Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Montgomery Faculty Categories "Filled" With MCPS Students World Health Organization Would Like Remedial Mathematics

With very little regard for whether or not or not they're prepared, MCPS students square measure being nearly universally pushed into pure pre-algebra online tests on eduboard.com, and a Montgomery faculty mathematics prof reports that excessive acceleration is backfiring.

From today's Gazette:
"Our goal is to induce … eighty p.c of our students to be college-ready by 2014," colleges Superintendent Krauthead D. Weast aforementioned at the time. "It's associate degree formidable, however terribly accessible, goal as long as our students grasp the pathway that it'll go for get there."

But the pace may well be too quick, aforementioned Dina Yagodich, associate degree adjunct mathematics prof at Montgomery College's Germantown field with 3 kids in county colleges. whereas she isn't against acceleration, some students cannot handle the advanced pace, she said.

Her pre-algebra categories at the faculty square measure "filled" with students World Health Organization graduated from the varsity system, she noted.


"I am involved for the push to induce eighty p.c of scholars a full grade level ahead once twenty six.8 p.c of them are not even at the eighth-grade level," Yagodich aforementioned. "The push for acceleration has involved Pine Tree State, and though it's smart for several students, I worry that several students square measure pushed on the far side their skills and square measure ne'er able to catch copy."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Conflicting Trends in Education

There was a time when the basic needs of human beings were only food, clothing and shelter. With the rise of the industrial age, education was added as one of their basic needs. And now education is one of the major industries of the world, producing graduates to manage and run the economy, politics, and the transmission of culture. But with the information age gaining more and more ground in our society, we are seeing conflicting trends in the educational system.
The first conflicting trend is in the area of cost. While the cost of formal education in colleges and universities is rising, the cost of education through the Internet is getting lower and lower. In many countries the observation of educational managers is that educational cost is rising higher than the inflation rate of a country. And yet getting information which is the raw data of education is becoming cheaper and cheaper through the Internet. Students can connect cheaply to the Internet through Internet cafes and access information that before would cost them much. They can now download ebooks, many of which are free.
In the Website Personal Money Store an article is written about Academic Earth. It says that while Academic Earth is not an organization that can provide a learner with college credit, it can give him or her nearly all the same material he or she could receive in a traditional college classroom, at a time when he or she wants it, without the hassle of transportation and dress expenses. There is an advertisement in this Website of "Great College Lectures, for FREE."
The second conflicting trend I see is in the area of methodology. With more information to digest and more books to read students are getting more and more burdened with reading, memorizing and comprehending the content of the books and lectures of professors. And yet on the other hand there are so many individuals and groups trying to make learning fun and enjoyable, not a burdensome experience.
In the Website DNA Read the World there is an article entitled "New trends in teaching that make learning fun." In this article we read, "To make students enjoy and understand at the same time is the key principle on which education institutions should work on." There are also online experiments with mnemonics to make memorization fun.
The third conflicting trend is in the area of results. Almost everywhere in countries with Western kind of education the complaint has been that the educational system produces unemployed or underemployed graduates. There is no assurance that upon graduation employment is there. And yet jobs are being generated through the Internet. Some get jobs by writing reviews of books, of programs, by creating websites, by programming, etc., not to mention the many scams online.
The Website Engines for Education is trying "to raise consciousness about the changes needed in our educational system." Hopefully these changes will also solve the problem of unemployment or underemployment of our college graduates.
What do these conflicting trends tell us? It seems that the following trends are possible.
As the cost of formal education goes higher and higher and the cost of non-formal education through the Web goes lower and lower, only the wealthy will be able to access formal education while the not so wealthy will be content with non-formal education through the Web.
As the process of education becomes more and more burdensome to students more and more educational games will be put on the web where the students will be spending more and more of their time. There are already indications that students cut their classes in order to spend their time playing games in Internet cafes.
As more and more unemployed and underemployed are produced by our formal system of education, more and more jobs will be created through the Web.
The changes in the educational area are not so clear at the present time but it seems clear that there are indications of substantial changes in the near future.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Critical and Creative Thinking in a Global Education Setting

