Wednesday, December 30, 2015

“Throw away thy books!”

That’s what the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121 to 180 AD) wrote in his “Meditations” (167 AD).  His advice couldn't be more appropriate and valid today than it was back then, for one reason, which Marcus Aurelius couldn't have possibly envisioned at the time.

Going online gives you access to vast knowledge resources which didn't exist until a short time ago.  Today via online, the world is at your fingertips, or if you prefer, you can talk with Siri or Cortana, your personal digital assistant, to bring you to different sites to look for lectures, books, movies, games, what-have-you.

Yes, why not replace textbooks for learning with online access to the same materials, which, by the way, can be kept up to date much easier that way, all at greatly reduced cost, not to mention the convenience.

Actually, your entire studies can be done online nowadays instead of having to go to a physical location and sit down in a classroom, making sure being on time, having test anxieties and then having to follow the curriculum.  Online lets you work, study, have fun (learning should be fun!) from wherever you happen to be, in your home, in a park under a tree, or with friends who are interested in the same matter.

Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate Degrees can be obtained this way.  They may not have the show-off value of a Harvard, Princeton, MIT or such, institutions which have easy name and value recognition, but they should receive even higher recognition because the online learner did not get kindergarten-like attention and support to do his/her studies, but did so with self determination and dogged persistence, qualities which bode well for people who are going to accomplish things. 

All that is needed to make the online option work are three preconditions, which, by the way, will be helpful in whichever way one is going to pursue learning:  (1) Be able to read and write a language well. (2) Have the motivation and the drive to learn and strive to do whatever it takes to learn.  That’s truly the most important!  (3) Sufficient computer knowledge to make the computer do the legwork of searching, finding, reading, repeating, contacting and communicating with teachers, co-students, friends, the rest of the world, printing out when necessary, and more.  That’s all.  It’s as easy, or as hard, as that.

Paper is becoming a thing of the past, for museums to show how humans in one stage of their development used to store and handle knowledge and information.  The present and future will be almost entirely paperless, making it far easier to carry with you, paperless being easier to access and utilize from anywhere at any time at the right time for you.  Thank you, Marcus Aurelius;  Electronically available to all, via online, a fairer, fuller life ahead!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

What does the family have to do with it?

A long time ago, by the Chinese and the ancient Romans, the family was seen as the basic building block for a healthy, intelligent society.  According to Confucius (551 to 479 BC), “the strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”  No doubt about it!  That’s where the education of individuals begins, and, in fact, should never end.  Today more so than ever before.

Particularly in this technology-savvy age, the home is the place where ideally all learning should begin, and flourish, very much including online learning.  The skills using one’s computer, tablet or cell phone, should be learned, imbedded and practiced from early on, just like brushing one’s teeth, for that is an essential requirement for acquiring knowledge, like feeding oneself.  In my humble opinion, the family is the best team to lead by example and help the learner along, instead of leaving it up to a biased and possibly even distorted outside environment to bring the novice into the SMS-texting plus Internet world.

There is nobody more qualified than family that can supply the love, guidance, and support to stir up “the will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential ... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence,” to quote Confucius again.   And today, as well as in the future, this is true to a large extent via computers or computer-like devices.

Therefore, playing computer games is a very good thing, not a vice, because it gives your brain the opportunity for a workout and more.  Which does not mean that it can't be overdone, in case a player loses his/her relationship to time and environment, and just overdoes it,  like taking an overdose of some legitimate drug.  That’s of course sick and harmful to the person,  particularly to the person’s health,  his/her relationships and other responsibilities.  But if so, that should be easy to cure, with returning to reason and pursuing computer use with common sense.

Especially in socialist oriented societies, and very much under Soviet Communism, society developed into a non-family enterprise, where children were turned over to the state or some other outside system to grow up and become classless citizens, uniform members of the homogenous human masses.  But as we all know, and as the Soviet empire demonstrated, that model self-destructs  although modern socialists of all stripes, even in strong capitalist countries, are still trying to do the same thing the same way, hoping that the outcome will be a less competitive, less differentiated society.  That’s one reason why children often get farmed out to nursery schools as early as possible and kept in school as long as possible to learn and grow up together with their non-family peers. The peers that these children grow up with will be the ones they are working with later-on in life, playing, being friends with, maybe marry, and so on.

