Sunday, July 29, 2012

How Could New Ideas Change Education?

Chris Brogan recently asked a brilliant question. Actually, he asked 5 brilliant questions:
+ How could new ideas change education?
+ How can younger generations learn from the body of work of their successors?
+ How can we marry up all the great resources of people who know something great to those of us who could stand to learn more?
+ How can I help those of us who lived in the cubicle farms, and what can I do to share that information in a way that will empower others?
+ How can we equip our youth and/or our students and/or our business professionals?
Each of these questions dances around a singular issue: Today's learning models are inadequate. This message is similar to one Charlie O'Donnell has been spreading: "Structures for industry specific learning, particularly when it comes from learning from the accumulated wisdom of successful and experienced professionals, is horribly inefficient." So, we've got two really smart guys highlighting the exact same issue. Could this spell business opportunity? Methinks so...
Note: What you are about to read is a radically different idea. This idea serves as the backbone for my company, a provider of real world education services.
You see, a new model for education is quietly emerging. One fully endorsed - and championed - by my company. This new model definitively solves Chris Brogan's riddles and answers Charlie O'Donnell's call by establishing an efficient structure for industry specific learning.
A new idea that will change education
Before unveiling this new education model, we must first review its foundational principles. If these assumptions were to prove false, then the model would fall apart:
+ Individual, customized learning is better than a generic, one size fits all approach.
+ Adults learn best when they are involved in the diagnosing, planning, implementing, and evaluating of their own learning.
+ Life's reservoir of "experience" is a primary learning resource; the life experiences of others enrich the learning process.
+ Distributed learning (learning which occurs over time) is a more efficient learning method than massed learning because it allows for absorption and understanding (note: massed learning is also known as cramming).
+ If provided the right tools, anyone can be an educator.
Note: This is the most critical principle of this new education model. The current model has built invisible barriers of entry around the teaching profession - barriers like certification and credential requirements. This new model assumes no barriers to becoming an educator. This assumption is borne from Malcolm Gladwell's mismatch hypothesis. He explains:
There is no difference between the performance of credentialed teachers and non-credentialed teachers when it comes to increasing student performance. Whether you have a Master's Degree or not, whether you scored 1400 on your SAT or 1200 on your SAT, it makes absolutely no difference in how you perform at the task of relating to and teaching kids.
In the name of trying to make a better decision, we're spending all this money and spending all this time and none of it is having any effect. In fact, we are doing the very thing that actually defeats the cause of finding better teachers. We're narrowing - what we should be doing is broadening the pool as much as possible - to find as many of these people with this ineffable, elusive gift called "being a good teacher" but instead what we do is narrow the pool.
Founded on the above tenants, the centerpiece for this new education model is the idea of mentorship. Not traditional Boys & Girls Club mentorship, but a radically new kind of mentorship. One that requires accountability, elicits insightful knowledge sharing and helps build deep relationships. This new education model re-envisions mentorship and calls for real world professionals to become the new class of educators.
How does this model work?
This new model is brilliant in its simplicity. Professionals are given a curriculum - one that facilitates real conversation and real-world knowledge transfer. Students are matched to a professional in their chosen career field (each professional is screened on multiple levels). The pair meets (either in person or via phone) and builds a relationship around the given curriculum. Each side records his / her thoughts following every meeting, and reports relationship progress intermittently. In the event of negative feedback, Mentors are replaced, ensuring only the best "teachers" remain.
Now, for this model to work, an incentive structure must exist. Why? To ensure engagement from both the student and the professional. In this model, students pay the curriculum provider and the curriculum provider pays its Mentors (Professionals) for their time. Over time, the curriculum provider becomes much smarter about each professional on its platform. And it tests and molds its curriculum based on community feedback. As time passes, the system gets better!
What is required to make this model successful? For this model to be successful, three things are required:
+ A renowned curriculum that guides each relationship.
+ Students that understand the importance of professional relationships in the context of their career (and are willing to pay for these relationships).
+ Industry professionals that are willing to offer insight and perspective in exchange for monetary compensation.
Why will this model work so well?
This model recognizes the biggest flaw of our current resource constrained model: the number of educators for each student (the student:teacher ratio is one of the keys to delivering quality education). This new education model leverages industry professionals as its force multiplier to dramatically increase the effectiveness and delivery of education. This market-based approach is unlike anything that exists today. Will this new model work? It already does.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Graduate Education Degree Concentrations

