Monday, November 5, 2012

Barack Obama Closing School as Education in the US is Self

It doesn't take an engineer of the private space industry to figure out that we have a problem with education in the US and whereas, it isn't as bad as folks claim, it's also not as good as it could be either. So, rather than condemning our schools, laying off teachers, and closing some perhaps we need to re-think our schools going forward in the age of instant information. Is the Obama Administration doing that? Well, they are trying, I can agree with that.
For instance they have established a research arm for education modeled after DARPA Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, and why not, it's worked for the Intelligence Agencies with IARPA and for the DOE with ARPA-E ("E" for energy), so there is no doubt it will work too to assist in education. Still, we need to expedite these new technologies if we are to save our schools, otherwise they will fall behind the needs of this future generation of leaders. After all, a nation is only as strong as it's schools were 20-years the prior right? I think we can all agree with that as well.
Not long ago, an acquaintance mentioned to me after reading an article in "Yahoo! News" titled "Barack H. Obama Elementary to close" and she stated who knows; "Maybe this is a good sign of the future of the anointed one. Close the school named after him and closes his chances of impressing anyone in the future with his political nothingness." As we discussed the irony of this situation, she lamented that although this is surely a coincidence it is also a foreshadowing of things to come with President Obama's legacy, chances for re-election, and promises for hope and change.
Indeed, I thought about the closing of this school, and the many others around our nations, perhaps for budget cuts, or due to lack of performance, and I thought, yes, we have problems and challenges in education. And yes, this particular school closing, well, it's part of a major round of budget cuts, but you have to admit it is a nice piece for the news, due to the fact it is rather ironic, as Barak H. Obama has been so adamant about the need for education and his fever in devising a plan to fix it, using the (purported) greatest minds in academia to devise a plan.
In fact, I thanked my acquaintance for sending me this news, and our follow-up dialogues and said; "I think I'll do an article on this. Thanks," which led me to write this piece. Still, it's all part of a much bigger picture isn't it? Sure it is, we have a terrible problem with education in this country and nothing really seems to be working - and I think everyone knows it too. Yes, this is a controversial topic, but it is one we discuss rather often at our think tank. So, sound off with any comments, questions, and or concerns you might have in this venue. Think on it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

College Education Can Prepare Students for a Brave, New World in Journalism

The journalism profession was thrust into the spotlight in recent days. A homeless man may have gotten his big break in the radio industry, while a popular columnist and on-air personality in revealed that he was gay.
Ted Williams, a 53-year-old homeless man from Ohio, achieved overnight fame when a YouTube video of him boasting his rich vocal skills went viral. Within a few days, he has appeared on national television and has fielded several job offers, including a full-time gig with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.
On Thursday, longtime Boston Herald sports reporter Steve Buckley announced that he was gay in a column. Buckley, who also regularly appears on Boston's WEEI sports radio station, is one of the first well-known sports journalists to come out of the closet.
The recent news stories show just how diverse the journalism world is, and proves that talent - not socioeconomic background or lifestyle choices - can lead to a promising career. Thousands of students at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. are pursuing education in TV, print, radio and online journalism. Some schools offer concentrations in these fields, while many large institutions own their own newspapers, radio and television stations, which allow students to gain experience outside of college classes.
The journalism industry has drastically changed in recent years, as the emergence of social media and online news sources has hit more traditional mediums such as the newspaper and radio. In his commencement speech at the University of Michigan last spring, President Barack Obama said that is important - now more than ever - that future journalists uphold the ethics that they acquired throughout their college education.
"Today's 24-7 echo chamber amplifies the most inflammatory soundbites louder and faster than ever before," Obama said, quoted by The Huffington Post. "This development can be both good and bad for democracy. For if we choose only to expose ourselves to opinions and viewpoints that are in line with our own, studies suggest that we will become more polarized and set in our ways. And that will only reinforce and even deepen the political divides in this country."
Students who are skilled in these fields may consider pursuing freelancing opportunities or internships, which could help defray education costs. At some schools, internships and certain work experiences count toward college credits.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Deployed Troops Have Online Educational Opportunities

According to Georgia-based newspaper The Times-Herald, Army specialist William Ward is pursuing a criminal justice degree online while stationed in Iraq. Ward, a wheeled vehicle mechanic, has completed 28 of a 67-credit associate's degree program. He told the news provider that he expects to be halfway finished with the requirements by the end of his Army tenure, of which he has three more years.
Ward, who is enrolled in a web-based college out of Texas, was an electrician before joining the Army. He decided he wanted a new challenge, and now his ultimate goal is to become a police officer.
Many distance learning institutions offer online bachelor's degree education that is catered to members of the armed forces. According to The News-Leader, a community college in Missouri recently reached an agreement with a four-year university in Maryland that allows associate's degree recipients to transfer their credits and pursue the bachelor's degree through the larger school's online program.
The junior college's president said that the main focus of the agreement was to better accommodate military personnel, who can be deployed at any time. Students who are stationed overseas have many different career paths, such as pursuing a general business degree online or enrolling in human resource management courses. Soldiers who are interested in continuing their quest to protect Americans from outside threats may consider a cyber crime justice degree online.
And it's not just male soldiers who are taking advantage of distance learning opportunities. According to ABC news affiliate KCRG 9, Army specialist Emily Keating is studying to become a personal trainer while she is stationed in Afghanistan. She told the news source that her military schedule is conducive to academic success because she works better on a strict deadline.
Keating added that apart from the weapons, the military is not that different from a college setting in terms of camaraderie. Just like a graduate returning from college, Keating hopes to return to America with plenty of job prospects.
While they may be thousands of miles from a college campus, deployed military personnel can still follow their dreams while helping preserve freedom. At the very least, some individuals can at least take the first steps toward a promising career. Many general education classes are available for those who wish to earn a degree in teaching.
Soldiers who are computer-savvy may consider enrolling in e-commerce training.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Middle School Students Take an Educational Tour of Georgia