Well, there is a lot that gets lost by making the family just the children-production and paying-for-them-thereafter department.  The most valuable component, the personal human connection gets weakened, often substantially, or even totally lost in the process.  It converts the involved human, or humans,  into something like a machine, mostly a somewhat emotionally deprived automaton, with a greatly reduced capacity for feelings, understanding and reasoning. Eventually the human is even incapable of just pursuing thoughts or ideas for the mere fun of it.

Obviously that’s not the state we want our children or ourselves to end up in.  So the answer to the question is, yes, the family has everything to do with it.  This is why we need to have healthy, well functioning families in the first place.  That’s where true learning needs to begin, and ideally can go on lifelong.  As I learned in Asia:  “Stay home and cook rice” is to say that the real action starts in the family.  Looking anywhere else for what only your family can provide, and provide better than anyone else, is going to be a disappointing search for utopia. Although that seems to be the general practice worldwide at this stage of human development.  Therefore to end with my friend Confucius again:

"The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat."

Friday, December 11, 2015

Learn how, what?

Have you ever heard of or maybe even remember the popular children's books of “Dr. Seuss,” aka Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991) who wrote:  “It is better to know how to learn than to know”?

Dr. Seuss made this profound statement way before the time of “How Technology Should be Used in the Classroom,” because this was long before the computer age ever began.  It clearly states what learning is all about, which is important to remember in respect to all learning, whether it was in antiquity or is now in the most advanced technological age.  It  also, applies to the entire format of how society supplies education, so far mostly through person-to-person teaching in classrooms.  But with the introduction of technology in and outside the classroom the modus is changing dramatically, in some instances.

Therefore, I think it’s high time to closely look at what really needs to be learned, and how the vast volume of knowledge we’d like to have and use, can best be acquired.  Here is the way:

What one really needs to learn and retain, in one way or the other, are three things:

Language, no matter which one in particular, but preferably one which does provide access to that vast volume of knowledge we want to acquire.  The point here is that one needs to learn one’s language well, preferably very well, which mostly can be one’s mother tongue, yet one must be able to really fully understand, speak, read and write it correctly.  In most instances this process takes place already in the family, and is person-to-person, maybe via outside teachers starting early-on in life also.  For some souls, though, they are learning language by default, by just growing up in an environment of that language, and somehow acquire some reading ability with only limited writing skills.  That’s for sure not enough, not satisfying the basic requirement of learning to be able to study and learn.  Just to function in this technology dominated world demands the thorough knowledge of language, in reading, writing, and use. 

Which brings me to the most important element required for learning:  the self-motivation to learn.  MOTIVATION needs to be there, mostly inborn in us, but not so much developed by some.  The latter are the ones who may wish to learn something, say a foreign language for example, or start attending an online course on computer science. However, they then drop out sooner or later because they really don't WANT to learn, but think that the skill or knowledge they’d like to acquire will somehow be poured into them without effort on their part.  Of course that’s not how it works.  There needs to be strong will and determination to learn on the part of the student.  Without this determination, not much is going to happen, regardless of how colorful, lively, or interesting the subject being taught might be.  Therefore, self-motivation to learn needs to be built-in, or developed, preferably already by the family, to create the right precondition for true learning to take place.

How to operate a computer, which could be a cell phone, tablet, laptop, etc.  But acquiring the knowledge and skills for working with a computer are an absolute must for enabling study and learning almost anything in the 21st century.

Once these three preconditions are met, anyone is ready to acquire knowledge with ease, regardless which method is going to be used.  We know, of course, that the old school and classroom model works.  It merely takes time and money, in many instances lots and lots of both.  Yet the same knowledge and much more is available online, and often can be absorbed and dealt with at one’s own pace and availability of time, mostly for far less money, even for free.  The blessing for us living in this century is that the world and all its knowledge is laid out before us electronically, for us to learn about, study, come back to when we want to, enjoy, and enrich our lives, all being accessible via computer and the Internet.