I just finished reading A Critical Thinker's Guide to Educational Fads, which was published by The Foundation for Critical Thinking. In it the authors discuss the essential idea of various educational 'fads', proper educational uses and likely misuses of each. The fads range from school choice and Socratic questioning to integrated curriculum. Three of these fads stood out for me as important ideas that should be considered in more depth... and together as an educational strategy.
Critical Thinking
I believe critical thinking is the most important fad discussed, as it involves metacognition (thinking about thinking). When we think critically we reason, evaluate, judge and problem solve so that we produce the best thinking we can. When we think critically, we speak and listen with empathy, consider all viewpoints, think with an open mind, observe more carefully, persevere through a thought to an intelligent conclusion. Schools should teach critical thinking because this skill just might get us through any situation in life we might face.
I was not taught how to think critically in school... were you? We use critical thinking all throughout school (conducting science experiments, writing papers), but most of us are never specifically taught how and why it is important to think critically. We need to teach students this skill along with how to master test taking, how to develop good study habits and more. Most students muddle their way through and develop these skills and abilities on their own. Think of how much more successful they'd be if we'd just give them the right tools.
Educational Fads suggests the idea of teaching history as historical thinking, biology as biological thinking. Instead of memorizing our presidents, students should analyze presidencies in an historical context. Imagine the number of students who might be intrigued with science if it were taught this way. Our schools tend to teach in such a fragmented way that broad concepts are isolated instead of integrated into a larger perspective.
Citizens in today's global world need to know how to think critically in order to effectively communicate with and work alongside others from various walks of life. We must learn how to communicate with people who live in vastly different cultures where perspectives are different and backgrounds diverse.
Creative Thinking
Genuine creativity builds on critical thought, and as the authors of Educational Fads state, something is not creative simply because it is different. Creativity involves thinking 'outside the box' in order to solve a problem, create something new, do something differently than it's been done before. Simply thinking creatively will only get us so far. Creative thinking must be combined with critical thinking to truly produce distinctive results.
Creativity sparks the imagination to think in unique ways to do things, to solve problems - even in interactions with others in non-conforming ways. Creativity and imagination allow us to fathom the concept of putting a man on the moon, connecting mankind through this thing called the internet, inventing silly shoes called Crocs.
Folk lore states that FedEx founder Fred Smith received a C on a term paper in which he outlined the basis for his idea for FedEx. Smith describes his thoughts not as a eureka moment, but as a simple observation. He described his thought process in a 2007 interview:
"As society automated, as people began to put computers in banks to cancel checks - rather than clerks - or people began to put sophisticated electronics in airplanes - society and the manufacturers of that automated society were going to need a completely different logistics system." (From the May 6, 2007 blog posting: Interview with FedEx Founder Fred Smith - Yale University)
Was Fred Smith taught how to think creatively and critically? If he wasn't, he was certainly doing it on his own. His idea began creatively, but was followed up with critical thinking in order to bring the idea to reality in a credible and viable way and it was thought out within a global perspective, and if it had not, FedEx might not be the company that it is today - or even exist at all. This is the kind of creative thinking which is combined with critical thinking that our schools must teach our students how to do. Instead of giving them a problem to solve that may have an obvious solution, we must challenge them to combine critical and creative thinking to seek new pathways to a solution or to a solution itself that would not have been reached otherwise, as Mr. Smith did - as so many innovators do.
Global Education
Educational Fads describes global education as curriculum designed through a global perspective. In our increasingly diverse culture which resides in an increasingly open global community, global education is crucial for this and every future generation to participate in - in an age of nuclear capability, growing terrorism and an ever-increasing pool of diverse perspectives that have a voice in the global community.
Our schools serve as a microcosm of the larger world, and educators must prepare our children beginning at an early age to not only accept but embrace everyone's differences - their differences in appearance, in thought, religion, ethnicity, background, and more. We must teach students to think beyond their classroom, beyond their community, instilling in them a global perspective from which to learn new concepts and ideas, new perspectives, new ways of considering the various aspects of the world.
We in the United States live at a physical disadvantage to most of the world, as we are separated by many miles and have developed preconceived notions about the world which in many cases are incorrect or flawed, due in part to our lack of critical thinking and to large degree due to our physical, emotional and intellectual separation from the rest of the world's population. As the world grows closer because of technological advances that allow us to video conference with people globally with the touch of a button, purchase products from the remotest corners of the world with the click of a mouse, everyone must check their egos at the door; fairly address viewpoints with which we disagree; and empathize with others' insights, perspectives and knowledge.
If educators worldwide embraced the idea of teaching critical and creative thinking in a global education setting, future generations would learn the importance of diversity, empathy and fair-mindedness - allowing us as educated citizens of the world to think about our world, those who are in it, and the problems we face as a shared civilization.
Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Cynthia Stephenson brings 20 years of sales and marketing experience to her writing which has included corporate marketing materials, websites, blogs and more. Stephenson received her BA in Journalism in 1989 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and began her career as a graphic designer and editorial assistant for Northwestern University the following year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

