4 Ways to Use the Internet for Education in the Workplace

One of the most effective ways to improve business efficiency is by making sure your employees are up-to-date with relevant information. Continuous training and education can reduce problems while empowering your staff to succeed. Unfortunately, you may not be able to pay for college courses for all employees working for the company. However, you can easily utilize the Internet as a tool to enhance the knowledge of those working for you.
Online Course Systems

Management systems such as Moodle can help you create an educational area on the Internet specifically for your company. Using the hosting company for your website, you can easily create a subdomain for the specific reason to teach your staff what they need to know for your business. Many of these platforms are free to use and can be as elaborate or as basic as you need them.

Online Slideshows

Online slideshows such as those found on LinkedIn can be beneficial to help people learn their jobs. By providing information based on what they need to know with an elegant design, the information may be easier to understand and retain. In this situation, services such as PowerPoint slide design  can help deliver the content in a logical and elegant manner.

Relevant Links in Email Memos

Place links to relevant sites in email memos. This encourages people to click the links and read up on the most recent discoveries, tips and products available for your market. However, this may take a bit of research on your behalf. The end result will be employees who have a greater understanding of the industry.

Encourage Employee Blogging

Depending on the type of business you operate, employee blogging can help them retain the information needed for the tasks performed. Encourage staff to create “how-to” articles complete with citing facts. These don’t have to be public access to be effective for employees. On the other hand, it could be a great way to encourage visitors to your website – especially if you offer eCommerce or other online revenue streams.

Keeping your staff well versed in your niche can keep the business efficient and productive. With the right tools, you don’t have to spend a great deal of money to educate your staff with the information needed to perform their jobs. Give your company a stronger presence within the world by having employees who know their jobs inside and out.

A New DIY Internet Is Bringing Afghanistan Into The Future

A whole new series of frankly amazing technological developments are helping to bring Afghanistan into the future. While this Central Asian nation has always possessed more than it share of natural mineral and human resources, it is only now that Afghanistan is slowly but surely becoming a technological powerhouse as well.

A Restless And Resourceful Spirit Of Independence

While officially sanctioned service providers are doing their part to aid in this amazing social and technological progress, other individuals and companies are also working to help Afghanistan reclaim its rightful place among the vanguard of fully independent, self sustaining members of the world community. As the eyes of the world watch in astonished admiration, a restless and resourceful spirit of independence is asserting itself once more.

Using “Do It Yourself” Logic To Empower Change In Afghanistan

There are a whole new host of companies, such as Afghan Wireless  and several others, who are encouraging native citizens to assert their right to access the Internet freely without fearing the threat of reprisal from reactionary groups like the Taliban. While native Afghans receive encouragement and assistance from these companies, they are also using “Do It Yourself” logic to empower their own brand of positive change.

An amazing new development is occurring in the city of Jalalabad. A group of citizens there are developing their own Internet network from components rescued from local trash heaps and ash bins all across the city. A receiver for wireless access can literally be built of junk for a grand total of less than the equivalent of 60 American dollars.

A Working Internet Made Out Of Cast Off Debris

The combination of elements of home made trash and 21st century wireless technology works like a charm. More importantly, it is playing a huge part in bringing the citizens of Jalalabad together to touch base on family matters and commercial transactions alike.

The components that are currently being used to build this amazing DIY technological marvel include tin cans, wooden boards, cardboard, discarded wire, and all manner of cast off plastic. Once assembled in the right manner, these abandoned bits of junk compose a sounding board. This sounding board gives access to the Internet just as reliably as any Western manufactured laptop computer or iPhone.

Internet Invention Is Galvanizing The Afghan Population

One surprising development that has come out of this recent surge of Internet invention is the galvanizing of the local population. While the current craze for DIY Internet originated in Jalalabad, it is has since spread to other regions of the country, and shows every sign of becoming a permanent fixture in Afghan society.

This amazing new trend of DIY Internet is one of the very best things that has happened in Afghanistan in the last several years. Personal and business communication is now flooding the country with a new wave of entrepreneurial activity that will eventually see Afghanistan opening up its borders to international commerce on a vastly profitable scale.