With Online access, why remember anything when you can look it up?  Yes, why use a large part of the Random Access Memory in your brain for storage of episodic memory instead of semantic and procedural, in other words why make your brain into a hard drive?  Using a maximum of your brain cells or RAM for playing games or doing mental acrobatics in a favorite subject is not only much easier, but also far more effective in reaching results, not to mention sheer satisfaction.  By adopting the three main requirements above, without which knowledge will be very hard work to acquire, or worse, almost impossible to make stick. Yet  access online information can open doors which were hard to open before and makes knowledge not only accessible, but also retrievable whenever needed.  Therefore my advice is to really practice and maintain (a)(b)(c) well, and you’ll acquire and use whatever knowledge there is easily, as a matter of fact as a very enjoyable and rewarding experience, Online!

Friday, November 20, 2015

University of the People

There was a recent TED talk about students desire to receive higher education. President Shai Reshef tells stories of a few individuals across the globe who have graduated high school, are qualified for higher education, and require higher education to move forward in society. However, there are different reasons why these students cannot pursue a higher education and the biggest reason  is due to financial issues. Many people nowadays need to be able to hold a job while going to school so they can pay for their higher education. Education has turned from a right to a privilege for the ones who are able to afford it.

The speaker, President Shai Reshef's, talks about how he has created an accredited, tuition free, non-profit, degree-granting school to provide an alternative to those who have no other. It is called University of the people. It will hopefully break the norms of other schools because they are making school affordable and open to all students who qualify. There will be a seat for everyone who would like to pursue a higher education. The University is open to anyone throughout the world. The use of the  internet to cut down the cost and be worldwide is a major advantage to this type of education. Professors volunteer their time and post their work to  help teach the courses. No textbooks are needed because the professors post the information for the  students.  Discussion boards are used for students  to interact in a classroom like setting over the internet, and since it is an online program, the class sizes are larger than a physical classroom. This opens up many different outside the box ideas and has a broader flow of knowledge through courses.

As long as students have a high school degree, an  internet connection, and decent english skills, they qualify for University of the People. The only cost to the student is  $100 per exam. This cost to the student  comes out to be around $1,000 per year, or $4,000 for 4 years degree. If the cost is still too high, many scholarships are available. The goal is to be able to educate as many students as possible.

This model of a university's goal is  to expand  across the world. The program hopes to disrupt the current higher education system in hopes that it's  more affordable type of education will be a right to all who would like to  obtain a higher education.

The Google dictionary definition is that a TED Talk is a video created from a presentation at the main TED (technology, entertainment, design) conference or such, and is normally limited to a maximum length of 18 minutes.

The link to the whole TED talk can be found here:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Technology in the Lab

As science and technology progress, not only is technology being used for research in the forms of computers and Ipads, but machines are being used to help perform tests in a scientific lab. Being a biology major I use a variety of fancy machines to run tests in the lab. Having the technology to run these tests help us learn processes that scientists use in the real world and understand  certain concepts.

We recently were given a mystery bacteria microbial and had to run special tests on it to determine the identity of the  bacteria microbe. We would isolate the DNA and run various gel electrophoresis tests on the DNA. Gel electrophoresis is a machine that is able to show us the bands and base pair amounts in DNA. DNA is very small and cannot be seen by the naked eye. Being able to run it down a gel and amplify the amount of DNA can teach us a lot about DNA and its makeup in humans and other organisms. After amplifying the amount of DNA we can also run it through a sequencer and figure out the genome of the DNA.  The sequencer uses markers on the DNA to figure out which nucleotides come where in the sequence of DNA. We can take the sequence and run it through an online database to see what organisms our sequence would best fit. This teaches us what organism we are dealing with and in our case, which bacterial microbe we were dealing with. 

Another lab we conducted dealt with running protein gels to identify traits that our proteins portray. In gels we use ethidium bromide which can be put into another machine that  uses UV light technology to show us different traits about our DNA and proteins.  

The use of  these machines  teaches us about the greater details of how organisms are composed. This information can be used in many different fields of study  to help learn about organisms. In our lab, we are learning the  basics of  science, but this information can be used in much more detail and to learn much more in the scientific world. Science is always growing. Special machines are used to promote learning in  the field and all the information we learn from science can be used to promote future technology and education about the world we live in.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

3 GOOD REASONS FOR NOT GOING TO SCHOOL ... but learn online instead


July 26, 1764, in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, four Lenape American Indians entered the schoolhouse, shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and killed nine children.

Yes, killings in American schools have a long history, though the reasons for the violence vary.  But as a fact of life, violence of this sort has become almost weekly by now, if not daily, occurrences throughout American schools and campuses.   This may sound harsh, but check your newspapers and you’ll find it is the truth.

With modern high tech providing the means and methods, however, school can come to the student now, wherever he/she might be, via online education.  No more exposure to violence of any form.


It seems like there are more and more politically agitating professors in our colleges, more teachers with political or societal agendas of their own, coloring the teaching material in one way or another, for whatever are their ideological opinions.  Also, in the pursuit of “political correctness,” whatever that may be at the time and place, they may change or bend learning material one way or another.  Plus there are those who, for example, introduce or remove symbols in the work environment, such as say a crucifix in a classroom.  In other words, they try to transmit other thoughts and ideas in the teaching than the subject matter which is to be covered.

Needless to say, switching to online education cuts out all these coloring agents and/or politicizers, because online it’s the student’s choice to learn uncolored or in which color he/she wants to learn.


BECAUSE online education in almost anything is available practically everywhere, there is no need to use brick-and-mortar schools with a teacher standing in front of a class at all.  As Peter Gray  (Research Professor of Psychology at Boston College) documents in “Free to Learn” (Basic Books, 2013), today’s state of transmitting education via teachers in classrooms is comparable to a prison system, while, what is needed, and proven to work far better, is that learners must be entrusted to steer their own learning and development. Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, Gray demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which already children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient.  Quote:  “Unleashing the instinct to play makes our children happier, more self-reliant, and better students for life.”

Nothing could be better for fulfilling this mode of learning than going online.  Actually Gray has an example in the book of where precisely this was done in India, without giving the learners ANY instructions whatsoever, and WOW, how they learned ...

Not to mention the cost savings!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Empowering Education

 In 2013 Kiva U was created  to help empower the educational world. On this website, you can either join or create a team that correlates with your school, university, or club. It can be used to benefit students of all ages  and educators. Once you join the team, you are able to connect with your peers and other lenders through message boards, join with other teams to receive loans, and be able to make a larger impact, as well as give you the tools to spread the word about Kiva U.

Kiva U's goal is to touch the lives of thousands through microlending. Kiva U  collaborates with Citibank to engage students and educators on financial issues. The main idea is to apply the money towards the many costs  associated with an education and help with school loans. Not only is Kiva U good for financial assistance, but through experiential learning, digital collaboration, and the power of human connections, Kiva U will provide a platform for young people to take charge and change lives through microfinance and financial inclusion.

As Kiva U grows it will make a larger impact on the educational world.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Transforming Colleges to Reduce Cost

The National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) is one of today's leaders in reducing  the cost of education. NCAT is a nonprofit organization that works with colleges to redesign course structures and learning environments in the most efficient manner. Therefore, students excel in learning while the college saves substantial amounts of money.

With programs for both 2 year and 4 year colleges, NCAT, led by Dr. Carol A. Twigg, uses its experience and information technology to create the Program in Course Design (PCD). To date, there has been 30 course redesign projects, and of these 30 programs, 25 of them have been  huge successes. Of the 30 schools that offer this program there has been some dramatic changes.

