June 16, 2010

Getting that online tutoring

One of the things that this internet stuff might really change is a shake up of how the whole K-12 education business works. At the moment we're still doing everything in a very 19th century manner: everyone goes to the big education factories every day. Then someone stands up and talks at them: then they all go home again. It surely cannot be beyond the wit of man to design a better system which incorporates all of the new technologies?

There are colleges out there which have all of their lectures online for example: buy the textbook, do the tests and watch the lectures: OK, so you won't get a degree at the end but you will have learned.

And example of the sorts of things I'm talking about is this company that offers Math help. the basic concept is that there an awful lot of very good teachers in India: many more than there are in the US in fact. So why not communicate with them over the net and get that personalised, one on one algebra help which the American schools can't and don't offer? I mean, let's face it, algebra is one of those subjects where you really do need someone holding your hand while you try to unravel it.

They also offer fractions of course: and most other areas of math. You can get a certain amount of help for free and then can sign up to get much more by paying for it.

But back to the major point. Education used to be a very personalised thing, like almost all production was. Then we had mass education, as with mass production. We're now moving back to personalised production of most things: shouldn't we be using these new tools to be doing the same with education?

June 16, 2010 in Academia | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 29, 2010

Getting that needed science help

OK, so we all know that the internet is going to change our lives....the thing is though that no one's really quite worked out all of the specific ways in which the internet will change our lives. One where it's all just really beginning is in education. Think about what that usually involves: everyone travels to a central point where someone stands up and talks.

With the internet, why do the travelling to a central point? Why not just webcast it all?

Well, yes, OK there are going to be problems. For example, what about those who need to ask questions, who need ehlp? Perhaps even private tutoring? Well, that can be done online too. In fact, there's a great little company offering just that: Chemistry help and even, much more useful really, chemistry answers.

Yes, of course, they do other sciences as well: physics help and physics answers. They've also got a huge set of maths offerings which you can access through their sidebar.

I really do think that this is going to be the future of education: once everyone's on the net then why does everyone need to go to that central school every day? Why not learn at your own pace with the help of people online?

March 29, 2010 in Academia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 14, 2009

Help with college courses

We know that the internet has allowed everyone to get ahead with their college course. But not always in the most honest and open way, it has to be said. Copying the week´s essay from Wikipedia is possible but not likely to do much for your education: whether you get caught or not.

It´s also true that the answer to just about every question you might get asked is out there as well. But thats not really the point of ecudation either. You´re trying to learn a subject, not just the answers.

Which is why this site looks so good.Instead of aiding you in cheating, their aiding you in learning, by providing you with the textbooks materials. For example, the General Physics Textnook Solutions. Or the Michigan Textbook Solutions.

The point is that they´re not trying to help you cheat, they´re trying to help you understand. Those General Physics Textbook Solutions for example. You´ve still got to work through the problem, it´s just that you now have an aid to help you so so.

Like having another teacher at your elbow. Sounds pretty good, eh?

April 14, 2009 in Academia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 07, 2009

Graduation parties!

We're coming to that time of year when we've got to start planning. Planning for the great moment in academic life.....when someone graduates! Yes, that's right, we're coming up to the season of the Graduation Party, an essential one of life's marking points.

The thing is, there are so many different ways of celebrating this, of theming the actual party. It's worth actually hooking up with a professional company who can help you organise them, so complex can they become. For example, click through here to see a Gossip Girl themed Graduation Party. There are of course many other possible themes as well.

OK, so that's the High School graduation, what about college? They've just had four years of keg parties (yes, I know, you can't drink until you're 21 but anyone think that really happens?) so you'll want to go a little more formal than that.

But the most important thing to remember is that graduation is one of those rites of passage, like marriage, which mark major changes in our lives. Thus they should indeed be celebrated but the choice of how to do so is entirely up to you....but don't forget to ask the person who is graduating what they would like too!

March 7, 2009 in Academia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 09, 2008

Back to School

Aha! The school year is starting and so the great adventure begins. No, not the simple beginning of the education of on of the darling little anklebiters, rather, the adventure of making sure that the child retains all the things which you've so expensively equipped them with for that school year.

Yes, this means those  Color labels which need to be plastered over everything the child owns so that they can be distinguished from those of others. After all, you've spent weeks earning the money to buy them and further weeks trailing around the stores to get them....you really don't want to find that they're confused with those of other children, do you?

And it isn't just the protractor or the compass set that needs to be marked with those Color labels. Click through to the site to see the excellent suggestions for other places where they might usefully be used. How about on the lunchbox? We know that these can easily become lost or confused with those of another.....if you've gone to the effort of making that organic wholegrain salad sandwitch, you really don't want your little one opening someone else's box to find a PBJ, do you?

Gym clothes, toys, homework....all can and should be labelled so it's worth clicking through to see how you can make your life easier by doing so.

I  certainly used Dymo to help me do this when I went to school and chances are you did too....