As educational careers and instructional certifications become more specialized, education graduate programs are reflecting this by encouraging students to declare a concentration within their education degree program. A concentration makes educators more attractive, often broadening their career prospects and better preparing them to meet the challenges of being an education professional.
While it's typical for a student to declare a minor in a different field altogether-say, an international trade law major might choose a minor such as Chinese language if he or she intends to work within the Asian marketplace-a concentration is often closely linked with the major, more tailored to a specific job description. Someone looking to establish a career related to electronic teaching methods and new media in education, for instance, might pursue a masters degree in education with a concentration in distance learning, or instructional technology.
Credit hour requirements for concentrations vary greatly; programs typically require anywhere between 12 credit hours and 36 credit hours to complete degree requirements for a concentration within the primary degree program. This varies from one institution to the next, and of course, is dependent on the nature of the concentration itself.
Let's take a look at a few education degree programs and concentrations to see what's out there, and to help you better understand how selecting an education concentration might best serve your goals.
Educational Technology
Instructional or educational technology is a growing field that emphasizes the use of technology in education, both in the classroom and as a platform for distance learning programs. It encourages the design and implementation of a wide variety of tools to facilitate and advance students' potential for learning. With modern curricula being built around the use of digital technology and new media, a master's degree in education with a concentration in educational technology provides teachers with a valuable technological skill set and a solid working knowledge of e-learning methods. Those who understand and embrace these emerging learning methods are in high demand these days, whether it be in education or in private and corporate settings. Check out the International Society for Technology in Education's Educator's Resource page to learn more about this exciting, ever-changing field.
Curriculum and Instruction Strategies
A masters degree in education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction strategies can help teachers improve and strengthen their classroom practices. Exploring such areas as student literacy, inclusion and educational leadership, this concentration helps prepare instructors to better implement practical solutions to problems encountered both inside and out of the classroom. There are plenty of related concentrations in education that are associated with curriculum and classroom methodologies that can also benefit administrators, curriculum developers and department heads, among others. In addition, various teacher certifications are contingent upon completing concentrations like curriculum and instruction strategies.
As a practical theory, inclusion is another name for (or synonymous with) what may have been formerly known as "special education". New educational models emphasize the inclusion of special needs children in the traditional classroom-built around the premise that children who learn together, learn to live together. A concentration in inclusion is designed to provide K-12 classroom teachers and administrators with critical theory and practical knowledge related to special education inclusion-offering educators the opportunity to study and improve upon professional practices, and in some cases, receive special education teacher certification as well.
Language and Literacy
Concentrations emphasizing reading, writing and literacy allow students to focus their attention on the study of how people develop, communicate and process written and spoken languages. This field explores complex relationships between these developmental processes, and how they reflect and relate to institutions, communities and cultures. Naturally, this field appeals to teachers of language and writing, but also has crossover value to those involved in studying new communication methods, particularly as they relate to technological advancement and ever-changing modes of communication. A concentration in language and literacy can prepare students for a broad array of career options, and also puts the graduate student in touch with the most fundamental elements of education: language and communication. The International Reading Association offers an excellent online resource, full of journals, publications and helpful Web tools for literacy and language professionals worldwide.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Scholarships Through Obama's New Education Plan