-18 schools had a significant decrease in drop-failure withdrawal rates which ranged between 10% to 20%

-Schools reduced costs between 20% to 77%

-On average, each school reduced costs by 37%

-So far, the colleges have saved approximately $3million dollars

-Overall, there has been an increase in both student and faculty satisfaction

Currently, NCAT has proved to be a leader in the fight to reduce higher education costs, without reducing the quality of education and its enjoyment among students and educators. There are workshops all across the country run by NCAT to spread their  ideas about reducing education costs.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Connecting the Dots

Many schools are interested in having technology in the classroom, but only some  have actually committed to using it. In 2012 the education director of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)  noticed that  96% of 15-year-old students in OECD countries said  they had access to a computer at home. However 72% reported that they use a desktop, laptop, or tablet  at school. Some countries even had fewer than 1 in 2 students report they had access to a computer or some sort of electronic device at school. Students who have access to computers at school  tended to have better educational outcomes than schools that did not. Many schools try not to enforce the use of  computers because it takes away from the relationships between student and teacher or student to student. Using the computers did not help the students in the subjects of math and science. Some teachers taught the students how to use the Internet in a positive way, teaching lessons on plagiarism, viruses, fraud, violation of privacy, and how much internet time in appropriate. This helped teach students a quick lesson on real life issues and not only typical school topics. Using the Internet also introduces access to the latest information. Old textbooks are becoming more and more outdated, whereas the Internet is always being updated.

The goal for many teachers is to get their students to be "smarter than a smartphone," so one would think by always using the computer this would help. This is a  true statement as technology can help assist in great teaching, but it cannot cover up poor teaching skills. Teachers need to be able to take advantage of the  full potential a computer can provide and  they must have a great understanding of how to work the computer in order to be able to guide the students through the process. Teachers should also try to get more involved in designing educational programs. This will help students with their studies because teachers know first hand what techniques may or may not be successful in education.

Connecting the dots of technology to classrooms, students to computers, and teachers to enhancing teaching techniques through computers can benefit the classroom in many positives ways. It has already started to show positive results, schools just need to start committing to technology so they can begin to see the benefits  in their students.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Udacity Courses

Online colleges are becoming more and more popular. They are popping up all the time and each school has it's own pricing. Some schools are no cost to the student, some may cost a few thousand dollars, and some may cost tens of thousands of dollars  in tuition fees to complete their education online.

Udacity is a four-year old teaching setup. After years of trial and error they feel as if they have finally worked out a way to properly train people and teach millions of people technical skills.  A specialist in artificial intelligence named Sebastian Thrun founded Udacity. Thrun once ran Google X and claims that the “nanodegree” program the firm created last year will result in much lower education costs with a wider accessibility. Early data suggests the program is efficient and results in new jobs.  Students who take classes through Udacity receive the nanodegree. This is a credential degree that Udacity worked with Google and other companies to turn into a form of workplace certification. Udacity is trying to help people gain skills in the world of technology because nowadays  technology is used in the workplace. Thrun even states that it is unrealistic to think a college degree will get you through your lifetime nowadays, since everything is becoming more and more technology based. Taking courses to receive a nanodegree is a good idea to assist in  finding a job easier.

When Udacity was first launched, it  had many students taking part in the program. However, the students became laxed  with their work and failed the courses. In 2013, Thrun changed the  program  into a more practical vocational school that offered highly structured lessons. Thrun believes that having  highly vocational lessons will help people find jobs in this technology driven economy. So far, Udacity’s new model has been much more successful. The cost per month is very low and the student can take as little or much time to complete the classes.  When the class has been completed the student receives  half of their tuition back. The company believes that an average student completes the classes for a nanodegree in about 5 months. The cost is usually around $500, for a five month period, which is very inexpensive compared to the tuition cost of a  normal university. Many students who have completed the courses and earned their nanodegree have found jobs and are making a good living.

Udacity may be an independent school, however, they have the capacity to  hire professionals who are able to be personal graders and to give feedback to those taking the classes. This service provides a view from a  real person instead of just outsourcing the services to the Internet. The instructors for the classes are real educators as well.  There is an Android course that is staffed by instructors from Google, who created the mobile operating system.