Recently, I worked with Cathy Carlton, a Social Studies teacher for Bennett's Mill Middle School in Fayetteville, Georgia, to create an itinerary for a class trip that encompassed historical highlights of the state of Georgia. Her class on Georgia history spans an entire school year. The class begins with the prehistoric Indians and continues with Colonial studies, a close look at the American Revolution, the antebellum period and Civil War. Studies also include a consideration of the impact of modern wars, a look at regions of Georgia and economics that thrive in them, and the way entrepreneurs have impacted life in the state.
An Educational Tour of Georgia in Sync with Curriculum Objectives
In previous years, Carlton took the student travel group to Savannah for three days and two nights. This year, she found it more economical to limit the trip to two days and one night, so more students could afford to attend. But saving money was not the only motivation to create this unique tour. "I felt like this trip was much more meaningful because we were able to visit many more sites around the state," noted Carlton.
Students Travel to Different Sites Across the State of Georgia
Some highlights of the tour included a visit to Milledgeville, Georgia, the first capital of the state, a tour of Andersonville Prison, where prisoners of war were housed during the Civil War, and a tour of CNN Studios in Atlanta, where students were able to see how television news is produced. In Atlanta, students also visited the Governor's Mansion as well as The Bremen Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum and Oakland Cemetery, where famous Georgians were interred.
The first stop on the tour was Andersonville Prison, a two-hour bus ride from the group's hometown. Carlton wanted students to see this National Historic Site, because it tied in with their classroom studies of the Civil War and modern wars. Students toured the site and gained a better understanding of the place where Northern soldiers were detained and housed during the Civil War. They were also engaged in learning about the dynamics of prisoners of war, and how it affects our society as a whole.
A Student Tour of Milledgeville: Georgia's First Capital City
The visit to Millledgeville seemed especially important to Carlton, as it tied in nicely with her curriculum and gave students a chance to actually see the grandeur of the historic capital. Carlton said, "Students were really impressed by the fact that the capital began there. It was eventually moved to Atlanta so it could be more centrally located. We were able to visit the Old Capitol Building, but we missed our tour of the Governor's Mansion there, because we were running a little late, having spent more time at Andersonville then we anticipated."
Educational Trip to Atlanta Includes Multiple Destinations
When the student tour group reached Atlanta, they took a break to eat supper at the Hard Rock Café, then toured Oakland Cemetery, where Bobby Jones, Maynard Jackson and Margaret Mitchell are buried. "The guided tours of Oakland Cemetery included the graves of these famous Georgians -- which were part of our studies -- and many other historical people as well," observed Carlton.
The educational tour group spent the evening at the Hampton Inn near the Perimeter Mall where breakfast was included the following morning. Their tour of Atlanta began with a look at the Governor's Mansion, where they actually saw Governor Perdue leaving the building that day. This was followed by lunch at the Varsity, a famous Atlanta landmark.
The afternoon was filled with a visit to the Bremen Holocaust Museum. Carlton was impressed with the tours given here, which were led by "survivors or family members of survivors. It was fascinating for students to hear what the holocaust was actually like. The group also viewed artifacts and videos of the holocaust."
The trip on Georgia history concluded with a tour of CNN Studios in Atlanta, founded by the famous entrepreneur Ted Turner, who also started the first television station in Georgia, TBS. The group of over 81 students was broken up into smaller groups for the studio tour, where they saw live news and also had a chance to glimpse the behind the scenes work involved in airing national news 24-hours per day. Carlton recalled, "Students were thrilled by seeing the live newscasters, because they recognized some of the people they've seen on television."
Educational Trip of Georgia was a Success!
Overall, creating a historical tour of Georgia was a positive experience for me and my staff. Usually, student tours are limited to the Atlanta metro area, because there are many educational sites to see in this city. After collaborating with Carlton on the creation of this custom tour, I can now see the benefits of widening the scope of destinations in Georgia. It provides students a larger view of Georgia's history because it includes landmarks that may be lesser known, but are equally important in understanding state history.
Student travel groups interested in touring Atlanta may want to consider including some of these prominent sites in their tour with visits to Milledgeville and Andersonville Prison included on their itinerary. Overall, students did not spend more than 3 ½ hours on the bus the first day, and they had plenty of stops to keep the travel time interesting.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sources of Political News

What source do you use to get political news? Are you sure you are reading or watching an unbiased version of events? Recent polls suggest that most journalists tend to be liberal and thus are more likely to vote Democrats than Republicans. Depending on the individual or the network they work for, their private opinions can sometimes affect the quality of the news they broadcast.
It is a journalist's job to bring the news to the public but it should be presented without being influenced by their personal opinion. They are obliged to tell the truth and remain independent from the event being covered. This is fine in theory but in practice how often are the news people or the publications or networks they represent impartial?
Some people believe that political news is always biased depending on the source of the information. For example certain individuals will only believe what they hear on Fox news and not CNN, while others prefer CNN. Some people believe that Fox leans to the right while others maintain it just provides the news in a format that suits their listeners. At the end of the day, it is a matter of education. You should try to obtain information from a variety of sources so that you can form your own educated opinion on current events. Political news will often be controversial. Good news never sold newspapers or increased ratings!
But the people reporting political news should let the facts prove the point. They shouldn't be tempted to stretch the truth particularly if the reason for doing so is to improve ratings. But this is a theoretical argument. In a society where the news stations with better ratings are more successful and thus earn more money, it is probably unrealistic to expect them to remain totally impartial to events happening in political waters.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Become a TV News Producer

