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Social Media is a Consumer Generated Media

Monday, April 28, 2014

Almost every organization having large public interfaces such as an University, NGOs, Government, traditional media companies are working deeply to understand how to adapt and use Social Media effectively for achieving their goals. Alongside the mass community of people online, both generations 'X' and 'Y', are discovering how social media technology can perk up their lives and give them more connectivity based on their interest in the world.

In this interesting time, we should enhance the understanding of the information ecology of these new publication methods in order to make them more useful, dependable and truthful.

Participatory media are primarily 'many to many' communications (Wikipedia).

Steve Ruh and Frank Magallon from San Diego State University indicate the Military currently is involved in studying the potential of using social media for some of its internal communication campaigns.

This consumer-generated media or user-generated media is now playing a pivotal role for companies to quickly learn about the feedback of their consumers in response to their products and services.

Various universities are now leveraging blogs to facilitate alternate education models based on informal learning. Educationist are starting to believe that it can be a great tool for its students as it give access to resources, experts and personalities. They found social media very much interactive for association with professional communities, sharing enthusiasm of common interests and for peer based social learning as well.

Students are sharing experiences with the members of 'communities of interests'. To continue being relevant to society, university education cannot ignore this new industrial phase that accommodate mixed social realities. Also many of the benefits of institutional learning can now be accomplished via social media.

The Case For Increased Civic Awareness & Improved Communication-Education And Advocacy

Since Tanzania got independence more than four decades ago, poverty, ignorance and disease have remained outstanding thorns in the back of any government in power. Until today, these so-called arc enemies can be seen, read and experienced on many faces. At the same time, as a member of the international community, Tanzania has committed itself to achieving internationally accepted standards related to these very issues, like the Millennium Development Goals. This is why the government came up with the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty, trading under the Kiswahili acronym of MKUKUTA.

The implementation of such programmes revolves on the axis of tackling growth, income and non-income poverty and ensuring good governance and accountability. This is what downloads everything to the local government level of action. This is why the Local Government Reform Programme is such a vital tool.

The four areas due to be addressed, under the programme, involve making fundamental changes in the way powers and resources are allocated within government. No where in the world have such proposals been implemented without encountering problems.
The decentralization by devolution process within the environs of the local government in Tanzania is a massive undertaking. On top of that, it requires the participation of a wide range of stakeholders at national, regional and local levels. It cannot leave anybody behind. Even the input of 'those who would lose their stake (stake-losers?) in the process is required.

As of now, there is a strong platform for local government reform in Tanzania. On it are central government and line ministry representatives, the regional administration itself and its Association of Local Authorities of Tanzania (ALAT), the civil society, academic institutions e.t.c.

Because of the weak financial muscle of the country, the so-called development partners and donors have reserved seats. They need to fully not only understand but also appreciate the programme if they are to explain it to their taxpayers at home before embarking on supporting it.

At the end of the day, whether this programme is to succeed or not will depend on the performance at the ground level. And that is the crux of the matter.

The extent to which this programme can succeed or fail will depend on the amount of information available to all the stakeholders, not a few selected
ones. Every means of carrying information across must be exploited. That is, seminars, conferences, print media, electronic media and even drama so as to achieve the following:

To increase people's awareness on the reform so that it can get wider understanding and, therefore, support.
To identify areas of success in one area and publicize them as a way of opening up eyes of other performers in other areas.

To identify aspects those have not been fully understood by stakeholders and mount their popularization programmes through various media.

To pick positive and negative experiences from other countries that have tried to reform their local government system to help keep the Tanzania exercise on track.

To monitor the democratization processes and disseminate information on it as one of the major instruments for attaining good governance and accountability at the level of councils.
Therefore there has got to be increased civic awareness, improved communication, education and advocacy on the proposed local government system. A comprehensive media strategy must be put in place and vigorously implemented.
The whole country must be covered. No district should feel having been left out of the process. Experiences from one district must only be an eye opener for others. They are not items of copying like a blotting paper. The districts are supposed to work out their reform programmes drawing on their own circumstances.

Social Media Marketing: Are You Doing It the Right Way?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

While all of us are busy being Social and building relationship across different Social Media avenues like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on, it's time we should question ourselves whether we are putting all our efforts the right way. It's really enjoyable to be Social on the web. Tweeting and posting on Facebook all day long and then having a few mentions and likes makes us feel really happy. But is that all we are looking for? Is that capable of generating a handsome ROI? Do we plan and organize our Social Media efforts to meet our goals and objectives or are we just doing the Social thing just because everyone else is doing the same? Conversation or Engagement is the key element of Social Media. But just being talkative will not help much when it comes to marketing. Following are the few key question you should ask yourself to make sure you are performing Social Media Marketing and nothing else.

Are you relevant? Are your tweets worth following? Is your Facebook page worth a like?
In Social Media, sharing is everything, provided you are sharing the right thing. Make your posts relevant to your business. Then the type of audience your content attracts, will definitely be your target audience. Let people know that you are specialist in your own field by sharing relevant and valuable things. Maintain relevancy across all networks to prove your worth.

Are your Social Media efforts targeted? Are the people you are talking to would help you meet your business objective?
Conversation is the key to success in Social Media. But make sure you are talking to the right people. Find targeted people to have a conversation with. Only they can be converted to prospects and can help you achieve your business goals.

Are you having an engagement? How often the people who like your Facebook page share something on your Facebook page or comment on your Facebook posts?
Its not important to be followed by thousands of tweeps on Twitter or having thousands of 'Likes' on your Facebook page. To make them engaged with your content and making them visit your posts/blog over and over again is the main thing you should try to achieve. Returning Visitors or Loyal Visitors should be the goal!

How much influence do you have on your audience? Are you able to attract your audience and draw them closer to your sales funnel?
Try to socialise in such a way that your audience value you. Try to nourish them with different content first and gradually draw their focus on the things you are marketing.

Are your posts content rich? Are you able to educate and inspire your target audience to connect to you?
In Social Media, your content does it all. From educating your audience about your offerings and finally inspiring them to become your fan/customer is something to be done with content only, nothing else.

Online Education - Utilize Time Effectively

Friday, April 25, 2014

Online education generally refers to computer-enhanced learning, but is often extended to comprise usage of modern mobile technologies such as PDAs and MP3 players. The concept also includes teaching through web-based methodologies, hypermedia, multimedia CD-ROMs/websites, collaborative software, discussion boards, e-mail blogs, computer-aided assessment, educational animation, learning management software, wikis, electronic voting systems and much more. At times, a combination of various methods is used to enhance the learning experience. Online education also involves learning through websites that offer worksheets and provide interactive exercises for adults and children.

There has been a significant rise in online schools and colleges in the United States (US), which is indicative of the increasing popularity on e learning. Online education is very popular in the business segment, where it entails cost-effective learning for the employees.

A number of physical universities and only-online colleges have started offering particular set of academic degrees as well as certificate programs through the internet at various levels and disciplines. To cater to the students' necessities, these institutes also offer online registration, e-counseling, and enable online textbook purchase. They also provide students governments and student newspapers online.

Types Of Online Education

Online education is in the vogue in the learning circuit as it offers flexible distance learning. Perhaps, another concept making rounds these days is blended learning, meaning e learning with face-to-face learning. Such kind of a concept is useful, particularly for students pursuing higher education. The beauty of blended learning is that it is instrumental in creating a Virtual Learning System (VLS), wherein all aspects of modules are handled using a consistent user interface that remains standard throughout an institution.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Undoubtedly, the perception about online education has changed from an alternative to serious study to an efficient and cost-effective instructor. A majority of the online educational institutions are well established and are experienced in providing students with in-depth learning in their respective modules. So much so that, some of the most reputed educational institutes in Europe and North America are offering courses to their students online.
However, before taking a plunge into the online pool, weigh its advantages and disadvantages well.

Flexibility of scheduling and convenience of learning are among the major advantages that online education offers. It however needs dedication and patience from the students to bless them with superb results. It is advisable that the students first patiently and persistently familiarize themselves with the online technology. You will have to be always on your toes to keep yourself updated with the online requirements, since there is no instructor to guide you in this respect. Be prepared to dedicate yourself completely to online education to be able to complete it on time.

Radical Education

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Radical education - issue of emancipation

The technique of educating a rock, and that of educating a moral soul is analogous - for it is never vital what all is taught, but it is subliminal, what all is primarily, comprehended and substantially, adapted to. Comprehension and rigorous adaptation, the ostensible and grandiose factors that consists education, also form it. Whenever education is devoid of either of these tenets, it is technical and languid.

The pith and essence of relating to anything in its simple, true nature, like calling a table, a table and discerning a pen as a pen, is though not education but is a worldly aptitude towards exactness; however, when we tend to abstract and nullify the pith and essence of a thing with either too many trivialities or far too much profundity, though we dither from exactness, but there forth we are educated. The knowledge that we can be bereft of, is the knowledge we don't need to know. The knowledge that renders one with topics of conversation and only alleviates one's vanity is a knowledge each man can reckon without. The knowledge that is frivolous and charming, the component of identities, terms and realities, is no knowledge at all, it is profanity. The knowledge of substance, of virtuousness, of names, of categories... every type of paramount knowledge except that of prospect, is unruly, amorphous and needless.

The reckless concept of education regresses to not to provide but lies to inflict, to coerce. There are three hundred and sixty five days in a year, the earth revolves round the sun, atoms comprise of neutrons, protons and electrons - when refuted, would a repository of such arbitrary facts instill or emerge as an auxiliary at all to the commercial intellect of the quintessential man? Succinctly put - a historian would have nothing to do with agriculture and likewise, a farmer would atypically benefit from history.

Our ambitions are liberalized, both metaphorically and literally, but this choice is assailed with not our talents, instead is subjugated by the abounding mass of trifle minutiae we entail and inculcate in ourselves. Thus, what we procure - engineers, doctors, sensationalism and personnel; what we lack - idealists, moralists, imagination and intellectuals.

Education is reprehensible for what it confers, it besets and what it lampoons, it obliterates. Ergo, from a predilection or a necessity, it surmounts as a compulsion. It is evasive of the urge to evolve or develop, for all it imbibes is a framework where theory is the armature and precision is the infrastructure, and within such constricting peripheries, a thing is curtailed, it is never meant to be outgrown. Its own rigidity commands its motif, its wholesomeness, its credibility and its frailty. Hence, there is no quotient left for a lesser or a greater scope or objective except the only scope that it tends towards. Alas, any ilk of education simultaneously corresponds always to the juxtaposed fundamentals of everything; what are condoned, are the elemental individual aspects.

The circuitous and proverbial trajectory of being educated involves a person to behave and enact as the necessary, exemplary thing that a person is groomed to become. Here, character becomes hereditary and individuality becomes secondary; the sheer righteousness of how a thing is done is necessitated more than the way it could be orchestrated sated with human faults which are the only accurate lessons and measures that educate authentically and not critically.

The structure of a good education has been browbeaten, desecrated and defiled in so umpteen of modes that true education has gone misbegotten. An indefinite thing like education, when looses such orientation becomes self-contained in its shortcomings. The real and feasible result holds that whatever education exists in lump sums is adequate in its totality; this is forebodingly dismal because true education that enables invention in man is truly great only in its inadequacies and loss of extent.

To each malady, a cure must subsist and prevention must ensue. This ailment of an education system calls for a desperate annulment, and a radical amendment. When a person desires to be educated, he wishes to not be encumbered by the uselessness of figures, hypothesis, worldly histrionics, hypocrite things that are merely effective to talk about and socialize with; he desires the reckless freedom of his own thought and spontaneity, his trade as a living soul, not as a cultivated being but as an arbitrary one. Education should have no motive to command or assert, but merely, to influence. It shouldn't talk of nationalism and patriotism and culture and integrity; it shouldn't be biased to these, either. It should be free, assertive, resplendent and great; a superlative thing consistently being molded with time and change. When such an education prevails, it will not breed patriots, extremists, chauvinists, decadence, conceit, probity, loyalty, fidelity... it will fabricate utterly nothing except men, those with a freer will and blatant choices.

How to Make an Informed Decision Based on News Media

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The news section of any media format is the place where you find out about the environment you live in. The information covers pretty much everything you relate to: social media, political insight, environment, education, health, technology, science, gossip and fun, you name it.

Unfortunately, in the past decades, the media channels have diminished the quality of the information they provide in favor of the spectacular element of it. Hence, you get a lot more scandals, gossip and breaking news about nothing really in the attempt to keep you glued to the screen, the paper or whatever medium you are on at the moment.

That is why right now you have to go through an elaborate process in order to establish an opinion that has truth in its foundation:

First, check out different publications to extract every bit of info about the piece of news that interests you. Do not hang on to a single channel or paper, the possibility of its depiction to be biased is extremely high. If you want an unadulterated opinion you should check out more sources than one.

Second, link the info to what you already know on the subject. If you are new to the issue, research as far back as you can for solid background. Informing yourself is the key to making your own opinion about a subject.

Third, consider only the sources that have established their superiority and integrity on the mass media scene. They have worked hard in order to build that level of trust and they will go to extreme lengths to keep it that way. Newcomers and tabloids try to squeeze whatever audience they get by slightly bending and exaggerating the reality, transforming the facts into an alternative reality. That's not always the case with any newcomer, but take it with a grain of salt.

Most of the newcomers on the market are eager to get a foothold, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll do anything for achieving it. However, unless they work with experienced employees, there's a hundred percent chance they won't offer you the best info out there because they simply don't know how to select it. Given time, they will come around, but experience always comes with time and work, so you can check them out but don't pay much mind to what to see.

Lastly, make a selection. Do not dive in all kinds of subjects on a detailed level or that is all you will be doing all day. Check out your main interests alone and let the others flow by. If you are about to base your opinions on something strong, follow that lead alone. If you are about to invest on that kind of info, make extremely sure you check out all the sources you can get. And if you are educating your kids, make sure you do a good job.

Today is Earth Day - here are some resources for teachers

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day, April 22nd, is a great time to talk to your students about the environment. 

Earth Day was started in 1962 as a way to bring attention to environmental issues. As polution increases, and the environment is continually affected by humans, it is a great time to get our students thinking about environmental issues. 

Here are some resources you can use with your students:

Green Cities Campaign

Earth Day Networks sitehttp://www.earthday.org/greencities/about/

Google Earth Day Resources
#mybeautifulearth https://plus.google.com/u/0/explore/mybeautifulearth
great photos of our earth.

