Sunday, November 12, 2017

German Education Goes Digital




According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the German education system is a thing to be envied. In particular, Germany has some of the highest rates of school enrollment and youth employment in the world(1).

This record is surprising for two reasons.  First of, Germany spends less (4.2% of GDP) than the OECD average (4.8% of GDP) on education(1).  Second, German schools seem to have been reluctant to go digital(2).

Digital transformation has entered various sectors of the economy in Germany. However, the education sector has remained largely unaffected(3).

Smartphones, notebooks, and tablet computers are an integral part of daily life for most young Germans these days. However, the use of digital media in the classroom isn’t catching on as fast as one might expect(2).

It has been reported that interactive classes, bridging the gap between traditional education and modern technology, are a scarce commodity in Germany. This is a country that prides itself on its engineering prowess and manufacturing skills(4).

Some reasons have been cited for lack of digital transformation in the German education sector.  In some cases, students are not allowed to use their devices (especially smartphones) in schools. In some cases, teachers lack confidence in using the latest technology.  However, the biggest issue is funding(2).  And other articles (e.g., 5) have emphasized the fact that digital education in schools is indeed an expensive undertaking.

However, with hopes of making a ‘big leap’ in digital learning, former German Education Minister Johanna Wanka promised to invest 5 billion Euros in 40,000 schools(1).

It has been stated that Germany’s education system appears poorly prepared to equip its youngsters with the tech skills they’ll need for the future labor market. Nevertheless, we are beginning to see signs of the needed change in political will.  Also, companies and private initiatives are pushing for change(4).




REFERENCES










Posted by: Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi 

Monday, October 30, 2017

HOW TO SELECT THE BEST MOOCs: Six Tips from an Expert



INTRODUCTION
·         This blog is based on an article by Ki Mae Heussner(1)

The Expert
·         The tips are from MOOCs expert, Feynman Liang, a "21-year-old ... pursuing a dual-degree program in engineering and biophysics from Dartmouth and Amherst"
·         He has "also completed 36 massive open online courses (MOOCs) on Coursera, Udacity and edX"
·         He took "10 courses simultaneously   while completing  a summer internship at Google.  When his friends go out for Thursday night parties, he often stayed back to complete Coursera assignments due the next day. On  occasion, he spent 80 hours on a single assignment. But he said the MOOCs have helped him pass  lower-level classes in college and even prepped him for his Google interviews,
·         Liang was one of Coursera’s ‘top 50’ students based on the number of courses he has completed(2)

MOOCs
·          Massive, Open, Online Courses (MOOCs) have attracted all kinds of interest from people inside and outside education.  The major MOOC startups have teamed up with dozens of top-notch schools around the world for classes in a range of disciplines,
·         Despite the buzz, student drop-out rates are still very high.  Some estimates say that as many as 90 percent of online students never finish the classes they enroll in.

LIANG'S TIPS FOR SELECTING THE BEST CLASSES

1. It’s not just about the certificates
·         You don’t need a certificate or official recognition for what you take away from the class to be useful to you in other areas of your life,
·         Liang took a class on algorithms and data structures with a top Princeton professor that did not offer certificates of any kind. However, when he walked into his technical interviews for a summer internships, he realized that “being in that class gave him the answers to the questions being asked in the interview.”

2. Don’t judge a course by its videos
·         Excellent online courses may offer highly produced videos with graphics,  animations and artfully shot sequences or they may just have a professor in front of a camera,
·         But don’t dismiss a whole course just because the videos don’t seem up to par. An electrical engineering course Liang took on Coursera didn’t have great videos, but it was one of the best classes he’s taken online,
·         To evaluate a class early on, test it out for a couple of weeks to get a sense of the professor’s personality and commitment level.  Assignments and quizzes that just ask you to recall material covered in the video might indicate the professor is just doing the online course because of a university initiative, not a real personal interest.  More thought-provoking questions and problem sets could show the teacher's investment.

3. Be prepared to complain about peer grading
·         Liang isn’t excited about Coursera's peer review process. In a class of 30,000 the students depend on peer grading to get feedback on papers and assignments that don’t lend themselves to automatic computer grading. Students train using a grading rubric and then they are asked to evaluate a certain number of their peers’ work,
·         The problem is the huge variables in the feedback. Some students may be Ph.Ds in the topic of the course, while others may be high-school students or non-native English speakers with  limited vocabularies,
·         The upside is you get a chance to interact with people from all kinds of backgrounds.

4. Don’t play it safe when you pick classes
·         In a competitive college environment, where every final grade ends up on a transcript, students may be reluctant to branch out beyond the courses they know they’ll do well in,
·         However, on Coursera, students are free to delve into social psychology, behavioral economics, climate science and other topics, without worrying about the outcome. The student can indulge in their curiosity. The student can learn topics ranging from the history of humankind to the history of rock, all from the comfort of your their home. Also, if the student would like, they can ask unintelligent questions or test out half-baked theories anonymously.

5. Don’t assume there’s consistency between classes
·         As Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng has said, his startup isn’t a university , it’s “a humble hosting platform.” That means the professors and schools design the curriculum, create the content and set the class requirements,
·         Coursera obviously sets the framework and provides support, but its classes run the gamut in terms of quality. Once you’ve registered for a class, pay attention to its assignment policies. Some classes may not ask you to submit anything until the very end of the course.  Others will fail you if you miss more than 30 percent of a week's assignments,
·         Also, a lot of professors are trying out course content for the first time.  Be prepared to feel a bit like a guinea pig as policies shift do to the professors learning what works.

6. If you take just one class, make it this one
·         Potential Courserians obviously have a huge range of interests and motivations, and there’s never going to be  just one course that fits everyone's interests,
·         But, of the more than 50 classes Liang has taken, the course he would most  recommend to a MOOC newcomer  is“A beginner’s guide to irrational behavior.”  This class (taught by a professor of behavioral economics and psychology from Duke), touches on all kinds of lessons regarding human nature. “It’s one of the more accessible and rock-your-world classes.”



CONCLUSION


To start selecting your first (or next) MOOC, please click here.

REFERENCES

(1) https://gigaom.com/2013/08/09/how-to-pick-the-best-mooc-6-tips-from-a-coursera-junkie/

(2) https://blog.coursera.org/30-coursera-classes-and-a-google-internship/





Posted by Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Forms 'Woz U' to Reprogram Tech Education, Address Skills Gap



SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.--()--The man who revolutionized personal computing now wants to help revamp higher education for the tech industry. Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak today announced the formation of Woz U, a world-class digital institute to help fill the employment gap for high-paying technology jobs across the U.S.
Apple Co-Founder @stevewoz Forms ‘Woz U’ to Reprogram Tech Education #WelcometoWozU http://bit.ly/TheWozU
Tweet this
Woz U is designed to get people into the workforce quickly and affordably, creating long-term financial stability for a new generation of tech workers while providing prepared hires and training solutions for businesses. Arizona-based Woz U launched today with programs online, and plans to add ground campuses in more than 30 cities across the country and around the world.
“Our goal is to educate and train people in employable digital skills without putting them into years of debt,” said Wozniak, who co-founded Apple Computer and invented the Apple II computer that launched the personal computing revolution. “People often are afraid to choose a technology-based career because they think they can’t do it. I know they can, and I want to show them how.”
To help, Woz U has created a mobile app to help match people with the technology-based career best suited for them. Current programs will train computer support specialists and software developers; data science, mobile applications and cybersecurity programs are coming soon.
All Woz U programs incorporate the latest technologies and skills in high demand by tech employers, and programs include comprehensive career services.
Woz U will include multiple platforms to teach and train. One will work with tech companies to recruit and train, or even retrain, a workforce through subscription-based curriculum or on-site customized programs. Another will provide school districts with K-12 STEAM programs, exposing digital engineering concepts to students at a younger age to nudge them toward a possible tech-based career. There soon will be an accelerator program to identify and develop elite tech talent.
“My entire life I have worked to build, develop and create a better world through technology and I have always respected education,” Wozniak said. “Now is the time for Woz U, and we are only getting started.”
Learn more at www.woz-u.com.
About Woz U
Woz U launched in October 2017 online and with planned ground campuses in more than 30 cities across the country and around the world. With a corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, Woz U is named after Apple Computer co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak. Woz U is “education reprogrammed,” a new approach to higher education for the tech industry. Woz U offers online curriculum to educate computer support specialists and software developers, with data science, mobile applications and cybersecurity programs coming soon. Woz U has customized curriculum programs for companies, K-12 STEAM programs, and accelerator programs for elite tech talent, among other offerings. Woz U is part of Southern Careers Institute (SCI). Learn more at www.woz-u.com.

Contacts

OH Partners
Megan Conner, 480-229-1427
m.conner@ohpartners.com
Credit goes to Business Wire. http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What is Hybrid Tutoring and How does it work?




Assuming you want to learn something, or you want your child to learn something, you have many choices to do so. For instance, attend a physical school (which is probably the most frequently chosen route), or learn by observation and practice, such as in an apprenticeship, or learn through reading books, or (nowadays easily available) go online.

Online, of course, has many advantages, such as doing your studies on your time, from your location, without having to get dressed for the occasion, nor prepared in any other way or form.  Not to mention online education can be low cost or even no cost at all to a student. Yet it is provided by the world’s best teachers with the most up to date resources.

