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.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Reinventing Educational Leadership

As the 21st century continues to unfold, the task of finding competent leaders to occupy positions of leadership in the educational arena continues to be a challenge not because of a lack of academically qualified leaders, but because of a lack of adaptive -competently qualified candidates. As such, many schools are under the leadership of leaders who lack the qualifications necessary to operate educational institutions in an era marked by rapid and constant change. If the educational scenery is to realize any meaningful change educational leadership should be reinvented. This paper identifies some of the challenges currently faced by the Education system. It looks at how these challenges may be addressed by reinventing educational leadership. The paper culminates with brief recommendations of how institutions of higher learning as well as stakeholders in the educational sector may reinvent the manner in which they prepare educational leaders -the end result not only academically-qualified, but also adaptive-competently qualified leaders who are able to perform in environments characterized by constant and rapid changes.
The educational environment in contemporary society is one in which change represents one of the very few constants. Cultural, social, political, technological and economical changes have resulted in a more diverse school populace since the genesis of education. With the advent of these changes, the educational sector is now faced with increased challenges. Challenges such as: low family literacy, increased poverty margins, a rise in dysfunctional families, and increased access to counter-productive information via internet. These challenges have seemingly created an uneven playing ground where students from all walks of life enter the education system being different, but by the time they exit, the barriers of differences should fade significantly, at least academically. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. An article by The National Association of Secondary School Principals "How do you reinvent a principal" highlights a number of effects these challenges have birthed: higher drop out rates, lower academic achievement and teacher attrition. The impact of the effects of these challenges on society is detrimental, as more students exit the educational system without the necessary qualifications to become positively contributing citizens to society.
As these changes and their impact are manifested in the educational environment, stakeholders are forced to raise their expectations from those in leadership positions within schools. Copeland in his article "The myth of a Super Principal" substantiates this point when he states that the expectations of leaders have increased significantly since the 1980's (2001). The mandate of the No Child Left behind Act (NCLB) in 2001 solidified the prior statements as under the act leaders working in schools which were repeatedly classified as not meeting annual yearly progress (AYP) goals were relinquished of their positions. Incidentally, most of the leaders who were "relocated" were academically qualified for leadership positions, but lacked adaptive-competent qualification. Academically qualified leaders have successfully completed their years of training, by mastering the necessary dogma that was required. Adaptive-competent leaders are able to execute the theoretical skills practically and are able to assess new situations and appropriately modify their leadership style to suit the situation. As the educational scenery changes leadership should be reinvented if any measure of success is to be expected in erasing the effects of the challenges facing education.
The expectations of society have shaped and will continue to shape the roles of those in leadership positions. Educational leaders are now expected to be more than managers, creating rules and policies and maintaining the necessary paper work. They have to be more than disciplinarians, enforcing rules and policies and giving consequences in the event that rules and policies are broken. Leaders are expected to, amidst all the challenges they face, contribute to the increase in student achievement, cut drop out rates, and be a motivating force to their teachers. As the period of high stake testing takes root, no educational leader is exempt from these new demands. Institutions of higher learning as well as stakeholders within the educational arena must now ponder and quickly, how to prepare leaders to take on an educational system that must survive in these turbulent times, or face a future with yearly increase in the number of counter-productive students.
Educational leadership for this era demands a style of leadership that is fluid sufficiently to deal effectively with the challenges which will continue to bombard the academic world. This style of leadership should be entrenched in values, only then can an educational culture that is conducive to the invention of productive future citizens be realized. These values should encourage integrity in decision-making which will impact not only education, but stakeholders as well. A value-driven culture should produce leaders and followers who are willing to listen, and evaluate data before taking the steps to implement or act on the data. 21st century educational leadership should encourage collaborative team work within their organizations. This will permit staff members to feel a sense of self worth and subsequently self confidence as they work with their leaders to realize the necessary changes needed to counteract the challenges they face. Educational leaders should encourage staff-creativity, as they seek new ways to address new situations facing education. Far too often educators rely on the advice of those outside of the educational arena to provide techniques with which they may master the challenges they face. In order for staff members to maximize their creative potential leaders should create environments that facilitate and encourage employee creativity and innovative efforts. Encourage workshops sessions were brainstorm techniques as well as the random word technique or mind mapping is used to identify on going methods of providing a climate in which students are motivated to learn. The environment in question should prompt employees to enthusiastically participate decisions critical to the education process. This can be achieved if leaders create a culture that is conducive to open communication, where followers are able to participate by expressing their ideas without fear of ridicule.
Contemporary educational leaders should move away from a particular style, but should utilize different leadership styles as the situation warrants in order to effectively deal with the challenges they face. Any leadership style that lacks the flexibility to bend as the time changes will become an impediment to academic progress. Institutions of higher learning as well as stakeholders should prepare educational leaders to embrace new strategies of dealing with a new "generation" which will continue to metamorphosise as the time changes. As society grapple with the shortage of qualified educational leaders, institutions of higher learning need to provide adequate and on going professional development opportunities to qualify those seeking leadership positions in order to produce academically and adaptively-competently qualified leaders.
21st century educational leadership should be equipped to deal with the myriad changes bombarding society. As technology, culture, politics, economy, and social factors continue to modify the educational environment, academic-qualification, should no longer be the measuring stick by which leaders are prepared. The need to develop adaptive-competence becomes necessary. Only then can leadership be revolutionized to meet the demand of a changing school populace.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Special Education in Ireland's Secondary Schools

This article is an introduction to special education in Irish secondary schools. The past then years have witnessed a sea change in special education provision in Ireland. The Department of Education and Science has issued numerous directives and guidelines in relation to policy, provision, structure and supports. Since 1998 there have been ten pieces of legislation passed through the Dail that relate, one way or another to children and special education needs The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has been established along with the Special Education Support Service (SESS). Both these organisations oversee and coordinate all special education initiatives nationwide. Ireland's primary schools have pioneered these new directives. Special education provision at primary level is developing at a rapid pace and great strides are being made. The next horizon for improvement is secondary school.
Ireland's secondary schools are driven by an exam-oriented curriculum. Subject area specialists teach all of the curricular content. The supports available to children with special needs are not extensive or as tested as those at primary level. In what follows we will look at the needs and entitlements of children entering secondary school who have identified special education needs and those who are entering and later discovered to have a special education need.
My child has been receiving extra help in primary school. What should I look for in a secondary school?
You should look for a school with a special education teacher in place on a full-time basis to support all children with special needs in the school. It is important to also be sure the school has a commitment to supporting and educating children with special needs. The school should have on its staff teachers who have had some training in how to differentiate their methodology and curriculum for children with special needs. There should be an accepting attitude on the part of all staff. Remember, your child is entitled to enter fully into the life of the school and avail of all it has to offer. How do you find out these things? Talk to the school principal and ask questions about the topics listed above. Remember, your child may be eligible for special consideration at the time of Junior Cert and Leaving Cert but this will have to be determined about a year before these exams will be taken.
What is s/he entitled to?
A child who has been receiving special education resources or support in primary school is eligible for continued support at secondary level so long as they continue to have a special education need. It is possible that a primary school child, after receiving several years of support, could no longer be deemed to have a special education need but this is the exception not the rule.
Your child will be entitled to the same general provision he or she received in primary school. Typically this takes the form of specialist teaching from a Learning Support or Special Education Resource teacher (both are now often being referred to simply as Special Education teachers. This support is to be determined based on need with the number of hours of support being determined by the Individual Education Plan (IEP) drawn up in the last year of primary school. In addition to the IEP there should have been a Transition Plan completed during the last year of primary school The Transition Plan will devise the structure of transition to secondary school and may alter the IEP for a short period of time. If this happens there should be a team meeting in about six months or less to write the secondary school IEP. In general students in secondary school are eligible for the same supports as in primary school. This may include a Special Needs Assistant (SNA).
How do I go about making sure they get that?
Generally speaking your child's Individual Education Plan is the map which documents exactly what services your child will receive, when he or she will receive them and from whom. The IEP is your best protection against a child not receiving the services they need. IEP's will eventually become legally binding documents on all parties and a school must provide the services outlined in the IEP. An IEP cannot be changed or implemented without your consent. Remember that upon entering secondary school a Transition Plan may be in place that slightly alters the previous IEP. This will have to be reviewed within a short span of time to be sure the child receives appropriate support services. Don't be afraid to talk to the school principal because he or she is ultimately responsible to see to it that children receive the services they are entitled to receive.
What are my options if we run into difficulties?
Should problems arise you should first speak to the Year Head and address your concerns. The Special Needs Organiser (SENO) assigned to the school should be alerted as well as the appropriate special education teacher(s). A team meeting, of which you are entitled to be a member, can be convened within a reasonable time frame and your concerns will be discussed. If this meeting does not satisfy you or not result in the child receiving the services you may contact the National Council for Special Education for further information and support.
It is important to take things one step at a time. Speak to your child's special education teacher first and be clear about your concerns. Be assertive and not aggressive. Remember, generally speaking everyone is doing the best they can. Do have your child's IEP in front of you when you are speaking to the teacher or other staff member. Be aware of your rights to appeal as outlined in the NCSE and SESS websites. Don't rush to judgement, try and work things out amicably before you make threats to appeal. The next most important port of call will be the Special Needs Organiser assigned to the school.
Hidden Disabilities
Not all children who have special education needs come to the attention of parents or educators in primary school. The human brain is an organ that tries to meet the demands placed upon it at any given time. As anyone who has gone to school knows, the demands of the curriculum get greater and greater each year of schooling. In secondary school the curriculum subjects become incredibly complex each year. The fact that a student is being educated by many different teachers each year further complicates matters. There are students who have had no difficulty suggestive of a special education need at primary school who suddenly seem to have a lot of difficulties in secondary school. Unfortunately they are often perceived as "lazy" or "unmotivated" and sometimes as "difficult" students.
If these labels stick and no thought or concern raised about a possible learning difficulty being present the student can become trapped in a cycle of failure and rejection by teachers. The result could be early school leaving, behaviour difficulties to hide the learning problem, lowered self-esteem, loss of self-confidence and trouble at home. It is important to recognise that some students, no matter how well they performed in primary school, may have a special education need that doesn't appear until secondary school.
What are the warning signs?
It is not possible to list the many warning signs of a hidden disability but generally speaking one should be considered any time a student with a previously successfully record in primary school begins to exhibit difficulties in secondary school. There are a variety of causes to school failure at second level but a hidden disability can often be reasonably suspected when one or more of the following difficulties become noticeable:
oMemory problems
oOrganisational difficulties
oRefusal to go to school
oProblems with written language expression
oDifficulty organising thoughts into speech
oInability to recall facts from yesterday's lesson even if they seemed retained the night before
oUnusual spelling problems
oUnusual difficulty with more advanced mathematical problems
oPronounced difficulty in foreign language class
oBehavioural difficulties not present in primary school
oMood swings or sudden mood changes that last several hours
oReluctance to engage with parents about school difficulties
Although a partial list it is a good guide for parents and teachers to thoughtfully consider the presence of a hidden learning disability.
I think my child may have a problem. Where do I go from here?
First speak with your child's teachers. Ask for the facts: what does teacher think the problem might be? How often is this occurring? When? Is it serious? Present your own perception to the teacher(s) clearly and succinctly. If you have done some Internet homework on your own be clear about it and raise it as a query needing to be resolved. Try and get some samples from homework you have seen and ask for some samples of the child's work in class if it is appropriate to do so. Speak to the Year Head and ask him or her to get some information about your concerns from all teachers. See if you can spot a pattern that validates your concern.
If you become more concerned then you have a right to ask for an assessment. Sometimes the special education teacher, with your permission, can perform some individually administered tests to discover if the child is seriously behind in reading or math achievement age. It is possible to discover if there are significant written language deficits in some cases. If this assessment leads to more significant concerns then you should request a psychological assessment. These can be provided free by the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) but be mindful that a lengthy waiting list may be in place.
The most important thing is to be persistent and to talk to the right people. Begin with teachers, speak to Year Head, go to Principal if necessary and don't forget the Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO). If an assessment is carried out there will be a team meeting to discuss the results and to begin the process of writing an IEP.
In the case of a diagnosis, where do we go from here?
If your child is found to have a special education need an IEP should be written. This is, as stated previously, a road map to your child's education plan. It should be reviewed annually but can be reviewed more frequently if it is decided to do so. The special education team, often referred to as a multidisciplinary team, will be responsible for writing the IEP. You are a member of that team. Your child is also entitled to be a member of the team and it is particularly important for secondary school students to participate in this stage of planning. This gives them a sense of ownership and control over their educational life.
Be sure that the plan covers all the areas of concern that have been discovered in the assessment process. Plans for children with social and behavioural difficulties that address only academic issues are useless and doomed to fail. Special education planning is a thoughtful and time-consuming process when it is done correctly. Don't feel rushed into accepting a plan you don't think will work. Take it away and ask if you can return in a week to revise it with the team. This may not make you the most popular parent in the school but it is responsible parenting.
Possible Panels:
Autism/Asperger's in Secondary School
There are large numbers of children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder that are having considerable difficulty finding a secondary school to enrol them. The problem revolves around the lack of supports at second level and the lack of teacher training in this speciality area. Unfortunately there is little that can be done if a school refuses to enrol a child on the autistic spectrum. What is needed is the development of resource support. By that I mean resource rooms where these children can get services by a specialist teacher. Availability to the teachers of advanced training. Availability of print and video resources teachers can access to learn more about the spectrum. Along with this there should be a whole-school commitment to inclusion for children on the spectrum so they are not isolated from same-age peers.
The education of children on the spectrum is not that difficult once educators get the knowledge about how to do it and have the proper attitude towards these children and their families. Of course they present us with challenges but the good news is that once we get it reasonably right for them we begin to improve the education of all children. There are considerable challenges in the future to our secondary schools in education these children and it is time to get it right. Those schools which stubbornly refuse to enrol children on the spectrum are in the stone age of education. There is a clear choice for secondary schools in relation to these children: be in the forefront of change and development or be left behind forever. Parents will not forgive or forget. It's time to get it right once and for all.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects about 5% of all children and adults. Unlike other special education conditions, children and adolescents with ADHD are frequently blamed for having the condition, perceived as hostile or unmotivated, lazy or cheeky. When ADHD goes untreated it becomes a serious condition affecting self-esteem, motivation, behaviour, self-confidence and relationships with adults and peers. ADHD is a high-stakes condition and it needs to be recognised that students who have it didn't choose to be the way they are.
ADHD is a condition that is caused by brain chemistry and activity. It is a neurobiological condition. People with ADHD often have difficulty paying attention and concentrating, especially on things that require sustained attention and concentration. The can have problems controlling their emotions and impulses, can rush to finish things or have considerable difficulty waiting their turn. They often ask questions without thinking them through and sometimes make unfortunate comments in front of others.
ADHD is a life-long condition. One never grows out of it but the symptom picture changes over time. Often the impulsivity and high level of activity, if they were initially present, disappear in the teen years. The learning problems associated with ADHD do not go away easily and it is vitally important for them to be addressed in school. As in the case of children on the autistic spectrum, once educators and schools get it correct for children with ADHD they have improved the educational provision of all children.
Understanding is critically important. Adolescents with significant ADHD do not chose to be in trouble with and in conflict with adults. Constant rejection and criticism, constant punishment, and in severe cases expulsion from school is not the answer. Corrective teaching is the answer and appropriate support from specialist teachers is vital.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Finding the Perfect Early Childhood Education Career

Do you love playing with kids? Do you like to talk to children and listen to what they have to say? Do children like to confide in you? If you answered yes to these questions, then a career in Early-Childhood Education is just the perfect choice for you!
Helping children learn and succeed is a very rewarding career. As an Early-Childhood Educator, you can participate and facilitate this growth process for children - and get them focused on the path to success from an early age.
In your early childhood-education career, you have several career options and openings. You can work as a child care worker, a pre school teacher, a kindergarten or elementary school teacher, as an education administrator and even as a post secondary school teacher. All of this will depend upon the qualifications you acquire.
There are several degree options available for you if you wish to pursue a career in early childhood-education. There are degrees in early-childhood education which can be taken online as well as on campus. The basic qualification required to start out in your career path is to have a High School Diploma. You can then start out with an Associate Degree or Certification in Early-Childhood-Education. If you want to pursue a career option as a public school teacher, you will need to have a Bachelor's Degree in Early-Childhood Education. If you go further and study for a Master's Degree in Early Childhood-Education, your career options will increase further allowing you to focus on specialized issues like curriculum development. With a PhD Degree in Early-Childhood Development, you can find career options in colleges and universities and within the field of post secondary education.
While searching for the right university , focus on finding out more about the institution with regards to facts like whether the school is approved by your state, whether it is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, what the course contents are, what kind of exposure it will offer you, what educational methodologies and philosophies are they going to teach you, what will your hands-on field exposure be like and so on. This information will help you find the course that is just right for you.
Typically, the salary range for people working in the field of Early-Childhood-Education is between $35,000 to $45,000. You can also have the option of earning a supplemental income by coaching a sport or leading an extracurricular activity. During the off months when the school is in vacation, you can also earn extra income by tutoring or a part time job.
You can thus find a very rewarding career option within the field of Early-Childhood-Education.
Do you love playing with kids? Do you like to talk to children and listen to what they have to say? Do children like to confide in you? If you answered yes to these questions, then a career in Early-Childhood-Education is just the perfect choice for you!
Helping children learn and succeed is a very rewarding career. As an Early-Childhood Educator, you can participate and facilitate this growth process for children - and get them focused on the path to success from an early age.
In your early-childhood education career, you have several career options and openings. You can work as a child care worker, a pre school teacher, a kindergarten or elementary school teacher, as an education administrator and even as a post secondary school teacher. All of this will depend upon the qualifications you acquire.
There are several degree options available for you if you wish to pursue a career in early-childhood education. There are degrees in early childhood-education which can be taken online as well as on campus. The basic qualification required to start out in your career path is to have a High School Diploma. You can then start out with an Associate Degree or Certification in Early-Childhood-Education. If you want to pursue a career option as a public school teacher, you will need to have a Bachelor's Degree in Early-Childhood Education. If you go further and study for a Master's Degree in Early-Childhood-Education, your career options will increase further allowing you to focus on specialized issues like curriculum development. With a PhD Degree in Early-Childhood Development, you can find career options in colleges and universities and within the field of post secondary education.
While searching for the right university , focus on finding out more about the institution with regards to facts like whether the school is approved by your state, whether it is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, what the course contents are, what kind of exposure it will offer you, what educational methodologies and philosophies are they going to teach you, what will your hands-on field exposure be like and so on. This information will help you find the course that is just right for you.
Typically, the salary range for people working in the field of Early-Childhood-Education is between $35,000 to $45,000. You can also have the option of earning a supplemental income by coaching a sport or leading an extracurricular activity. During the off months when the school is in vacation, you can also earn extra income by tutoring or a part time job.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Home Education in the UK - A Useful Guide For Other Countries

Education is no longer considered a privilege. In most jurisdictions, 'education' is considered as an indispensable part of a child's rights.
In the UK, education has always commanded a high priority in the society. The government, in turn, has always adopted a liberal education policy, as highlighted from the laws of the land. That's why the concept of Home Education (HE) has always been an integral part of society in the UK.
Why Home Education?
Due to a multicultural and plural society as prevalent in the UK, the reasons for parents to opt for Home Education may vary. Some of the common factors influencing parents' decisions regarding the educational needs of their children include:
- Religious, philosophical, or spiritual compulsions
- Unsatisfactory school system
- Lack of suitable schools in the locality
- To meet the specific and/or special needs of some children, like those suffering from diseases such as Cerebral Palsy, autism etc.
- Failure of child and school management to effectively tackle certain conditions in school, like bullying, corporal punishment etc.
- Financial reasons etc.
Recently, the Parental Responsibility has emerged as one of the major reasons for Home-Educating children in the UK. More and more parents are trying to learn the art of true parenthood and are relishing the additional responsibility of being (actually) responsible for the growth of the thought process in the child.
Whatever may be the compelling circumstances, Home Education is here to stay, and is being increasingly preferred in the UK. An estimated 100,000 children between the ages of 5 and 16 are being given Home Education by their parents in the United Kingdom, and the figure is likely to increase in the coming years.
Benefits of Home Education
Home Education (tutorial-based teaching) has several advantages over classroom education (instructions-based teaching). Some of these include:
1. The child tends to receive individualistic and far more attention at home than at school.
2. Comfortable home environment in the company of parents gives the child an ideal environment to learn.
3. The absence of awe-inspiring teachers means quick feedback from the child to assess his/her learning capabilities.
4. The Child can learn at their own pace, and follow their own curriculum and interests.
5. Enhanced self-motivation and self-discipline in the child.
6. Instilment of parental values instead of peer values in the child.
7. Cultivation of courage to arrive at independent decisions.
8. Avoid destructive competition in search of better grades from the peers and fellow students.
9. Special children need special attention that can only be provided under home conditions.
10. Above all, as a parental responsibility of teaching your child, nothing is more beneficial and satisfactory than to take complete responsibility of your child's education.
