Education of Tomorrow

February 16, 2011

Oh, you graduated from so-and-so-dot-com?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Education Group @ 10:12 am

Often, when the question of education is raised, online grads seem to face skepticism about their degree. Friends, colleagues and even perspective employees can ask this question. Sometimes this question can also cost some embarrassment, argument or even a career. Here are some tips on how to spare yourself some uncomfortable minutes when asked where you got your degree from.

Add a little bit of pride in the answer.

Online education is an emerging trend and in a few years you will be treated as one of the most innovative people.  See it this way: you have tried something that no one else dared to. Even though you did not go to any of the traditional schools with the fancy names is does not mean you cannot get a job. On the other hand, you still paid money, read books and completed the assignments. Being confident is key in the interview; it is all about how much you are sure that you are right for a job. At the end of the day, there have been cases when people with no education were hired, so go ahead and impress your employer.

You are still an equally accredited professional.

That is true, if you have chosen wisely, your education is equal to the formal blackboard and desks version of it. Most of the distance schools are fully accredited and comply with educational standards of the province, state or country they are physically located in. In a word, if school offers a course, it must comply with some regulation, and if this is what is required for a job, then you must be considered equally qualified for it with the other applicants that graduated from traditional schools.

You are actually better than them in a way.

So while others were strictly regulated by attendance policies and scheduled classes, you had to find the time for studying and projects. Therefore, by choosing to obtain your degree online you are also getting some valuable experience in balancing your time between school and possible full time employment or other duties. Also, after taking online courses you are probably more technologically advanced than people who took usual classes. So, with all that, you should not be shy of your “fictitious” degree.

By: Yuliana Zaborova

PAPERLESS CLASSROOM

Filed under: Uncategorized — Education Group @ 10:10 am


Since the invention of the printing press it has seemed that everything and anything has been printed out onto sheets of paper. It has gotten to the point where we are destroying trees at a dangerously high rate. Current technology has allowed us to reduce the amount of paper used by sending files, emails and other information electronically, but people are still resorting to printing some of this out still. In a classroom setting, it seems that nearly all of your assignments and notes involve being printed or hand written on paper. Combined with the mass amounts of text books used by every student, this is adding up to an enormous amount of paper that is not necessary.  The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average person uses approximately one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree in paper per year.

Future classrooms will need to look to paperless options to help reduce this amount of waste. Many colleges and universities offer an online site that allows professors to send out assignments online so they do not need to be printed, but this will need to increase.

In the coming years paperback textbooks will become much less common. Currently devices such as a Kindle allow for one to purchase books and having a portable electronic copy. Although this technology may need to be improved slightly before it is the best it can be, it is a great start towards reducing the paper used to print mass amounts of books.

Reducing the use of paper in school is not only good for the environment, but it can also help cut down in the long term costs of having to photocopy, print and hand write pages and pages of information. It is estimated that in ten years’ time, school will decrease their paper consumption by no less than 90%. Advancements in technology will be able to make this transition hopefully seamless.

Sources:
“21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020.” TeachPaperless. Web. 08 Feb. 2011. .
This article lists twenty one ways in which classrooms can be predicted to change in the next ten years. It has a major focus on creating a paperless environment.

“Recycle on the Go | Reduce, Reuse, Recycle | US EPA.” US Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 08 Feb. 2011. .
This site was used to reference some statistics regarding the amount of paper used by the average person.

By: Rachel Q

VIDEO CONFERENCING

Filed under: Uncategorized — Education Group @ 10:09 am


Video conferencing has become a major asset in the business world today. It allows people from just about anywhere to meet and work together easily and in a cost effective manner. It can be used to hold meetings which can be easier than trying to discuss the same information through emails. It is only a matter of time before this translates over into our education system more consistently.

This technology can be incorporated into the classroom in many ways. One example of a very practical use is for group projects. It makes it easier for a group to discuss their work even while in different locations with ease and clarity. Sometimes trying to work things out over email or a form of chat such as msn can be difficult to express your ideas fully. It can also take a lot longer, but using video conferencing everyone can meet and discuss as if they were face to face. This can also be helpful in the case of a student being at home sick. If this student is still willing to meet up, but was not up to coming to class, they can still be a helpful member of their group. That then can relate to the idea of offering video conferencing for students who cannot make it in to class. Teachers would have the ability to use a webcam and have their lecture broadcasted to the absent student so they can still catch all the necessary information.

Another great way to enhance one’s learning experience is through video conferencing in an expert in a chosen subject. One example of this already starting to pan out is at Big Valley School in Alberta. The students were able to speak with a Holocaust survivor from the Holocaust Memorial Centre while they were preparing for a stage production of The Diary of Anne Frank. It is a creative way to incorporate new ways of learning.

These are just a few examples, as I am sure in the next nine years or so video conferencing will advance further. Schools could soon be able to incorporate this into their learning environment to help broaden their students’ horizons to a whole new way to access and share information. This link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0vfVauU6bY shows how the C2K uses video conferencing and some of the problems and solutions to these that they encountered.

“Inviting the World into the Classroom: Video Conferencing in Big Valley | CEA.” CEA | 2010 Ken Spencer Award Winners. Web. 07 Feb. 2011. <http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/inviting-world-classroom-video-conferencing-big-valley&gt;.

Young, Jeffrey R. “New Question for Professors: Should Students Be Allowed to Attend Classes Via Webcam? – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.” Home – The Chronicle of Higher Education. Web. 07 Feb. 2011. <http://chronicle.com/article/New-Question-for-Professors-/126073/&gt;.



By: Rachel Q

ONLINE CLASSROOMS VERSES NORMAL CLASSROOMS

Filed under: Uncategorized — Education Group @ 10:08 am


One of the biggest questions when it comes to the idea of the classroom of the future is whether the traditional classroom setting will cease to exist or not. Especially at a college or university level, many courses are being offered fully online or partially online.

Traditional classes still have their benefits. They teach you responsibility by requiring you to be set to a regular date and time. This pre-planned meeting time for handing in assignments, meeting with groups or writing a test works really well for some people so they can stay organized. Furthermore, a traditional classroom makes it easier to access the professor. It can be difficult to reach a teacher through email if you are having a hard time or have questions. Having a scheduled class time means you know that the professor will be there in that time slot to help you in any way you need. As well, it is much easier to meet new friends through a normal classroom. It is extremely hard to really connect with others through an online setting, when you never get to meet them in person. This is not only useful for finding new friends, but it gives you real social interactions which can be highly lacking if all of your courses are online.

As with all things, there are cons to this set up; having that set schedule means that it lacks in flexibility. If you miss a class, it is easy to fall behind or lose marks due to a pop quiz. In addition it can be a chore to try to fit all of the required classes for your degree into your schedule. Another major downside to normal classes, on campus is the cost to students that drive or take public transportation to get there. Parking passes as well as the gas money can really break the bank if you have to drive a long way in every day for a class, especially if you just have one class that day. The same goes for public transit; that couple dollars per way really adds up over the course of a school year.

The one thing most people either completely love or completely hate about an online course is the amount of freedom it gives you. It does not tie you down to a set time to be in class and you do not have to leave the comfort of your house, which is usually appreciated in the winter once you get bad weather. This also allows you to learn at your own pace and helps you develop a better understanding of your work habits and what you need to do to stay on top of the task at hand. Online classes also open people up to expressing their opinions. It is easier to express your ideas, especially more controversial ones online than face to face. In comparison with traditional classes, online courses significantly reduce the amount of money you spend on your schooling. This involves not spending as much on gas money and parking. Chances are you could even make more money by having a part time job because of your more flexible hours.

However, online classes still have their down sides. The majority of them result from the lack of face to face contact with classmates and your professor. It is very likely that you will never actually meet any of them, unless you have to work on a group assignment that requires meeting up. In some cases, professors can be someone in your desired field that you can look up to for advice and their opinion. It is hard to build up that relationship when you do not get to meet them. Online courses also require a certain level of discipline which some students lack. Without this it is very easy to fall behind in your work.

In the future it looks as if the option for online courses will become more easily available for a wider selection of classes. However because everyone learns differently and there are still many benefits to a traditional classroom sense, it would be nearly impossible to fully erase them from our education system. Traditional courses may further their use of the internet to offer some classes online throughout the course or to post videos of the lectures online to help add a bit more flexibility but as for removing them entirely, it does not seem likely. Offering students the choice between online and on campus classes seems to be the best way to compromise. This site http://www.allbusiness.com/technology/computer-software-customer-relation/1054803-1.html offers a more in depth look at how online classes and traditional classes and affect a students’ performance. It is a great read to add on to what has been noted above.

Sources:
Jennings, Crystal. “Online Classes vs. Traditional Classes.” Ezine Articles. Web. 07 Feb. 2011. .
This article gives the reader some background information regarding the differences and similarities between online classes and traditional class settings.

Wenzel, Julie. “Pros and Cons of Online Courses vs. a Traditional Classroom.” Associated Content from Yahoo! – Associatedcontent.com. Web. 07 Feb. 2011. .
This article gives both the pros and cons of online classes verses the traditional class setting. It tries to stay unbiased however it concludes with the author’s personal opinion on her preference.

By: Rachel Q

USE OF CELL PHONES IN CLASSROOMS

Filed under: Uncategorized — Education Group @ 10:07 am


At this day and age cell phones have become very much of a “must have” item. Even children are now joining this wireless revolution. According to C&R Research over 20% of 6-9 year old and 60% of 10-14 year olds in North America own a cell phone. This of course can pose some problems when they are brought into a classroom setting. They have been argued to be a distraction for students, especially when used for text messaging. This You Tube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOIbYGMH74I&feature=rec-LGOUT-exp_fresh+div-1r-6-HM is a portion of a Simpsons episode that touches on the issue of students using their cell phones. It is a comical video that may be a touch over the top but it does show some realistic concerns.  It shows the new teacher using text messaging to communicate with the students.

Texts have now replaced the old methods of communication within a classroom, such as passing notes. The problem with this is that it can be harder to detect their use and it makes it so much easier for students to cheat. If a text message can be so cheap and easy to send, it increases the temptation to send a message to a classmate during a test to check your answers.

Although this is a viable concern, cell phones and more particularly smartphones, offer a number of advantages when used wisely in a classroom setting. Most of these phones now offer access to the internet, where with the click of a few buttons one can have access to an unlimited source of information. One tutor in favour of cell phones in a class setting said “The ability to quickly look up math formulas and examples on my smartphone is an invaluable tool during study time” (Cellular-news). If students were to take advantage of this source of knowledge having a cell phone within their classroom could become almost a necessity.

Cell phones also have the capability to capture pictures which, when used appropriately can be helpful for students. Say you were unable to keep up with the teacher’s notes, or your friend missed a class, you could quickly snap a picture of the notes for yourself to copy down later or to send to your friend. It can be a helpful tool to keep up a buddy system which can prevent students from falling behind. This also makes it easier for the teacher, so they do not always have to worry about making and extra set of notes for absent students. Of course these cameras have been known to enhance one’s ability to take part in cyber bullying, but again it comes down to the responsibility of the user to decide how to properly use this piece of technology.

As far as it can be seen, cell phones probably won’t become a mandatory learning tool in classrooms across the board. Although they have a number of useful features to help enhance a student’s learning experience, there are still too many irresponsible teenagers who abuse the power that comes with this technology. However, some teachers may opt to allow the use of cell phones in their classroom, while others may ban it completely. In the end, it comes down to how the students choose to use these devices; whether as helpful tools or just another way to cause trouble, it is up to them.

Sources:
Christodulu, Suzzie. “Cell Phones in Education: Resource or Distraction?” Cellular-news | Daily News from the Telecoms Industry. Web. 04 Feb. 2011. .
This article discusses the issue of whether cell phones should be banned from schools. It references statistics from various tutors and how they feel cell phones help or inhibit the learning environment of their students.

Kennedy, Robert. “Cell Phones – Using Cell Phones at School.” Private Schools – Data and Information About Private Schools. Web. 04 Feb. 2011. .
This article gives both opinions on the cell phone debate regarding their uses in the classroom. Views it from a parents’ stand point about wanting to be able to access their child as well as from the teachers’ side of issues such as students using these devices to cheat.


By: Rachel Q

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Filed under: Uncategorized — Education Group @ 10:06 am


Not everyone learns in the same manner. This has been known for decades now and over the course of history our idea of a classroom has changed in order to adapt to the growing needs of the students. Elementary schools used to consist of a single classroom for all grades combined. Over time, due to advancements in our education as well as a growing population this has changed to larger schools with multiple classes for each grade. We now have a better understanding of how children learn and grow as well as newer technology to help enhance their education experience.

The idea of the average classroom needs to face some changes to help accommodate the various ways in which children learn. Having different sections within a single room that allow for various learning methods is a great start. Classrooms soon will need to have areas that allow for the following methods of education: Collaboration, Education, Communication, Creation, Investigation and Generation. According to _Space, a European design company, these headings stand for respective places within a classroom that can facilitate different activities.

The collaborative section would be an area for students to gather in groups to work on assignments together. It can allow them to integrate ideas and to work on communicating with others. This not only helps them get the project finished, but helps them build necessary social skills.

For the education area, it would be a space similar to the typical classroom we have now while incorporating more modern technology. Teachers could stand up in front of their class to teach them about a new topic while using technology such as smart boards that are interactive.

Communication is an essential component to social interactions and is a vital skill that children learn through schooling. A classroom needs to have a space where students can present their work, talk about their ideas and share information with one another.

Creation is another often over-looked aspect of learning. Within every classroom there needs to be an ability to make art. This can be in the traditional sense of using paints, markers, clay and such but can also incorporate advanced technology, again such as smart boards that allow students to create on a computer to share with their classmates.

For some students, the previous learning methods don’t always suit them. They are more hands on learners. In these cases having a space for investigation allows them to experiments and test out their ideas. This can be compared to the typical science lab. In the future classrooms, smart boards and other computer software can be used to transfer their results from a lab area to the communication area in order to discuss their findings.

Finally the students need an area to generate their work. It can be a simple space for individuals to finish assignments and work alone. Currently for elementary and secondary school students to gain all of these methods of learning they have to travel to various classrooms within the school. _Space predicts that in the future all of these aspects will be combined into one room so students have the liberty to learn in their preferred method while others work in their area of choice. This will accommodate for the various ways in which we enjoy learning.

Sources:
Kembel, George. “The Classroom In 2020 – Forbes.com.” Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. Web. 08 Feb. 2011. .
This article discusses many general ways in which the class setting will change. It touches on a number of topics such as having a team of teachers intead of a single one, as well as how people learn and ways we can accomodate that in their class.

“_space – Learn.” _space Group. Web. 05 Feb. 2011. .
This is the web page for _Space Designs which connects with the youtube video also sourced. It gives a background information on their ideas for a future of classroom designs.

_Space. “YouTube – Classroom of the Future.” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. _Space. Web. 04 Feb. 2011. .
This video is from a design firm in the United Kingdom that is integrating technology to create more advanced design for interiors. It discussed a proposed design layout for elementary classrooms and how we can improve upon the traditional class setting.

By: Rachel Q

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