Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Rising Student Numbers in UK: Is Double Shifting The Solution?

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According to the recent data available from the Department for Education, it has now been confirmed what local authority leaders, head-teachers and other educationists have been claiming for long- we must reassess and reevaluate the way we offer school places. With growing volume of immigrants, along with baby boom, there is remarkable pressure on the existing school system in the nation.

Rising Student Population

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 It was found that there was a rise in student numbers (pdf) by almost 1.3% in state as well as independent schools across England between 2014 and 2015. This increase has been prominently experienced across state primary schools, that have seen a 2.1% rise (pdf) in numbers. This figure is almost equal to 94,000 additional students in the last year.

As a result of this, super-sized schools have come into existence, as reported in the BBC profile of Gascoigne primary located in Barking. It is considered that, the biggest primary school is in England where the number of students are around 1,200. Currently, you will find around 87 primary schools with over 800 pupils, as compared to only 77 schools in 2014 and nearly 58 schools back in 2013. Roy Blatchford, founding directors of the International Education Trust and director of the National Education Trust, recently wrote “The government has committed to opening 500 new free schools over the next 5 years to ease pressure. This will go some way to housing the rising number of four-year-olds as we nudge to a UK population of 77 million by 2050, but it won’t go far enough. We will also need to fundamentally re-think the school day and teachers’ working patterns. ”

Need For Double Shifting

It is about time that we challenge the tradition of all primary school students beginning their school at 9 am and ending it at 3.30 pm. Similarly, the initial years of providing morning and afternoon school places, several urban primary institutes will have to think in the same way for their learners. This pattern of double shifting is widespread across different nation and will surely become the benchmark in the main cities in England soon. 
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Blatchford further wrote “Take the Indian high school in Dubai, with its enrollment of 12,000 students and fleet of 81 air-conditioned buses to transport pupils and staff. Different grades and ages operate different shifts across a 7.30 am to 6.50 pm time-frame. In recent years, I have seen similar arrangements in Egypt, India and the US, sometimes for religious reasons (with girls and boys attending the same school but at different times of the day), sometimes because of a shortage of school buildings, sometimes as a result of bold and creative educational thinking. ”

In the United Kingdom, many independent and state schools have intentionally altered their working hours for senior students to enable them to learn when these students are most reflect when they are most attentive and awake. For instance, at Hampton Court House in Surrey, 6th form lessons commence at 1.30 pm and culminate at 7 pm.

Making Education Better

Roy Blatchford, added “The teachers’ unions will huff and puff; teachers’ contracts will need reshaping, but thousands more teachers are needed anyway over the next decade and this will provide even more employment opportunities. Students, parents, governors and the wider community will need to be educated about the new realities of shift schools; childcare provision in particular will need to be reconsidered as working families wouldn't be able to rely on schools looking after their children during working hours. ”

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This is perhaps the best alternative for effective learning as financial limitations and boosting student population are constantly creating challenges for school providers and political leaders.

What are your thoughts on double shifting at schools? Feel free to add to the discussion by commenting below.

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Friday, 19 June 2015

UK Must Look Beyond It's Scepticism & Accept Online Education

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Online education has gained immense popularity among both young and adult learners across the globe due to the wide range of benefits it offers. However, in the UK, eLearning is still considered in poor light. But I believe that it is now time to change our attitudes. With the student cap getting lifted and growing expansion opportunities, online learning provides an excellent solution for all UK universities to globally compete without the need for meeting capacity.

In the US, online courses have become one of the most preferred modes of earning a degree and it is no longer considered as a poor option. I think the UK needs to learn from the US experience and explore all opportunities for growth.

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 A Better Learning Experience

It is true that the student cap is one of the biggest drivers, but we also need to focus on the long term by catching a good share of the rising numbers of students worldwide looking for earning a recognised degree. According to the OECD, the volume of online learners will expand to 204 million from nearly 129 million by 2020. It also offers a solution to the challenges of reducing numbers of part time learners and developing the right type of higher education experience for individuals who are employed.

New reports from the Babson Survey Research Group reveals that almost 7.1 million US students pursuing higher education are studying at least one online programme as part of their desired degree. Experts predict that over 50% of the students in the US will pursue an online programme by 2018.

Moving eLearning To Mainstream 

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The Babson researchers discovered that those academic leaders who believe Online study courses offer the same or even better educational outcomes had increased to almost 74%. The fact is online diplomas and degrees are no more the domain of for-profit providers. In fact, more than 75% of all colleges and universities in the US are now offering options for online degrees. Now you can even find numerous online MBA and business degree programmes offered by leading institutes and business schools in the US as well as the UK.

But the debate rages on as to whether the academic standards in online education would ever be able to match the high standards followed by most traditional UK universities. The fact remains that the expansion of online learning has resulted from necessity. The opportunities for increasing the reach of education on a global level and for academic development is further boosting the demand for eLearning. This is further fueled by the cultural and social transformations brought in by technological advancements and and rising usage of mobile devices.