So, assuming you want to do your learning online, but the whole approach and discipline being applied are strange and foreign to you, this maybe something to learn in itself and get used to. If so, maybe start by using a tutor. Yes, an extremely knowledgeable and helpful flesh-and-blood tutor, someone who may not necessarily be someone you are familiar with or who lives next door to you. He/she can easily be available to you online. The best and probably most effective, way to start is via “Hybrid Tutoring.”

The simplest definition of "Hybrid Tutoring" is merely:
in-person tutoring mixed with online tutoring sessions.

Hybrid Tutoring can be an effective tool in the hands of experienced tutors, tutors who know:
which elements of a student's learning process should be carefully guided in-person and which parts can be overseen online
which elements of a subject should be carefully taught in-person and which parts can be taught online
Thus expertly used, the tool can increase both efficiency and effectiveness:
the student can learn more deeply without investing more time
the tutoring can be less expensive without sacrificing the student's learning

In Math & Science, expert use of Hybrid Tutoring is as follows:
Scheduled weekly in-person tutoring sessions are supplemented by unscheduled online mini-sessions. The online mini-sessions are almost immediately (ie, w/i hours) available during the intervening week between sessions.
These online mini-sessions provide the student real-time help as needed while he or she is studying.

SAT/ACT Prep expert use of Hybrid Tutoring is as follows:
Scheduled in-person tutoring sessions for Reading & Science, and scheduled online tutoring sessions for Multiple Choice Writing & Essay Writing.
For Math, whether sessions would be in-person or online, or a mix of the two, depends on the student's proficiency.

There are some online platforms offering free assistance. For example, Khan Academy is providing free assistance to those preparing for the SATs. However, to make best use of free online resources, a qualified and experienced tutor will still be required. Such a tutor could help navigate students through the various online resources, and can advise students of a mistake in an online resource. Such mistakes are rare, but they do occur and can be a cause of great frustration to students and their families. Tutors can also lead students to other platforms if one platform has a weakness. Students may not have any way of knowing there is a weakness. e.g., a platform that has excellent coverage of numerous sections of the curriculum but does not make good coverage of the other sections.

Lastly, the in-person tutor needn't be the same person as the online tutor. They need only to coordinate as a team. Thus, only the in-person tutor must be limited by location.


By Daniel Jetter


Sunday, October 1, 2017

A GLOBAL EDUCATIONAL CRISIS: Students in school but learning nothing



THE CRISIS1
·         Previously, a huge issue was how so many children were not attending school. For this reason one of the eight Millennium Development Goals was to achieve universal primary education over the 2000-2015 timeframe.
·         Much was achieved during the 15-year period. The number of  children not in primary schools fell from 100 million (in 2000) to 57 million (in 2015).
·         However, a new issue is emerging: the high number of children that are attendingschool but not learning anything. 2,3

THE DATA2
·         60% of children and teenagers in the world are failing to reach basic levels of proficiency in learning
·         In sub-Sahara Africa: 88% of children and adolescents will enter adulthood without a basic proficiency in reading
·         In central and southern Asia, 81% are not reaching an adequate level in literacy
·         In North America and Europe, only 14% of young people are not reaching an adequate level of literacy
·         Pupils in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Nicaragua spent years in school but are still unable to equate simple mathematical problems or read simple sentences
·         Only 7% of pupils in Mali reach a basic level of proficiency in primary school, while in Japan, the corresponding figure was 99%
·         In Africa’s nearly 128 million school-aged children3
o   17 million will never attend school, and
o   37 million learn so little while in school, they are no different than those children who never attend school
·         In sub-Saharan Africa2, half of the total primary school population ,61 million children will reach adolescence without the basic skills needed to lead successful and productive lives

CAUSES OF THE GLOBAL CRISIS
Three inter-related causes have been identified1
·         First is poverty. In the poorest countries, many pupils arrive to school in no condition to learn
·         Second is malnutrition and ill-health resulting in physical and mental underdevelopment
·         Third is low quality teaching, as too many teachers are not well educated themselves

SOLUTION
In poor communities where students are in school but not learning, charity groups and others could:
·         Address nutritional needs such as providing free lunch, and
·         Address teaching quality issues by providing computers and WiFi. This will enable teachers and students to access MOOCs and other free, online, educational resources (e.g., Khan Academy https://www.khanacademy.org/ ) .  Apart from teachers, parents, older siblings, and others should be encouraged to help facilitate the learning process.   This strategy was mentioned by Mr. Win Straube in his bestselling book, “QCE=A: Quality Generic Education is the Key.”

REFERENCES:




Posted by: Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi 




Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Coding: A pathway to a life of fun and prosperity




WHAT IS CODING?
·         Coding makes it possible for us to create computer software, apps and websites.
·         Your browser, your OS, the apps on your phone, Facebook, and this website are all created with code.
·         Here’s a simple example of code, written in the Python language: print 'Hello, world!' Many coding tutorials use this command as their very first example, because it’s one of the simplest examples of code you can have – it ‘prints’ (displays) the text ‘Hello, world!’ onto the screen.

