Monday, April 30, 2012

HAITI - Creole, Literacy, and Education

The question as to which language or languages to use in educating the children of Haiti and in adult literacy programs, which are organized by both government and voluntary organizations in Haiti, has generated a lot of debate among educationists and the Haitian public at large. Two languages are spoken in Haiti, Creole and French. Creole is the most universally spoken language in Haiti, accounting for over ninety percent of native monolingual speakers; whereas French language has for the past two centuries enjoyed the pride of place as the country's sole medium of official government and business transactions as well as the language of education. To understand the position of the various parties to this debate, we have to go back to the evolution of language and education in Haiti since its independence from France on January 1, 1804.
Post Independence Haiti Haiti transformed itself from a slave colony of France to a full fledged self-governing and independent entity through sustained armed struggle and war between the French slave owners and their enslaved African fellow human beings. The revolutionary war was long, bitter, but sustained by the grim determination of the enslaved Africans to break the yoke of French enslavement from their necks or otherwise die in the attempt. When the white French were finally expelled from Haiti, their language remained as the means of official communication in all government and business transactions. The place of preeminence and influence vacated by the departing French was taken over by their mulatto offspring, who then occupied the elite upper class of the emergent Haitian society.
The unique position of the half-French and half-African mulattoes, as heirs to their departing French fathers, gave them the economic and political clout to call the shots in all aspects of Haitian public and educational life. This they did by entrenching the continued use of the French language in all official government business, as well as making French the only language of educational instruction. The vast majority of Haitians could neither speak nor write in French. This majority was consisted mostly of the Afro-Haitians, who were uneducated, and thus could not in any way contributed to the national discourse; whereas they constituted over ninety percent of the total Haitian population. The Afro-Haitians spoke only Creole, which until recently, was not recognized as an official language in Haiti.
Modern Haiti The situation of things continued like this for over a hundred years. The little progress made by a rather small number of Afro-Haitians who became educated did not have any effect on the dominant status and position of French language in Haitian national affairs. Instead, by what would amount to a rather ironic twist of events, these Afro-Haitians having moved up from their lowly status in the rural peasantry, through urban low class, to the urban middle class, were more interested in entrenching their positions, rather changing things for better for their fellow marginalized brothers and sisters in the lower classes of Haitian society.
These middle class Afro-Haitians behaved like typical status seeking social climbers, who believed that the French language was their passport to further their upward movement in Haitian society. Hence they teamed up with Haitian mulattoes in the elite upper class to frustrate any attempt at changing the status quo. To complicate issues further for the promotion of Creole into a national language, and a medium of instruction in schools, some members of the peasant class felt that it was better for their children to be taught in French, so that they could escape the poverty trap of Haitian rural peasantry. Even those past Haitian governments that claimed to represent the interests of the masses have hesitated to give Creole and French equal legal status, in order not to step on powerful toes of elite mulattoes in the upper class.
Creole language thus remained an informal medium of communication for over a hundred and seventy years. It was only in the late 1970s that the government gave approval for the use of Creole in education. Implementation of government approval was not wholeheartedly carried out. As late as the 1980s, there was still some doubt about whether Creole should be used in primary schools. In 1987, a major break through came with the inclusion of Creole in the Haitian National Constitution, as a co-national language of Haiti along with French. The door was now open for integration of the more popular Creole language into the school educational system.
However, a lot still needs to be done by both government and non-governmental organizations to really take Creole language into its rightful place as the authentic national language of Haiti. As a first and urgent step, the standardization of Creole orthography should be pursued with vigor by linguists in academia and all those interested in its progress, beyond a mere glorified appendage to French. The National Pedagogic Institute (Institut P├ędagogique Nacional--IPN) has taken the initiative by developing an orthography of Creole language that includes elements of the two systems previously in use. In the areas of popular literature, books and magazines need to be produced in Creole at a faster rate than is available at the moment. The print and electronic media have taken tentative steps to popularize Creole literature, but much more needs to be done.
