Saturday, October 27, 2012

K-12 Digital Education Advantages For Your Student

A K-12 digital education is available for your child. There many reasons for parents to select homeschooling education versus public school or private school education. A K-12 digital education offers many educational advantages for your student. The homeschooling education should include a strong textbook foundation as well as a thorough instructor and lesson plan. The home school education should not be exclusively based on education of the instructor or limited to a curriculum purchased. A K-12 Digital education must provide creativity; customized learning based on the needs of the student, and cutting edge digital educational materials for grades kindergarten through 12th.
A homeschooled student will receive the absolute best education possible without the expense and overhead of ordering multiple copies of hardcopy texts. Textbooks will not need to be discarded at the end each school year. Additional text can be printed as needed or simply read from the computer itself this provides a savings on textbooks and materials for the educator and the student. There will be a substantial savings provided along with the best materials needed.
Textbooks, instruction manuals, and lesson plans are the basic foundation for any homeschooling program. Homeschooling does not have to be limited to the parents understanding of the material that the student is learning. Home school information and education should instead be based on the student's individual learning style and the materials that must be taught based on the students grade level and educational needs. K-12 digital education materials are available through easy download. Instruction manuals, textbooks and comprehensive lesson plans are available in digital format for grades Kindergarten through twelfth.
Building your own comprehensive K-12 customized digital textbooks is feasible and affordable. Digital education is provided with core materials and supplemental education will content that provides the enforcement, review, and enrichment that is necessary for students to learn, comprehend, and retain and apply the information needed for their grade level. Why struggle to create learning materials for your homeschooled student based on their individual needs when it can be done customized online with a K-12 Digital education.
A K-12 digital education and cutting edge digital education materials will provide a comprehensive educational program for your homeschooled student in excellence and ease. Subscribing to the my bookshelf program will provide customized textbooks for the home school student as well as customized daily lesson plans provided through digital text. Each student's uniqueness and learning needs can be met through this customized education plan that is focused on providing the best education for students. The educational advantages of utilizing a K-12 digital education are outstanding.
You can find at Complete Curriculum all that a Ministry of Education approved homeschool curriculum may need: elementary textbooks, homeschool worksheets, k 12 lesson plans, and customized textbooks from experts in every subject besides of a lot of digital textbooks online.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to Save For Your Child's Education

Paying for your child's education is an expensive business for any parent, but it is just about one of the most important things you will ever give your child, and their education is not something you want to cut corners on. Therefore, you need to plan to save for your child's education as soon as possible, and you need to know you are contributing to your child's education savings fund in the most effective way.
1 Start saving for your child's education before they're born
If you are planning to have children or if you already have one on the way then you know they are going to need to go to school, and complete some sort of study once they finish school. Whether your child decides to go to university, TAFE, a technical college or take up an apprenticeship you can start saving for their future now.
It doesn't matter to begin with that you don't know exactly what you are saving for because you know that in one form or another you are going to help pay for your child's education. If your children are very young or still on the way you may also like to think about whether you will pay for just their high school education and encourage them to apply for a scholarship or get a part time job to pay their way through college, or whether you want to take care of all of their education costs so they can start their adult life debt free and with their own savings in the bank.
2 Research the costs of your child's education
This is where you need to start thinking about the types of education you are saving for because having a savings target will help you stay on track with your savings plan, as well as help you reassess your savings and funds along the way. Also don't forget to calculate the costs of the education, plus the incidental costs too; these include textbooks, workbooks, accommodation and travel.
Knowing when your child will need access to their education fund will also help you calculate how much you need. If you are saving for the college tuition of an unborn child you need to project the costs to what they will be 20 years in the future, if your child is already at school you only need to work out what tertiary education will cost in around 10 years.
3 Saving and investing tools, for your child's education
So now you have an idea of how much you need to save for your child's education, make sure you are using the right saving and investing tools to get you to that goal. Two of the main financial products you may choose start your child's education savings with are a high interest savings account, or a term deposit account.