Shortcomings of Home Education
One must also consider some disadvantages of Home Education before deciding the academic future of the child. Some of these include:
1. Non-development of social skills due to the absence of interaction with peers and teachers.
2. Special expertise and skills required to teach may be lacking in the parents. Moreover, they might not be abreast of the latest technologies and teaching aids that might help the child learn better.
3. Even both the parents combined may not know all the subjects required for the proper education of the child.
4. Parents may ultimately spend a considerable amount of time equipping themselves with the skills to teach their child; thus, losing out on the chance to supplement the family income.
5. Laboratories, gyms, and other facilities provided by school authorities may not be accessible from home.
6. A child's progress will not be adequately monitored, especially as they do not have to follow the National Curriculum or take SATs.
Home Education in UK - Legal Aspect
The UK is divided into different legal jurisdictions. For instance, there are different sets of laws applicable in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. However, substantially, all these jurisdictions follow similar legal principles and postulates, with minor variations.
Home Education has legal sanction in all three regions in the UK. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 (England and Wales), Sections 30 of Education (Scotland) Act 1980, and Article 45 of Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, are the relevant legal provisions that provide the requisite teeth to the concept of Home Education in the UK.
Here is the summary of these legalities as applicable in the UK:
Only 'education' is compulsory under UK laws and not 'schooling.'
No qualification is prescribed for the parents desirous of giving Home Education to their child.
Parents are at absolute liberty to decide how they want their child to be educated at home.
No compulsion of following the National Curriculum or observing school hours.
Parents must ensure that their child receives an efficient full time education, suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude, and to any special educational needs the child may have.
Parents are not legally obligated to inform the Local Education Authority (LEA) when they decide to educate their children at home. If the child has never been registered at a State school, or if you move to an area served by another LEA, you are not obliged to notify the LEA, although you may do so if you wish. If you are taking your child out of a state school in England or Wales, the head teacher must remove the child's name from the register and inform the LEA. If your child has special needs and attends a special school, you need permission to deregister.
However, if you are withdrawing your child from a State school in Scotland, the LEA must be informed.
No special Government grants are available for Home Education in UK.
No formal tests are required to pass by the child. However, the LEA may ask for information informally at intervals to monitor your child's progress.
There is no prohibition on the Home Education of a statemented child provided he/she is not attending a special school, in which case you need the consent of the LEA.
Home-Educated children can take GCSEs as private candidates or as students of correspondence courses. However, it is not compulsory to take GCSEs.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Overview of Issues in Current and Higher Education

The education system is the backbone of a progressing society. It is the standard of education that determines an individual's and the country's progress. A typical educational system consists of Primary Schools, High Schools, Colleges and Higher education institutes. It is important to provide quality education at all levels in order to have sustainable growth and development.To improve the educational system, it is important that people are aware of the education issues and problems in the education system.
Awareness about the current issues in education helps people in finding the loop holes in their education system and suggests innovative ideas to plug these holes. Some important issues/challenges related to education are:
1. Improving quality - Invariably one of the most important education issues, the quality can be improved by initiatives taken by schools and teachers. Here the importance of a trained, understanding and well informed teacher to raise the education standards cannot be stressed enough. An efficient teacher will use the latest innovations in the field of education and the outcomes of educational surveys for the benefit of his students.
2. Improving access - Along with improving the quality of education, it is also essential to improve the access to higher education; this can be done by increasing the number of higher education institutions. Essentially, every individual who is interested in studying should have an institute nearby.
3. Reducing costs - A lot of people who are interested keep away from higher education because of their inability to afford the tuition fees. Easy education loans must be available and also for those who cannot afford studies, fees must be low. Government and educational institutions must join hands in reducing the enormity of this issue.
4.Reducing drop-out rate - The rise in the drop-out rate is also a case of concern. This can be resolved by revising the curriculum in such a way that the diverse interests of students are taken care of. The introduction of more practical activities in place of plain theoretical teaching also goes a long way in keeping the students interested in their studies, thus reducing the number of drop outs. Websites dealing in education-issues also keep one informed and updated on the latest in the field of higher education.