How to learn a foreign language

There are less than 10% people on the planet, and with financial supremacy of United States and other English speaking countries is shrinking quickly, people are learning new languages. And in a country like India, learning languages like Spanish, French or German can reap you great rewards. Consider this – Wages of a Bi-lingual representative in a BPO is almost twice compared to that of a sole English speaking representative. Depending on the language, it can take anywhere from 1-5 years to get proficient in the language. While some languages like Spanish, French etc are easy for English speakers, Japanese, Mandarin, and Korean is pretty tough to crack.

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But there are some quick tips to help you learn languages.

  1. Use Flashcards: That’s important, whatever you learn, ensure that you make a flashcard and keep repeating it, and studies say that mind doesn’t retain most of what we learn after 24 hours, so it is critical that you keep revising the verb structures or new vocabulary until you master it.
  2. Start talking: This is essential, so many put it off, thinking that they will start talking sometime in future, or after completing the grammar, but the sad part it – it isn’t going to work; here’s a quick tip- say if you walk in a mall, start talking to yourself, say if you are learning French tell yourself that I am going to buy this in French, and then when you come out of the mall, repeat it to yourself, feel the sounds so that when you speak, they won’t sound awkward.
  3. Motivate yourself : A few months down the line, which for more language learns is six; You will reach a phase, where you will get anxious and start thinking that you aren’t heading anywhere, and this is the same time where you need to push yourself and keep learning, because the moment you clear this phase, you will get terrific momentum. This phase usually lasts for a few months.
  4. Don’t connect languages : If you try to connect structure of French language with English, you will find yourself trapped, because there is absolutely no comparison, for example in English one may say – “I am eating”, but in French, there is only “I eat” and that’s it. Therefore stop connecting the languages, and when it comes to say German or Japanese, it gets altogether more tedious. Think in Languages.
  5. Explore the culture : Go for it, if you are learning French, tune into Canadian radio stations, or subscribe to popular television channels like TV5 monde, that are available in India. Explore the dialects to have better insights in languages, the chances are that you won’t understand anything but persists, that’s how you learned your native language when you were a toddler.
  6. Get an expert: All this works well, but how about upping the ante and getting more skin in the game? An expert gives you feedback and help you learn language quickly, they can work on your weak areas and tell you how to overcome it, besides you might be just too busy to go to class owing to your school, college or work related responsibilities, so in that case, consider getting an instructor at home.

But they come at fortune, don’t they? Well, probably nothing compared to the value that learning foreign language adds, because in any profession warranting bi-lingual proficiency, you can almost recover the cost of learning in about a quarter or so. And if you have commitment to learn a language, you wouldn’t want to back off by spending a little on it.

However not all professionals are equally good, if you are interested in learning French or German, you might want to explore an app called UrbanClap, which is available on Android and App store for free download, the rates are competitive and instructors are flexible and would be willing to accommodate you, in any time slot. Since there are multiple professionals in the same field, they tend to provide more competitive rates getting you the best deal. UrbanClap company features genuinely fit an incredible attempt to produce the application helpful to function just about every person a new software to know language.

Tricky GCSE maths math sees pupils take to Twitter

A GCSE maths paper - with answer written beneath question

A tricky GCSE maths question stumped thousands of students – but inspired them to take to Twitter to vent their anger and frustration.

The equation in Thursday’s Edexcel exam was on the probability of taking two orange sweets from a bag.

By the afternoon the topic was trending on Twitter and online petitions were set up calling on the board to lower the grade boundaries when marking.

Edexcel’s owner Pearson said it aimed to “test the full range” of abilities.

But it said it would ensure students were “treated fairly” when the papers are marked.

It is understood that Edexcel stands by the difficulty level of the exam paper, and that the sweets question was targeted at students aiming for A and A* grades.

Some pupils complained the sweets question appeared to be of a higher standard than those in past papers they had used to revise.