Overcoming Skepticism

As it is, UK institutions have an excellent history of online learning. The Open University has made a strong reputation for providing high quality and affordable online academic solutions and has emerged as one of the international leaders. There are also several traditional colleges and universities that have provided online learning opportunities for years. However, the courses offered by them was limited and was not seen as a part of mainstream education, but instead as an alternative.
But now it's time for UK to accept and embrace online education as fast as possible as the global higher education scenario is changing rapidly with further advancements in digital learning technology. We need to overcome skepticism by developing a clear understanding of regulation and retention of academic standards for all eLearning courses. Moreover, our students must also realise
Source - bit.ly/1BnhtbN
 the difference between non-accredited and accredited degrees.

Employers also need to recognise online business degrees so that learners will get excellent career opportunities. This will encourage aspiring managers and business leaders to pursue online MBA of other business degree from any reputed UK business school . It will help in making the learners a valuable addition to the workforce and also reduce the amount of student debt in the nation.

The Bottom Line

I believe that online courses offer a better option at earning higher education degrees as it offers high levels of accessibility, convenience and flexibility with affordable learning opportunities. There is no doubt that it is high time for the UK to embrace online education.

What are your thoughts about eLearning in the UK? Feel free to share your thoughts with us by commenting below.

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Sunday, 14 June 2015

Strong Need For Developing Nations To Focus On Education Development

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Most of the developing nations are currently facing a serious challenge in the field of education. In these countries only a few students complete their graduation from secondary school, while most of the learners do not complete even primary school. For instance, in Ghana barely 50 per cent of the young children finish grade 5; and among them less than 50 per cent can understand a normal paragraph.

Education Challenges In Developing Nations
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 Education for All, a programme initiated by UNESCO, is included as an important part of the Millennium Development Goals that is focused on offering open and free access to primary education. The initiative has been effective in substantially improving enrollment across the region. However, many students are still dropping out of school before they complete their education, as per the annual Education for All reports. But why?

There are several reasons for this, which include the cost of education and challenges in commuting to school. Even if the government offers free tuition, most families are unable to pay for expenses for examination fees, lunch, books and uniforms. Moreover, as the education delivered is usually of poor quality, most parents feel compelled to use and pay for supplementary tutoring to help their children successfully pass the exams.

Lack Of Quality Education

On the other hand, opportunity costs are also very high for most students. As the children spend most of their time in schools, they are unable to generate income for their family by working in the family farm or selling produce in the marketplace. It only makes sense that when even after investing heavily in education, children don't receive any quality learning or basic numeracy and literacy skills, parents often feel discouraged to keep their kids in school.

In case, learning outcomes are hardly sufficient, only a handful of learners further their education to secondary school. Furthermore, employment prospects are also rather poor in many developing countries. The fact is, the job prospects of students barely increase even after continuing education post grade 5 or through grade 10. Academic programmes generally follow traditional western education models with main focus on language, science, social studies and maths. These educational programmes allot limited resources to topics such as prime numbers, tectonic plate movement or Greek mythology, topics which offer intellectual stimulation, but are almost irrelevant to the impoverished children.

Need For Relevant Education 
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Education is currently failing to offer the financial literacy which the children will require to manage the insignificant resources in their control. It also does not provide any the guidance necessary to generate opportunities for creating a secured livelihood or accumulating wealth. Additionally, schooling is also unable to provide any assistance to improve the physical health required for developing standard of living and economic stability. Due to dearth of quality medical care, preventable diseases causes serious damages to the financial stability of people in impoverished regions. This can be significantly enhanced through training on basic health behaviors.

The learners in impoverished regions do not need any additional academic skills; instead what they need are life skills which will empower them to boost their financial and career prospects and overall health. These skills include entrepreneurial skills, financial literacy, management skills, health maintenance, and other administrative abilities like project management, problem solving and teamwork. This is undoubtedly the ideal time for us to not only redefine but also reinvent quality education across all developing nations.

What do you think? Add to the discussion by sharing your thoughts and opinions. We would love to hear from you.

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Friday, 5 June 2015

Online Learning - Why Should You Go For This ?

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There was a time when a classroom was defined by the presence of blackboard, chalk, benches, and a cohort of students, listening to the professor's lectures. But the picture in recent time has completely been veered. Today online learning has become the key to the future of higher education. Online learning, also known as E-learning is the most convenient learning process offering a variety of opportunities for both people as well as organizations in order to develop a new content programme. If you are a motivated self-starter and regularly active on any social networking sites, such as- Facebook, twitter etc you may find that online learning is the one which you are actually looking for. Teachers and professors can easily manage the focus as well as timeliness of the school and college curriculum, students can better fit learning time into their hectic schedules and firms end up spending less on training their employees as well. On the other hand, you should give time to your family as much as you give in your work and this is what helps in doing so. Most people are mistaken that online learning is a much easier way than regular on-campus classes.

With the rise in the population, the demand for online diploma courses is on the rise now-a-days resulting in very seats and less accommodation for all those young, aspiring students or professionals who desire to take up classes on campus. Motivation is the key to an online individual's success. It often seen that online instructors allot more studying materials than needed in a regular classroom to make sure that students are engaged in the work which they have been assigned.

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 Online Diploma Courses: The Benefits You Need To Emerge

In today's generation, lifelong learning is a part of everyone's career prospects. The time is nearing in good pace, when children in nurseries will be learning through MOOCs as the internet revolution has transformed the face of education. Dr Anant Agarwal, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, states,

-“Today's two- and three-year-olds have been born with keyboards pinned to their fingers”.

One of the most essential advantage of doing a diploma online course is that no matter where you are located at present you will still be able to tap into the same course materials at your own convenient time and in fact, this more beneficial for individual learning process rather studying all together in a classroom. The chance of taking online classes and studying on your own without any external disturbances play a vital role in an individual's life.
Other benefits are-

1. Flexible time schedule 
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Due to the flexibility of time, working professionals can do an online diploma course at any time they want to. You can access from anywhere and at any time across the globe. You can also access diploma online courses free materials 24 hours/7 days a week. It is also an easy way to take exams and submit assignments online when you are ready.

2. Better retention

Multimedia, user experience and creative online designs has made online learning a far better way for an effective learning experience than the traditional method. You will be able to improve your capability to communicate effectively through the latest technologies.

3. Much cheaper than the traditional form

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Online diploma programmes are much cheaper than a regular bachelor’s or master’s degree program. Unlike a college or an university, the study materials for diploma online courses are readily available for download from the faculty portal.

4. Immediate Results and Feedback
Most online learning technologies combine online quiz portal and other online devices more drastically to assess the process of learning.

So, how are you preparing yourself for a career in an Online Diploma course? Share your and opinions about diploma online courses free for everyone by commenting below.

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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Tech- Dependent University Life

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It amazes me how life has changed in the last 20 years. There are so many things at our disposal which we probably couldn’t even imagine would exist and be used by human beings. When I was in school, I remember carrying a knapsack and a brown paper bag with my lunch inside it. Now I see students coming to school with sophisticated gadgets and I look at the difference in their interests and the profundity of their knowledge. It truly is something that is worth admiring.

As an educator myself, I cherish the introduction and use of gadgets in the teaching- learning scenario. I have hand-picked a few and if you read this article, I am sure you will understand why they are appreciated by all in today’s classrooms.

Connecting With All Campus Wi-Fi

Students who are coming to the campus every day are bringing gadgets like tablets, smart phones and laptops. They need an uninterrupted access to the internet and what else is better than Wi-Fi? If the density and coverage is all encompassing, then it becomes so much easier for students to learn. Sometimes if it gets congested then the connection can be established with the help of wires. 17% are rating these services as very good and 30% of the institutions are adopting the latest Wi-Fi connections.

Using Social Media to Stay Connected

Social media is also being integrated in the social learning environment. The sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are enabling students to interact with people all over the world and they are gaining access to information from various sources. They can virtually meet many people.

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Dreaming of the Digital Badge

In recent times, a college is awarding digital badges to students so that they can be selected by recruiters once they look for jobs. They are slowly replacing degrees and diplomas. Those who are looking for better working places or are seeking higher education are favoring these badges very much. Some are getting special training as well.

Introducing Analytics in Education

Analytics is being introduced into the educational system as well. Learning analytics, decision making based on data driving and predictive analytics is what most people are focusing upon. There is great focus on business intelligence as well. Tools used by physicians for a proper diagnosis happen to be appreciated as well. Campus analytics is also very important since the student’s activities can be checked in the premises of a college or university.

Using Tech- fashion on Campus

There are many new trends in college campuses around the world. Students are using Google Glasses, smart watches, fitness bands, clothes, smart phones and other innovative gadgets that are helping them learn while making a designer statement when they are with friends. They are gaining access to information from anywhere since these gadgets help them find the latest information with a click or a tap. They are lightweight so they can be worn throughout the day in an uninterrupted manner. And it is fun too!

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Drone- in- Dorm 

Researchers are really favoring Drones since they are useful in taking pictures for close examination. These can also be done with the help of digital glasses and phones and it is very useful for students who are trying to perform an experiment in a lab.

Three Dimensional Art

3D painting is being done when students enroll themselves in art, design and engineering classes. This has been integrated in the courses in various colleges. The prices of 3D printers will be such that they can be afforded by students in each campus.

Learning has been revolutionized and been transformed into a brand new world of knowledge that inspires, satisfies the thirst for knowledge and provides new avenues for the spread of information. It is not restricted in classrooms and libraries any longer. Knowledge has become accessible to all who seek it thanks to technology.

Article Source: huff.to/1DL7tUL