As a TV news producers you would have the job of creating TV news stories, and having them presented by anchor people and news reporters. The position required a lot of organization, data and fact collecting and tight deadlines. If you are good at leading people in a media environment becoming a TV news producer could be the thing for you. Here's a guide on what it takes to get you started.
Go to college or university. A good education is one of the most important aspects of this career. You will not have much chance of being a TV news producer without a degree or diploma. Only the best qualified people get this position. It is a good idea to specialize in media, journalism or film production. Having experience in any of all of these fields will be well regarded as there is no set qualification for this particular job.
The correct skills. Primarily you are a journalist when you are a TV news producer. list. The job entails seeking out news stories of interest to the TV viewing public - the same as a journalist. However, a TV news producer must then work with a number of other people - writers, reporters and anchors - to get the story to TV. So you will need some technical know-how in production, and in understanding how television shows are brought together.
Work experience. Education only goes so far. The hands-on experience in the TV industry will benefit you most and will be what employers are looking for on your résumé. So the best way to start if at all possible is to get a job as an intern. As long as it will get you some experience working in TV production, accept pretty much any internship that is offered. The same goes for a lower paying job in a production company. Alternatively, get a job as a news writer or news reporter first. Needless to say you need to have quite a bit of experience working in TV production or journalism before you apply for TV news producer jobs.
Apply for TV news producer jobs. This is considered a senior position, so you must know that you won't be able to get this job right from school. When you feel confident that you can take on the roles and responsibilities of a television news producer, due to your previous experience, apply to any jobs that are out there. There may be a job at the station you work at, so keep your good reputation in people's minds around the office. This will help move you on your path as a TV news producer.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Trading The News

News trading is a popular tactic that many Forex retail traders will try sometime in their trading careers. However, not many people are aware of what it takes to trade the news successfully.
What is news trading?
This involves the entering into trades just before, or immediately after the release of important economic news announcements. Traders 'trade the news' because market prices tend to move up on good news, and move down on bad news. Important announcements typically affect currency prices directly.
Why is news trading so popular?
The biggest reason for the popularity of news trading is the potential for large price movements in a very short period of time. Prices can move up to 100 pips (or more) in under a minute just after certain news is released.
The large profit potential is what lures most traders to take part in this form of trading. You can make a lot of money in a very short period of time.
But! News trading is dangerous
Indeed, with the large profit potential comes the possibility of a large loss. News trading is dangerous because if you're caught on the wrong side of a trade, you can lose money so quickly that you won't even have enough time to manually close your trades. Even stop loss orders are unreliable because of the high probability of slippage due to the sudden price surge.
Should you news trade?
Honesty, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone unless they're absolutely sure about what they're doing. Successful news trading requires one to first have superior (faster) news feeds and second to have uncanny reaction speeds to quickly enter your trades the moment news is announced.
Any other form of news trading such as placing limit orders either above or below the market price is simply guessing. And if you're guessing, you won't survive very long in the market.
My advice for most retail traders would be to avoid this form of trading altogether.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Things to Consider in Dealing With Continuing Education

Now that you have already been employed, your next step in your career would be to continue your job plainly as a staff nurse or take some dream to level up and specialize. This is when continuing education comes in. To some states, continuing education in nursing is but a requirement in order to maintain the validity of the license and not just something like of a military promotion adding decorations to their nursing uniform. For some nurses, continuing education is their way of updating their skills and practices so to be able to comply with the demands of the advancement in the profession and in the technologies associated with it.
To back us with some current stories about the importance of continuing education for skill development, we can turn to some news channels. Just a few weeks, a video of a British nurse who accidentally turn off a quadriplegic's life support system had become viral over the net. So viral that said video has even featured to local TV news outlets around the world. The patient, according the news, suffered irreparable brain damage caused by such accident. For one, the nurse in her nursing uniform have been identified and known to be in her late 40's to early 50's. As initial assessment, the said nurse could have been no longer updated about the system.
Now we proceed on the things that you need to know in dealing with continuing education.
Let us take by way of an example the nursing profession particularly Masters in Nursing or what is basically known as nursing specialization. Specialization is another step toward nursing profession success. It is a way of leveling up and to vie for a promotion or a salary increase. Other forms of continuing education vary according to purpose and credits and may be in a form of seminars, weekend conferences, online classes, and send-in quizzes.
The first thing that you should take into consideration is your budget. If you are working, try to save first and be as earnest as you can so as you can pursue post-graduate courses. It is not just taken as a trend, but also it is for your personal gain in the future. There are a lot of nurses who opt to wear nursing uniforms outside their domiciled city, yet they become successful. Missing your family is a little sacrifice compared to the large amount of money that you can obtain in your employment.
Then, you need to consider your current situation in the family. If you are married and you have a working husband or wife, you might think first of discussing the idea with your partner. Also, you should remember that going back to school will require time. You can choose the weekends to take on classes of in between your shifts. You may also take a modular scheme so you will be able to read your materials at least 3 hours of your vacant time then get ready for a periodic exam.
Continuing education is becoming an integral part of the nursing profession and for a nurse to complete her or his dream of caring for the sick while on his/ her nursing uniform, CE is the way. Now, sit back and weigh the things you need to consider for your next feat in your career.