National Environmental Education Week - Resources for Environmental Education Week. This site has an entire section with resources for educators that includes curricula, quizzes, professional development and more. 

Earth Day Network - this is another great resource for teaching about the environment and Earth Day. The educator resource page has lesson plans, Green your School guide, grant programs and more to help educators. 

Science Museum Climate Science Info Zone - information and resources on climate change, carbon footprint, and more. 

Think Green from Discovery Education - Think Green is another great free resource from Discovery Education that contains lesson plans, videos, and activities for teachers to use in their classroom. The resources are sorted by grade level and are interactive and educational. 

You can also go to the Think Green Resource Page to search for more resources by grade, topic, or resource. 

Discovery Education, Siemens STEM Academy also has some great resources. 

Every classroom can, and should, talk about Earth Day and the environment. We all need to help make sure that the Earth will be a healthy, viable, place for generations to come. It's also a great way to incorporate STEM topics into any classroom and relate STEM topics to the environment. 

English classes could write about the environment, including persuasive essays and letters on different topics. 

History classes could look at the history of Earth Day and the Environmentalist movement, along with the history of different environment events. 

Science classes can delve into the science of the environment, energy resources, energy production and more. 

What do you do for Earth Day in your classroom?

Some More Environmental Resources

Discovery Education Dawn Junior Wildlife Champions-free lesson plans about oil spills and wildlife

The Road Ahead - resources on electricity generation from Discovery Education

Discovery Education Turfmutt - environmental science lessons

25 Free Resources from Discovery Education

Discovery News - science news

Disney Planet Challenge - project based environmental contest with resources

How Do I Save For Education?

The cost of education has risen steadily over the past 20 years. This would include post-secondary education, but also private school and alternative schools. Since the workforce has become so competitive, more education has constantly been touted as the solution to assuring a good paying job. It is a moving target because the world of work is changing rapidly, and a degree of 5 years ago may be obsolete today. Since the cost of education has risen so quickly, the payoff from getting a good education is getting smaller and more risky. Interest on student loans is also getting more expensive simply because it takes longer to pay them off.

What Do You Need?

Given this backdrop, how do you save for an education? This could be for your child or for yourself, since many adults have to go back to school due to job market instability or career change. There are some key points to keep in mind. What kind of education is needed? If you have done your homework, you may find that education may not cost as much as you thought, or you don't need as much schooling as you thought. Education is a very individual thing, so you need to know yourself or your child before you commit a lot of money. Narrow down what you would like to do and then research the alternative ways of obtaining the credentials you would need to get there. There is the option of a university degree, but there are also college courses, trades, designations offered by an association, or volunteer and apprenticeship opportunities for obtaining the credentials. More jobs are requiring a license or certification, so part of the research would be to find out what licenses are available and what is involved in obtaining and maintaining the license. Some occupations have multiple licenses so it would be wise to target the one that works best for your situation.

When Do You Need it?

Timing is very important with education as with most things in life. The longer you can wait, the more options you have with respect to choosing what you want to do and saving for it. The trade off is that the more time you have, the more uncertainty exists because things can change over time. To get the most from education, it has to be easily upgraded and versatile enough to change with the times. It may be a good idea to start with a general course of study and then zero in on something more specific after you have worked in the field and know exactly what you would need to specialize further. If something changes along the way, the general degree is still useful, but the specialty can be changed to suit whatever is needed at the time.

What About the Saving Part?

When it comes to a large purchase, there are some general concepts that are helpful. The larger the purchase, the earlier you should save for it and the more useful it will be to plan what you want to do. The planning will be easier if you know what you want, or you have the flexibility to make changes to the plan and continue to reach your target. There are many vehicles out there to help you save for education. Some of these are discussed below. For trades and apprenticeships, specific research should be done to determine if there are specific programs out there to encourage people to study in these areas.

Scholarships and Student Loans

There are many scholarships, grants and pockets of money available for people who want to go to school. Since the education costs are rising so quickly, these funds are presented as a way to ease the financial burden. There are also possibilities of obtaining student loans. The interest is tax deductible, but debt in general can be expensive and it will accumulate if it is not paid off early. Research is required into scholarships and bursaries as many of them are specific to certain fields and have specific requirements.


The RESP is typically designed to save for children's education, but it can also be used for adult education. Government grants can be used to add more money than would be available with an RRSP or TFSA. If the money is not used by one of your children, it can be transferred without penalty to another child. It can also be transferred to an RRSP if education is not pursued, but the contribution room has to be available. The accounts can stay open for 36 years, so the good news is that this transfer can take place over time. The money contributed is not taxed, but the income is when withdrawn.


The whole idea behind the RESP is to provide savings to pay for your education. So why not use the TFSA for the same thing? The RESP may have an advantage in that there are government grants offered, and you can contribute more money in general. The TFSA has the advantage of being simpler and having fewer restrictions. If you don't go to school, there are no penalties to leaving the money in the account, and no time restrictions as to how long the account can stay open. In terms of investment, you can produce the same returns in an RESP as a TFSA. Returning money back into the TFSA is also less restrictive than an RESP. TFSA money that is withdrawn is also not taxed.


What about the RRSP? The RRSP is designed for retirement, so using it for something prior to retirement is generally not considered. The tax implications are different for RRSP withdrawals versus the RESP or TFSA, but given the right situation, it may be more advantageous than going into debt. If you have years with low income because you are in school, this may be a perfect opportunity to withdraw money with a low tax burden. Combining that with tuition and education credits generated from going to school could mean withdrawing money with very low tax rates. If your retirement is taken care of or can be replenished at a later date, this strategy may be worth considering. If you have a spouse with a high income, you may want to consider a spousal RRSP for the spouse to replenish your RRSP and create a tax refund for them. There are tax implications when it is time to withdraw from the spousal RRSP, and this should be considered as well as part of the tax plan.

Tax Credits

If you go to school full time or part time at an institution, you will be able to claim tuition credits and education amounts against federal and provincial taxes. These credits will be paid during study and after graduation, which would be useful if you have generated income once your study is over. These credits can be helpful to reduce the taxes you pay and get back some of the money you have paid for the education. If you borrowed money for schooling, you can also claim interest on the student loans in most cases. These credits can be carried forward indefinitely, which means you can benefit from them whenever you earn income and you will not need to worry about the benefit expiring. Should you get a tax refund as a result of the education expenses, this can be put toward paying part of the student loans generated during your time studying.

What Additional Options Are There for Adults?

If the reason for getting education is for upgrading a career or making a career change, there are other possibilities. You may obtain a basic degree that covers your field of expertise and then negotiate with the employer to study something more specific. This means that the employer may pay for some or all of the education expenses. The advantages of this are that you get to keep your job, and some of the expenses will be covered for you. This method can also be used for designations since a designation adds credibility for the employer. If you are considering asking your employer to do this, remember that they will do it as far as it benefits the company and its image. If you are being recruited for a new position and you are a prize candidate, you may want to add education as a benefit for taking on a new position. Employers may tell you that there is not enough money in the budget for your education, but this can always change if the value can be demonstrated to them with numbers.

If you are currently working, choose to study designations that can be done while you work to minimize time off work, financial stress and career disruption. This also enhances your profile as an employee and may lead to some help in terms of money or more study time. The downside is that studying while you work is time consuming and may take away from other aspects of your life.

Networking is always touted as a way to get to unadvertised jobs. Networking is also useful in obtaining information in all other career areas. If you are thinking of obtaining a designation or studying a course, find someone in your company or in a similar company who has done it recently and find out what their experience was. This would include time spent, resources allocated to them, or promotional opportunities. If they negotiated funds to help pay for their education, ask them how they did it and what issues came up. If you don't know which degree or course would be most beneficial, this can also be researched. People who you network with can also provide help with studying or obtaining resources.

In some cases, it may not be worthwhile to study further because the costs outweigh the benefits. It can also be true that some avenues of study have a good chance of being worthwhile, and some other avenues have a high probability of not being worthwhile. Also, a decision that was wise 10 years ago may not be useful today due to employment paying much less in a particular field, or competition becoming much more intense as to not make it worthwhile to work there. Coming back to the first paragraphs, knowing your goals and what you want to achieve will be key in determining what decisions should be made.

Enhance Language Learning - Multi-Media in the ESL, TEFL, TESOL Classroom

Monday, April 21, 2014

Visuals are a great tool to help with student comprehension as well as make your English Language Teaching (ELT) / English Language Learning (ELL) or any language classroom a more exciting place to learn. Unfortunately, not all schools are equipped for this type of learning but most schools will have a multi-media room that can be utilized on an "as needed" basis by their teachers. In addition, the lesson could involve graphics and images using less technology based methods for presentation. For example, if you don't have an LCD, look at using Flashcards or an overhead projector. Simply displaying your handout can truly help an English as a Second Language student grasp what you are trying to say or accomplish. It is far superior to a teacher standing in front of the class with a worksheet while pointing at something the students can't see.

What is Multi-Media?

Multimedia is various combinations of text, graphics, sound, video and animation. It can be controlled, coordinated and delivered on a computer screen and implies interactivity which means the user is engaged in the presentation of information. In addition, multi-media can act as a more 'capable peer' as well as be a tool for student-student and student-teacher interaction. It can lead to more collaborative learning experiences while allowing students to learn with multi-media or from multi-media.

Why is multi-media important to the learning process?

The brain recognizes much more in the visual cortex where our visual memory is located. Comprehension can often only occur after students are able to construct a mental image of what is meant. Once the student forms a mental image, then the concept is 'understood'. Therefore, the more visual we make learning, the greater the amount of subject matter that can be memorized and retained. I don't want to get long winded and pedantic but I think this can help getting you thinking on how to make your language learning lessons more exciting whether it is your first teaching job or you have been teaching for years!

Here are some great sites for multi-media and pre-made power-points lessons:

ESL TEFL TESOL Lesson Plans:   totalesl.com/lesson.php

Interactive English Grammar:   totalesl.com/education.php

PBSKids:   pbskids.org

EdTech:   edtech.sandi.net

Jefferson County Schools:    jc-schools.net/ppt.html

There are many more but this should get you started. If you would like to see a complete list of educational resources online, I have made a directory of ESL TEFL TESOL Resources (TotalESL.com/resource.php) based on the school subjects.


Use and distribution of this article is permitted subject to no changes being made to the content and the original author's information (About the Author) must be included with appropriate hyperlinks/URL references in place.

Online Education - Education In Vogue

Friday, April 18, 2014

Time management is the key to success in today's fast paced world. How one manages his or her time determines the success quotient and this is the reason why online education id gaining immense popularity. Since online education offers unmatched flexibility and the students and learners can manage time in line with their other priorities, it is becoming a very popular mode of education in almost all parts of the world. The growing popularity of online education has resulted in the establishment of several online educational institutions offering online degree courses and other learning opportunities.

Some people harbored the misconception that the advantages of online education are restricted only for those students and learners who had an established record of past accomplishments. This also led to the belief that online education helps only those who have access to modern means of communication as computer and Internet. However, as the awareness about various modes of online education is increasing the misconceptions related to online education are giving way to more acceptability to online education and training.

Changing perception

It is a talk of the past when people considered online mode of education as a quick way of obtaining a degree or getting good grades. In the past, the reputed educational institutions were not offering online education. However, with the increasing popularity of online education, the majority of institutions offering online courses are well-established institutes and they have a rich experience to provide such education. It is worth mentioning, that a large number of world's leading educational institutions are offering online education courses on a wide range of subjects.

Growth drivers

Today, most of the accredited online education courses have talented teachers and professors of repute in their respective specialization. This ensures qualitative learning. The students signing up with online education courses, can be assured of guaranteed results. Moreover, online education is more interesting and more competitive when compared to the traditional teaching methodologies.

Employers' viewpoint

Undoubtedly, many employers were and some of them are still having doubts about the value of online education. However, with change in perception and emerging popularity, a large number of employers have realized their worth. Now the employers consider the online degrees from accredited and well-established online educational institutes of repute. Moreover, the increasing number of people who enroll for online education has changed the employers' perception and now they readily consider the benefits of online education.

Some research reports point out that technology oriented industries such as, communication, computers, media and marketing have started to accept the candidates having online degree courses from accredited and reputed institutions.

Online Education - Teaching Degree Opportunities

The education of individuals in society is the primary form and most effective way of providing a solid future to upcoming generations. Without this instruction the next generation of people would not have the proper knowledge to function in all the areas of our society. Online study provides education degrees that facilitate the learning process to transform students into educators.

Traditionally, education is viewed as teaching individuals from kindergarten through college. Education does fall heavily in this category, but individuals can become educators in many areas outside of the typical classroom. With the industry being so diverse students have multiple options. These options include K-12 education, special education, early childhood education, and adult education. Specializing in these areas can have students earning degrees from an associate's to a doctorate. Students should strongly consider what and who they want to teach before enrolling in a program. This choice will make deciding on what online college to attend and what degree level to pursue significantly easier. Beginning an education unprepared can be overwhelming, frustrating and may hurt a student financially if they enter a program too hastily. A student may need to switch to a different concentration after a year or two if they decide another path would be better for them. Thus wasting years of valuable time and money. Taking the time to properly prepare for your career will save you both. Think carefully about the options available because there is something for everyone interested in the field.

One of the most popular degree opportunities in education is K-12. Professionals who have this degree teach kindergarten through twelfth grade. In general, colleges break down K-12 education into four categories, which include early childhood, elementary school, junior high, and high school. Individual degrees will match the subject and grade level a student decides to major in. For example, if a student enrolled in a bachelor's degree program wants to teach English to high school students they would get their degree in English education. Main courses would focus on English with supporting courses preparing students to teach. To teach K-12 in any state students must have a bachelor's degree in their concentrated area.

Earning a degree in adult education prepares students to teach or train adults. This can take place in vocational schools, colleges, and universities. Students can earn this type of degree in the setting and field of their choice. Most adult educators in the profession hold a master's degree or higher. Study includes development of curriculum, communication, and the theory of adult education. Students will learn about administration, how to plan a program, and how to teach adults in a social context. It is common for individuals who have an undergraduate degree in a certain area and work experience to pursue a master's in adult education. For example, a person that has a degree in business can earn a master's in adult education in business. The blend of education and experience will allow this individual to obtain a teaching position within a college or university. Other career opportunities include education administration and corporate training specialists.

The profession of education goes past the common view of teaching K-12 and college. Search out the vast accredited online opportunities available to students in education and find the right online program that will allow you to get the most enjoyment out of your earned degree.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

Copyright 2010 - All rights reserved by PETAP.org.

How To Use Social Media - Ride The Wave

Thursday, April 17, 2014

To create a great social media strategy the first thing you'll want to do is decide on what you want to promote by deciding what effect it will have on the various social groups. The social media does what it can to get the desired effect on the marketing that you are going for. Therefore you the marketer will use this commotion to your advantage. You'll want to ride on this wave.

The biggest task for you the marketer is to start a stir for what you are trying to offer. You need to start the excitement that is surrounding the product or service you are offering. It will feel like an impossible task trying to get someone to even notice when you try this. I'm very sure that to you it seems like you have something that is really important to offer.

But unless you're able to educate and persuade them to notice it is important you're just not going to get people to notice.

But there is a way around this without trying to generate the excitement and getting people to notice your offer.

It is this; let the bigger media sites do all the work for you.

So you'll want to create a strategy that will use the work that the media does. It will only take a little bit of time to get the social media interest it what you have to offer. Just use your imagination and find that relationship in something that is big going on in the social media that is having a huge impact of one kind or another.

Then once you find that relationship build a marketing strategy that will make the connection obvious. To do this you will have to educate yourself by looking at what is hot on the television or the internet.

Take a look at the things that are popular in the news media in the world of finance or gossip that is going on in the social sites. Then ask yourself what things are popular. It's a sure bet that you will find something that your product can relate to.

There are times when you might find that it will be good to look at the media and then decide or your product or service and decide if your product is timely and there is buzz in the social sites. You'll want to choose something which is already creating a lot of excitement. To do this be on the lookout for trends and see if you can find something which is starting to gain a lot of attention it might be something which is starting to take off and gaining a widespread appeal.

You'll want to take advantage of this buzz.

On your own it will be too hard to make a buzz but when you ride the wave you will find the sailing is much easier.

A smarter marketer will want to take advantage of the tsunami's that are being made by the larger media sites and use a marketing strategy that will capitalize on the huge splashes being made by the social groups laying along the beach.

Attitude of Media and Government Toward Youth Crime

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Youth crime in England and Wales is quite a popular but controversial topic in media as the headline grabbing terms like "yob" and "ASBO" appear with regular frequency. A child in England and Wales is anyone under the age of 18 as defined by law, while a young offender is anyone convicted of an offence between the age of 10 and 20. Most of the reported crime in media relating to young offenders involves "anti-social behavior, violence, and sometimes even just kids hanging out in large groups on the street." It is abundantly clear than not all offences committed by young offenders are of very serious nature even as the media has a tendency to sensationalize offences committed by them. According to data compiled by Crimeinfo it appears that a majority of crimes committed by young men and women are not of a very serious nature: "Theft, handling stolen goods, burglary, fraud or forgery and criminal damage make up more than 68% of youth crime; Almost eight in ten of the incidents self-reported in a 2004 survey were not of a serious nature. The most common offences were non-injury assaults (28%); the selling of non Class A substances (19%) and thefts from the workplace or from school (16%); When violent incidents do occur, many don't involve injury and are often committed on the 'spur of the moment' against someone the young person knows. This often means a fight (maybe between friends) and usually takes place near home in the afternoon time; At the end of December 2005 more children were in prison for robbery than any other offence; Despite media attention on violent offending, few cautions or convictions relate to violence".

The British government aims for every child whatever their background or circumstances to offer them the support they need to be healthy and safe; enjoy and achieve; make a positive contribution; and achieve economic well being. In March 2005, the first children's commissioner for England was appointed. The commissioner was entrusted with the task of "gathering and putting forward the views of the most vulnerable children and young people in society, and will promote their involvement in the work of organizations whose" In November 2000, Children's fund was launched to tackle disadvantage among children and young people. Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships funded by the Home Office aims at the reduction in crime. A number of other programs like Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, the Prolific and Other Priority Offenders Strategy, Local Area Agreements, Neighborhood Policing etc. are being run. In March 2006, the Youth Justice Board published Youth Resettlement - A Framework for Action. This framework focuses on a number of areas and highlights issues specific to the youth context. The areas covered by the framework are: Case management and transitions; Accommodation; Education, training and employment; Health; Substance Misuse; Families; Finance, Benefits and Debt.

Paul Omajo Omaji has strongly favored the case for restorative justice in place of retributive justice system which according to him is traditional and outdated. The tradition justice systems have failed to deliver, according to him, therefore a radical transformation in the justice delivery system in partnership with local agencies might be needed.

Recently the government has introduced a range of intervention measures to check crime in the first place. These and similar other programs are aimed at a wider population of children at risk. These include:

Sure Start: aiming to improve the health and well being of families with children up to the age of 4 in the first place ensuring they are ready to flourish when they go to school.

On Track: is a small initiative aimed at older children who have been identified as at risk of getting involved in a crime.

Communities That Care: is an evidence based prevention program run by communities in partnership with local agencies.

Youth Inclusion Program (YIP) targets 50 of the most 'at risk' or 'most disaffected' 13 to 16 year olds in the most deprived neighborhoods.

Safer Schools Partnerships (SSPs): place police officers in schools to reduce truancy, crime and victimization among young people, challenge unacceptable behavior, and provide a safe and secure learning environment, and

Youth Inclusion and Support Panels (YISPs): are multi agency panels set up by the Youth Justice Board to target children at risk of offending and those starting to offend.

David Farrington, Professor of Psychological Criminology at CambridgeUniversity, discusses a program that has been highly successful in America that could also be applied in Britain. The program he speaks of is Communities that Care program aimed at reducing antisocial behavior among young people. It has been devised by researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle. It can be easily adapted in the United Kingdom for its flexibility and systematic approach. It is known as 'a risk and protection focused program', based on a social development strategy that can be tailored to the specific needs of a neighborhood, district or city. Its features include:

Community mobilization: key leaders together with a management board consisting of representatives from local agencies and the community work in close coordination. The board arranges a detailed assessment of local risks and resources and formulates an action plan.

Implementation: implementing techniques from a menu of strategies that research has shown to be effective, is aimed at addressing priority risk and protection factors

Evaluation: detailed monitoring is an inherent part of the program so as to evaluate program's progress and effectiveness.

There are mentoring programs with the potential to be quite successful, but are unfortunately languishing for funds. One such project aimed at reducing the risk of criminal behavior amongst young people in Cambridgeshire. "The plea for financial support from CSV Cambridge Mentors and Peers comes in the wake of national acclaim for one of its sister projects in Essex which was featured recently in The Independent newspaper and BBC1's Breakfast news program. Both projects, plus a third one in Bedford aim to reduce the risk of criminal behavior amongst young people"

The research at the University of Luton Vauxhall, Centre for the Study of Crime has shown distinct positive impact that volunteer mentoring projects involving young offenders can lead to: "a reduction in offending behavior, a reduction in problems at school and an improvement in young people's confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness. The young people involved highlight the significant value of the 'volunteer mentor' role - they say they value the friendship, trust, guidance and encouragement of the volunteer." The editorial of The Independent has spoken eloquently about the mentoring schemes for young people. Its editorial says, "The Mentor and Peers (MAP) project, run by the Community Service Volunteers charity, is interesting because it aims to avoid the error of similar schemes: waiting for young people to fall foul of the law before offering them guidance".