A high interest savings account is a flexible online savings account which allows you to make deposits from your everyday transaction account whenever it suits you; you can even set up a regular transfer every pay day to make sure that constant contributions are being made to your child's future, without you having to remember. High interest savings accounts are usually fee free and will calculate a high rate of interest on your savings daily and pay you the compounded interest monthly. Because a high interest savings account is so easy to open and use, you can set up an education savings plan when you first start saving for your child's future no matter how old they are, and you know your savings will be safe and will keep growing as they are in a stable bank account, rather than a sometimes unpredictable investment portfolio.
A term deposit account requires an initial investment to offer you substantial returns, and the longer the term you choose, the more interest you will be able to earn on your investment. You can often choose a term for your term deposit from one month to five years, but the longer the term, the better the returns and the greater the investment amount, the higher the interest rate you'll be able to negotiate. Therefore, you may want to consider transferring some or all of the funds you have grown in a high interest savings account, into a term deposit account when your child starts high school, to give your education savings a boost in time for your child to decide what they want to study and where.
4 Education funds
There are a range of education funds and state operated savings plans which can help you save for your child's education in a reduced tax or tax free account. Often education funds are run in a similar way to a scholarship plan and this is what makes them tax effective, some education saving plan contributions can even be tax free. Often an education fund can be opened for any child up to the age of 10 years old, and you or your parents - the grandparents - can make contributions regularly, or in lump sum contributions when you are able. Education funds will allow you to save for your child's school or tertiary education and can be paid out as an allowance when your child goes to college to cover their books and living expenses.
5 Prepaid tuition
There are also state run programs which allow you to purchase a year (or however many years you choose) of tuition for your child at the cost they are now, to be redeemed when your child begins their study. This helps you overcome the issue of inflation affecting your savings, and saving an amount which covers the costs for your child's education now, may not be enough to cover the costs when they actually need the funds.
There are a number of dedicated education saving financial products, and state and government initiatives will also vary depending where you live, and where your child decides to study. That's why it is important for you to start with these top five tips and do your own research on the best way to save for your child's education.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Education, Meaning, Aim and Function

The process of defining the meaning of Education is to problematize its lexicology and re-conceptualize it. An example is illustrated from real day-life. A multinational company involved in the making of advanced pharmaceutical products decides to get rid of its wastes in a cheaper manner rather then waste-treat them. They dump the wastes around the coast of a poorer African continent based on the company's policy of maximum profits. Are the board of directors in the company educated? They are, one can assume for rhetorical comfort. An illiterate, native-tribe living in the rainforest jungles of Papua New Guinea doesn't know the meaning of Environmental jargon: 'Reduce, Recycle & Reuse'; yet, they conserve and sustain the environment, based on the level of skills known to them. Are the people of the rainforest uneducated just because they are illiterate?
The problems connected with narrowness of meaning called Education emerge within the contextuality of the above mentioned examples, and the conceptual difficulties involved in attempting to centre meaning upon Education is by all means complicated. So the meaning of education has to emerge from this narrowness to the broadness of meaning. In its broadness of meaning Education is the process of 'stimulating' the 'person' with Experiences, Language and Ideology, beginning from the time of birth and continuing till the time of death. This meaning of Education would give rise to the Aim, as disseminating formally, non-formally, culturally, nationally, scientifically and ritually-skills, literacy, knowledge, norm and values, as pedagogies of the institutions giving rise to the aim. This aim would be directly related to the perpetuation of that Society as an ideological structure. Aim would again determine the Function of Education The function of Education would be thus related to how meaning and aims are synchronized into processes called experience of application. The thesis statement of this paper is developed on three levels-one, the meaning of education as the stimulation of person a with language, experiences and ideology-two, aim of education being dissemination and perpetuation, and three, function, as synchronized processing.