The government of Haiti needs to take the implementation of the relevant portions of the 1987 Haitian National Constitution more seriously. All aspects of the national life of Haiti need to feel the presence of Creole language, as a medium of official transactions. Much work needs to be done urgently in curriculum development at all levels of Haiti's education, using Creole as a medium of such development. Similarly, adult literacy programs should be established to upgrade the literacy level of Haitian rural peasant and urban lower classes. It is noteworthy that some church groups have taken the bull by the horn, by publishing some religious literature in Creole language. The popular monthly Bon Nouvel, published by a Roman Catholic group, is one such publication. The New Testament half of The Holy Bible has also been published in Creole through the efforts a group of Protestant churches.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Educational Toy Ideas for Your Preschooler

If you are searching for the right educational toys for your preschooler, you may be overwhelmed with all the options available. Toy manufacturers are now busier than ever, working hard to keep up with the latest trends and styles, and competing to make their toys the best and most popular among small children. Though the decision of what to buy your child can be difficult, here are several suggestions that may help you.
When choosing an educational toy, you want to be sure it will serve its educational purpose. You want your child to learn something while playing with a particular toy, and for that to remain a popular one with your preschooler for a reasonable amount of time. This is why you should choose carefully.
When selecting educational toys, it is also important to keep your child's interests in mind. Remember, it isn't the educational factor that will interest your child, rather the fun the toy will bring. Encourage your child to play with different toys and learn new things, but always try to give preference to the more educational preschool-level toys, whether they teach basic math or reading skills, color recognition, or just stimulate different parts of a child's developing brain. After all, these simple, educational games can often be the most entertaining.
Chalkboards are among the most popular toys for preschoolers. They are also among the oldest. And since many modern chalkboards are double-sided-- with a chalkboard on one side and a magnetic board for plastic letters on the other, this toy can also serve a dual purpose. By playing with it, your child will be able to learn the letters of the alphabet with the magnetic letters, and then be able to practice those letters on the chalkboard once this is accomplished. It also allows for free-hand drawing and hours of creative fun.
Toy pianos are also among the most popular and most beneficial toys. As shown in recent studies, children who learn music, even on the most basic level, tend to perform better in math and science-oriented subjects, and also tend to score higher on scholastic exams. Aside from that, this kind of toy is a great way for your child to be creative while making his or her very own music.
Blocks have long been among the most basic, yet most fun toys a child can own. There are many types from which to choose, from blocks that interlock, to those that simply balance on one another. Your child will have hours of fun building towers, houses, or just simply learning to stack and count.
No matter which educational toys you choose, be sure they are age-appropriate for your child. Check to be sure they don't have loose parts that could be harmful to your child, and that they aren't too complicated for his or her age and education level. You do not want your child to become discouraged by playing with a toy he or she does not understand. Also, play with your children. If you show an interest in the toys you buy, they are more likely to do the same.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Online Education - Utilize Time Effectively

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.

Monday, April 9, 2012

History of Educational Technology

There is no written evidence which can tell us exactly who has coined the phrase educational technology. Different educationists, scientists and philosophers at different time intervals have put forwarded different definitions of Educational Technology. Educational technology is a multifaceted and integrated process involving people, procedure, ideas, devices, and organization, where technology from different fields of science is borrowed as per the need and requirement of education for implementing, evaluating, and managing solutions to those problems involved in all aspects of human learning.
Educational technology, broadly speaking, has passed through five stages.
The first stage of educational technology is coupled with the use of aids like charts, maps, symbols, models, specimens and concrete materials. The term educational technology was used as synonyms to audio-visual aids.
The second stage of educational technology is associated with the 'electronic revolution' with the introduction and establishment of sophisticated hardware and software. Use of various audio-visual aids like projector, magic lanterns, tape-recorder, radio and television brought a revolutionary change in the educational scenario. Accordingly, educational technology concept was taken in terms of these sophisticated instruments and equipments for effective presentation of instructional materials.