September 9, 2008 in Academia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 05, 2007

Yes But No But....

I'm agin the basic idea, here. That someone other than the parents of the children going to school should pay for the books. Look, someone has to pay, there really ain't free books out there. It can be paid from tax, sure, or it can be paid by breeders to educate their own children.

Given that said breeders are winning the Darwinian race, the purpose of life, seems a bit off to insist that they shouldn't pay more than others to educate the little darlin's.

This bit does resonate though:

What is even worse than this is that there is very little culture of “second hand” in Portugal (something that maddens me).

I've long been a fan of recycling.....Oxfam shops, Thrift Stores in the US. Someone doesn't want it anymore, but I might for a couple of $. Great!

Which leads to, yes, most Portuguese, but (where appropriate) support these guys.


September 5, 2007 in Academia | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 02, 2007

Cameron on Education

An encouraging sign:

Should we accept this? Absolutely not. Take Sweden. There, standards have been raised by allowing innovative organisations to set up new schools in the state sector, championing excellence and giving parents more control and choice.

Sweden, as we know, has a pure voucher scheme. Any two qualified teachers can set up and try to attract pupils. The money follows dependent upon how many pupils they attract.

Compare this to Labour's methods: obsessive micro-management and rigid attachment to old-fashioned ideas has entrenched deprivation, shut doors and closed minds.

Indeed, make educating children a valuable economic activity and allow the market to get on with doing it.

Ah, what's this?

Vitally, we will also put an immediate stop to the closure of special schools.....Second, rigour in standards. This Government is failing the next generation by not providing them with the skills to succeed. We need to focus on the qualifications employers really value. Take GCSEs. When you include the core subjects of English, Maths, Science and a Modern Language, fewer children today are getting five A*-C passes than in 1997. We will make sure that children are taught using the right methods,....That is why we campaigned so hard for the re-introduction of synthetic phonics as the best way of teaching reading.....

He's really not got it, has he? Getting rid of micro.management does not mean imposing your preferred method of teaching reading, it doesn't mean your preferred exams be taken nor does it mean that your preferred types of schools stay open. It means that all of these decisions are left to the interaction of parents and teachers and that you, the politicians, bugger off and go and play with the trains and the tanks.

Parents, communities and social enterprises should be allowed to go into deprived areas that need great schools, set one up and receive funding for every pupil they attract. With the freedom to do things differently, their success would inspire others to follow.

If you limit it to "deprived areas" then it won't work. You've allowed the bureaucracy to invade again, by determining what are those deprived areas.

Havethe courage of your convictions....well, assuming that this is conviction driven rather than focus group...and actually do it right. Stick a voucher on the back of every child and let the market sort it out.

September 2, 2007 in Academia | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 26, 2007

What an Excellent Idea

Although might I suggest a small change?

Education is set to become a central battleground between Labour and the Conservatives as David Cameron considers plans that would allow parents to set up their own schools to rival those of the local authority.

In areas where schools are performing badly, the councils should have no power to stop such a move, a Tory policy review will recommend this week. Co-chaired by former cabinet minister Stephen Dorrell, it will argue that forcing local authorities to fund the schools would boost exam performance.

Instead of hedging it around with criteria like "in areas where schools are performing badly" and "parents setting up their won schools" why not simply state that education funding is attatched to the child? As in a voucher? Only one more thing is then necessary: allow any two qualified teachers to set up a school.

This is roughly the Sewdish system, one that is admired, provides much greater social mobility than our own system etc etc.

Don't reinvent the wheel: simply import a system that we know works.

August 26, 2007 in Academia | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 23, 2007

Boris on Degrees

It's an interesting argument and one that is even valid: if it weren't for one bothersome fact:

But the final judge of the value of a degree is the market, and in spite of all the expansion it is still the case that university graduates have a big salary premium over non-graduates.

This is true of some (many? Most?) degrees, but not of all. From the same paper (although rather older edition) that Boris is writing for:

Subject choice is crucial. Other things being equal, the rates of return to maths and computing, engineering and technological subjects and medicine (the "hard" subjects) are, unsurprisingly, robustly positive. Other choices are less remunerative and, in the case of arts degrees for men and after allowing for the new £3,000 level of tuition fees, the calculated average rate of return is actually negative.

August 23, 2007 in Academia | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

August 13, 2007

Subsidizing Education

There's really only one good answer to this sort of request:

In a report today, it calls on ministers to create incentives for students who study maths, science and engineering at A-level and university. It wants £1,000-a-year bursaries for degree courses in the subjects and a requirement that almost half the brightest teenagers study sciences at GCSE.

The CBI says that without the move the British economy will suffer, with top firms forced to hire engineers and technicians from India and other rival nations.

Off you go then.

If industry thinks that it is industry's best interests to have more maths and science A levels and degrees taken, so much so that extra money should be spent upon attracting people to do so, then there's nothing at all stopping said industry from setting up such a scheme and paying for it.

August 13, 2007 in Academia | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack