Posts Tagged ‘education’

Video Content Is Revolutionizing Learning

We Baby Boomers are “digital immigrants”. We’ve had to learn to adapt to computers, email, digital downloads, smartphones, texting, tablets, etc. The Millennials are “digital natives”. To them, the constant stream of rapidly changing media tools have always been a part of their lives. Here’s an interesting infographic about “digital natives” and learning courtesy of KZO Innovations:

How video content is revolutionizing learning

Presented by

Considering College

Our youngest began her college career this Fall but the process started over 10 years ago when we first invested a significant chunk of change in her 529 college fund. Unfortunately, when it was time for her to enter college, rather than multiplying in value that fund was worth about the same as it was when the money was first invested. Of course, that situation impacted her final decision on which college to attend.

Fortunately, she attended a high school which provided terrific guidance in planning for college. Her counselor provided her with a list of 40 schools, including stretch, reach, and safety schools which might be a good fit for her skills and career aspirations. We visited 18 of those campuses over the course of 18 months. Fortunately, most of them are within a 4 hour drive of our home.

During our campus visits, I made sure to have a conversation with the college rep about how a 4 year undergrad degree today is worth about the same as a high school diploma was when I entered college. So, the question was: Does it make any sense in this economy to spend close to a quarter million dollars (tuition plus room & board) on an undergrad degree? Or, would it make more sense to spend the first two years in a much cheaper community college to earn those credits which are the basis for most of a college student’s first two years and then transfer to a four year school to complete the degree?

There’s also a consideration for those teens whose interests and aptitudes might make them less suited for a typical 4 year college degree than to pursue a path which places them in a community college for two years with the goal of joining an organization which will pay for the remaining two years of their education and train them in a thriving industry where their skills, talents, and passions are sorely needed. We’re hearing a lot these days about companies who can’t find the workforce with 21st century skills that they need to compete in today’s economy.

It’s something to consider.

Presented by Degree Jungle “Is College Still Worth It”

I’d also recommend that, along with the U.S. News & World college rankings, you check out the Washington Monthly’s reviews.

Education And Digital Natives

We Baby Boomers are “digital immigrants”. We’ve had to learn to adapt to computers, email, digital downloads, smartphones, texting, tablets, etc. The Millennials are “digital natives”. To them, the constant stream of rapidly changing media tools have always been a part of their lives. Here’s an interesting infographic about “digital natives” and learning courtesy of Elnora Lowe:

Via: Voxy Blog

Thanks to Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media for bringing this info to our attention.

That Used To Be Us

In the spirit of transparency, let me tell you that I believe that capitalism’s impact on America has been mostly positive however I’m not a proponent of the selfish capitalism endorsed by Ayn Rand and her acolytes. It seems to me that we need to grow into an era of “Conscientious Capitalism” which encourages and rewards individual achievement, risk-taking, and entrepreneurial spirit and also embraces the “noblese-oblige” spirit of FDR and Nelson Rockefeller.

Personally, I endorse raising the age for Social Security eligibility to 75 (which would negatively effect me), increasing taxes, re-evaluating bureaucracies to eliminate waste, zero-based budgeting to reduce spending, and programs which encourage Baby Boomers to remain economically productive and contributing to the country’s tax coffers rather than retiring and taking Social Security. We’ve got to face the music sometime and there’s no sense in procrastinating.

In his Bloomberg BusinessWeek review of Tom Friedman’s latest book, David Camp takes Friedman and his co-author, Michael Mandelbaum to task for not recommending big, bold solutions to the problems and issues they discuss in the book but I’m not sure that that’s the authors’ job. However, Camp does commend them for doing a solid job of evaluating America’s current situation in the 2nd decade of the 21st century and bringing our challenges to light.

My daughter is a high school senior so we’ve been in college tour mode since July. Something I’ve noticed that’s emphasized at all the colleges we’ve visited is their focus on attracting students from outside of the US. Of course, each college’s freshman class has a finite number of openings and if a higher percentage of those positions are filled by international students the fewer that will be available to American kids. On the one hand, I don’t doubt that part of the schools’ strategies is to address globalization and broaden the scope of their institutions. But I also don’t doubt that part of the plan is to attract international students from wealthy families to make up for American students whose families may no longer to be able to foot the annual bill for these institutions.

Friedman and Mandelbaum make some disturbing points in comparing American students with their Chinese counterparts. They talk about how we in America tend to reward our kids’ efforts whereas in China a student is rewarded only for accomplishment. Chinese students are expected to acquire strong math and science skills. In America, our education system is designed more to push the students through the pipeline than to encourage/demand excellence in specific skill sets when they reach high school graduation time. The Chinese see education as an economic issue. In America, we see it as a social issue. Friedman & Mandelbaum tell a sobering story about a small, obscure liberal arts college in the Midwest whose freshman class has a few hundred openings but which received applications from 900 Chinese students all of whom had perfect SAT math and science scores. Our kids need to be able to compete with these challenges.
The book talks about the types of employees that American businesses are seeking in order to be competitive as we move forward. We need creators and we need servers who add value which is unique and irreplaceable such as abstract analysis skills. The authors note that there are four catagories of workers :
1. Creative Creators
2. Routine Creators
3. Creative (inspired) Servers
4. Routine Servers
The Routine Creators and Routine Servers will be at the most risk of having their positions eliminated.

Just to get interviewed for a job these days, a candidate will need the following abilities: critical thinking skills, the ability to accomplish non-routine tasks, and the ability to work collaboratively. To get hired, a candidate will also need the ability to enhance, refine, and invent along with a proven ability to innovate. (“What was your best innovation during the past year?”, “ What projects are on your drawing board?”). Think Google.

Our schools need to teach and encourage students to visualize, identify, decide and direct within a competitive learning environment. They need to understand how to adapt and to innovate.

The books cites Carlson’s Law: “In a world where so many people now have access to education and cheap tools of innovation, innovation that happens from the bottom up tends to be chaotic but smart. Innovation that happens from the top down tends to be orderly but dumb.” It’s all about collaboration. This sounds like the theory that Gen. David Petraeus employed in Afghanistan.

I love the observation cited in this book by former Michigan governor, Jennifer Granholm that “the electric car will be an iPad on wheels”.

Someone else makes this suggestion. Why not offer companies located anywhere else in the world five years of local, state, and federal tax relief if they open and maintain factories in the US which create jobs for that 5 year period.

It’s no surprise to anyone who reads Friedman’s columns that he’s a strong proponent for America to get past its oil fix. To Tom Friedman, “talent is the new oil”.
The 24 hour news cycle has made it even more attractive for journalists to turn national politics into theater. It’s all become a “who’s up/who’s down” game. Friedman & Mandelbaum talk about the impact of gerrymandering which is a process of dividing up political districts in order to provide political advantage to the party in control of the process. As the authors describe it, gerrymandering essentially assures the party in power that its candidate will win the primary election. Since most states allow only registered Republicans and Democrats to vote in primary elections, those of use who prefer to remain politically independent are excluded. That allows the rabid partisans to control the elections. Given the cost of multi-platform message distribution in the media these days, that leaves the winning candidate no choice but to placate the zealots. (Witness what’s been happening with President Obama and the left-wingers in the Democrats and Mitt Romney with the Republican Tea Partiers). The majority of Americans who want to see our politicians collaborate and compromise are left out of the conversation. Friedman & Mandelbaum favor a Teddy Roosevelt/Ross Perot-type third party candidate who has no hope to win but can influence the Presidential election. It wouldn’t surprise me in the 2012 Presidential election to see Barack Obama, the Republican candidate, and independent party candidates representing zealots on the left and right.

“That Used To Be Us” says that America’s fate in the 21st century depends on how we deal with the following challenges: globalization, the IT revolution, the deficit and energy consumption.

I found Tom Friedman’s last book to be somewhat tedious. This book is disturbing, enlightening, and inspiring.