The third stage of educational technology is linked with the development of mass media which in turn led to 'communication revolution' for instructional purposes. Computer-assisted Instruction (CAI) used for education since 1950s also became popular during this era.
The fourth stage of educational technology is discernible by the individualized process of instruction. The invention of programmed learning and programmed instruction provided a new dimension to educational technology. A system of self-learning based on self-instructional materials and teaching machines emerged.
The latest concept of educational technology is influenced by the concept of system engineering or system approach which focuses on language laboratories, teaching machines, programmed instruction, multimedia technologies and the use of the computer in instruction. According to it, educational technology is a systematic way of designing, carrying out and evaluating the total process of teaching and learning in terms of specific objectives based on research.
Educational technology during the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age
Educational technology, despite the uncertainty of the origin of the term, can be traced back to the time of the three-age system periodization of human prehistory; namely the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age.
Duringthe Stone Age, ignition of fire by rubbing stones, manufacture of various handmade weapon and utensils from stones and clothing practice were some of the simple technological developments of utmost importance. A fraction of Stone Age people developed ocean-worthy outrigger canoe ship technology to migrate from one place to another across the Ocean, by which they developed their first informal education of knowledge of the ocean currents, weather conditions, sailing practice, astronavigation, and star maps. During the later Stone Age period (Neolithic period),for agricultural practice, polished stone tools were made from a variety of hard rocks largely by digging underground tunnels, which can be considered as the first steps in mining technology. The polished axes were so effective that even after appearance of bronze and iron; people used it for clearing forest and the establishment of crop farming.
Although Stone Age cultures left no written records, but archaeological evidences proved their shift from nomadic life to agricultural settlement. Ancient tools conserved in different museums, cave paintings like Altamira Cave in Spain, and other prehistoric art, such as the Venus of Willendorf, Mother Goddess from Laussel, France etc. are some of the evidences in favour of their cultures.
Neolithic Revolution of Stone Age resulted into the appearance of Bronze Age with development of agriculture, animal domestication, and the adoption of permanent settlements. For these practices Bronze Age people further developed metal smelting, with copper and later bronze, an alloy of tin and copper, being the materials of their choice.
The Iron Age people replaced bronze and developed the knowledge of iron smelting technology to lower the cost of living since iron utensils were stronger and cheaper than bronze equivalents. In many Eurasian cultures, the Iron Age was the last period before the development of written scripts.
Educational technology during the period of Ancient civilizations
According to Paul Saettler, 2004, Educational technology can be traced back to the time when tribal priests systematized bodies of knowledge and ancient cultures invented pictographs or sign writing to record and transmit information. In every stage of human civilization, one can find an instructional technique or set of procedures intended to implement a particular culture which were also supported by number of investigations and evidences. The more advanced the culture, the more complex became the technology of instruction designed to reflect particular ways of individual and social behaviour intended to run an educated society. Over centuries, each significant shift in educational values, goals or objectives led to diverse technologies of instruction.
The greatest advances in technology and engineering came with the rise of the ancient civilizations. These advances stimulated and educated other societies in the world to adopt new ways of living and governance.
The Indus Valley Civilization was an early Bronze Age civilization which was located in the northwestern region of the Indian Subcontinent. The civilization was primarily flourished around the Indus River basin of the Indus and the Punjab region, extending upto the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley and the Ganges-Yamuna Doab, (most of the part is under today's Pakistan and the western states of modern-day India as well as some part of the civilization extending upto southeastern Afghanistan, and the easternmost part of Balochistan, Iran).
There is a long term controversy to be sure about the language that the Harappan people spoke. It is assumed that their writing was at least seems to be or a pictographic script. The script appears to have had about 400 basic signs, with lots of variations. People write their script with the direction generally from right to left. Most of the writing was found on seals and sealings which were probably used in trade and official & administrative work.