One student, writing on the Change.org petition website, said: “All past papers were similar in a way and they are the resources… that were used by students all through the country to help them with this paper… a lot of people have done badly and would appreciate a retake of a new test or lower grade boundaries.”

About 500,000 teenagers sat the exam across England, and some took to Twitter to say they felt all was going well until they began the second paper in the maths non-calculator exam.

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The question that attracted the most comments was about a girl called Hannah taking a sweet from a bag at random, and the students were asked to prove the equation: “Show that n²-n-90=0”.

But others also highlighted questions where they were asked about the cheapest plants at a garden centre, and the volume of two pieces of cheese, as being particularly difficult.

Some of the students are also about to sit an Edexcel statistics paper and they took to Twitter again later to speculate on whether it would prove as challenging.

A Pearson spokesperson said: “Our exam papers are designed by an experienced team of expert teachers with a deep understanding of the subject matter.

“They make sure our papers are set at the appropriate level to test the full range of students’ abilities.

“In the event that any one paper turns out to be more or indeed less challenging than usual, our marking and grading process always ensures students are awarded the grades they deserve.”

Ofqual, which regulates exams in England, said it had not been contacted over the Edexcel exam.

Even if Ofqual were contacted, it would expect Edexcel to investigate and deal with any issues in the first instance.

It is understood that Edexcel has only received one formal complaint about the paper so far, and this came form a teacher.

New Low-Cost Device to Help the Paralysed Communicate

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A British mechanical engineering student has designed a low-cost digital letter board that allows victims of paralysis to communicate without the need of an interpreter.

With the help of a software, the device detects eye blinks or finger movements and converts the movements into sentences before reading them aloud.

“I have been able to create a prototype at a total cost of GBP 164 (roughly Rs. 16,360),”said Robert Green from Loughborough University in a statement.

“I hope to significantly improve the lives of people suffering from degenerative conditions by giving a voice to those who are unable to speak and who have very limited body movement,” Green noted.

The low-cost system uses an optical reflectance sensor, a pair of 3D cinema glasses and two resistors. The finger movement detection circuit comprises of a simple switch, which in the case of the prototype is an up cycled doorbell to provide a large, sturdy surface to press on.

The sensor is mounted onto the frame of the glasses close to the user’s eyes and emits an infra-red signal at the white of the user’s eye.

The software then analyses the signal to detect whether or not a change has taken place. It is at this point that the user is able to scroll and select letters from a digital letter board to form sentences which are then read aloud by the computer, aided by a predictive text function.

How Teachers Use YouTube Videos To Teach

The internet is an excellent source of material for teachers. If you are a teacher, you may already use it extensively for planning your own lessons. One of the best things about the internet is that you can now watch videos with ease. Broadband speeds continue to increase each year, making video content very easy to access.

Videos can play an important role in the classroom, whatever subject you are teaching. And there is no bigger resource of free videos than YouTube. Here are some of the ways that you could put YouTube to use in the classroom.

Get Endless Lesson Ideas

YouTube is a vast website containing millions upon millions of videos. Endless videos are uploaded every single day by both professional content producers and amateurs, and this means it is an excellent source of ideas and inspiration for planning your lessons. Browse through the website for topics of interest and you may well find that the videos provide you with ideas for planning your lessons.

Make Your Lessons More Lively

Alternatively, find videos that complement your lesson plans. Videos can really help to bring a lesson to life, and this is particularly true if you are teaching a subject that is may not be inspiring to all your students.

Your students will enjoy watching a video, and because of the vast number of videos, you may be able to find one that is suitable to the age of your students. You may come across videos that take unique and interesting angles on a topic that you had previously not considered, and this can encourage your students to think differently.

Use Videos for Homework

You could provide your students with a link to a video that you have found on YouTube that they can then use to complete their homework. If your students don’t like completing their homework, this can help to get them more enthusiastic.

Of course, some students may not have access to the internet, so make sure that the video is not essential in order to complete the homework.

Are You Connected?

One problem with YouTube is that you need to be connected to the internet to watch the videos. This is fine if you have a connection in the classroom, but what if something goes wrong with the connection or you don’t have one in the first place? If you don’t have a backup plan then your whole lesson could be put at risk.

