subject of work, may certainly identify the beneficial effect of technology in their livelihood in addition to on the student community. Even though it has generated a massive influence on the modern world of education, technology will always remain an accessory for teachers to motivate and stimulate the students.

Value of Digital Learning Online

There is no doubt that technology has influenced our lives in virtually every manner, however arguably education has been the most transformational.  Among the most essential revolutionary changes technology has created is with schooling. Classrooms finally have smartboards, pupils have digital tablets available as learning tools, and technologies now makes distance learning and also obtaining a higher level of education simpler than ever.

Universities all over the world are providing on-line degree acquisitions and digital learning which are equally as licensed as the conventional, offline websites. Technology continuously enhances the way we understand and also the rate at which we have the ability to get huge amounts of info.  Through fast internet access and online tools like Smart DNS or a live VPN – like this, we can change children’s future for the positive.   Here’s a brief summary of the technology has influenced education and the way it may in the not too distant future.

Among the absolute most essential facets of technology in schooling has been its capability to make a international platform. Instruction with the support of technologies has crossed boundaries globally and using a smooth transition. Online classes can be obtained by pupils around the world and individuals can have video conferences to supply a customized teaching encounter. Assessments are actually all digital and internet based, which makes it simpler for internet students to get results quickly and efficiently.

Do accepting heaps of textbooks from course to course? You can forget that today because textbooks are getting to be digital. Pupils can gain access to every one their learning substances in PDF Documents or on the internet through their educational associations. All these eBooks make analyzing more accessible and affordable to pupils, boosting their capacity to really use the substances. It has been a massive change from the dependence on paper-based novels and certainly will continue to revolutionize how we learn.

You might not consider video games as an learning tool initially, but a number have really been intended to help pupils in several cases. Video games might help stimulate the brain to aid with problem solving abilities by creating them to be educationally aim oriented. Even video games which aren’t informative on the surface might assist us learn and collect information. This also goes together with cellular games. Many pupils have access to your intelligent device and can solve puzzles or find out on the move. Multimedia tools are also being utilized to improve the educational encounter.

Pupils are certainly getting more engaged in technology tools since it’s exactly what they’ve grown with. If you believe about how many pupils in universities are increased surrounded by video games, new gadgets, and also the world wide web and even streaming UK TV.   Perhaps then you are able to learn how important technology is now for instruction. Students may get more info faster from anyplace they are with the assistance of technical tools. What this reveals is the progression will likely be favorable and assist globalize education by producing a frequent language: brand new technologies. It’ll be interesting to find out what the future holds for our instructional processes and the way it will adapt for the encouraging trend.

Growth of Online Learning Continues

Virtual schools are predicted to develop at an yearly rate of 12.8 percent during the subsequent four decades. Almost one thousand students currently take part in some sort of online learning, with over 25 virtual schools supplying services in a variety of states throughout the nation. Additionally, five countries require students to choose a minumum of one online class before graduating.

As a digital faculty educator I see first-hand why this 21st century schooling model is operating for pupils.

Although it may not be the ideal choice for many pupils, virtual education provides many benefits which aren’t currently accessible in conventional physical schools. As a teacher for the last 32 years in the brick-and-mortar and internet college surroundings, I visit many pupils making the switch to online learning for many different factors.

Firstly, they offer flexibility. Pupils attending online schools can form their schooling and course time around a program that is most suitable for them. Virtual students may associate using their lessons and classwork at any given time and find out at a rate suitable for them.  There are still problems especially for pupils in areas with poorer digital infrastructure, and also those which suffer censorship and filtering although these can be bypassed using proxies to some extent.

Removing or decreasing distractions, while raising parent and pupil involvement, is just another reason why we see households enrolling their kids in online learning. Online learners work via computer where they have a WiFi link, meaning that they are able to plug from a quiet area in their house or in the local library.

While virtual pupils work where they’re most comfortable, they can also express themselves without worrying concerning peer reviewed pressure. Each pupil is accepted because of their unique qualities with no pressure to dress or speak like everybody else.

With peer pressure and positions from this equation, pupils experience larger focus in their research. An additional advantage of online education is that the capacity to produce the world apartment.

Apart from having the capability to attain educators, online students have the ability to use their computers as an extra resource. As education continues to evolve, so also should the alternatives accessible to all different kinds of learners across the world.

John McCallen

Author on Education by Proxy

Do Our Children Actively Conceal Internet Usage

There’s no doubt that the internet now plays a much bigger role in our children’s education. Most of us are familiar with the sight of our children studying at a computer instead of a book. Yet do we know how much time our children do spend looking at these screens, it’s likely we don’t.

Well if a survey in Australia is to believed it is very likely indeed. A report which was produced and released in Canberra found that 70% of Australian children aged between 8-17 said that their parents did not know how much they used the internet.

Perhaps more worryingly, over 50% of the children interviewed said that they would often modify their browser histories in order to hide which sites they had visited. Another 10% had actually gone to the extent of creating fake social media accounts to throw parents of the track. In fact it is probably unlikely that the majority of parents even know how to check a browser’s history or validate their children’s social networking presence.

Combined with these sort of tactics, it seems extremely likely that most parents in Australia have no idea what their children do online. The survey also asked questions about the children’s concern about being online. It might be surprising for parents to hear that the biggest one is that of cyber bullying in the 8 to 12 year age bracket, whilst the teenagers were more concerned about privacy issues and having their accounts hacked.