Increasing divorce rate in America has resulted in a large population of single moms who have to take care of the babies and have to work hard to pay the bills. Every single mother would like to have a good standard of living for themselves and their children but they are constrained by their responsibilities, lack of financial aid and time. If you are a single mom and do not have financial capability to sponsor your studies after all the household expenses, them President Obama's Scholarship for Mothers program is something that you should be looking in to.
This program is targeted mostly on single moms but individuals with low income can also avail this opportunity to complete their graduation. You just need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and wait for your selection to come through. To apply for the scholarship you need to select a college and then confirm with them that they are teaching the course you want to study. Once that is confirmed filling out the FAFSA will complete the procedure to avail the grant.
The "Federal Pell Grant" amount has been increased to five thousand one hundred dollars and the first four thousand dollars are not taxable as per the "American opportunity Tax Program". The good thing about this grant is that you do not have to pay it back; it's a financial aid to the people from the government.
With this program the student can choose to attend regular classes or attend online classes. This way you can take care of the babies and attend classes from your home. The mothers program provides financial aid and flexibility to attend classes. So it is up to you to take advantage of this excellent opportunity to get the education you need to get a better job and better comfort for your kids.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Game Development Gets a Boost With New Education Program

AMD recently announced a $10,000 grant through its foundation to the Institute for Play, which is currently working on developing a "social impact game community" on the Gamestar Mechanic software development platform. The Gamestar Mechanic platform is a partnership between the Institute for Play and E-Line media aimed at improving the game development skills of young people. Beyond the development skills, the organization believes it provides computer literacy and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. AMD's Changing the Game features competitions and other initiatives to encourage interaction between young people interested in development.
Programs, such as the Gamestar Mechanic, are crucial to encouraging young people to develop an interest in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields that are important in advancing industry in the United States. Since, unlike school, developers are not graded on their work, they can learn about the field and nurture their interest in a low pressure environment. Part of the program also allows for collaboration, so more experienced developers on the platform can provide feedback to more novice participants.
"The Game Alley program and competition are specifically tailored to create successful gaming experiences for youth and to help them engage their peers on important social issues, two key objectives of the AMD Changing the Game initiative," said Allyson Peerman, president of the AMD Foundation. "The program is an excellent example of 'stealth learning' in that players will absorb STEM and critical thinking skills while having fun."
As the software development industry continues to evolve around agile development and other new processes, new generations of developers will become an invaluable aspect of the industry. Targeting young people now with game development opportunities will enable the industry to make an impact on their lives and direct them toward educational programs and careers in software development.
"The AMD Foundation has been a real pioneer in empowering youth through game design," E-Line President Alan Gershenfeld, who was formerly Chairman of Games for Change and senior vice president at Activision Studios, said. "We are very pleased to support their mission of harnessing the power of computer and video games to engage youth in the critical issues that will affect their lives in the 21st century."

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Integrated Learning - A New Educational Perspective

Integrated learning is a refined concept that accelerates clubbing of education with pleasure of learning with real life experiences. Integrated learning was designed to widen the scope of learning methodologies with a view to appeal to the large numbers of learners.
Integrated learning opened up innovative and skilled learning tools to the student and the teaching community. This education system has undergone various changes over a period of time. It has emerged as a technique that emphasizes on the cognitive learning coupled with overall intellectual development of the students in diversified sections. The main focus is on acquiring knowledge, growing and at the same time imbibing interest towards studies in the children.
This technique believes in fun filled learning. The process of learning should be enjoyed by the students. This helps them to explore the various opportunities awaiting them in the learning curve...
This concept covers all the aspects necessary for the development of the child. The learning tools involve enormous exercises ranging from puzzles, games, quizzes, real life experiences, pictionaries, fun filled activities. These exercises give a clear picture of the concept to be taught in the classroom.
The main motto behind following this learning methodology is to create a student friendly, stress free environment. So let's welcome this learning technique with a big applaud. This was a dream that has finally taken the shape of reality.
Believe it or not but due to the implementation of this learning technique, the students feel that the schools are their second homes.