One option is to download a video to watch later on your device even when you are not connected to the internet. Using a service like youtubedownload.altervista.org, you can easily download videos for viewing later. This will give you peace of mind that your lesson will not be ruined by a technical issue.

Take Advantage of YouTube

YouTube is a huge video database that teachers can use to their advantage. Find fun and interesting videos on the site, and use them to complement your lessons or to form the foundation of your lesson. They can really help to add another dimension to your lessons and bring them to life. Make sure you remember to respect IP when using downloaded videos.

What Is A Personal Learning Network?

What is a personal learning network, or rather a Personal Learning Network? How about a Professional Learning Network?

In the video below, Marc-André Lalande offers a concise, useful definition that simplifies the idea from hashtags and movements and social engagement and badges and, well, all the buzzwords you hear, into a clear explanation that works not just within education, but any field.

“A Personal Learning Network is a way of describing the group of people that you connect with to learn their ideas, their questions, their reflections, and their references. Your PLN is not limited to online interactions, but it is that online, global interactive part that really makes it special. It is personal because you choose who’s part of that group; you choose if you want to lurk–just check out what people are saying–or if you share; because you choose when to do so, and how to do so.”

In that way, a Professional Learning Network, then, is a natural extension of the way people learn–by connecting with others who have shared interests, ideas, or resources. If the internet was, at one point, one-way–a user “logs on” to search for information or share an opinion, then “logs off” because they’re “finished”–a more progressive view could be that connectivity is omni-directional and multi-facted. We connect with different people with unique expertise using varied tools for authentic and constantly changing purposes.

7 Ways To Prevent Cyberbullying

 

 

 

If a child is expressing anger or anxiety after going online, it might be one of the signs he/she is being cyber-bullied.

Cyber-bullying is becoming a burning issue both for parents and teachers. Kids spend around 3 hours online and use cell phones 80% of the time, making it the most common medium for online bullying.

Cyber-bullying is the same as traditional bullying but if traditional bullying stops, when the school ends, for online bullying there is almost no escape. Unfortunately, many kids torment and harass each other using the internet via computers and smartphones. So you have a full picture, we listed top cyber-bullying facts and ways to prevent it below. Some of the preventive measures, like using an iPhone or Android parental control app, may not go down well with your kids, but when it comes to child safety, you really can’t let a little protest and a few tears weaken your resolve.

7 Surprising Cyber-bullying Statistics

  • 45% of children admit they have experienced bullying online
  • More than 40% say they have become the bullies’ target
  • 70% admit they have witnessed cyber-bullying
  • 50% of children admit to be scared of their online bullies
  • 92% of cyber-bullying attacks are held through chatting and commenting on social media websites
  • Cyber-bullying victims are 3 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide
  • Only 2 in 10 victims will inform their parents or teachers of online attacks

McAfee chief privacy officer firstly reported about the problem in 2012. In her interview she claimed that 1 in 10 kids are experiencing cyber-bullying without parents knowing. If you are suspecting your child is being bullied online, below is a list of things you can do to stop or prevent it.

7 Ways To Prevent Cyber-bullying

  1. Talk

Every psychologist will tell you that the best way to help your child or student is to have a conversation first. Be patient and ask a child about the problem in general: what is cyber-bullying, does he/she know someone who is being bullied, what children should do if notice acts of bullying. This way you will see how much your child is involved in the situation and which side he/she is on.

  1. Use celebrity card

Modern children are the same as we used to be. They choose role models and follow them in every way. Now they choose singers, sportsmen and actors. Nowadays, a lot of celebrities are supporting cyber-bullying victims. Many of them post numerous comments against online bulling on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Demi Lovato Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus are the most popular teen singers who talk about this problem out loud.

  1. Block risky websites

As parents, it is much easier for you to protect your kids from cyber-bullying than real-world bullying. You personally can’t do much to eliminate the risk of bullies picking on your youngsters in class, cafeteria, and other such places where you aren’t or can’t be present. But when it comes to cyber-bullying, you can effectively eliminate the threat on your own by blocking access to websites that are notorious for their failure to provide a safe environment to your kids, like ask.fm for instance. Simply use an iPhone or Android parental control to filter risky websites on your children’s phones so that they’re unable to access them. Don’t expect your children to understand your concern or appreciate the measure. Only remember that you’re doing it for their safety and that one day, they’ll thank you for it.

  1. Engage parents and youth

Create a community for adults and pupils to send a unified message against cyber-bullying. Establish a school safety committee that will control and discuss the problems of online bullying. You can create policies and rules, including cyber-bullying reporting system. It is important to make the main objectives known to parents, school and children.

  1. Build a positive climate

School staff can do a big deal to prevent cyber-bullying.  As a teacher you can use staff and parents meetings and even send newsletters. Use your school website to create a page and forum, where parents can discuss the problem. You can also engage bullies and victims by giving them mutual tasks, so they can try to see each other from a different perspective.

  1. Volunteer in the community

As a parent, you can prevent bullying by working in the community. With your experience on the ground, appropriate strategies can help identify the victims and redirect bullies’ behavior.

  1. Restore self-respect

Remember that the ultimate goal is to protect and restore the victim’s self respect. Act thoroughly; fast decisions can only make things worse. Talk to someone about the problem before responding. Collect the evidence and join with parents or teachers to figure out the possible best choice to stop cyber-bullying among children.

 

Video Toolbox: A Good iPad App for Blurring Student Faces

Students at work on the Cantilever Span by Wesley Fryer, on FlickrIt’s important to obtain parent and student permission before publishing photos or videos online. Of the 610 fourth and fifth graders currently at my elementary school, only 10 parents have requested that their child’s photo NOT be published online. Our secretary is able to run a report directly from PowerSchool and provide that list to teachers. At my wife’ school, they call students who cannot be photographed for online publication “redshirt” students. We both try our best not to photograph or share photos of those students.

Despite our best efforts, sometimes a student who shouldn’t get photographed gets in a picture or video. If it’s a photo, in the past I’ve either deleted the picture or used the free iOS app “TouchBlur” to blur that student’s face if they were in a group shot. Here’s an example of a photo like that from my class last year, when students participated in a “cantilever span” building challenge idea I copied from Brian Crosby.

Today my wife realized a video she’d recently taken of students showing off the “Jitterbug Robots” they had built included a brief view of a “redshirt” student. The videos are SO great I didn’t want her to have to take the entire thing offline, so I searched and found five different iPad apps which are touted to support video blurring. Here’s the summary of what I found for these apps, along with my recommendations.

1. Video Toolbox

The best app I found and the one we ended up using to fix/selectively blur her student video was “Video Toolbox – Video Editing Tools All In One by YU BO.” It’s free to download, but to export/save a video you edit you must buy a $3 in-app purchase option. The app offers four different blurring options. I liked the second one the best, which looks the most pixelated. At the 13 second point of this 52 second video, the redshirt student’s face is blurred/obscured from view so you can’t see it.

Based on the apps I tested today, Video Toolbox is the best iPad option for blurring student faces in situations like this. Beware that you can’t move the blurred / pixelated area once you’ve selected it, so you might want to use iMovie or another app to export a separate clip of just the part you need to obscure. This isn’t a perfect solution but it worked for us today. Hopefully even better apps will be developed in the future with this functionality.

2. TiltShift Video

TiltShift Video is a $5 iPad app and is the slickest / most professional of the apps I tried today, but unfortunately it’s “blurring” functionality is designed to blur background elements to bring viewers attention sharply into focus on the main subject. It doesn’t work to blur just one person’s face, even though several different options are available for blur selection areas.

3. fameLess – Video Face Blurring

Based on the name, you’d think the free app fameLess – Video Face Blurring would be perfect for the situation described in this post when a teacher needs to blur a student face in a video. Unfortunately, this app should be renamed the “Minecraft Effect” app or the “Blockhead Effect” app, because it really doesn’t blur anything. Instead, it auto-detects what it guesses is the primary subject in a video clip and inserts a colored box over the face. I created a combined, 30 second video after I conducted my different app tests this morning, showing the output (in this order) of the apps fameLess, TiltShift Video, and Video Toolbox. If fameLess gets updated it might be worthwhile, but even though it’s free I don’t think it’s worth using or including in your student iPad apps.