Udacity is a profit based service, but all of those profits go right back into developing new coursework for students to take. It has also raised $35 million from investors. Udacity will use this money  to develop more courses and hopefully more students will take advantage of this program.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Internet Essentials

The Internet has become a much larger part of the education world today and many of us take it for granted. There are still students  in the world that wish they could have the same opportunities. These students may have Internet access in the classroom, but having access to the Internet at home is not an option. If they did have access they could get help completing assignments, especially if the teacher is using the  online websites to give the assignments.  A large company named  Comcast, has come up with a plan to try to help these students get Internet at home.

Comcast has started a program called "Internet Essentials." This program entails getting high speed Internet for a low rate, an affordable desktop or laptop computer,  it offers free online or classroom classes that are offered in the area.There are also online tutorials to help people maximize their Internet use.  So not only is this program giving students access to the Internet with the main goal of educating students, but allowing them to get a computer at an affordable rate. This ensures they have at least one working computer at home to be able to access the Internet. The program also offers a schedule of free classes that you can attend in your area. This includes online classes and  classroom classes.  The education companies that sponsor this program and partner up with the programs also  offer the classes. These companies  have the students' best interest in getting a quality education at no cost to them. The free online tutorials are also very helpful because they focus on the most important knowledge for students to know. They have three sections of tutorials: how to use the new internet (such as how to search the web and create an email account), online security (how to keep your information safe online), and jobs and school help (such as how to use the Internet to help with homework and resumes).

Internet Essentials is a great tool for those who wish to better themselves and their children's education with  help from the Internet.  Allowing access to the Internet at a low rate will open a window of opportunities for students all across the nation.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Peer Scholar

Peer Scholar is an online tool used for teachers to provide a good education and help students learn subject information.  It focuses on students’ collaboration, learning, and reflection on their work. It is available for any education level as well as compatible with any digital media. This makes it easy to access.

Teachers have access to subject-based and cross curriculum assignments. They can take these assignments and use them within their curriculum  or slightly modify the assignments to fit their needs  but keep the same rubric for grading. They can also create brand new assignments where they see fit. These assignments can be shared with others.  Once the assignment is given, the teacher shares it with the class so the students can have access to it.  When the students submit their assignment  they are  able to see their classmates work also. This assists in the learning process because the students can go in and view what their peers did and give them helpful  feedback. The students are able to collaborate with one another about their work and enturn learn more from each other. They can reflect on their own work and see what needs to be improved upon after viewing all of the feedback from others.

This program can create a new form of learning/teaching and can benefit students in many ways. Constructive criticism is a good way to show how students can learn from their mistakes. Teachers can also use this tool to share good tactics with one another  and how they portray the information in an assessment form.  Peer Scholar is also less intimidating then tests which makes students be more willing to submit their own ideas and not just what they think the teacher may want to hear. I believe by implementing this in classrooms it should assist students and allow for a new teaching technique. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tutoring by Aleks

There is a website called Aleks that students may utilize as a great study tool. In my Chemistry class  it  was used in aiding students to understand  concepts. You have to create a user ID and register the class ID that is given by  the teacher. This will allow the teacher to post assignments to assist the student through the course.

When  beginning this endeavor  you will  take a baseline test. This takes your previous knowledge of the subject and makes sure you will be able to get on track for the class. When the test is complete it provides a pie chart. This pie chart breaks down the percentages of  your current knowledge of the subject  and what you need more work on. Each student  will have a different pie chart and different amounts of were they excelled and where they need more work. It is very important not to  cheat  during the baseline test or  all your assignments going forward will be to advanced. It is okay not to have all of the  information because the website is there to walk you through the assignments.

Aleks serves as a personal tutor for the individual student. For each assignment it will teach you how to work out the problems, give you a few sample problems to try, and grade the problems. If you get the problem  correct you will  move on to the next assignment, if you got the problem incorrect it will show you where you made the mistake  and give you a new problem to work through.. This method ensures you learn the material before moving on to the more difficult material.