The development of the Meaning of Education as a stimulation of a person from birth to death with language, experiences and ideology makes the person, a Being of the process as an Ontology. This process starts right from birth as affective language, for example, a mother's cooing, to a process where the person becomes a cognitive structure, as I-the speaking subject or ego-subject. Here, the individual undergoes the norms, traditions of the society's culture and learns to adapt and appropriate the symbolic codes of the society. Along with this process, the individual also learns to formalize his or her adaptation and appropriation to a literacy process i.e. developing skills and competencies. Thus we find that the Meaning of Education to be multi-leveled as well as multiple -oriented, through both formalist and non-formalist institutions of society. The formalist institutions which procreate the Meaning of Education are the Schools, the Government, Law and Order etc. Other formalist institutions like family, religion and native-traditions can work both openly as well as silently to orient an individual to the meaning of experience as the educated. For example a mother's oral transmission of a folk song to the daughter is silent whereas a marriage function is a more open aspect as the performance of a culture's pedagogy. Thus language and experiences generate the codes for that society to experience the Meaning of Education, making possible for ideologies to exist.
Thus the meaning of Education would give rise to the Aim, as disseminating formally, non-formally, culturally, nationally, scientifically and ritually-skills, literacy, knowledge, norms and values as pedagogies. Dissemination would mean the spreading of the Society's cultural norms and values. It would also mean the spreading of Nationalism as democratic-pluralism, multiculturalism, diversity and celebration or its reverse as intolerance, authoritarianism through pedagogies; it is also the development of systematized pedagogies- promoted as theoretical and applied within the Society's Scientific and Technocratic institutions.
The Aim of Education would be directly related to the perpetuation of that Society as an ideological structure. The contemporariness of perpetuation would answer the questions related to the aim of Education being: empowerment, sustainability, preservation, minimization, conflict resolution, creativity and innovation.
The Aim of Education as well as the Meaning of Education give rise to the Function of Education as meaning, that is the synchronized processing of Aim and Function into a materialist, operational process. Synchronization of the Meaning and Aim of education takes places at various levels action. They are Making, Transmission and Implementation and Cultural-Simulation. At the Making level, the Function of Education is connected with 'Policy Formulation' related to the Meaning and Aim of Education. Policy Formulation can reflect on multiple issues like development, sustainability, scientific progress, promotion of rights, dignity and culture, energy management, disaster management, peace and conflict resolution. Once policies are made they are transmitted and implemented through the society's institutional structures like the legal system, the education system, the society's welfare management etc. Cultural-simulation takes place both formally and non -formally as society's religious, cultural and familial institutions. They perform many social and cultural roles within the home as well celebration or mourning for an occasion.
To conclude, it is pertinent to summarize the thesis developed that is, the Meaning of Education has been broadened to involve the stimulation of a Person, with Language, Experiences and Ideology. The Meaning of Education becomes vital to the Aim of Education as dissemination and perpetuation. The Meaning and Aim of Education becomes synchronized into the Function of education as Making, Transmission and Participation.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pursue a Future in Teacher Education Colleges

Nowadays, the New York City board of education is providing high incentives for in-state and out-of-state elementary education teachers such as offering free college degrees in education. State education standards have gone up and literacy rates have been fluctuating but education colleges applicant rates have been rising. Educators and administrators have come to realize that the gaps in literacy must be closed in the early elementary school years.
In recent years, the Board of Education has gone as far as to provide qualifying scholarships and housing benefits for prospective preservice and new teachers to teach at low-performing elementary schools.
So, which college degree education program will you apply for once you have been accepted? In the last ten years, teacher colleges have seen a rising number of student applicants for both undergraduate and graduate education degrees in New York City alone.
Here are a just few of accredited college degrees in New York City which have maintained throughout the years, a reputable name.
Early Childhood Education Colleges
Located on the upper west side, near Columbia University, the Bank Street College of Education has a diversified early childhood education program. There are numerous college education edgrees ranging from early childhood, to literacy, to teaching English as a second language - all under the umbrella framework of early childhood education. The college also has a rich source of teaching resources of ideas for professional development in education on a variety of topics such as literacy or becoming a tutor or volunteer. You do not need to sign up or register to gain access to these free resources.
The Hunter College of Education
This is another excellent pick for those seeking a college teaching degree in early education. However, college teaching degree also include adolescent education and childhood, literacy, TESOL, special education, gifted students and counseling ranging from the undergraduate to graduate level programs. the City Universities and colleges offer top college degrees in education, so it is well worth the research and financial aid is available for those who qualify.
Queens College of Education
The Princeton Review has rated Queens College as one of America's best colleges for undergraduate education.It prepares prospective undergraduate and graduate students for the initial New York State initial certification in childhood education for grades 1-6 and early childhood education.
Columbia Teacher College offers graduate programs in teacher education.
Over to You
Narrowing your search by state is the first step to deciding what early childhood education or elementary program you want to pursue. Some have much more specialized fields of education study than others. It is best to know what area of education you wish to study before investing in one of the New York City college education degrees.
Make Your Teaching Sparkle. Teach for Success. Make a difference in the classroom. Subscribe to receive your FREE e-zine and e-book, "Taking Charge in the Classroom" when you visit the New Teacher Resource Center at []. Purchase your ebook of classroom tested tips - "Tips and Tricks for Surviving and Thriving in the Classroom," at: [] and you'll receive a FREE ebooklet, "Yes! You Can Teach K-12 English language learners Successfully!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Top Careers With an Education Degree

If we carefully observe the present scenario, the job market in the education industry has opened up tremendously. Many new professions have emerged in this industry in the last few years. In fact, with the expansion of industry many new positions have also emerged and gained more attention. The persona of education industry is totally different from what it used to be few years back. Today earning an education degree can mean a lot and may even let you some of the prestigious positions in any school or educational organization. It provides you with ample of options to apply to a range of careers that not just involve or limited to teaching, but to school or college administration level as well. So if you are actually giving a very serious thought or looking forward to earning an education degree and be the part of the one of the largest industries in the United States, here are some of the top career options that are in great demand and you must choose-
Early Childhood Education Teacher-
Earning an early childhood education degree can help you enjoy great and stress-free career. As an individual with early childhood degree, you can search for great careers as faculty for different children schools. Adding to this, the biggest benefit that this career offers is an enjoyable working setting, which in turn can make your working place a next home. Today if we look at the job prospects for an early childhood education degree holder then it is not just restricted to kid's schools. Being a degree holder of early childhood education, you can even enjoy your job profile at various day care centers or child oriented Head Start programs as well.
Elementary School Education Teacher-
Today an elementary education tutor is one of the most rewarding careers in the education industry. It is one of the most exciting careers where you can spend your days with children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The greatest reward that you can enjoy in this profession is that you can work at any elementary school and may play a major role in molding or developing the minds of those young students who make up the world's future. Dedicated towards providing education to the new generation of students, and working as a teacher you actually enjoy a career with a real impact.
Adult Education Tutor-
A career in adult education tutor primarily consists of coursework that majorly involves adult development and adult psychology. Earning a degree in adult education enables you work as an adult education tutor and your role may extremely revolve around teaching or training of adults. As a tutor, you may require to educate or work with adults in corporate settings, classrooms or on an individual basis. However, it is important to note that in order to enjoy a career in adult education, you must have a love for teaching and strong communication and interpersonal skills.
Corporate Trainer -
Corporate training is one of the few careers that primarily deal with the delivery of learning that basically aims to develop performance within the organization. Earning a corporate education degree can help you make your presence as a corporate trainer and work as a consultant, in order to provide expertise in critical areas. The career outlook in this field seems to be very promising as many Americans and specially working professionals are choosing to further their education in corporate training.
Special Education Teacher-
Today where teaching is considered to be a very highly noble profession, attaining a degree in special education can help you enjoy an all together a different career. Earning a degree in special education helps you establish your career as a special education tutor where your job responsibilities may revolve around providing specifically designed instruction to children with disabilities. You may require developing study materials that can match the special needs of each disabled student. Today it is one of the few career options that also provide you one of the most convenient ways to gain higher income and greater growth opportunities in the field of education.