CSV Cambridgeshire Mentors and Peers was established in 2002. It expanded and grew to recruit and train 18 dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers that made a huge difference to the lives of young people in Cambridge and the surrounding areas. "Research shows how volunteers can help in the fight against crime in the UK, indicating that volunteering has an effect on reducing - and even preventing - crime. Unfortunately, in spite of its success and support from the local Youth Offending Service, CSV Cambridgeshire Mentors and Peers will no longer be able to offer mentoring to local young people due to a lack of funding."

The government programs have not all been very successful. The Sure Start program was expected to be highly successful, but the evaluation's interim findings were not quite encouraging. On Track Program is successful to the extent of reaching the high risk families in the deprived areas, use of these services is lower than anticipated. However, the program is being viewed favorably among parents and children where they are used. This program runs the risk of stigmatizing the very children and families it intends to help, since it is an individual rather than area based study. An alternative model borrowed from the US, the Communities That Care, is now being rolled out in UK. The other government initiatives have also shown at best the mixed results. The Youth Inclusion Program aimed at 10 hours of intervention per person per week, but in practice very few young people ( less than 10 percent) achieved this level of attendance. SSP programs have shown a robust success in terms of reduced truancy, and improved exam pass rates. According to an assessment of offending data in three schools that adopted SSP model of a full time police officer plus support team, a before and after study found that 139 offences were prevented annually.

Another crucial initiative, Every Child Matters, is in response to the tragic death of Victoria Climbie in 2002, who was persistently abused, tortured and murdered by her own relative. The government responded by initiating a public inquiry that subsequently published a consultation document 'Every Child Matters' (DfES 2003). It offers a new initiative on securing the well being of children and young people up to the age of 19. It ensures intervention reaches children before the crisis point.

Until recently due to limited empirical evidence, evaluation of youth crime program was restricted to two main programs- Dalston Youth Project (DYP) and CHANCE. Another program Youth At Risk (YAR) gained publicity but it has not been subject to independent published research. The DYP runs programs for 11-14 year olds and 15-18 year-olds, the disaffected youths from one of the most deprived boroughs in England and Wales. Research on the older age group suggests some possible impact on self-reported offending and truancy (though not drug use). DYP worked successfully with about half those involved. However, about half did not engage with the project in any meaningful way. The overall impact on offending behavior was disappointing and gains in other areas such as behavior, attitudes and learning were modest.

CHANCE was another significant UK mentoring program established in 1996 to work with primary school children with behavioral problems. Since the evaluation was extremely small scale with very limited number of children. Another significant study in the UK evaluated 10 mentoring programs focusing on highly disadvantaged young people. The study found crucial and significant impacts of mentoring in the lives of disaffected young people in context of engagement with education, training and employment.

Youth crime is a sensitive topic in the western world. Although available data on youth offenses indicate a decline in crimes committed by the young people in age group 12-30 over the last decade and a half, some experts are of the opinion that the data needs to be examined carefully. Media and politics too have debated enthusiastically on the youth crime losing the focus on the topic. While politicians and people by and large displayed a knee-jerk reaction to youth offending by favoring harsher punitive measures, a number of studies have gone on to point that there is little understanding and appreciation of youth offending among the masses. The studies have pointed that a majority of the youth offences are in the nature of minor offences or even childhood pranks.

However, the researches on the topic have identified a number of risk factor associated with youth offences that almost makes it predictable. Therefore, it is now almost unanimously contended that approaches that deal with early intervention in offence prevention can be quite successful, while the traditional approaches of punitive, penal and retributive justice not only entail a huge cost to the exchequer but hardly account for reduction in offences. The government and the voluntary agencies run a number of programs aimed at identifying the risk group among the population and intervening in a timely manner. Earlier, quite a few case studies came to light that further reinforces the faith in early intervention approaches. The programs have shown a mixed result largely due to the apathy of the target groups. Some of the programs based on community and neighborhood approaches have shown better results.

Great list of app based on task you want students to accomplish

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I found this great list of apps and tech tools that are organized based on the task you want students to accomplish. It was out on  Twitter and I can't find the original tweet. What do you want to do...?There's a tech tool for that. pic.twitter.com/kWFciWylLP

Educating the African Child - Any Hope in View?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Africa is the mother of civilization. It is the center and origin of modern technology, but today Africa has been at the back and far behind in development.

Poverty is a major problem of African development, because money has a very important role to play. Education is an all-round process by which an individual's mental and physical faculties are developed, making him aware of the circumstances in which he lives and from awareness, enable him to make the most out of those circumstances. In whichever way one acquires education, it is not free or cheap - money is involved.

Poverty has created a wide gap such that illiteracy is preferred by people, and it is succeeding in caging the African child to be incapable of many things. Poverty has caused many people today to heard their children, especially the males, into trades rather than send them to school. Some parents also prefer to send their children to farm and the female children into marriages because they see these as more beneficial than the education they may acquire.

An educated person is expected to acquire such skills as literacy and numeracy and abilities to pursue various vocations using his hands. He is also expected to be useful to himself and to his society and to particularly contribute positively to the growth of that society.

With the current trend of formal school system, the number of African children that are out of school is alarming. The few rich among us have seized the system to be their status symbol, and where they sense a challenge from a simple help, private schools become the most preferred thereby subjecting public schools to perpetual decay.

The bulk of the African child population falls within the ages of 0 and 22 years. As a matter of fact, the child has to move from pre-school age through the various levels of the formal educational system until he completes the first level of his tertiary education. By the time he completes his first level of tertiary education, the person has developed into a full grown adult and it will thus not be appropriate to refer to him as a child anymore.

In Nigeria, for example, the government has made different moves to bring about balance and empower the children through mass literacy, yet the effort has yielded no fruit. However, the imbalance in the development of the country's educational system between the northern and the southern parts, contribute a considerable debate in Nigerian educational system. While one part of the geographical constituents believes that education is needful and could go any length to train up their children, the other part depends solely and heavily on the government for their children's education, thus compounding the chances of educating the children as expected.

Although, funding is a crucial factor in providing the necessary facilities needed in our quest for educating our teeming children, it is not the only factor, or even the most basic one. Below are some other factors that militate against the African child education.

1. Facilities -- Inadequacy of learning facilities pose a great threat to child education. Lack of classrooms, laboratories, workshops, libraries, instructional materials, and other buildings at all levels can hamper child education. Besides, lack of maintenance of existing facilities also contributes to the problem of child education in Africa.

2. Workers -- Shortage of teachers and other school workers, more especially trained ones, that can handle major works as their need arises. Core subjects like Physical Sciences, Languages, Technical and Vocational, need qualified teachers that can handle them, but in most schools they are lacked. In some places where you have the teachers, they are abandoned to work in unfriendly environments by their employers, making their jobs so difficult that they are forced to leave teaching for greener pastures in private and public services, because for them, the educational commodity is not providing them satisfactory rewards and no one desires to be a teacher today. Educating the African child becomes a waste of time and resources when the schools lack qualified teachers and workers.

