Archive for September, 2011

Advantages of the Internet in Education

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The Internet is the largest set of computer networks that use the Internet Protocol. The invention and development of the Internet was the biggest discovery by mankind in the 20th century that lead to a revolution. Today, the Internet is used by more than 50% of the world population as its applications are found in nearly every fields of life: be it communication, knowledge, news, shopping, marketing, entertainment, education, etc. Here we will see more on the importance or advantages of the Internet in education. So how exactly does the Internet technology benefit the students for education? Let us take a look at it in detail.

Advantages of Using Internet with Education

The fast and relatively low cost access is one of the major benefits of Internet to people and students all over the world as getting an Internet connection is easy. Communication and information are the two most important advantages of the Internet in education. Secondly, information can be updated or modified at any time and for any number of times, which helps in learning and better understanding. Let us take a look at the role of computers in education.

Easy Contact
As mentioned above, communication is one of the biggest advantages of the Internet in education. Students can contact other students or their teachers via the E-mail if they have queries about any information. Sharing of information, discussions on a particular subject, etc. can be easily carried out using the Internet. At the same time, teachers can also contact the parents and guardians easily using Internet.

School / College Projects
The Internet can be most useful for completing projects in schools and colleges. As the Internet is an ocean of information, covering nearly all subjects known to man, one can literally find information, research work, etc. required for one’s projects. Going through the information on the Internet is definitely faster than reading an entire book on the subject. Home work is also made easier with the help of the Internet which is also one of the important use of computers in education.

Sometimes, encyclopedia may not always be available to students and they may have difficulty in gaining access to the books in the library. In that case, the encyclopedia of different subjects available on the Internet can be helpful. This is more useful for students who belong to communities not having English as their mother tongue. Kids and younger children can also be benefited by the Internet by using the pictures, videos, etc. which is one of the major advantages when thinking of textbooks versus computer teaching.

All the latest news are constantly updated on the Internet on different news sites which is one of the major advantages of the Internet in education. Students, learning politics, can have an access to all the current affairs through the Internet in the school campus, at home, or at any other place. Historical accounts like speeches, biographies, etc. are also easily available on the Internet in detailed and accurate versions. This is one of the biggest use of Internet in education.

Online Learning
Another positive effects of Internet in education is the onset of distance education or online learning. With this facility, you can take up short term courses with the course material available online, learn and give exams. One of the benefits of online learning is that people from any part of the world can gain knowledge on different subjects, complete courses, etc. with the help of online learning.

by Madhura Pandita.

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Vocational, Technical Education No Longer Second Class – Nor Mohamed

Friday, September 30th, 2011

PUTRAJAYA:  Vocational and technical education are no longer regarded as second class, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

He said parents and students should discard their negative perception of vocational and technical education which currently provided lucrative jobs throughout the world.

The minister said the government was carrying out efforts to make vocational and technical education the preferred choice of many top students, like what was happening in the developed countries.

“It is no longer second-class education but has become mainstream education, especially in the developed countries. The government wants more students to take up this field,” he said after the launching of the second phase of the 1Malaysia Training Scheme, here, Thursday.

Nor Mohamed said the government was providing wider opportunities for school leavers in the vocational and technical fields to further their studies to the equivalent of the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree and doctorate level.

“Students are exposed to vocational subjects and can choose the field as early as age 13 when they are in Form One.”

He said studies had shown that only 10 per cent of school students in this country chose vocational education, which was small, compared to other countries like Germany at 59 per cent, Australia (62 per cent), the Netherlands (68 per cent), Indonesia (51 per cent), Thailand (41 per cent) and South Korea (28 per cent).


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Social Media Usage Trends Among Higher Education Faculty

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

The popularity of social media and its rapid ascension into our daily lives in nothing short of astounding. Sites that weren’t even around 10 years ago are now visited every day. What’s more, 56 percent of the faculty survey said they expect their use of social media to increase this school year.

Do you friend your students on Facebook?

Do you tweet, or use Twitter in the classroom?

Do you network on LinkedIn, and participate in its groups?

Does your college or university have a social media policy?

For the past two years, Faculty Focus conducted a survey on Twitter usage in higher education. This year we expanded the survey to include Facebook and LinkedIn, while adding a number of new questions as well.

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all have their strengths and weaknesses, and each are better used for some things than others. But how are the three being used in higher education today? It’s our hope that these survey results provide at least some of the answers while lending new data to the discussion.

Here are just some of the findings from Social Media Usage Trends Among Higher Education Faculty, a 2011 Faculty Focus survey of nearly 900 higher education professionals:

  • Facebook is the most popular social media site for the people who took this survey. Nearly 85 percent have a Facebook account, following by LinkedIn at approximately 67 percent and Twitter at around 50 percent.
  • Thirty-two percent have “friended” an undergraduate student on Facebook; 55 percent said they wait until after the student graduates.
  • Eighty-three percent allow students to use laptops in the classroom; 52 percent allow smart phones.
  • Thirty percent said their institution doesn’t have a social media policy. About 40 percent weren’t sure.
  • Sixty-eight percent have talked to their students about managing their online reputation.

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Rethinking Pre-K: 5 Ways to Fix Preschool

Thursday, September 29th, 2011
Charles Thatcher / Getty Images

Take two kids, one from a low-income family, the other middle class. Let them run around and do little-kid things in their respective homes and then, at age 5, enroll them in kindergarten. Research shows that when the first day of school rolls around, the child from the low-income household will be as many as 1.5 years behind grade level in terms of language and prereading and premath skills. The middle-class kid will be as many as 1.5 years ahead. This means that, by the time these two 5-year-olds start school, the achievement gap between them is already as great as three years.

When you look at findings like this, it’s not hard to see why educators and government officials believe so strongly in the need for early-childhood education, particularly for low-income children. A half-century’s worth of data has shown that reaching kids early helps them avoid repeating grades in elementary school, stay on track to graduate high school, earn more money as adults and spend less time in prison or on welfare. Recent studies have also pointed to third grade as a critical benchmark — if children are not performing at grade level by then, they may never catch up — making the years leading up to that point increasingly important. (See 11 education activists for 2011.)

And yet early-learning programs, because of the way they are financed and administered, are not part of the entrenched educational system in most of the U.S. The vast majority of states are not required to offer preschool, and some states have no pre-K programs at all. Many of the states that have long championed preschool still decide from year to year how many children get to attend, and the waiting lists of qualified kids are long — and sad.

All of this helps explain why the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts has invested 10 years — and some $100 million — in studying preschool and spearheading a movement to get states to offer more of it and in smarter ways. The initiative, called Pre-K Now, has made a lot of progress. The total amount that states spend on preschool has more than doubled in the past decade, enrollment nationwide has increased from 700,000 4-year-olds in 2001 to more than 1 million today, and three states that had no preschool programs 10 years ago (Alaska, Florida and Rhode Island) have joined the pre-K club. And despite the Great Recession, six states and the District of Columbia have opened their pre-K programs to all 4-year-olds, bringing the total number of states that offer universal pre-K to nine, plus D.C. (See pictures of a public boarding school in Washington, D.C.)

Early-childhood education is getting its own Race to the Top initiative (states have to submit their applications by Oct. 19 to win some of the $500 million in grants) and celebrity advocate (actress Jennifer Garner has taken up the cause). But for all its successes, Pew is wrapping up its 10-year initiative at a precarious time. Arizona recently cut its entire pre-K program because of budgetary constraints. Iowa came close to doing the same, and a report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has determined that the federal Head Start program it administers does not lead to lasting academic gains, casting a shadow on other, more rigorous early-learning programs.

Against this backdrop, Pew is exiting the pre-K stage with several hard-boiled recommendations. TIME got an early look at the report, Transforming Public Education: Pathway to a Pre-K-12 Future. Here are the highlights, plus a handicapper’s guide to the chances of implementing these directives:

1. Stop thinking K to 12, and start thinking pre-K to 12
States are required to provide education for students in grades 1 to 12, which means that even in tough economic times, they can reduce funding only on a per-child basis. The same is not true for preschool. Only a handful of states are required to provide pre-K; all the others can choose to cap enrollment for low-income children or stop funding these programs altogether.

by Kayla Webley.

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Academic Integrity: Examining Two Common Approaches

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Any effort to fundamentally change a school’s approach to academic integrity requires an understanding of its current organizational response to cheating (Bertram Gallant, 2008).

Organizational approaches to student cheating form a continuum from highly decentralized to highly centralized, and most schools fall somewhere on this spectrum.

The more decentralized a school’s response to cheating is, the more haphazard and, most likely, the more unfair, opaque, and inconsistent it is. For example, on campuses with highly decentralized responses, faculty members handle cheating as they see fit. Colleges and universities with somewhat decentralized responses might require faculty to report cheating to an academic chair, who then handles it within the department. At schools that fall somewhere in the middle, faculty might report cheating to a divisional dean, such as a psychology professor, who would report it to a social science dean. A centralized response to cheating would have faculty reporting directly to a provost. On highly centralized campuses, cheating would be reported to an academic integrity office.

Rule Compliance or Integrity: Examining the Two Approaches
The two dominant approaches to maintaining academic integrity on campus tend to be one of two centralized approaches. The rule compliance approach tells students what they can’t do, while the integrity approach offers guidelines for students on what they should do. The two approaches differ fundamentally in goal, method, and tone.

However, both approaches attribute the cause of the problem to the character of the individual student, who is assumed to be dysfunctional or acting in dysfunctional ways. The vernacular is morally laden and generally characterizes the student and his or her conduct as honest or dishonest, honorable or dishonorable, moral or immoral, good or bad, etc. This is true regardless of whether the cheating incident was the result of ignorance or malice.

Correspondingly, both strategies focus on resolving the problem primarily by either ridding the institution of the student, which is common in the compliance approach, or “fixing” the student, which is common in the integrity approach.

The rule compliance approach has a disciplinary, as opposed to a developmental, focus. In other words, it tries to increase the cost of misconduct.

The goal of this approach is to create a campus where students comply with the rules. The primary method used is discipline, and the tone is usually very legalistic and adversarial. There is heavy administrative involvement, which may include judicial affairs officers, student affairs professionals, and legal professionals or pre-professionals.

Alternately, the goal in the integrity approach is to create a campus where students choose to act with integrity. That is, they desire and choose to act ethically; they do not feel forced because of the possibility of discipline. Campuses that use the integrity strategy maintain that colleges are responsible for students’ ethical development; these schools use cheating as an opportunity for teaching.

The integrity approach is primarily developmental and uses discipline only as a tool. That is, discipline is used if it will help the student develop as a person and not merely to punish. The tone is generally more about forgiveness and second chances. Schools using the integrity approach rely heavily on faculty and student involvement; there is little administrative involvement. There is also significant corresponding campus talk about academic integrity and ethics. This includes any event or activity as part of a broader university initiative that brings awareness to ethics and integrity.

by Jennifer Gerrett.


Student Engagement Tip: Give Each Lesson its Own Theme Song

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The challenge of engaging students in a large, introductory political science course, motivated Christopher Soper [article referenced below] to start exploring whether music might help him better connect students and course content. He now opens every class session with a song, and selecting those songs is part of an extra-credit assignment in the course.

The assignment works like this: students recommend songs, given the topics designated for coverage each day in class. They nominate the song and write a short paper explaining why and how the song relates to the topic for the day. Soper reviews the nominations and selects a song, with the student who nominated the song getting a small number of bonus points. For protection on the legal front, Soper asks students not to download the song. Once he selects the song, Soper pays for the download, which he plays as class opens. The lyrics to the song are projected via a PowerPoint slide so that students can follow the words.

The article contains lots of examples of songs students have nominated and Soper has selected. For example, the course begins with a session on the American Revolution and one of the favorite selections is the Beatles’ song “Revolution.” In the lyrics John Lennon expresses some ambivalence about revolutions. Soper explores with students where that ambivalence comes from and whether any previous revolutionary leaders might have experienced the same feelings. The article includes a number of quotations from students illustrating how the search for songs has made them aware of political science issues they would likely ignore otherwise.