I believe Aleks is a great tool to help you get through difficult courses. It will continue to go over and over  the subject to assist you in becoming stronger in the subject and push you along the way. You can also receive the  help at your convenience and on your schedule  because it works through the Internet. It is especially great for college students  who are always busy and may not have time to utilize the  office hours of the  professor for extra help. It is easy to use, inexpensive, and a great learning tool overall!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Surgery at a Touch

Ipods, iPads, and iPhones all have applications that can be used for fun and for education. There is a huge variety of  applications that can be used for educational purposes that are very inexpensive. 

There is one application called "Touch Surgery" that can give students who are interested in medical school  an idea of what they are getting themselves into. It is a free application that takes you through realistic surgeries you may perform as a doctor. All you have to do is register  and answer a few questions about your medical interests. The application takes your interests (that you may chose as a potential speciality) and takes you through the preparation and virtual surgeries that actual doctors perform. They even use the proper terminology and treat you like they would a medical student. You may not move forward to the next lesson/ surgery unless you pass the tests given. You must pass the lesson before you can attempt any other type of surgery or  advanced lesson.

As you go through each trial they ask you challenging questions and you must choose the correct answer before the next step can occur. They keep track of how many times you pick the correct or incorrect answer  and give you your score at the end of the lesson. Obviously as a surgeon you need to know your information thoroughly  so therefore there no hesitation in giving lower scores for bad answers. They provide four options for each question. Some questions even give you a circle icon that you need to move  to the correct position to indicate where to make an incision or other medical procedure. They truly make sure you know your material and if you do not, it is a great educational tool to assist in your education.

Each trial/test can be taken multiple times. There is a huge variety of different trials to choose from and by it all being virtual, there is no extra cost for using cadavers or real people.  I would suggest this application to students  either attending medical school, or those who might be interested in attending medical school. It is a great study guide.  It is a free trial to see if  a student is  truly interests in pursuing this as a career. I felt that learned a lot just by going through the trials to test my skills and see to see what a real surgery would be like. It was very interesting and educational application. Anyone can download it.

It is a free tool to be utilized for educational purpose. Many applications out there can be used for educational purposes and this one example of a great application that stood out to me.  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tweeting Answers

These days, social media plays a huge role in students distractions from schoolwork. Twitter is a free website that many of us are guilty of opening the application, scrolling through, and reading post after post of mindless information. Not all  posts are  full of mindless information. Following certain accounts can be very beneficial to our education and helping us learn more outside of the classroom.

In my Anatomy and Physiology class, our teacher had created an account just for our class and had just about all of the students  following it. The teacher's assistant, or TA, would sit in on every lecture and tweet the main points of the lesson. We did have PowerPoints and were taking notes while the professor was lecturing. However the Twitter account was a good tool to  reference if small details in our notes were missed  or if we wrote it down incorrectly.  Each class had many tweets that would fill our twitter news feed with information. This allowed the students to read through all the information again and  would not allow the students to forget that there was an account made for the class. I always went back and used the account to help study for major exams and quizzes to ensure I was getting the correct information.

Not only could you go back and review the tweets whenever you wanted to, but when it came to tests the professor would get on the account and answer questions students  had through tweets. This was better than email because once a student asked something and it was answered, the question and answer would appear on the twitter account for all to see and would not have to be answered multiple times. If this were email then the professor might be wasting  countless amount of time answering the same question and would not be very time efficient . The twitter account was also used to send out reminders of when certain reports were due, exam dates, material on exams, etc.

Using Twitter as a learning tool is a very clever move. It acts  as a constant reminder for students to pay attention to the facts and information in class instead of the latest gossip and pointless information that is covered on Twitter. It targets students  procrastinate,  and allows them to learn instead. Twitter is free to sign up, free to follow accounts, and therefore it is a very cost effective  tool to uses in the classroom. If more classrooms used Twitter then it would  become more informative  and less gossip.

I enjoyed using  Twitter in my education, because it helped me as I am  too shy to speak up and ask certain questions and it just leaves my feed with meaningful information. I can always gain more knowledge  when I see that  posts come through. People who are not paying attention to the professor during class cannot use Twitter to distract them because the class account posts  live during each class. The best part about Twitter is that it is easy to use and free. It is a great tool especially for those on a budget.