21st Century Workplace Education

I have been in the corporate environment for many years and always wondered why do we have a training department? I always thought it should be the Education department. Education is not only in academia. In this century, it is no longer learning in school first and then goes to work, it is a life-long learning. Education goes together with work. There is a continuous evolution of changes taking place and employees at all levels need to be current with what's going on in the industry and in their line of work. Only then they can come up with creative ideas, think differently, share and make positive contribution. In which case, Education & Development department makes much more sense to me.
With mechanization, modernization and technological developments, businesses need fewer people who are trained to do things a specific way and more people who are educated to find new ways of doing things. All people should be able to think and come up with different ways of doing things and offer their thoughts because everyone is an intelligent human being, not just the so called executives. Thinking organizations are constantly alert for new ideas and new methods, keeping in mind the cultural diversity. People across the globe think differently. It is an added advantage to the organization to have diversity from as many angles as possible - experience, education, age, culture, ethnicity and gender leading to a wide variety of different perspectives for better customer focused results.
"You don't train people; you train dogs, snakes, elephants and fish; you educate people."- Stanley Marcus
What's the difference? The word education comes from the Latin 'educo', which means to change from within. Training provides an external skill. Education changes the inner person. Training deals only with the doing level. Education teaches people how to think. 1-12 month infants are trained and after a year they too learn to think. This is critical even in schools, to teach the kids to think critically, analytically, logically, conclusively and inferentially.
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime". - Chinese proverb. When you give him a fish you train him and when you teach him to fish you're educating him.
Let me give you an example: I received a letter from a company that said they do not have my current address. Well, but I received the letter at the current address. When I called and talked to this young woman she had been trained to act. She had been conditioned to recite her memorized lines. She has rehearsed it to perfection. But she had not been educated in customer interaction.
She said, 'Please fill in the form and send us your correct address'. I said, "if you don't have the correct address how did I get this letter from you to the correct address?' She has not been taught to listen to the customer, to think about what the customer is expressing. She is a robot. Often times we try to standardize everything including interactions!! I have seen in corporate environment where people are given scripts to greet, answer the questions and solve problems. What is happening in corporate world? Getting brainless robots? How can they provide service to customers? Can they have a decent conversation on customer needs? The last question she asked me was 'Is there anything else I can do for you?" I am sure many of you who read this article have heard this question.
Education deals with the feeling level, the way we respond to stimuli. First we think about it, then we begin to feel it, then we choose our behavior and act based on that feeling.
Training attempts to add on the qualities needed for success. Education builds them in. Training is required to teach a specific skill or to learn a specific procedure. But it is ridiculous to develop a process for human interaction... Corporations believe in a myth to develop a process for everything including smiling, greeting and thanking. You're in a sealed box and they keep saying 'think outside the box'. It's vital and crucial for corporations to invest in ways that let people grow by knowing to think for themselves.
* Training focuses on teaching people yesterday's skills.
* Education focuses on teaching them to develop tomorrow's skills.
"You can't have a better tomorrow if you're thinking about yesterday." - Charles Kettering
We continue to spend our time in the past, teaching people what to do instead of focusing on how they think, feel and behave; far too much time is spent on getting a job done and conforming instead of producing outstanding results and being creative. We have the powerful creative, highly imaginative brain that we hardly use.
In my corporate experience for several years, I have seen even high level executives who are short sighted and focus on saving their jobs. It is rare to find people who think of "What kind of company do we want to be in 20 years and what kind of employees will it take to get us there? What can we do to educate them?" People seem to be self centered than being loyal even though their resume says so. Only when people start thinking those questions, we can plan educational development programs to develop competent employees for 21st century.
To bring about such changes corporations need behavioral agents, not trainers who are plentiful, easy to find and not particularly expensive. Behavioral facilitators who nurture lasting qualities that won't become obsolete that quickly are not commonly available. Even if the qualities they taught did become obsolete, people are now educated to think and they will be able to adapt to change. And come up with ways to deal with the changes.
If yours is a thinking organization, you should be able to:
  1. Talk directly to people in other departments and divisions, to customers and suppliers.
  2. Form teams across departmental lines and employees at all levels, to execute new projects or to solve common problems.
  3. Ask front line employees for their opinions and rewarded for ideas that work on a regular basis.
  4. Treat mistakes and failures as learning experiences and not as black marks against people who then get fired.
  5. Thinking organizations are made up of people who are educated in such skills as goal-setting, problem-solving and decision-making, communication and conflict management, negotiation, total quality management (TQM), time management and teamwork.
Awesome Power is an organization committed to to encourage, motivate, inspire, coach and support individuals to reach their fullest potential.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Maori Education - The Path to Our Future

Figures recently released by the Ministry of Education show that there has been a steady growth in Maori tertiary enrollments. However, although there has been growth in enrollment figures, this growth has been attributed primarily to growth in attendance at Wananga and educational institutes that empower Maori to embrace not only the learning of their history and culture, but teach mainstream educational courses in a manner that appeals to the style and formality of the Maori culture itself.
However, the figures also indicate that Maori are less likely to enroll in tertiary education facilities during the core tertiary ages of 18 to 24. According to the University of Waikato, a number of factors have been identified as affecting the successful participation of Maori students in tertiary education. These include the transition and adaption to unfamiliar environments and learning procedures, inappropriate support systems, financial barriers and a lack of social and academic support. A number of studies have highlighted the high number of students who are first generation participants in tertiary education, for whom adjusting to the practices and rules of a new environment without the support of whanau (family) is difficult.
Nonetheless, the emerging signs and trends of increasing Maori participation in tertiary education institutes are encouraging. Further research into the role of Maori education has highlighted the need to tailor the learning style, experience and environment to suit the aspirations of the Maori culture and the value of the whanau.
According to a review of Maori education conducted by MAI in 2007, the further education of the individuals, both young and old, is essential for the continued development and future prosperity of Maori and the culture. With a better educated population base, the review proposes that Maori will be better able to determine their own futures and prosper, both economically and socially. Marginal educational records and enrollments affect the future prospects of the individual and the whanau. However, several initiatives are proving very successful in respect to enrollment and completion rate of Maori students. These include empowering Maori in the community to take on leading roles in education institutions, developing role models that young Maori aspire to replicate.
Leading tertiary providers in New Zealand have realised these facts and have created tertiary environments that not only cater for the general public, but provide specific learning styles, teachings and learning environments that are conducive to the continued promotion of Maori education. Those who are serious about Maori education have gone so far as to provide customary Maori buildings, such as the marae, which is not only the focus of the whanau, but learning and education. Plus some institutions provide a "Manaakitanga" programme designed to support students' success in their studies.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Top Universities in New Zealand - The Newfangled Source of World-Class Education