Again the concern is that some of the issues that our children are worrying about, are probably completely unknown to the majority of parents. How many parents would worry about our kids getting bullied whilst using the computer? In truth, probably not that many as it was simply a concept that didn’t exist when the majority of us where growing up.

For the record Cyber bullying is normally defined as the use of information technology to harass people in a repeated, aggressive and deliberate manner. Finally 80% of the children has some experience of cyber bullying with nearly 40% of them describing themselves as victims. There is every likelihood that these results based on the response of Australian children would be repeated in most Western countries. There are many issues involved with our children using technology that we are simply unaware of. This is made even worse by the wide technology skills gap that often exists between children and parents. How many of the parents are aware of technology like this which is used to bypass content and filter restrictions on line by changing perhaps to a US IP address.

There is technology however available that can pass an element of control back to the parents. Most of the major anti-virus companies now produce internet security products which incorporate parental control components.

These can be used to restrict access to specific sites or categories, also to control the amount of time your children can use the internet on a daily or weekly basis. Obviously the one essential element that is required to enforce parental controls and limits on technology is ensuring some basic knowledge of the technology involved. The internet can be brilliant for kids, after all who would object to the streaming the BBC News, but it should be controlled and monitored especially for impressionable children.

It can be difficult especially in the fast moving world of social networking or proxies and vpns, yet there are simple sites like these which explain this technology if needed.

What Books do Children’s Love?

How often do you see your children reading from a book?  For most of us parents probably not as often as we would prefer.   Of course children still read but mostly off a screen on some electronic device or other.

There’s been a really interesting poll just completed by the UK Government in tandem with YouGov. It’s central idea is to try to encourage reading and to help support the many thousands of vulnerable children in the United Kingdom. It’s basically a list of the top ten children’s book voted for by the participants in the survey. The list is not surprisingly dominated by British authors.

  1. Winnie-the-Pooh – AA Milne (1926)
  2. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll (1865)
  3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle (1969)
  4. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien (1937)
  5. The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson (1999)
  6. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl (1964)
  7. Black Beauty – Anna Sewell (1877)
  8. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson (1883)
  9. The BFG – Roald Dahl (1982)
  10. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe – CS Lewis (1950)

The campaign is entitled Story Time and the results were published with the help of Peter Capaldi, the new Dr Who. They are keen to encourage reading both by children and through the help of their parents for younger children. One of the charities supported by the project include Dr Barnardo’s who try and provide support for children who’s parents are often unable to provide such an environment.

Most of us will be very familiar with the list, Winnie the Pooh always seems to have a special place in the heart of so many children and even grown ups. Many of the characters in all these books have provided huge inspiration for the movie and film industry. The Hobbit being the last ‘blockbuster’ produced from this particular list.

It would be interesting to see how the list would change in other English Speaking countries perhaps from Australia, North America or New Zealand. There is a surprise that more recent books like Harry Potter didn’t make an appearance which suggests that perhaps it was mainly adults picking their favorite books.

Nowadays of course the internet has changed the way children amuse themselves, the lure of a good book is perhaps not as enticing as it was thirty years ago or to the pre-internet generations. Still that’s not too say that there isn’t lots of quality education stuff available online.

This site shows you how to access some of the great educational programmes from the BBC  even if you’re located outside the UK using a proxy. There is an important point here though with publishing a list of children’s classic stories – it’s not altogether that important what children read, just that they do. Forcing children to read literature that doesn’t interest them is unlikely to have much of a positive effect especially with all the other alternatives available.

Education and Technology Blogger

Further Reading – Buying a US Proxy

Researching Foreign Markets

Some years ago, before the age of the internet – I worked with a company who made specialised rubber hoses for cars and lorries. The company was very successful and had a selection of very lucrative contracts with European car and lorry manufacturers. However these were very fixed and the company was almost wholly reliant on a few customers.  In fact 90% of their business was dependent on just three specific customers.  There were other problems, the product was not really unique, there was quite a bit of competition and worse of all there was only a small barrier to entry.

Everything in this company screamed that it was very vulnerable to outside forces, one well funded competitor could easily put it out of business. Of course it was more than just a business – the company employed lots of people who had worked there for years. The directors knew they were vulnerable and were always looking at moving into different markets. The options were difficult though and identifying new markets always very challenging.

In the end they did move into a new market, but the costs of expanding into Japan and China almost brought the company to it’s knees. The problem was for a small company in North of England – moving into China was extremely difficult to do and very, very expensive. Setting up a satellite office, new staff, new factories and researching all the implications about exports, taxes and regulations etc.

For the modern entrepreneur this is so much easier now with the internet as mentioned in an earlier post. Even the provisional stage of market research can literally be done from the comfort of your own desk and internet connection. There are restrictions on the internet to research the Japanese market properly for instance you’ll need some knowledge of the language and a paid vpn service. This is essential as it gives you access to localised web sites, for an American doing market research in the United Kingdom – he’d need a British IP address’ for example. Most internet entrepreneurs use proxy and VPN servers to allow them to switch their online identity when required.

Business isn’t necessarily easier nowadays but there’s no doubt that there’s lots more potential for expansion now than there ever was. We are increasingly a global market with potential customers anywhere in the world.  Of course, we also have potential competitors also across the globe