3. Discipline -- With the serious disciplinary problems in all facets of our educational system, achieving a quality education for the African child is a mirage. Absenteeism, strikes, crimes of riotings, examination malpractices, and even murders, affect children education in Africa. In most cases, the teachers lack the needed motivation, and as such deny their employers their total commitment to duty, displaying low morale to the jobs. In fact, all the stakeholders are guilty of disciplinary problems - teachers, students, educational planners and administrators.

4. Administration -- Constant changes in policy formulation and execution has occasionally been cited as one of the problems in education today. The continuity and stability of the African child in education is grossly affected.

5. Economy -- The present economic situation is imposing upon many parents heavy financial burdens in the course of educating their children.

6. Parental And Communal Responsibilities -- Parents and other members of the community have as a matter of cause, shirked their responsibilities towards the education of their wards. With this types of ugly development, educating the African child will continue to be a burden and an impossible task.

However, there is hope in view if the government will come to the rescue. However, our attitudes towards education need to change, so that we all will see it in its basic objective of preparing the mind for responsible citizenship. With this, educating the African child will not only be possible, but a huge success.

Reinventing Educational Leadership

Friday, April 11, 2014

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.

Social Media - Can Twitter and Facebook Really Help Grow Your Business?

Everyone's talking about social networking these days and how it might be applied to businesses. Will using web sites such as Twitter and Facebook drum up more sales? Maybe. But they might not be the magic bullets you are hoping for. Here are some of the real benefits of social media and how you can use them to raise your business's profile.

Communication - Social networking sites such Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn are built around the premise of making communication easier and more fun. Their purpose is to keep users connected and sharing information by posting updates or entries about their lives, businesses, news or events. Using a tool like Twitter is a great way for a business to communicate with current clients or start conversations with new ones. So many people use these sites on a daily basis to keep in touch with family and friends, it comes naturally to them to use these sites to communicate with their favorite businesses or brands. Using social media outlets might not generate a high-volume of sales, but it will help you to build relationships and keep your brand in front of an ever-increasing internet-savvy audience.

Brand Awareness - Social media sites might not be the best place to continuously try to sell your product, but they can help you build your brand. If a user, follower or fan likes what they see, they will be more likely to recommend you to a friend of theirs, which is usually only a click away on a social media site. Facebook and Twitter make it easy to help fans and followers spread the word about your company's new products, product giveaways, or charitable causes by 'going viral' or spreading throughout your social network at an accelerated rate (like a virus). If you ask for feedback about a new product or announce a special offer or giveaway, one user is more likely to pass along this information to another user, and so on and so on. Try not to constantly try to deliver a sales pitch to your fans or followers. Using these sites purely for promotional purposes rather than committing to a two-way conversation usually is a turn-off to other users.

Education - I have found that one of the best uses for Twitter and Facebook is the exchange of educational information. On social media sites, people and companies frequently post information about webinars, seminars, free books or magazine subscriptions, articles and other tips that I've found very useful in day-to-day business. I have also learned about various promotional and marketing opportunities from other businesses in my industry. Having a social media account is a great way to stay informed and learn about goings-on in your industry as the changes happen.

It's Free - The best thing about all of this: it won't cost you a thing. All of the abovementioned sites are free to join and use -- even for businesses. The only thing any of these will cost you is your time, so why not give them a try? And you never know: that next tweet or update you post just might bring in a new visitor to your web site, or inform someone of the fantastic services you offer, which in turn might generate that next a big sale. Good luck!

How Media Drives Obesity in Children and Simple Counter Tactics

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

One the most important indicators of the state of health of Americans today may be the ever increasing rate of overweight and obese children. The Institute of Medicine has found that one-third of American children are either obese or at risk for obesity. The Center of Disease Control has found that, since 1980, the proportion of overweight children ages 6-11 has doubled and the number of overweight adolescents has tripled.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the increase in childhood obesity represents and unprecedented burden on children's health. "If we don't deal with children, this could be the first generation that will live sicker and die younger than its parents," states Dr. James S. Marks, senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which recently announced an unprecedented effort to reverse childhood obesity epidemic by 2015.

Obesity or being overweight is not only harmful to the self-esteem and mental health of youngsters in a society that places such high value on thinness, but there are serious physical health concerns as well. According to Dr. Melissa A. Kalt, Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, overweight kids are set up for premature health risks such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even poor behavior in school like inattentiveness, disruptiveness, truancy, and low grade scores.

Some of the environmental factors that are thought to contribute to obesity are: over consumption of fast food, simple carbohydrates, soda, or other high calorie, high fat foods; larger and larger portion sizes; lack of exercise and/or more sedentary lifestyles; under consumption of whole foods, fruits and vegetables. However, what may be underlying all of these factors or at the very least exacerbating the issue is children and media.


According to the Task Force on Media and Childhood Obesity of the Federal Communications Commission, children today spend many hours each day watching television and are influenced by the programming and advertising they see.

The Kaiser Family Foundation states that young children cannot distinguish between programming content and advertising.

The U.S. Congress, Children's Television Act of 1990 reports, by the time the average child is 18 years hold, he or she has spent between 10,000 and 15,000 hours watching television and has been exposed to more than 200,000 commercials.

Once research study documents that obesity in children increases the more hours they watch television. (Crespo, 2001)

Another research study shows that children who watch more than three ours of television a day are 50 percent more likely to be obese than kids who watch fewer than two hours. (Tremblay, 2003)

Another researcher reports that children who use a lot of media have a lower activity level which is linked to a higher rate of obesity (Vandewater, 2004)

According to the 2004 report "The Role of Media in Childhood Obesity" by the Kaiser Family Foundation, "during the same period in which childhood obesity has increased so dramatically, there has also been an explosion in media targeted to children: TV shows and videos, specialized cable networks, video games, computer activities and Internet Web sites." And "much of the media targeted to children is laden with elaborate advertising campaigns, many of which promote foods such as candy, soda, and snacks."

The Advertising Coalition reports that $10-$15 billion is spent annually on kids' food advertising.

One study documented approximately 11 food commercials per hour during children's Saturday morning television programming, estimating that the average child viewer may be exposed to one food commercial every 5 minutes (Kotz, 1994)

Another study found that children's food choices were significantly impacted by which ads they saw, i.e. either an ad for fruit or an ad for candy (Gorn, 1982)

Other researchers found that for each additional hour of television viewed per day, daily servings of fruits and vegetables decreased among adolescents possibly due to television advertising (Boynton-Jarret, R, 2003)

While many researchers and studies are still establishing the role of media in child obesity and overweight issues, (the direct link between advertising and obesity has not been officially established), the advertisers certainly know that TV ads can influence children's and family consumer choices. For example, fast food outlets alone spend $3 billion in television ads targeted to children. And according to "Advertising, Marketing and the Media: Improving Messages from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, food and beverage advertisers collectively spend $10 billion to $12 billion a year to reach children and youth.

So, what's a parent to do to counteract unhealthy advertisements and the big dollars behind them? Here a few pointers on helping children be more healthy and fit:

First, educate them on the factors contributing to being overweight or obese:

1. Too much "fat foods" (fast foods, simple carbs, soda, energy drinks, cereal etc.)
2. Larger than life portion sizes
3. Not enough movement or exercise
4. Not enough whole foods (fruits, vegetables, whole wheat bread, whole grains etc.)

Second, reduce poor food choices in the home. Refuse to buy the sodas and sugar cereals or insist that these only be indulged in after a healthy meal.

Third, make whole food choices easy for them to prepare (i.e. pre washed, cut up fruits and veggies; oatmeal; smoothies; whole wheat bread; pre-cooked healthy snacks/meals like cubed chicken breast, string cheese, hard-boiled eggs, in single serving size containers. Make it tasty and easy (see green smoothie recipe below).

Fourth, encourage them to exercise (i.e. refuse to drive them to school; sign them up for sports; play with them outdoors; get a dog and go for daily walks). Make it fun.

Fifth, limit television hours per day. And teach them how they can mute the commercials or "tevo" the show and fast forward through the commercials.

And finally, teach them that being fit and healthy means eating healthy foods and exercising, in direct contrast to how television shows and advertisements portray super skinny people eating chips and drinking soda, it's just not true. And educate them on the fact that advertisers make their money by portraying beautiful people eating junk food.

EASY, YUMMY recipe for "green smoothies":

Give Your Kids a Great Dose of Fresh, Raw Servings of Fruits and Vegetables
(shhhhh, tastes so good, your kids won't even know there is spinach in there!)

1. Put about 2 cups water in the blender
2. Add a few handfuls of spinach or kale or chard, blend until smooth
3. Add fruit, 1-2 bananas and 1-2 C frozen blueberries or mixed berries or fruit etc.
4. If you must, add a small amount of sweetener of choice.
5. Smoothie will be purple and yummy and you'd never know there were healthy greens hiding in the mix, ENJOY!

(Go for a green smoothie over a soda! Children who drink just one soft drink a day are 60 percent more likely to become obese, according to a 2001 study by Harvard University and Boston Children's Hospital.)


Boynton-Jarret, R, et al, (2003) Impact of Television Viewing Patterna on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption among Adolescents, Pediatrics 112(2003)6:1321-1326

Crespo, Carlos J. et al, (2001), Television Watching, Energy Intake, and Obesity in U.S. Children, Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 155, 360-365

Eating Habits of Infants and Children Affect Health and Performance. HealthLink Medical College of Wisconsin.

Federal Communications Commission: Task Force on Media and Childhood Obesity.

Gorn, G, et al, Behavioral Evidence of the Effects of televised Food Messages on Children, Journal of Consumer Research 9 (1982): 200-205

Kotz, K. et al, (1994), Food Advertisements during Children's Saturday Morning Television Programming: Are They Consistent with Dietary Recommendations?" Journal of the American Dietic Association 94(1994)11:1296-1300

National Institute on Media and the Family: Media Use And Obesity Among Children.

Tremblay, M.S. et al, (2003), Is the Canadian child obesity epidemic related to physical inactivity? International Journal of Obesity, 27, 1100-1105

The Role of Media in Childhood Obesity: This Kaiser Family Foundation issue brief that reviews more than 40 studies on the role of media in the nation's dramatically increasing rates of childhood obesity explores what researchers do and do not know about the role media plays in childhood obesity. It also outlines media-related policy options that have been proposed to help address childhood

U.S.News article "Childhood Obesity Epidemic a Long-Term Challenge"

Continuing Legal Education

Monday, April 7, 2014

Law practitioners have different lines of specialization in the field of law. However, law practitioners from any discipline can pursue their field of expertise through continuing legal education. Continuing legal education helps these professionals update themselves on the latest developments and reforms in their respective fields. Online study material is also available for these practitioners.

Continuing legal education curriculums include specific law topics, skill development, practice management, case studies and ethics. This kind of education is conducted as lectures, workshops, and discussions in audiotape as well as videotape formats. Attorneys who have recently graduated are expected to fulfill their continuing legal education requirement by taking accredited intermediary continuing legal education. Transitional continuing legal education courses are intended to help fresh graduates launch practices based on practical skills, method and events essential to the field of law.

In New York, new attorneys are expected to undergo courses or studies in conventional live classroom settings or attend fully interactive videoconferences approved by the Continuing Legal Education Board. Usually, attorneys are expected to study significant legal cases that have taken place in recent times. This gives them an exposure to methods and skills used by the attorneys of both sides and also understand the various laws applied. They can use the results of the case to analyze how the arguments affected the approach taken by the jury and the judge.

Experienced attorneys may take accredited intermediary as well as non-transitional continuing legal education courses or programs as per their requirements. Continuing legal education is a suggested study option for attorneys, legal secretaries, paralegals, lawyers, litigation support managers, legal support staff in law firms and company legal departments.

Continuing legal education is an absolute essential for growth oriented legal professionals. Continuing legal education eliminates incorrect practices and helps identify people who are not appropriate for practicing the trade. With the help of continuing education courses, a professional can also learn to handle new assignments.

5 Ways to Fund Your Child's College Education

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Did you know that the cost of a 4 year degree program is around $20,000 dollars per year.

The cost of a college education is probably the most expensive item in bringing up children today. When you take into account tuition fees, exam fees, living expenses, accommodation, books and computers it's not surprising that the average cost of college education is over $20,000 per year and that's before the social side of college life.

Today we live in a world where only the best educated and most prepared can succeed. The Job market is probably the most crucial and competitive element of our society and having a college education and degree goes a long way towards succeeding in it.

When our children are ready to enter the world of work it will be even more difficult and a college education will be essential to succeed. Here are 5 ways to fund your child's college education.

1. The usual method of parental funding of college education is out of current income, that is out of your weekly or monthly salary.

Whilst this is the most common method of funding college education it is one that only the very rich or highly paid can afford to do with ease. Even if there are 2 salaries most families find it difficult and will require sacrifices, even more so if you have more than 1 child. At best most parents can only afford to contribute part of the costs of college education out of current income. Additional sources of income will be required.

2. Your child can work his or her way through college.

Many students have to work whilst studying but many find the experience of juggling a job, lectures and a social life very difficult. Often the result is that students drop out of college education, fail their exams or don't do as well as they could.

3. Your child may have the opportunity to take out student loans to fund their college education.

Today the vast majority of students are forced to take out student loans to fund all or part of their college education. Usually to subsidize parental contributions, student loans are the most common way of students funding their own college education. Many students however, leave college with substantial debt and even with interest rates at historically low levels today's students can expect to have to pay substantial monthly repayments for many years.

4. Your child may obtain a scholarship or be entitled to grants from either federal or local funds towards the cost of their college education.

There are many sources of student scholarships or grants and with a bit of research most students today can find some grant funding. These sources however cannot be guaranteed for the future. Whilst scholarships and grants do not have to be repaid and as such are preferable to loans they are not guaranteed or predictable and therefore relying on them for our children is a risk.

5. Take out an education savings plan to fund college education.

An education savings plan is a regular saving plan into which you and your children can contribute. The plans are administered by colleges or state authorities and can be taken out for any child including a newborn babies. Because of the effects of long term compound interest the earlier you take out your plan the easier it will be and the lower your contributions will be. Because the funds are built up prior to going to college students do not have to rely on scholarships, grants or loans and they can concentrate on their studies.

There are a number of options to fund your child's college education but the only way funds can be guaranteed is by you taking out an education savings plan. With the education savings plan you decide what you can invest and your child can also contribute to his or her college education. With luck scholarships and grants will still be available as will loans to top up if necessary. If your child does not go to college the fund can be cashed in.

Taking out an education savings plan early will give your child the real opportunity of a college education and the best prospects for a job when they leave college.



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