The potentiality of New Zealand for world-class education has recently been discovered as the education system of this English-speaking nation revolves around the British system. So, students from other English-speaking countries will find the curriculum of the top universities in New Zealand easy to cope with. Renowned for its fascinating outdoor locations, and imposing landscapes, the country of buzzing cafes, clubs and restaurants has made its mark in the field of education also. As stated by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand, the major cities that draw the attention of global students include Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch.
Pupils who are eager to study in New Zealand can opt for institutions like Victoria University of Wellington, University of Auckland, University of Canterbury, Lincoln University and Massey University. Though there are other institutions available for pupils, the aforesaid names are some of the top universities in New Zealand.
Established in the year 1897, the Victoria University of Wellington got its name after Queen Victoria. This very old university comprises 8 faculty divisions, namely education, science, law, architecture and designs, graduate research, commerce and administration, engineering, humanities and social sciences. Among them, the architecture and designs has established its uniqueness by becoming the foremost center in New Zealand. Situated in the capital city of Wellington, the university facilitates the prevalence of a vivacious atmosphere both inside and outside the campus. It also makes sure that students not only grasp a profound knowledge of their subjects, but they also apply their knowledge in their given fields.
Located in Christchurch, the biggest city of New Zealand's South Island, the University of Canterbury was founded in 1873. Originally called the Canterbury College, the institute is rated among top universities in New Zealand due to its advanced research centers, and a large pool of motivational faculties. The university offers education to over 2,000 foreign students and 20,000 domestic students. The six colleges that are affiliated to the University of Canterbury provide teaching in education, law, engineering, science, arts, and business and economics.
If you want to study in New Zealand, you must certainly consider the University of Auckland, the biggest university at present with more than 38,000 students enrolled. The university boasts one main campus in the heart of Auckland or four specialization campuses in the region for enrolled pupils. There are more than 4,000 international students from over 90 nations pursing various courses in the university. You can choose one from a variety of programs offered on education, arts, science, engineering, bioengineering, business administration, theology, and medical and health sciences. The University of Auckland has occupied a top position in the list of best universities of the world, prepared by a popular rating agency.
A study in New Zealand can be fruitful in terms of a number of student scholarships too. However, you have to apply for these scholarships much earlier due to their limited places. International students can avail a maximum of 28 scholarships every year. The most prominent scholarship schemes include Livestock Emissions & Abatement Research Network (LEARN) Fellowships and New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships (NZIDRS).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recession and Online Education

During times of economic recession when employment opportunities are minimal and layoffs are abundant, adults naturally seek opportunities to make themselves more marketable to employers. Whether individuals need to acquire new skills to enter an entirely different career field, or they simply want to fine tune skills that they already possess to keep their existing jobs, education is often the solution. However, unemployed or working adults with families and busy lives may have difficulties fitting college courses into their hectic schedules. Recession May Drive More Adults Students to Take Online Classes by Steve Kolowich is an article that discusses the reasons many adult students will choose online learning in the current economy. In this article, I will summarize Kolowich's article. I will also provide an analysis of what I think has created this enrollment trend: cost, convenience, and completion.
Article Summary
Adults often choose times of economic hardship to go to school. Currently, more adults are selecting two-year colleges and private for-profit colleges than traditional four-year universities for their educational needs. Many of these students will take online courses. The 2008 Sloan Survey of Online Learning anticipated that all types of colleges would experience increases in enrollments, but non-traditional schools could see the greatest jumps in enrollments. Elaine Allen, one of the report's authors, attributes this to the fact that non-traditional schools offer online classes.
Online classes offer many conveniences that traditional college courses do not. Students can take online classes at times that work for them. They do not have to leave their homes to go to school. They are still able to care for the needs of their families. Individuals can save on gas by not having to drive to campuses.
Online enrollment has been steadily increasing since 2003. More than a fifth of all students enrolled in higher education were taking at least one online course in 2007. Over half of the colleges surveyed in 2007 thought that it was critical to offer online courses to students. In addition, 70% of the colleges noticed an increase of student interest in online learning. Students are beginning to choose colleges specifically for their online programs.
Because of the recession, jobs are scarce. Tough economic times put "more people in the pipeline, looking, and hoping for opportunities" (Stevenson, 2008). Taking classes or earning a degree gives individuals an edge over the competition in the job market. "The majority of continuing education students today are most concerned with first getting into the academic pipeline" (Stevenson, 2008). Adults enroll in programs that offer classes to complete degrees they did not finish in the past. "A lot of people want to increase their skill levels or get that degree they didn't have. The threat of losing their jobs can be as big a motivator as the actuality" (Kolowich, 2009). The cost of losing a job or not obtaining a new job is greater than the cost of education. In addition, non-traditional colleges offering online courses often cost about the same of even less than traditional universities.
Unemployment benefits often pay educational costs during the first year of unemployment. Unemployed individuals can use these benefits to take classes. Some companies give educational benefits to employees that they had to layoff. Former employees can use these benefits to learn new skills. Individuals are able to enroll in classes without worrying about how to pay for them.
Many adults who would like to go to traditional universities to earn degrees are unable due to busy schedules. They have to work or search for new jobs. They have children to care for and households to run. "They may prefer to go into the classroom but they need to work or stay at home and they don't have the time. An online education may be their only chance to get a degree" (Johnson, 2006).
Online courses offer much more flexibility than traditional classroom classes. Students can participate on days that are convenient for them. If they have to do their schoolwork early in the morning before going to work or late at night after the children are asleep, they can. Online courses still have participation requirements and assignments with due dates, but if students know that they will be busy on days assignments are due, they can simply do these ahead of time.
Many online programs allow students to take only one or two courses at a time to be "full-time." This allows busy adults to focus on a minimal amount of subjects. Their other responsibilities would make it difficult to take four to five classes at one time as is necessary to be full-time at traditional universities.
Students do not have to leave their homes or jobs to attend online classes. They can participate in class from anywhere that has a computer with internet access. Time is not wasted driving to campuses, finding parking, and walking to classes. Parents do not have to worry about finding childcare for their children during class times. Students do not have to rush from work to school to home feeling as if they are constantly on the go. Online classes offer conveniences like these that traditional courses cannot.
According to Stevenson (2008), "today's non-traditional student is interested in one thing: completion, completion, completion." Adult students want to earn or complete their degrees as quickly as possible. "Students earning a bachelor's degree from University of Phoenix take one class at a time for five weeks per course" (Johnson, 2006). This means that students can complete up to 10 - three credit courses in a year or 30 semester credits. Accelerated online degree programs like this are a big attraction to individuals who desire to complete degrees quickly.
Because of our country's current economic recession, more often adults are enrolling in degree programs. Some hope to find new jobs, while others aspire to keep the jobs they have. Education is an effective way increase employment opportunities. Many of these individuals choose to attend non-traditional colleges. Non-traditional schools offer several advantages to benefit the busy adult. These advantages include cost, convenience, and completion. Non-traditional institutions "tend to offer programs that have traditionally been tailored to serve working adults" (Kolowich, 2009). Online courses offered by many of these schools are the ideal educational alternative for busy adults.
Johnson, F. (2003, August 21). Online Education Helps Fight Enrollment Dip. Enterprise/Salt Lake City, 36(7), 9. Retrieved August 1, 2009, from Regional Business News database.
Kolowich, S. (2009, January 16). Recession May Drive More Adult Students to Take Online Classes. Chronicle of Higher Education, 55(19), A11-A11. Retrieved August 1, 2009, from Academic Search Complete database.
Stevenson, J. (2008, September 15). Streamline the Pipeline. Business West, 25(9), 38. Retrieved August, 1, 2009, from Regional Business News database.
My name is Andrea L. Rodriguez. I am an educator. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies with an Emphasis in Spanish, a California Teaching Credential for kindergarten through eighth grade, and a Washington State residency Teaching Certificate for kindergarten through eight grade. I taught elementary education for nine years in both public and private schools in California and Washington. I also taught kindergarten through sixth grade outdoor, hands-on summer science camp for four years. Currently, I am a university enrollment advisor. I help adults choose degree programs to fit their goals, assist them in the enrollment and financial aid processes, and prepare them for success in online or campus college courses. I am pursuing a Master of Arts in Education/Adult Education and Training to better serve the adult students that I enroll. I also hope to one day become an employee trainer for a corporation or an instructor of adult college courses.