4. Camera Blur FX HD

The worst decision I made as I downloaded and tested these apps today was actually purchasing the $2 app“Camera Blur FX HD by Kevin Dermokil.” The only App Store review was negative, and I didn’t find any endorsements of the app online. I found it via an App Store search. The app is TERRIBLE and doesn’t even allow you to load videos previously recorded and saved to the camera roll. It only allows you to record videos with the app and then blur them. Documentation was minimal and the controls were very crude. I wish I hadn’t bought this app, it’s essentially worthless. I wrote an app review which will hopefully help others steer clear of this and avoid wasting $2 as I did giving it a try.

Negative App Review by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr

5. Photo Editor and Movie Maker Pro

The last app I found in my search for “video blurring apps” was Photo Editor and Movie Maker Pro by Alex Appadurai. It costs $2, but I decided not to buy it because the “developer website” was not informative and appeared to be a placeholder site created by non-English speakers in India. The app also didn’t appear to provide a way to blur videos, it only blurred photos. This was not clear from either the App Store description or the developer website, however. It didn’t have any ratings or reviews, either, which is generally a negative sign. After getting burned purchasing Camera Blur FX HD, I skipped this app and didn’t test it.

That summarizes what I learned today about video blurring apps. This kind of post-production media editing is sometimes called “selective blur.” It’s important to find and use the correct terminology when searching for an app like this with specific functionality. If you have used and know of a better iOS app for video blurring / selective blur of subjects, please let me know via a comment or tweet reply to @wfryer. For now, I’ll stick with Video Toolbox and TiltShift Video as my video blurring apps of choice, depending on whether I want to blur a primary subject’s face or the background for an artistic effect.

Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and “eBook singles?” 1 of them is available free! Check them out!

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If you’re trying to listen to a podcast episode and it’s not working, check this status page. (Wes is migrating his podcasts to Amazon S3 for hosting.) Remember to follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook andGoogle+. Also “like” Wesley’s Facebook pages for “Speed of Creativity Learning” and his eBook, “Playing with Media.” Don’t miss Wesley’s latest technology integration project, “Mapping Media to the Curriculum.”

[source :speedofcreativity.org]

How Google Apps For Education Can Be Used In Your Classroom

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Like Apple and Microsoft, Google also wants a place in your classroom.

Google Apps for Education is a free suite of cloud-based tools created by Google to use in your classroom. You probably knew that part, and likely have a vague awareness of what’s available (Google Drive, Google Form, etc.) ButSylvia Duckworth has gone a step further, giving you an extended metaphor (a train), a graphic (with color), and a brief description of each “stop” of the Google Apps for Education train.

(If we wanted to over-read into the metaphor, we could even wonder if she’s using the momentum of the train as a criticism of Google’s business practices and their “railroading” of smaller app developers, but we’re crazy and Sylvia isn’t, so…)

Give Sylvia a follow on twitter, and see below for her itemized description of how Google Apps for Education can be used in your classroom.

How Google Apps For Education Can Be Used In Your Classroom

1. Google Drive 

Get on board if you want a place to store all of your digital files and access them from any device in the world.

2. Google Docs

Get on board if you want to collaborate on document and editing, then share with the world.

3. Google Slides

Get on board if you want to create great slideshows that you can collaborate on and share.

4. Google Forms

Get on board if you want to collect data assess & monitor student progress.

5. Google Sheets

Get on board if you want to manipulate data and keep track of it.

6. Google Drawings

Get on board if you want to create great visuals for your projects.

7. Google Hangouts

Get on board if you want to bring the world into your class

8. Google Plus

Get on board if you want to connect with other educators around the world.

9. Google Chrome

Get on board if you want to add functionality to your browser with apps and extensions.

[source : teachthought.com]