Secondary Education Teacher-
It is yet another most renowned career that can let you enjoy a very rewarding experience. Working as a secondary school teacher, your key role may include teaching one or more subjects to teenagers and young adults in middle school or high school. At times, you may even require serving as a counselor or role model and help students to be successful in a career and life-long learning.
These are some of the most important career options that you can choose with an education degree. Today the job outlook for individuals with education degrees is definitely bright and in the next few years it is going to gain more recognition. Throughout the nation, every private and public school at the secondary and elementary level are in need of great teachers. Adding to this, many adults are also turning towards continuing education as a next better and feasible way to enhance their lives and advance their careers.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Open Source Software in Higher Education

The higher education sector is quite unlike other industries. It has its own processes and a different set of demands. Most commercial proprietary application vendors develop their applications focused on a wider domain spread across industries. This, academics complain, creates a distinct disconnect between software vendors and the end-users in academia.
To overcome these shortcomings, the education industry started looking to "open source" as an alternate model. Around a decade back, institutions started debating total cost of ownership in adopting an open source based community approach vis-à-vis proprietary applications, viability of open source based business models, sustainability and security issues.
The success of community developed open source software is quite well established. Linux and Apache are ample proof of its success. A similar trend, though not that widespread in its reach, can be traced to the development of community projects in education like the Moodle and Sakai.
Through the course of its formative years, the open source community based approach in education has developed several alternative models. Some of these models and schools of thought have thrived and been implemented successfully across a significant spectrum of the industry. Progress and success in open source projects like the Sakai, Moodle, Kuali, uPortal, Shibboleth, and many more are being closely watched by the industry.
Community Source Model
One school of thought believes that open source sharing is more a philosophical approach than a viable alternative. The adoption of open source in higher education seems to suggest otherwise. FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) communities are thriving well in learning environments too.
The FLOSS model has been extensively used in initiatives like the MIT OpenCourseWare and Open Source Biology. Project Gutenberg, the Wikipedia, The Open Dictionary project are prime examples of how open source has been successfully adapted to education initiatives.
In a community source project, multiple institutions come together to partner in the project. All partners contribute financially as well as in employing human resources for the effort. In the early stages, the partnering institutions provide all design and development efforts and only in subsequent stages is the project opened to the broader community. This way, the initial support is secured and the institutions have a substantial influence in deciding how the application is modeled and designed.
The initial focus of community source projects is on collaboration between institutions. The focus in the crucial first stages is therefore to form a common economic outlook and an appropriate administrative framework rather than forming a community around a shared code. Most community based open source projects slowly migrate to open source in the later stages.
The Sakai project, for example, started as a joint effort between four institutions (Michigan, Indiana, MIT and Stanford). The initial agenda was to set up a framework of common goals that would produce appropriate software based on an agreed list of objectives. The scope for participation was later increased by forming the Sakai Educational Partners Program (SEPP), whereby other institutions can join and participate in the community for a small fee.
The Current Landscape
An education enterprise like any organization has its own needs ranging from resource planning to budgeting. Additionally, they have typical requirements like the need to integrate with financial aid programs of the government, multiple payroll cycles, and student information systems (SIS) that handle admissions, grades, transcripts, student records as well as billing. All these call for robust ERP systems. Until recently, colleges and universities mostly rely on either custom-developed systems that are more than 15 years old, or have transitioned to commercial products from vendors like Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft or vendors like SunGard that are geared towards the higher education market.
Kuali Financials was borne due to the lack of open source solutions Enterprise applications in the higher education sector are comprised of a mix of some proprietary application vendors and some key open source community initiatives. PeopleSoft, Oracle, SunGard and Datatel are some key vendors that offer tightly integrated ERP packages for the education sector.
Recent consolidation in the industry, like the acquisition of PeopleSoft by Oracle and of WebCT, Angel, etc by Blackboard, has caused considerable unease in the education fraternity. The concern stems from the fear that the trend of consolidation would lead to the monopoly of a few key vendors. The plans of these vendors to offer tightly integrated systems heightens the fear that this will provide an unfair leverage to these vendors as it would extend the community's dependence on them.
One area of concern about proprietary applications is a seeming disconnect between the industry and software application developers. Institutions also have strong reservations about the currently available administrative software and course management systems. The feeling is that applications provided by vendors such as SAP and PeopleSoft are adapted from other industries and does not work well for educational enterprises. Moreover, the proprietary nature of the applications implies that the source code is not available and customization efforts involve substantial costs.
In the context of such a wide breadth of requirements, open source can prove to be a viable alternative. In fact, these constraints provided the impetus for open source initiatives in higher education. Some of the success has helped provide a strong foundation to building an alternative support model for the education industry.
In the Sakai project, the participating institutions decided to integrate and synchronize their educational software into a pre-integrated collection of open source tools termed Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE). Sakai has active implementations running at multiple institutes including the University of Michigan and Indiana University.
In parallel, Sakai also established a set of activity based communities that have spawned an active cooperation between the industry and application vendors. The Sakai Educational Partners Program allows educational institutions to participate in the program for a small fee. Besides, there are the Sakai Commercial Affiliates, who offer fee-based services for installation, integration and support..
Kuali, on the other hand, mainly addresses aspects of educational administration. The Kuali Financial System (KFS) is the most prominent application. It handles administrative and operational tasks like general accounting, purchasing, salary and benefits, budgeting, asset management and grants. The system is designed around modules that enable it to be tweaked to work with existing commercial applications. For example, at Indiana University, Kuali applications work together with PeopleSoft's HR and student system. The Kuali Foundation is a non-profit consortium of multiple universities and some hardware and software companies. The Kuali Commercial Affiliate program operates on similar lines like its Sakai counterpart. The community has been growing and now includes the University of California, Cornell, Michigan State University, San Joaquin Delta College (Calif.), and The University of Arizona.
Significantly, according to the 2008 Campus Computing Survey, around 13.8 percent of the survey participants have already identified an Open Source LMS - either Moodle or Sakai - as the campus standard LMS.
Besides these, several other projects offer SIS functionality. For example, openSIS manages student demographics, scheduling, attendance, grades, transcripts, and health records, and its parent company makes add-on modules to support additional features like disciplinary tracking, billing, food service, and bulk email/SMS messaging for emergency contact.
Other Key intiaitives are
JaSig community developing uPortal, and CAS (Central Authentication Services) two components serving as input to Kuali Rice.
Internet2 - A consortium led by universities working in partnership with industry and government to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies including products such as Shibboleth and Grouper
Open Source Curricula
As with any "open source" activity, open source curricula by its very definition is one that can be freely used, distributed and modified. A model like this would seemingly be antithetic to the concept of higher education as it strikes at the credibility of the education environment. Campus education is designed to operate as a structured learning methodology. The concept of community collaboration involving academics and students on the same platform brings a lot of unpredictability into the scenario
However, FLOSS communities (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) in education have proved to be quite successful. A key principle of this learning approach is its root in adapting it to the context of ones' experience. With its stress on learners and their preferences, this learning approach focuses more on learning by collaboration, communication and sharing.
Significant initiatives include the Connexions Project at Rice University, the OpenCourseWare project at MIT and the social learning medium of Wikipedia.
The FLOSS approach in higher education has been operating in combination with traditional teacher centered approaches. The objectives of the FLOSS approach are not to replace traditional methods but to achieve synergies in combination and offer the learner an enhanced learning environment.
The 'FLOSS-like education transfer report' published in September 2008, as part of the FLOSSCOM project, notes that FLOSS communities can create effective learning environments. The study has also come up with three different approaches that could be combined effectively with traditional teaching approaches.
Economic Models of Open Source
One aspect that clearly marks the adoption of open source as a winner is the fact that in this scenario, the developers are most often also the users of the software. This removes the perceived disconnect between the developer community and the end-users unlike in the case of proprietary applications. However, this is less evident in the case of administrative applications like payroll or HR. In such cases, adoption of open source has to be a directed process.
Initiatives like the Kuali project have proved that open source can also build up sustainable models that provide adequate support mechanisms. In such models, there is active collaboration between the community that comprises not only developers and end-users, but also an extended support group comprising commercial vendors. These support groups are available to offer timely support to mission critical applications. The community approach also ensures that the code is not closed and that an active community of interest ensures that enhancements keep happening as necessitated.
Projects like uPortal have been developed with minimal resources but are deployed across hundreds of institutions. The community approach has proved sustainable as in the case of the Sakai project. In terms of funding, the Sakai project garnered an investment of $6.8 million over two years.
The viability of the open source, community based model stems not from the monetary or cost aspects but principally the adaptability that it offers. The debate over cost of ownership between commercially available proprietary software and open source applications is yet to be proved empirically. However, the fact that the code is open means it can be easily adapted to suit new requirements and does not involve significant investments in terms of customization or enhancements. This does make significant economic sense in the longer term.
The case for open source in higher education is nicely documented in a study by the Alliance for Higher Education Competitiveness. In a 2005 study report titled, 'Will Open Source Software Become an Important Institutional Strategy in Higher Education?' Rob Abel notes how open source is a "great fit for higher education". The study, based on an analysis of open source projects in education, opines that the community-based approach is an interesting model that also helps reduce the inherent risks in adopting an open source approach.
As for the cost model, the study notes that while open source has helped generate cost savings in the range of 20 to 30 percent for the commercial sector, the same may not be entirely true in education. The community-based approach, the writer notes, with its associated participation fees, may prove only marginally beneficial in terms of costs. Institutions that have their own infrastructure and resources may however, benefit from substantially reduced costs from their open source initiatives.
The Future
Open source has proved to be adaptable and a reliable platform for collaboration and learning. In their quest for ideal application software to handle administrative, operational and education platforms, most CIOs are looking at interoperability, reliability and scalability of applications. Applications like the Sakai and Kuali have proved beyond doubt that open source applications offer great configurability.
Development communities and the support of commercial vendors, as in the case of Kuali and Sakai, fuel a greater rate of innovation. Moreover, the advantage that is offered by collaboration also provides an impetus to continued improvement of the system. Support systems and enhancements for future requirements are ensured.
On the question of how to approach or adopt open source as a model, the answer would depend on the needs, the infrastructure and the means available to an institution. The community development model has shown that costs can be broadly distributed amongst participants. Experience shows that universities and colleges can collaborate to produce open source software that caters to their needs in a way that is superior to some commercial products. The collaborative model enables educational institutions to pool their financial and technical resources. Moreover, a larger community ensures that the applications are tested in a variety of testing environments, thus aiding in building robust solutions.
In term of core academics, learning systems will evolve to accommodate formative assessments and evaluation outside the classroom. Many higher education institutions have taken the lead of MIT and are offering online course materials that are accessible by anyone, free of cost. It has been adopted at Yale, Notre Dame, Tufts and Stanford School of Engineering, to name a few. The United Nations has launched an initiative that would leverage social media technologies and ideas to offer higher education opportunities to people who would otherwise not be able to afford the costs.
Commercially, open source projects have taken their first steps in the marketplace. The model is evolving aided by some significant commercial vendor backing. For the community-based open source approach to prosper, substantial financial backing is an absolute necessity to prevent it from faltering and to avoid the pitfalls that arise form source code being easily modifiable and rebranded by a different vendor. From the commercial perspective, projects like Sakai and the Kuali Foundation are likely to thrive as they have substantial stakeholders from both the academic and the corporate world.
What could derail further adoption? There are several potential risk areas:
  • Lack of understanding of entry points for adoption
  • Lack of support to adopt the applications
  • Minimal staff to support the applications
  • Lack of training / documentation to train staff
  • A "runaway" project that consumes much press and develops a negative bias toward the project
Many of these risks may be mitigated though co-operative initiatives between the foundations developing the open source solutions and commercial affiliates looking to support the solutions - and develop complementation solutions. Some examples:
  • Further publicity through conventional, non-education related channels such as Google and industry-based sites such as edu1world
  • Furrther innovation and cooperation - whether through 'summer of code' collaborations; or community collaborations that will transform the current listservs to more accessible forums
  • Commercial affiliates offering training and webinars
  • Commercial affiliates offering ease of use entry points, such as pre-installed servers or virtual images that can be downloaded and used out of the box
In conclusion, open source initiatives in higher education have a long way to go before they enter the commercial mainstream in a significant fashion. However, with industry and academic collaboration, it has a great potential to change the higher education landscape in the longer term.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Effective Educational Services For Students

15 million school age children in the US have learning problems that public and private schools can't solve. There are 72,000 special education students in LAUSD, alone. Every day these students sit unhappily in class, losing hope of ever realizing their dreams. Students are living in pain and shame. They are not learning to be successful students.
Their parents are frustrated in their attempts to find suitable education for their child. They've tried working through the public schools. They have hired tutors. Parents are calling for real solutions.
In order to thrive, these students need special educational methods that address their unique profile of strengths and needs. But even more importantly, these children require a new mindset of success.
Educational therapy offers help and hope to children and adults with learning challenges such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and learning disabilities. Educational therapy is an appropriate and highly successful approach to helping students of all ages achieve their maximum potential.
Educational therapists use state of the art educational programs and methods that have been proven to teach students with learning problems the skills they require to be successful. Educational therapy shows students how to overcome their learning problems and lead successful lives.
All throughout the school years, foundations for future success are laid down. Not only are students learning essential skills such as reading, they are also learning to value education. But most importantly, they are learning to believe that they are successful students!
When students experience repeated frustration and failure, they develop self-doubt along with dislike or distrust of educational experiences. These negative views influence how much students can learn, at every level from elementary school through college!
Special needs students experience three major problems with learning:
Teachers and tutors use the same methods for every child. Children are unique and each learns in his or her own way.
Teachers and tutors usually do not understand how to modify their approach to address different learning styles.
Teachers and tutors only teach subject matter. Students who experience repeated academic failure lack the underlying foundational skills to be successful students. They often don't know the best study methods, how to manage their time, or what the real secrets are to academic success.
Teachers and tutors do not address the root cause of continued academic failure-learned helplessness. When students experience failure after failure, they develop a mindset that they are "stupid" and "can't learn." They give up on ever being a good student! But, when students believe they can succeed, they begin to try. When they believe they can learn, they begin to study. When they believe they can have impressive futures, they make powerful choices. Students have the right to believe in their innate intelligence and skill!
Educational therapists generally begin their professional careers in special education, child development or counseling.
The Association of Educational Therapists is the national professional organization that sets the training standards for educational therapists. There are three levels of membership in the Association of Educational Therapists: Associate Professional (introductory level), Professional (experienced), Board Certified (seasoned).
According to the Association of Educational Therapists: "Regardless of previous background, all Professional members of the Association of Educational Therapists (AET) have met rigorous professional requirements in the academic areas of elementary and/or secondary education, child development, educational assessment, learning theory, learning disabilities, and principles of educational therapy. All members have a B.A. degree and are required to hold a Masters Degree or equivalent in post-BA course work. They have completed at least 1500 supervised direct service hours, and are required to complete 40 clock hours of Continuing Education every two years.
To become a Board Certified Educational Therapist (BCET), a member must meet the following additional requirements: Masters Degree (required); one year membership in AET at the Professional level; 1000 hours of professional practice; formal written Case Study evaluated and passed by the AET Certification Board; a written examination that demonstrates professional expertise in educational therapy."
To locate an educational therapist near you or obtain more information about educational therapy, visit the Association of Educational Therapists website.
Dr. Kari Miller is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and Director of the Center for Empowered Learning, Educational Therapy in Los Angeles. She began her career almost twenty-five years ago as a special education resource teacher. She has worked with students in a vast array of capacities, including special education teacher and educational therapist. Dr. Miller has a PhD in Educational Psychology and Mathematical Statistics, a master's degree in Learning Disabilities, Gifted Education and Educational Diagnosis, and a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and Behavior Disorders.