Education in Our Networked Future

Education in Our Networked Future

As we enter the Connected Age, our education systems are increasingly falling short. We have carefully crafted and refined the education system, schools, vocational colleges and secular universities, but they are edifices of different age.

There are three reasons why I say so.

First, we have moved from time of information scarcity to information abundance. Today’s challenge is not to access information, but to check its credential and to be able to use it in context. But our prescriptive education is mostly about ‘knowing’ things rather than ‘discovery’. The school system is designed to discourage inventiveness and questioning. The students are still required to write memorized answers rather than Googling the facts and building independent or collaborative coursework.

Moreover, the education system today is built as Value Chain systems. The focus is on the Process, and the whole ideis to add value to student who turns up at the beginning of the semester so that she can meet the end-Semester requirements. But such standardized processes are, by definition, inflexible to accommodate diverse learning preferences of individuals. The mass produced education also discriminates against niche subjects and special interests. This education system fails to meet its societal need – because making accountants out of artists does not sound like smart ideany more.

Finally, today’s learners come to college after seeing computer at home for their entire lifetime, having their mobile phones since their school days and most, if not all, have their best friends on Facebook or Orkut. They come from the long tail world of endless, special, personal possibilities. So, the college, the classes, the tutorial batches are suddenly very alien to them. The only way education can become meaningful to today’s learners is by connecting back with life.

So, at one end, I hear the teachers complaining that students were texting or checking emails on their mobile while the class was on. I sat in school board meeting to decide whether students should be expelled from the class for using Facebook during the sessions. At the extreme end, there are complaints of abuse, disrespect, physical violence against the teachers. While this may be symptom of wider social dysfunction in some cases, these are also indicators that the education does not seem to be delivering value.

So, privatise! This is the modern perspective to solve the education problem. Privatize the whole system and watch the magic: suddenly, new shiny computers will transform the classroom and make it fun place. Modern, ready for Facebook generation. But most efforts in privatisation has not changed the system, they merely tried to improve it. The traditional value chain model was retained. The choice declined, with demands for more profitable courses crowding out the niche ones. The whole system resembled more like factory, with greater focus on process efficiencies.

But an alternative model of education is quietly emerging. This is model, which one would call Facilitated User Network. This is different from Value Chain, because, here, value does not reside in the process or the …

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How to Write a Tutorial That Makes Your Readers Smarter

How to Write a Tutorial That Makes Your Readers Smarter

One of the most shared types of content online is the tutorial. Teaching your blog’s audience to complete a task not only establishes you as an expert, it also makes your readers smarter and more loyal.

How-to articles are only useful if they’re understandable, though, so let’s talk about how to write amazing tutorials.

Start With the Very Basics

Bloggers make the mistake of assuming their readers know where to start. The result is a tutorial that’s too complicated for beginners to understand, or that is unhelpful because it starts in the wrong place.

Pretend that your reader is an absolute beginner on your topic, and start with the very first step needed to achieve a goal. For example, if you’re writing a tutorial about using WordPress, start with logging into the WordPress admin dashboard and go from there

A good proofreading technique it is to pretend that you’re explaining the process to your mother.

Be as Thorough As Possible

Your tutorial will always make sense to you, but the key is for every step to be clear to your readers. Don’t skip around or breeze through parts that seem “easy.” Slow down and describe every key action in detail. Users who truly “get it” will just scroll past those. Beginners will be thankful for the extensive advice.

Use Screenshots Images to Guide the Reader

A lot of people are visual learners, so use screenshots to illustrate the process you’re trying to teach. These pictures don’t have to be  can sometimes get away with one good picture of where a setting is found or what an option box looks like.

If you have a copy of Photoshop, blur out parts of screenshots that aren’t important and highlight the area of the program/webpage you’re talking about in the tutorial. The added focus will make your image even better.

Sub-Headings Are Your Friends

Breaking a tutorial up into separate sections (as opposed to a giant wall of text) makes it easier to read and much more user-friendly. Give each step in the process it’s own heading and then use sub-headings to further explain tips or sub-directions.

Make the Difficulty Level Clear

Make sure that readers know the level of knowledge required to accomplish that task you’re describing. User error can cause serious headaches if someone inexperienced tackles a big project too soon. Linking to basic tutorials is a good way to prepare your readers for the transition from basic to intermediate to expert, respectively.

Tutorials are a staple of content marketing, so get out there and start writing some today.…

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How To Find The Best Accredited Online Degree Programs

How To Find The Best Accredited Online Degree Programs

Today, there is no shortage of online schools. Most offer students a much greater level of flexibility and control than traditional educational establishments. If you are to invest funds and energy into studying for a degree, you should ensure that the school you are planning to enroll in has been accredited by a recognized agency. Accreditation is only provided to those schools and colleges that have met specific standards in terms of quality of education and access to facilities.