Soper does admit the strategy has costs. Some are those messages it may convey about Soper as a teacher. “Starting class with a recognizable and catchy rock song can establish me in the students’ minds as a glorified talk show host—a sort of political science Oprah Winfrey—who will go to any lengths to keep them engaged with the material.” (p. 366) It’s also a fairly time-consuming endeavor—with nominations to read, a selection to make, the music to download, and the lyrics to acquire. Soper does use some of the same songs each semester, but he likes to let students in the current class make the nominations. This allows selection of songs that have relevance to current events and issues.

by Maryellen Weimer, PhD in Effective Teaching Strategies.

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KSSR Receives Positive Feedback From Teachers, Parents

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

PUTRAJAYA: The newly- implemented Primary School Standard Curriculum (KSSR) has received positive feedback from teachers and parents, in that it has increased interest among students to learn English.

Education Deputy Director-General (Policy) Prof Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof said this was because the KSSR approach was no longer the ‘chalk and talk’ method, but focused on a more fun way of learning English.

“KSSR not only emphasises on language proficiency, but also communication among the students. It also uses other methods such as games and music,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after receiving a group of superbike riding teachers from Selangor, who were participating in the 1Malaysia Motor Convoy from Shah Alam to the education ministry here today.

Khair said the KSSR, which was only introduced to Year 1 primary students this year, would be implemented for Year 2 primary students and Form 1 students next year.

On Malaysian English Language Teaching Association president Associate Professor Dr S. Ganakumaran, who was reported to have said the syllabus used to teach English in schools was outdated, he said that syllabus which was talked about might have been the old syllabus.


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Understanding Gen-Y

Monday, September 26th, 2011

School counsellors and teachers learn tips on how to reach out to students at a lively workshop.

IF YOU are a school counsellor, getting your students to open up about their troubled pasts or life problems can be anything but an easy task.

They are either too embarrassed or intimidated by the prospects of divulging their woes and aspirations to a school teacher.

Lack of trust and loss of self-confidence are the common reasons that could be holding your students back from communicating openly and effectively during a counselling session.

However, as a counsellor, there are many things that you can do to help put your mentees at ease.

Paying close attention to details often pays off, said Applied Scholastics trainer Punitha Krishnan.

“Get up and look around. Is the colour of your counselling room too bright? Is the colour of your lipstick too distracting?” she asked.

“You should not be ‘interesting’. Instead, you should be ‘interested’ (in helping your students),” she said at a workshop recently.

by Tan Ee Loo

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Students as agents of change

Monday, September 26th, 2011

UNIVERSITY students will go down to the ground to help provide ideas on resolving various issues affecting society.

By meeting the people, they could become agents of change and do more to contribute to the country’s development, said Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

He added that students could benefit by responding to the needs of society.

“By taking part in programmes that focus on local issues such as poverty and corruption, students can gain a better understanding of current issues, build character and develop their communication skills.

“These skills cannot be taught in the classroom and students need to be more pro-active in seeking out such opportunities,” he said after launching the “Youth Defined: Shape Our Future” programme at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) recently.

Initiated by youth trust foundation myHarapan, the programme aims to promote youth participation and understanding of national plans such as the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

Mohamed Khaled said the ministry was developing other initiatives to engage the youth.

“These initiatives will involve students going out into the community.

“For example, the International Islamic University Malaysia will send its students to drug ‘hot spots’ in Kuala Lumpur so they can observe and come up with ideas to help curb the problem.

by Priya Kulasagaran.

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Pasar malam shakes up Trafalgar Square

Monday, September 26th, 2011

LONDON: A flood of Malaysian food stalls took over Trafalgar Square in the second instalment of Malaysia Night here.

Taking the form of an authentic Malaysian pasar malam created by Malaysia Kitchen, the event on Friday was to showcase Malaysian cuisine and culture.

About 25,000 Londoners visited the night market that had 25 outlets selling Malaysian favourites, including beef rendang, nasi lemak and satay.

The event, which started at 3pm, was best patronised when people began returning home from work.

One of them was accountant Diane Peterson, who said: “I actually had other dinner plans, but upon catching the smell of satay, I could not resist diverting here.”

Malaysia Night was launched by High Commissioner Datuk Zakaria Sulong and graced by London Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes.

Speaking to Bernama, Zakaria drew attention to the event which has been held for two years in a row.

It is understood that the allocation of a spot in Trafalgar Square is highly competitive.

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