Friday, August 31, 2012

6 Common Novice Mistakes That See Traders Lose

Currency trading education is all about getting the right information but most traders believe myths or base their trading strategies on logic which is not correct and lose. Here we look at some common mistakes, you must avoid to enjoy currency trading success...
One of more of these mistakes are made by the majority of novice traders so lets take a look at them, there in no particular order of importance to avoid - there all important!
1. Forex Robots and Expert Advisors make Money
You have seen them advertised, promising to double your money each month with no effort and all you do is pay a hundred dollars or so for an income for life.
They don't work and if you use one these systems you will lose very quickly. If making money was as easy as the robot vendors claim, no one would work and everyone would trade for a living.
2. Day trading and scalping Work
All short term volatility is random and there is no way you can get the odds on your side and win because of this. Trading short term moves is a loser's game - it looks low risk but you are guaranteed to be wiped out.
3. Markets can be Predicted
Prediction is hoping or guessing and you won't get far doing that in any venture in life and that includes Forex. The far out investment crowd love the theories of Elliot and Fibonacci which claim they can predict the future - but if they can do this, why do they ever get a trade wrong? Never predict, trade the reality of price change and you will have the odds on your side.
4. You can Trade breaking News Stories
News is discounted by the market instantly.
The news itself is not important it's the investor's view of the news which is and everyone may see the same facts but they all draw different conclusions from them. Markets always fall when the market is most bullish and rally when it's most bearish so never trade news stories.
5. Working Hard or Being Clever Guarantees Success
Forex trading suits a simple approach as it's an odds based market. Over complicate your trading and your Forex trading strategy will have to many elements to break. Don't work hard, work smart - effort may make you more money in a normal job but not in Forex.
6. Leverage is the Key to Big Gains
Yes it is but more novice traders wipe themselves out due to over leverage than any other reason. You can get 200:1 leverage with any broker now but novices should start with NO leverage at all, until they are comfortable with there trading and use no more than 10:1 after that.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sheila Blinoff and Carole Stimmell From the Beach Metro News

One of the central organizations in the Beach is Beach Metro Community News, a non-profit, non-partisan community newspaper founded in 1972 that is distributed throughout major portions of East Toronto. The newspaper is available throughout the entire delivery area at various merchants and public access points, and more than 23,000 families receive the newspaper delivered to their front door for free.
My request for an interview was graciously answered by Sheila Blinoff, the General Manager, and Carole Stimmell, the Editor for the Beach Metro News. We sat down around a big table in their premises near the intersection of Gerrard and Main Streets. Sheila explained that the Beach Metro Community News originally started in 1972 when a group of volunteers got together to fight the Scarborough Expressway that was supposed to cut a swath through all of East Toronto. This issue galvanized the entire neighbourhood, and a group of volunteers started publishing a free newspaper from the offices of the East City YMCA at 907 Kingston Road.
The community had come together to rally against the construction of the Scarborough Expressway, and their collective efforts were successful. The dreaded construction of a major highway that would have destroyed over 750 homes between Coxwell and Victoria Park was averted. Today the Beach Metro Community News is a non-partisan paper that does not feature editorials. A copy of the paper goes to almost every business and residence in an area that extends from Lake Ontario to a few streets north of Danforth Avenue, and from Coxwell Avenue in the west to Midland Avenue in the East.
Of the 30,000 papers delivered, 7000 are delivered to libraries, churches and other public institutions while the rest goes out to private homes. An extensive network of about 400 volunteers looks after free delivery, with each volunteer donating their time and effort. Every second Tuesday just after publication a team of about 30 volunteer captains receives dozens of bundles of newspaper which they then distribute among their individual neighbourhood volunteers who in turn take the paper and deliver it street to street, house to house.
The volunteer stories are amazing. Sheila and Carole recounted so many fascinating tales of individuals who dedicate their spare time towards delivering the community news. The oldest of these volunteers is 96 years old and enjoys the opportunity to interact with neighbours and make a connection. Another delivery volunteer had a baby in the morning, and the same afternoon she delivered the Beach Metro Community News, just as she would any other second Tuesday. Another female delivery volunteer requested to get her papers early on Tuesday since she was going to have a Cesarean delivery the very next day on Wednesday. An elderly man once called in and said he would not be able to deliver the paper this time since his wife had just died, but he promised to be there to deliver the next edition of the Beach Metro Community News.
Sheila added that her co-workers and the volunteer carriers not only help with the production and distribution of the paper, they are also her eyes and ears in the community, resulting in a network of hundreds of volunteer news gatherers. Carole summed it up by saying that "not a leaf falls in the Beach without us knowing about it".
I needed to find out more about these two women who are the driving force behind the Beach Metro Community News and asked them to tell me more about their own personal history and connection to the Beach. Carole admitted that she is a relative newcomer to the Beach as well as to the Beach Metro Community News: she has lived and worked here for "only" eleven years. Originally from Wisconsin, Carole Stimmell moved to Toronto in order to complete a Ph.D. in archeology at the University of Toronto. She and her husband had met at the Washington Post where Carole was completing an internship, and they decided to jointly move to Toronto to complete their postgraduate studies. Carole's husband studied communications with Marshall McLuhan, the famous Canadian educator, philosopher and scholar who coined the expressions "the medium is the message" and the "global village".
Carole's first impressions of Canada were that it is vastly different from the United States: Canadians are more accepting, more reticent to judge as compared to the more dogmatic and aggressive stance of people in the United States. She added that Canada's liberal outlook suits her personally very well, and it would be hard for her to move back to her birth country.
After completing her doctorate Carole worked on archeology projects for 20 years; these assignments took her to Japan, the Arctic and the United States. Her archeology projects in Toronto included digs at Trinity Bellwoods Park, in Leslieville and at the Ashbridges House, the original homestead of the Ashbridges family who had come from Pennsylvania and become the first settlers in Toronto's Beach neighbourhood. For several years Carole was also the editor of the Canadian Journal of Archeology.
Her connection with the Beach Metro Community News came about because she was originally a volunteer carrier for the paper. When the long-term editor of the paper retired, a new editor came in and started taking the paper into a tabloid-like direction with a strong focus on crime and negative news. Carole and many others did not like this new slant and felt that the Beach Metro Community News was about positive news stories and an emphasis on the good things that were going on in the community. This editor did not last long, and Carole threw her hat in the ring for this position. In the process she beat out 50 other candidates and succeeded in getting the job because she understood what the paper was all about.
Today Carole still has an interest in history; she was vice chair of the Toronto Historic Board, and she now sits on the board of the Ontario Archeology Society. She also has an extensive collection of historic post cards of the Beach; these photos are sometimes featured under the heading of "Deja Views" in the Beach Metro Community News, juxtaposing historic streetscapes with a current photo of the same location.
Sheila Blinoff came to Toronto from Great Britain in the 1960s and married into a German-Canadian family. She and her husband moved to Balsam Avenue in 1969, making her a bona fide Beach resident for almost 40 years. In 1971 Sheila had her first child, and when the Beach Metro Community News started in 1972 Sheila connected with the paper since they were in need of a volunteer typist. Sheila offered her services and also started helping with the volunteer delivery of the paper. Several months into her assignment, the paper received three local program grants that enabled them to hire three people for six month. Sheila figured she could do the job and beat out 30 people who had applied.
Around that time Sheila had her second child; the grant meanwhile had run out of money. Sheila continued working on the paper for six months from home without pay. Finally a fundraiser generated $7000 which enabled the paper to pay two staff members - Sheila, and Joan Latimer who was the editor for 22 years. Advertisers came on board, and the Beach Metro Community News finally had a viable economic base. Several more employees were hired over the years.
In the early years the entire production of the paper was a community affair. Several interested neigbours would come together and jointly handle the manual cut and paste layout of the paper. They would also decide which stories should go into the paper, and opinions would often diverge widely. Sheila concedes that trying to reconcile these viewpoints was often tough going.
Several years into the publication the name was changed from the original name "Ward 9 News" to "Beach Metro Community News". The official administrative name of the Beach neighbourhood had changed from Ward 9 to Ward 32, so the original name of the newspaper was no longer applicable. For Sheila and many other "oldtimers", however, this publication will always be the "Ward 9 News".
With years passing by the paper became more professional, and specialized employees were hired to take over advertising sales, accounting, photography, and news and entertainment reporting. Since the 1980s the organization has been doing its own typesetting. Sheila's eyes light up when she says that she has met so many wonderful people through her work with the Beach Metro Community News; she adds that she has truly seen "the good side of human nature".
One of her favourite experiences has been her opportunity to participate in the selection committee of a contest to name five streets in a new housing development that went in on the former Woodbine Race Track premises, just west of Woodbine Avenue and Queen Street. The new street names were to have a local or historical connection with the area. As the secretary of the contest committee, Sheila had the best job of all, inputting all 660 suggestions into the computer and then verifying the accuracy of the historical background of the submitted names. Sheila chose the name "Sarah Ashbridge" in honour of the Quaker widow and United Empire Loyalist from Philadelphia who settled in the Beach in 1793 and obtained a Crown land grant in 1799 for a farm. "Northern Dancer" honoured all the horses that ever raced at the Woodbine Race Track. "Boardwalk Avenue" was chosen for the area's proximity to the famous East Toronto waterfront promenade.
Both Carole and Sheila love their neighbourhood, and they proudly told me that Queen Street East in the Beach was chosen the Best Main Street in Ontario by TV Ontario. One of the judges summarized it like this: "The Beach is an all-round winner. A fantastic inner-city neighbourhood with a great retail market, a great place to visit and a fabulous festival", referring to the Toronto International Beaches Jazz Festival, one of Toronto's largest music and entertainment events.
The importance and influence of the Beach Metro Community News cannot be understated. After all, the individuals running the paper had a major hand in stopping the Scarborough Expressway. Extensive coverage of dredging in Lake Ontario at the foot of Beech Avenue also resulted in an outcry in the community, and the government cancelled the project. Coverage of the Ashbridges Bay Incinerator also mobilized many concerned citizens in the neighbourhood, and their collective action resulted in the closure of the unwanted incineration facility. Stories of important local issues are kept in the public eye, and the community starts rallying around these issues.
What makes this neighbourhood really special are the people and organizations that donate so much of their time to the community. Sheila and Carole recounted a multitude of community initiatives that illustrate that the spirit of charity and neighbourly assistance is strong in the Beach. One example includes a major fire a few years ago at the eastern end of Queen Street where two people died and several others were rendered homeless. Several fundraisers were held for the affected families, and money was raised to help them pay for their first month's rent and furniture in their new apartments.
When the big Indian Ocean Tsunami struck in 2005, Centre 55 immediately set up a fund to collect money for the victims and thousands of dollars were sent to the affected areas. The local Balmy Beach Club raised money for school computer labs when the government cut back its educational budget. Together with strong parent volunteers at each school in the area, initiatives like these make a huge difference in the community.
In the Beach community spirit manifests itself in many different ways. The annual "Carolling in the Park Event'", held at the local Glen Stewart Ravine, attracts more than 2000 people for a holiday sing-along. Flashlights and candles in the ravine create a magical atmosphere and an event that the community loves.
Carole adds that there are so many interesting people in the Beach; a collection of media people, artists, actors, entrepreneurs and other eclectic people provide a lot of fodder for interesting and inspiring stories. Sheila mentions the example of a local man who owns the world's largest typewriter collection. Another young man from the community, a gifted musician, had attended the Julliard Music School in New York City and recently debuted in a big concert at Carnegie Hall. The Beach Guild of Fine Arts is a large group of artists who hold shows twice a year. Musicians, actors, painters and artists of all kinds are well represented throughout the Beach community and provide many story opportunities throughout the year.
The philosophy of the Beach Metro Community News is to provide news of interest to local residents and businesses. All revenue comes from advertising, which is kept affordable so that local merchants and tradespeople remain able to advertise their products and services. Sheila and Carole are selective as to which advertisements they accept, and sometimes advertisers have to wait to get into the paper.
One of the key community initiatives of the Beach Metro Community News is the "Citizen of the Year" award which is a joint initiative with Community Centre 55 and the Beaches Lions Club to honour volunteers who have made a significant difference in the community over a number of years. The Citizen of the Year is honoured with a plaque on the Beach Walk of Fame in the Community Garden in Woodbine Park. They also get a special space in the Beaches Lions' Easter Parade. People such as Gene Domagala, Glenn Cochrane, Arie Nerman and Marie Perrotta have all been honoured with this exclusive distinction.
But not only does the Beach Metro Community News bestow awards upon others; its contribution to the community has also been noticed and gotten recognition. In 2002 Sheila and Carole were themselves honoured with the Queen's Jubilee Medal as part of Queen Elizabeth's 50 year anniversary as the Queen. At this occasion every Canadian riding awarded medals to its top volunteers and community builders, and Sheila and Carole were honoured together with other prominent Beachers.
As a non-profit organization, the Beach Metro Community News donates some of its excess revenues right back into the community. In 2006 the organization donated more than $14,000 to a wide range of organizations, including the Arthritis Society, the Beaches Easter Parade, the Churches by the Bluffs Food Bank, the Share-A-Christmas Program run by Community Centre 55, the Glen Rhodes Food Bank, Malvern High School Scholarships, the Pegasus Community Project, Senior Link, the Toronto East General Hospital Foundation, the Woodgreen Red Door Shelter for Women and many more.
The Beach Metro Community News not only covers the local news, it also makes news: as a volunteer organization that acts as the virtual glue of the community, as a champion of important neighbourhood causes, as an organization who identifies and honours volunteers who make the community work, and as a significant donor that contributes much-needed funding to important neighbourhood organizations.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Educational Problem Solving

This article introduces the educational solutions module of the world's most recent personal and professional problem solving site, describing competitive offerings, the customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability features. It concludes that the module is a major contribution to the information superhighway.
The aim of this article is to introduce to the world the educational solutions module of the world's most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The article is addressed to those readers who may have an educational problem bogging them and who may therefore be looking for a way out of their predicament. The reader may be a parent, child, or student.
It is a common fact of life that we all have problems and that we are often frustrated or we tend to lash out because of our inability to find accessible and reliable information about our problems. This specialist site fills this need - as our pragmatic friend for solving our educational problems.
To be of the greatest use to people a problem solving site must combine pragmatic discussions of their personal or professional problem with merchant products that provide more detailed information. Typically, the web site will provide free information in the form of news, articles, and advice, which direct the visitor on what to do to solve her problems. Complementing this, the web site will also provide merchant products which discuss in detail how the visitor can go about resolving her problem. This means that the most effective, visitor-oriented problem-solving site will be an information-packed commercial site - and so is the world's most recent personal and professional problem solving site and its specialist sites.
The approach that we have adopted below is to describe competitive offerings, the customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability features.
Competitive Offerings
The following are the top educational sites on the Internet, along with their offerings.
US Department of Education. It defines the US education policy and provides information on financial aid, educational research and statistics, grants and contracts, and teaching and learning resources.
Educational Testing Service. It provides a range of test resources. It provides educational games for K-8 kids. It provides fun learning tools and games for kids.
GEM. It provides educational resources such as lesson plans and other teaching and learning resources.
Education World. It provides advice on lesson plans, professional development, and technology integration.
NASA Education Enterprise. It provides educational materials and information relating to space exploration.
Spartacus Educational. It is a British online encyclopedia that focuses on historical topics.
Department for Education and Skills. It is a UK government department site that offers information and advice on various educational and skills topics.
Times Educational Supplement. It offers teaching news, teaching & educational resources, and active forums to help UK teachers.
All these sites are useful in the domains that they cover. Their main limitations are as follows:
1. They tend to cover only a very narrow segment of the educational market.
2. They do not take as their starting point the daily educational needs of the typical family.
3. They lack a problem focus; i.e., they do not formulate the typical learning and educational problems that pupils, students, and parents face on a daily basis.
4. As a result of the preceding point, the solutions offered are not as incisive (i.e. as problem-centred) as they could be.
5. They do not offer merchant products that deepen the visitor's understanding of her problem and of the consequent solutions.
The educational solutions module of the world's most recent personal and professional problem solving site addresses these problems by targeting a multiplicity of market segments, adopting a customer profile that fits the typical education-pursuing family, considering the specific needs or problems that this family may face, offering incisive (problem-centred) solutions to the various problems, and offering a range of merchant products that deepen the visitor's appreciation of her problems and of the solutions that are applicable to them.
Customer Profile
The customer profile or target visitor characteristics of the educational solutions module is the same as for all specialist sites of the world's most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The site has been designed to meet the needs of visitors who have an educational problem bogging them. It is designed for both males and females, even though it is often convenient to refer to just one sex when writing.
This visitor uses search engines to research information about her personal or professional problem, with the intention of finding solutions to it. The visitor is serious about solving her problem and is therefore willing to buy products that help her to achieve her mission, provided that she can find reliable and honest information about relevant products so that she can make an informed decision about which ones to acquire. This information will help her to apply her finances economically, and hence avoid wasting money.
The visitor will want a money-back guarantee so that if a product does not live up to expectations or if she were misled into buying a product she can get a refund. Such a guarantee absolves her of purchase risks.
The visitor is intelligent (without necessarily being a genius), educated (without necessarily being a PhD), computer literate (without necessarily being a computer guru), and money-minded (without necessarily being a freebie hunter or an unemployed person). This of course does not mean that freebie hunters or unemployed persons cannot gain a thing from the site. To the contrary, there is a great deal of free information on the site. Just that it is hard to see how anyone can gain the full benefits of the site without buying products.
The visitor wants high quality information products (usually in digital form) and wants to pay the cheapest price for these (without paying so much emphasis on price that she compromises quality). The visitor also wants free bonus offers that are attached to the purchased goods.
The visitor is self-reliant and can cope on her own by reading, digesting, and applying advice about her problem until she solves it or discovers that she needs help from a professional, at which point her acquired knowledge will help her to reduce her consulting fees. As a result of the knowledge gained, the visitor will be able to assess consultants in order to avoid incompetent or fraudulent ones.
Problem-Centred Solutions
Our free solutions are organised in the form of pragmatic articles that are written by top experts. Each article addresses a specific daily problem, but does not go into detail. It explains the problem and tells the visitor what she must do to solve her problem. However, it does not tell the visitor how she must solve it - this is too much for an article. To find out about the how, the visitor must buy a product (usually an e-book or e-book set) that goes into greater depth.
The set of educational articles that we have chosen, to provide initial solution to a visitor's problem are as follows:
Signs of a Gifted Child - Informs parents on how to identify whether or not their children are gifted.
Essential Parenting Lessons for Enriching Your Child's Education - Teaches parents how to enhance their child's education.
Using Positive Affirmations to Be a Better Student - Teaches students how to use positive affirmations to improve their performance.
They Are Just Afraid of Writing - Teaches writing skills to students
How Can Parents Encourage Their Children to Read? - Shows parents how they can improve their children's reading skills.
Test Preparation Tutoring - Discusses the topic of tutoring students to prepare for tests or exams.
Test Taking Strategies - Discusses various strategies for taking and passing tests or exams
Playing and Winning the Scholarship Game - Describes how to win scholarships.
How to Get a Scholarship to a UK University - Describes how to win scholarships to a UK university.
Saving Money for College - Instructs students on how they can save money in preparation for college.
Student Loans: When Your Educational Dreams Can't Compete with the Cost - Explains to students the benefits of a student loan.
Education Loans Can Fund a Higher Degree to Boost Your Career - Also explains to students the benefits of a student loan.
The Secret to US Department of Education Loans - Teaches students how to get a US DoE loan to finance their higher education.
Student Loan Consolidation - Save Money, Pay Less, Spend More - Explains to graduates how to make use of loan consolidation to reduce their student loan repayments.
Higher Education: Finding the Right College for You - Explains to students how to find the right college or university for their higher education studies.
Mobile Learning - An Alternative Worth Considering - Explains the concept of mobile learning and its place in education.
Online Degrees - Is Online Education Right for You? - Analyses the merits of online learning as compared to traditional learning.
An Online College Education Overview - Reviews the whole concept of online learning.
Finding the Right Quotation for Your Paper or Speech Online - Shows writers and speakers how to find the right quotation to use in their writings or speeches.
Collaboration: An Important Leadership Development Skill - Explores the useful concept of collaboration and its role in leadership development.
At the end of each article is a list of merchant products that supplement the article's content. A link is also included for accessing the educational product catalogue.
Target Markets and Product Offerings
Now let us turn to the target markets and their associated product offerings. We have positioned the segments to address the various needs of a visitor over a period of time, and at any given time a customer may belong to one or more of the market segments. There are three general classes of products offered: ClickBank products, Google products, and eBay products. Google and eBay products are presented on each page of the site. ClickBank products are grouped into product categories that match the target markets. These categories and their markets are as follows.
Children and Parenting. This consists of visitors who want parenting solutions for improving their children's upbringing. Their needs are met through the Children and Parenting section of the educational product catalogue.
Difficult Admissions. This consists of visitors who want to learn how to get admission into top universities. Their needs are met through the Difficult Admissions section of the educational product catalogue.
Esoteric Needs. This consists of visitors with unusual needs. Their needs are met through the Esoteric Needs section of the educational product catalogue.
Financial Aid. This consists of visitors looking for scholarships, grants, or loans. Their needs are met through the Financial Aid section of the educational product catalogue.
Leadership Skills. This consists of visitors looking to develop their leadership skills. Their needs are met through the Leadership Skills section of the educational product catalogue.
Learning. This consists of visitors who want to improve their learning ability. Their needs are met through the Learning section of the educational product catalogue.
Mental Speed. This consists of visitors who want to explode their mental speed. Their needs are met through the Mental Speed section of the educational product catalogue.
Positive Affirmations. This consists of visitors who want to transform their negative dispositions into a positive mindset in order to improve their performance. Their needs are met through the Positive Affirmations section of the educational product catalogue.
Speaking. This consists of visitors looking to improve their speaking skills. Their needs are met through the Speaking section of the educational product catalogue.
Tests and Exams. This consists of visitors looking to master exam technique. Their needs are met through the Tests and Exams section of the educational product catalogue.
Writing. This consists of visitors looking to improve their writing skills. Their needs are met through the Writing section of the educational product catalogue.
Usability Considerations
Usability has been enhanced to make it easy for the visitor to find solutions to her problem, by following these steps:
1. The first thing the visitor sees are a set of articles whose titles represent the specific problem area they address. The articles are accessed from the Educational Problem Solving menu of the navigation bar to the left of the screen or from the Educational Problem Solving main page. By scanning these articles the visitor can identify whether or not her problem is covered. If not the visitor can check the educational product catalogue through the Product Catalogues menu of the same navigation bar, to see whether a product exists that answers her query. If she finds nothing she knows that her problem is not addressed. She can proceed to the Related Sites pages, which are accessible from the left navigation bar.
2. If the visitor finds an article that addresses her problem then she can begin to explore that; at the end of the article she will find products that discuss her problem more deeply. She can also access the educational product catalogue through an article page.
This article has introduced the educational solutions module of the world's most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The article has examined competitive offerings, the target customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability considerations. It concludes that the module is a major contribution to the information superhighway.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fight Terror, With Education

A War on Terrorism? Conventional war being brought on an unconventional enemy is ineffective out of date. Building these countries up to a certain level of stability, and allowing them to take over and govern themselves is part of the Presidents plan. If we think the need help getting to build a stable and profitable country in the world market, than let's say what we mean and just do it. Weapons of mass destruction if we had enough evidence to invade Iraq we should have hit those sights first and had those weapons in the first days. Oh, they must have hidden them, well how did we know about them in the first place. It has been more than two years since the bold and terrible attack on the World Trade Towers, and we are chasing shadows here and there. The American Military, the greatest fighting force on the planet, can only find a couple of the main targets. We cannot win a war like this. The US Navy, Marines, Air Force and Army are the best trained and most well equipped fighting force in the world. But for all of their advanced weaponry and the technological advantage they have; they still seem like a lumbering giant searching for the little Indian jumping from tree to tree. Just to use an analogy, I am not prejudice let's get that out of the way right now so I don't have to apologize to every race I may happen to mention. The subject of prejudice would take a whole paper of its own. So let's get back to the subject at hand. How can we stop Terror?
The suicide bombings keep coming. Why do these people hate or fear us so much? I believe that the root cause is a combination of jealousy and a lack of education. Most of our terrorist threats come from impoverished nations that are jealous of the standard of living in America. The lack of education comes into play because it is easy to manipulate uneducated minds. When the majority of citizens in a country cannot even read and the best way to spread news is by recorded messages you can fill people's minds with all manner of things. This lack of education contributes directly to their country's stagnant economy. They do not have sufficient numbers of the skilled people necessary to build and run factories, powerplants, water treatment, tourist industries, etc. Some of the things that we take for granted and yet that are so necessary to the economic success of this country. We fight to win a war indeed, but the military aspect is only the beginning.
To win this war we must take a look at our history and what made this country great. How did we become the nation we are today? This country's roots are founded in education, industry and innovation. Innovation brought industry and industry brought financial wealth providing for widespread education. The well-educated mind in turn spurs on industry with yet further innovation. To win this war we must teach those countries less fortunate than us, help them to develop systems that will lead them to the national prosperity that the US, Britain and most of the rest of Europe enjoy. We give billions a year away in foreign aid. Why not build some schools, hire some teachers, open some trade schools, teach them how to build a nation, and help them do it. Showing these nations the tools to build better governmental, educational and economic systems will enrich and add value and meaning to the lives of their people. It will then not be so easy for some "militant wacko" to persuade followers to give up their lives to kill the evil Americans. They will be able to better care for their families; dying in the name of Allah will no longer be the best way to assure their family will be cared for. If they have no way to read and study their religion for themselves then they must rely on the Spoken words of others. The power of religion to motivate is amazing, and a topic that could take it's own paper entirely. So again I will get back to the topic at hand. Stabilizing these countries, means to bring them into the world market, I believe that in the big picture this will be the most efficient way to fight terror. Show them the dream that has lit fire in the eyes of a nation for generations leading America to where it is today. Everyone is born with the potential to change the world.
This will not have the lightning fast results that our country demand after the catastrophic loss of life in the World Trade Towers. Nor will it have the shock and awe we all witnessed on TV to beginning with Iraq. This proposal will take time and resources. Time and resources we have already committed. Let the military continue rooting out the elements that will undermine a happy and peaceful society. The president has already told us that this will take years. So let us use these years. At the same time how long does it take to educate a child to change the next generation? I am not proposing a quick fix to these problems, but I we must begin now, with the knowledge and faith that our action now will mean that the 5 year old looking at our soldiers in confusion will not grow to become the man or woman that flying a plane into what will be the work places of our nations children.
Changing education and life on a global scale is a grand and hugely overwhelming proposition, bordering insanity but what marvelous insanity to know that you did something to change the world for the better. People dream of world peace, I know I do. Peace begins with mutual respect for all mankind. Toleration and love for all people together regard for race religion or appearance. All of these qualities are found in this country, the news concentrates on the bad because it sells, but by and large the majority in this nation live in harmony. I envision a world where all nations have equal standing and the betterment of the global quality of life becomes the driving force of every nation. Think of the potential for innovation in medicine, technology, space travel, food production, and use of natural resources we have not even discovered. When we increase the population of educated minds in the world we unlock the potential for genius.