Finding an accredited online degree program is actually quite easy. If you were to search online for just ten minutes, you will be provided with countless options. It is not so far fetched to suggest that in the near future, there will be more online schools in operation than bricks and mortar establishments.

It can be useful to develop an understanding as to the different types of accreditation institutions. To keep up to date with the latest information on accrediting agencies in your state, visit the Department of Education website. As of 2011, there are no separate accrediting bodies that specialize in online programs, it is the same organizations who assess all schools and colleges.

As there are literally hundreds of net based colleges that have now received accreditation, determining which institution would provide the best education is not always straightforward. You can use your own criteria to help shortlist a few interesting options. We all have different ideas as to what factors are most important when choosing a degree program.

Consider your budget, as the cost of education can vary massively. When analyzing the cost of studying, always keep in mind that the money spent is an investment in your future. With a recognized certification in hand, it should be possible to take up an occupation that provides an excellent compensatory package. The debts incurred in education can be quickly paid back upon starting a career.

Once you have short-listed a handful of institutions that are accredited and within your budget, it would then be time to delve a little deeper. Spend some amount of time researching the background of the establishment as well as the teaching staff. If possible, log on to the institutions’ websites and search for information relating to graduation rates, and student feedback. The opinions of current students is of great value when comparing schools and colleges, they can pass on information on the pitfalls and benefits of particular programs.…

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Parents Who Take Their Kids To School

Parents Who Take Their Kids To School

It is either an honor or a chore to be responsible for dropping your kids off at school. The choice is truly yours. Strive to do things to capitalize on this time with your kids. This article applies to both moms and dads who take their kids to school. How many of you have friends with kids older than yours? What’s the single most popular piece of advice you get from them? With me it’s; “Take advantage of each  grow up so quick”! Other times it is “Spend as much time as you can because tomorrow may never come”.

With that said I try to enjoy the very short trip to school with my daughter Cheyenne. I keep the radio off and talk to her about her school day. She enjoys her school but I know the days can be long so I try to plant reminder seeds of the fun things to come. For example “Hey Cheyenne, don’t forget, we’re going camping this weekend”. I talk about needing weekend plans as adults in my book Building Foundations By Setting Goals to boost our moods and ease the grind of the work week. This concept works well for kids too. Remind them to focus on the fun times ahead when they get frustrated or tired of being in school. Tell them it will help them plow ahead with their school work moving them closer to the fun times.

Remind your kids how proud you are of them and how independent they are becoming. I cannot emphasize this enough. When appropriate, have conversations about what to do to continue to be a great student. You can talk about things like; Don’t forget to raise your hand to speak and the basic things that will keep them in good standing with the teacher. Be careful not to turn this piece into a preaching segment or your kids will get turned off.

Finally, do what you can to inspire your kids to let them know they can (and want to) talk to you about their school experience. When they share good and not so good things about their day be sure to thank them for sharing that with you and remind them that you truly care about the details of their school day experience. The more we know as parents the better we can be at fixing issues before they become problems and turning good things into great things.

I wish you the very best school year ‘s going to be a great year!…

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How To Get All The Back To School Supplies You Need

How To Get All The Back To School Supplies You Need

When it comes time to load up on school supplies, the last thing you want to do is drive all over town to get notebooks one place, pens and pencils in another and yet another for backpacks. With gas prices like they are, you even hate to leave the house at all, let alone shopping all over town for back to school supplies. The best way to find all the school supplies you need is to actually go online and find them all at once.

Even though there are tons of sites to get school supplies at, finding that one great site that has everything needed will save a lot of time. Not only do you save time by hitting a one stop shop but you’ll save money on shipping as well. Having a checklist of back to school supplies ready when you sit down to do it will make it much easier to get everything you need as quickly as possible. To start you off, here’s a quick list:

– Personalized pencils kill two birds with one stone. You’ll be getting pencils plus they’ll be less likely to wander off.

– If you’ve got pencils, you’ll need a pencil sharpener.

– Pen and pencil cases are a great way to keep track of extra pencils and erasers.

– Personalized notebooks are definitely a necessity and a great way to show off your style.

– With all of the books and back to school supplies that students have to haul around, having a good backpack is not only handy to have, but actually an essential.

– If you bring your lunch to school every day, you’ll want a great lunch bag to bring it in. You’ll be able to bring what you want and save your lunch money for something better.

– A folding study table is a totally cool way to do your homework since you aren’t being stuck at a desk or at the dining room table.

– Three ring binders make staying organized a lot easier with pockets for papers and notes, the ability to put flat pencil cases in them and of course, loose leaf notebook paper.

– If the kids have to haul around sports equipment and gym clothes, duffel bags are a must-have.

– If you aren’t always some place where there’s a hard surface to write on, a clipboard is the perfect solution.

While these ideas for back to school supplies for kids cover most of them you’ll probably have other things you’ll need to get as well. But this should give you the basics.…

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