Harappan people had the knowledge of the measuring tools of length, mass, and time. They were the first in the world to develop a system of uniform weights and measures.
In a study carried out by P. N. Rao et al. in 2009, published in Science, computer scientists found that the Indus script's pattern is closer to that of spoken words, which supported the proposed hypothesis that it codes for an as-yet-unknown language.
According to the Chinese Civilization, some of the major techno-offerings from China include paper, early seismological detectors, toilet paper, matches, iron plough, the multi-tube seed drill, the suspension bridge, the wheelbarrow, the parachute, natural gas as fuel, the magnetic compass, the raised-relief map, the blast furnace, the propeller, the crossbow, the South Pointing Chariot, and gun powder. With the invent of paper they have given their first step towards developments of educational technology by further culturing different handmade products of paper as means of visual aids.
Ancient Egyptian language was at one point one of the longest surviving and used languages in the world. Their script was made up of pictures of the real things like birds, animals, different tools, etc. These pictures are popularly called hieroglyph. Their language was made up of above 500 hieroglyphs which are known as hieroglyphics. On the stone monuments or tombs which were discovered and rescued latter on provides the evidence of existence of many forms of artistic hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt.
Educational technology during Medieval and Modern Period
Paper and the pulp papermaking process which was developed in China during the early 2nd century AD, was carried to the Middle East and was spread to Mediterranean by the Muslim conquests. Evidences support that a paper mill was also established in Sicily in the 12th century. The discovery of spinning wheel increased the productivity of thread making process to a great extent and when Lynn White added the spinning wheel with increasing supply of rags, this led to the production of cheap paper, which was a prime factor in the development of printing technology.
The invention of the printing press was taken place in approximately 1450 AD, by Johannes Gutenburg, a German inventor. The invention of printing press was a prime developmental factor in the history of educational technology to convey the instruction as per the need of the complex and advanced-technology cultured society.
In the pre-industrial phases, while industry was simply the handwork at artisan level, the instructional processes were relied heavily upon simple things like the slate, the horn book, the blackboard, and chalk. It was limited to a single text book with a few illustrations. Educational technology was considered synonymous to simple aids like charts and pictures.
The year 1873 may be considered a landmark in the early history of technology of education or audio-visual education. An exhibition was held in Vienna at international level in which an American school won the admiration of the educators for the exhibition of maps, charts, textbooks and other equipments.
Maria Montessori (1870-1952), internationally renowned child educator and the originator of Montessori Method exerted a dynamic impact on educational technology through her development of graded materials designed to provide for the proper sequencing of subject matter for each individual learner. Modern educational technology suggests many extension of Montessori's idea of prepared child centered environment.
In1833, Charles Babbage's design of a general purpose computing device laid the foundation of the modern computer and in 1943, the first computing machine as per hi design was constructed by International Business Machines Corporation in USA. The Computer Assisted instruction (CAI) in which the computer functions essentially as a tutor as well as the Talking Type writer was developed by O.K. Moore in 1966. Since 1974, computers are interestingly used in education in schools, colleges and universities.
In the beginning of the 19th century, there were noteworthy changes in the field of education. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), right from its start of school broadcasts in 1920 had maintained rapid pace in making sound contribution to formal education. In the USA, by 1952, 20 states had the provision for educational broadcasting. Parallel to this time about 98% of the schools in United Kingdom were equipped with radios and there were regular daily programmes.
Sidney L. Pressey, a psychologist of Ohio state university developed a self-teaching machine called 'Drum Tutor' in 1920. Professor Skinner, however, in his famous article 'Science of Learning and art of Teaching' published in 1945 pleaded for the application of the knowledge derived from behavioral psychology to classroom procedures and suggested automated teaching devices as means of doing so.
Although the first practical use of Regular television broadcasts was in Germany in 1929 and in 1936 the Olympic Games in Berlin were broadcasted through television stations in Berlin, Open circuit television began to be used primarily for broadcasting programmes for entertainment in 1950. Since 1960, television is used for educational purposes.
In 1950, Brynmor, in England, used educational technological steps for the first time. It is to be cared that in 1960, as a result of industrial revolution in America and Russia, other countries also started progressing in the filed of educational technology. In this way, the beginning of educational technology took place in 1960 from America and Russia and now it has reached England, Europe and India.
During the time of around 1950s, new technocracy was turning it attraction to educations when there was a steep shortage of teachers in America and therefore an urgent need of educational technology was felt. Dr. Alvin C. Eurich and a little later his associate, Dr. Alexander J. Stoddard introduced mass production technology in America.
Team teaching had its origin in America in the mid of 1950's and was first started in the year 1955 at Harvard University as a part of internship plan.
In the year 1956, Benjamin Bloom from USA introduced the taxonomy of educational objectives through his publication, "The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, The Classification of Educational Goals, Handbook I: Cognitive Domain".
In 1961, Micro teaching technique was first adopted by Dwight W. Allen and his co-workers at Stanford University in USA.
Electronics is the main technology being developed in the beginning of 21st century. Broadband Internet access became popular and occupied almost all the important offices and educational places and even in common places in developed countries with the advantage of connecting home computers with music libraries and mobile phones.
Today's classroom is more likely to be a technology lab, a room with rows of students using internet connected or Wi-Fi enabled laptops, palmtops, notepad, or perhaps students are attending a video conferencing or virtual classroom or may have been listening to a podcast or taking in a video lecture. Rapid technological changes in the field of educational have created new ways to teach and to learn. Technological changes also motivated the teachers to access a variety of information on a global scale via the Internet, to enhance their lessons as well as to make them competent professional in their area of concern. At the same time, students can utilize vast resources of the Internet to enrich their learning experience to cope up with changing trend of the society. Now a days students as well teachers are attending seminars, conferences, workshops at national and international level by using the multimedia techno-resources like PowerPoint and even they pursue a variety of important courses of their choice in distance mode via online learning ways. Online learning facility has opened infinite number of doors of opportunities for today's learner to make their life happier than ever before.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Natural Health Education - Popular Courses

Find Natural Health Education in the United States and Canada. Natural health education courses vary in field of specialty, and afford students with academic opportunities to achieve certificates, diplomas and/or degrees.
As an example, students enrolled in a natural health education program can earn a diploma in acupressure. In this particular field of study, students are trained to administer specific pressure applications, using the hands, fingers, knuckles and thumbs, on meridians of the body.
A natural health education course in aromatherapy teaches candidates how to combine and blend essential oils in the use of massage therapy. Common subject matter in this program includes training in anatomy and physiology, essential oils - and properties, and uses thereof; as well as aromatherapy massage techniques.
Other popular natural health education programs include instruction in color therapy, crystal healing, flower remedies, herbalism, ear candling, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, iridology, life coaching and reflexology.
For instance, if you enroll in a natural health education course in iridology, you have the opportunity to earn a certificate in this unique healing art. In an iridology program, students gain essential skills and knowledge in the study of the iris; and learn to determine specific markers and colorations of the eye that are used to discover potential health disorders and conditions. Natural health education classes in iridology are often combined with herbology and kinesiology studies.
Natural health education programs in massage therapy are also quite popular. Individuals who like the idea of a "hands-on" education find that massage programs are perfect training for those desiring careers as professional massage therapists. In this natural health education course, students are taught about anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and first aid and CPR; with practical lessons in deep tissue massage, Swedish massage and sometimes, sports massage. In most cases, candidates who have completed all required massage therapy courses will either receive a certificate or diploma, and are often required to become licensed in the state in which they reside.
Overall, there are multiple natural health education programs in which one can enroll. Whether you opt to participate in a degree program to become a natural health doctor or a certificate program to become an herbal practitioner, it is always wise to examine various aspects of the profession, and potential outlook in the field.