LEARNING CODING EMPOWERS YOU TO:
·         Hand-craft your own websites
·         Become a career coder
·         Start a technology business; and
·         Understand the technology shaping your world.

Create Your Own Website
·         The world has changed so much since 1991, when the World Wide Web first began.
·         The web has taken over our lives and it shows no sign of stopping.
·         A website is a very valuable thing to have these days.  Perhaps in another 10 years every person will have their own website.
·         If you own a business, a web presence is a must.
·         If you don’t own a business, you may want a personal blog or portfolio site to sell your skills to prospective employers.
·         Your ability to create and maintain a website is severely limited unless you learn HTML and CSS code, the code that all websites run on.

Becoming a Career Coder
·         The computer programmer is quite possibly one of the most underrated professions
·         The demand for coders far exceeds the supply, so you’ll have no troubles finding a job. In fact, the coder career is projected to grow at a rate of 30% between 2010 and 2020. That’s twice as fast as most other careers.
·         The world is practically crying out for more coders
·         The pay is quite attractive.  For instance, Google and Facebook employees are paid a base salary of  $125K.

Start a Business
·         Want to create the next Facebook but are a bit short on cash?  No problem!  Learn to code and build the product yourself
·         Many entrepreneurs are choosing this path. They’ve started off with virtually no coding knowledge and have gone on to build their own small software businesses. For example, Nick D’Aloisio famously sold his iPhone app, Summly, to Yahoo! for $30m.
·         Some of these types of businesses can be started:
o   selling software; 
o   selling mobile apps;
o   e-commerce;
o   selling your coding time.

·         Do You have a product idea? Learn code! You’ll not only be able to develop your product, but also know the source code of your software inside out.

Understand How Computers Work
·         This is probably the biggest benefit of all,
·         Have you been using the Internet, mobile phones, computers and software in your daily life? Learn code and fully understand how these technologies work.

WHAT NEXT?
·          Try out Treehouse; please click here.  (At Treehouse you learn web design, coding & much more. You can try it for free for 7 days, then pay $25/month thereafter. Treehouse's mission is to bring technology education to those who can't get it, and is committed to helping its students find jobs).
·          Learn to code interactively for free at codecademy; please click here.
·          Watch a video (4 min, 40 secs) of how a 12 year old taught himself how to build iphone apps; please click here.


REFERENCE







Posted by: Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi







Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Dave Cormier’s Way: More Tips on How to be Successful in a MOOC






INTRODUCTION
·         MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) includes being “open;”
·         This should also involve being “open” to different ways of success.

WHO IS DAVE CORMIER(1)
Dave Cormier:
·         Coined the term “MOOC” in 2008(2);
·         Is an educational activist;
·         Is a Researcher;
·         Is an online community advocate, and;
·         The Project Lead for Student Relations Management at the University of Prince Edward Island.

DAVE CORMIER’S WAY(3)
·          How do you move forward after registering for an MOOC (e.g. “Thingamajigits”)
·         Cormier’s way of success involves five steps: 1) Orient 2) Declare 3) Network 4) Cluster and 5) Focus.

(1)    Orient Yourself
·         Find location of course materials. Gather them or bookmark them:
o   Where are the course materials?
o   Where are the links that you will need every week?
o   What  times are the live sessions?
·         You don’t have to cover every piece of course material but the more you cover, the more you can be involved in course discussion, and other course activities.

(2)    Declare Yourself
·         You will need to have a place to gather and declare your thoughts and reflections.
·         For this, you may start a blog or use the discussion forum that is part of the course.

(3)    Network
·         Identify people with similar interests and people to discuss your course work with;
·         Develop your network by exchanging information with people in your blog or forum;
·         Make online connections with these people by posting your comments on  your course material.

(4)    Cluster (Needed After a Few Weeks of Networking)
·         You don’t need to connect with everyone;
·         Find yourself a cluster of people with similar interests and passions;
·         Consider forming a community for continued networking – even after the course has been completed.

(5)    Focus
·         Half-way through your course, your mind may start to wander;
·         Ask yourself again for the real reason you are taking the course;
·         Draw on your Cluster to help you focus on achieving what you need to get out of your course.

CONCLUSION
Dave Cormier’s way of success requires more than just studying the course materials.  It involves being on top of the course components, and identifying and networking with other students who have a similar passion for your chosen course. Continued focus is also a large requirement.

WHAT NEXT
·         To find your first (or next) MOOC, please click here.
·         To access Dave Cormier’s video (4 min 17 sec duration) where he explains his five steps for success, please click here.


REFERENCES









Posted by Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi