Saturday, August 28, 2010

Google for Education

Using Google as an educational tool.

Students, teachers and staff can share ideas more quickly and get things done more effectively when they have access to the same powerful communication and sharing tools. Google Applications provides email, sharable online calendars, instant messaging tools and even a dedicated websites to faculty, students and staff for free. There's no hardware or software to install or maintain, since everything is delivered through a standard web browser -- anytime, from anyplace.

We have tested this with our students in AABC, as part of the classes conducted by the faculty is online, they are allowed to use the tools of their choice, skype, yahoo messenger or Google.  And with the google package, we were able to maximize learning and introduce our students

You can mix and match from the following services for your entire school :

Gmail - Offer email to your faculty, students and staff with 2 gigabytes of storage per account, search tools to help them find information fast, and instant messaging built right into the browser (chat can easily be disabled for the whole school if you don't want students to be able to IM with their accounts). One good thing nowadays is that Gmail has both video and talk capabilities.

Google Talk - Teachers and students can call or send instant messages to their contacts for free -- anytime, anywhere in the world. Imagine the possibilities for people collaborating on projects from different locations.

Google Calendar - Everyone can organize their schedules and share events, meetings and entire calendars with others. You can even publish the school calendar on your website to let families know about events like back-to-school nights, homecoming and vacation days.

Google Docs - Students and teachers can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations and then collaborate with each other in real-time right inside a web browser window.

Google Sites - Create a class site and edit it the same way you'd edit a document -- no technical expertise required. Your site can bring together all the information you want to share with your colleagues and students, including docs, calendars, photos, videos and attachments.

Blogger-Teaching the use of blogs to enhance their communication skills also is another way of allowing them to express themselves.

With schools who are looking into new productivity tools to enhance classroom learning and participation, using google as a part of your tools in enhancing classroom instruction can be both a transformative and learning experience.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Increase the school years? Or increase the quality of education?

Increase the school years? Or increase the quality of education?

Headlines burst out saying that the current education secretary was proposing adding to more years to Basic Education meaning 12 years. Among the reasons stated were the following: 1. additional enhancements in skill sets for employment, preparing them for college (academically), and making our students globally competitive.

Laudable if the government has enough resources to begin with considering the public knowledge that the government budget was siphoned by the previous administration (according to the present president). For an educator sitting at the helm of Government and the agency tasked to formulate and oversee guidelines in implementation of educating the hope of tomorrow; that's a big job.

But it seems that the present education secretary has been sitting in an ivory tower to start talking about immediate curriculum revisions, adding another year; and wasting the time of curriculum developers in order to make a wishlist of the best educational system he can dream of.

In the 80's we were sitting in a class of 20, in the 90's in a class of 40, now i guess a class of 60-70 is an average class in public schools. Add to this fewer classrooms, fewer teachers, books, chairs and even classroom time. More time is spent on the average by every kid on DOTA than the class room. Gone are the days when one goes to school for 8 hours a day.

The education secretary should've considered all of this before jumping the gun on the wrong issue to be addressed. Considering that our curriculum is defective; how can one see the proposed remedies and solutions if one does not answer the basic question of adequacy. The basic adequeties such as classrooms,armchairs, books,teachers and classroom time.

Activists have been critical of previous administrations for lack of attention to education on the basics that we have previously mentioned has been on the banner stories whenever the opening of classes would come in; and would always be the rallying cry of every youth leader marching the streets.

The emergence of a so-called people's mandate who was elected for president meant he would be selecting the best minds to make the first steps towards recovery and healing of this nation.

Would that decision mean that we will have better equipped public schools? Or an error that would make the parents and students suffer for 12 years?

The answer lies before your eyes.

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