Tag Archive | "education"

Resistance Is Futile


ipad picsFrom James O’Hearn…

I came across a great article in Slate, – Why Johnny Can’t Add Without a Calculator by Konstantin Kakaes. The argument, in simple terms, is that what we really need to teach math is paper, pens, an old fashioned blackboard, and a textbook that is at least a decade or so older than the students. As a key example of this, Kakaes points out the story of Vern Williams, a celebrated super teacher who may very well be the John Henry of Math Educators. Williams refuses to use newfangled devices, and feels they are a menace to real education. Reading this, I found myself smiling, somewhat taken aback by the utter nonsense of it all.

I’m sure Vern Williams is a superstar teacher. But Vern Williams is just a singular being, he is not legion. Of math educators, he may be the LeBron James, or Michael Phelps, but in being that, there then is the reality that there is something he is not – your everyday normal educator. Indeed, in highlighting Mr. Williams special nature, Kakaes even spends time telling us cherry picked anecdotes of examples of technology uses in the classroom he has witnessed which, no surprise, failed to blow him away.

In a classic example of thunder without lightning, bark without bite, Kakaes ends up making three critical errors in his argument.

First, he sets up a straw man. He chooses the example of teachers who are not yet fully trained in how to use technology in the classroom, and holds their example up as proof that technology in the classroom is all just a waste of time. An argument worthy of William Jennings Bryan.

Next, Kakaes forgets something that is the root of all mathematics – logic. You cannot scale a single person. Vern Williams may be an amazing educator, but you can’t clone him by the tens of thousands. The only thing that can bring Mr. Williams wisdom and methods to the masses is the very thing being demonized in the article – technology. To wit: 

But drawing up a lesson plan is itself educative: A teacher who plans his own lecture is forced toward mastery of the material, but one who downloads a PowerPoint presentation doesn’t have to know anything beyond how to download the presentation. It is a mirage of efficiency: empty calories.

Drawing up a lesson plan my be educative, but using a lesson plan prepared by a master teacher is far more so. The same goes with the materials, exercises, and examples they create and curate. Great teachers can be hamstrung by poor materials, but those who are merely average to good can often be sunk by them.

The final error in this piece is that Kakaes is essentially arguing against something he plainly knows nothing about. He tried a few programs and didn’t like them? Read a few studies he didn’t agree with? Saw a few teachers who didn’t blow him away? Plain as day, every example he puts forth as proof of his claim is so utterly weak that it is laughable. This is not someone who knows the theory and practice of flipping a classroom, or how to leverage the interactive properties of technology to enhance engagement, or how teachers can effectively extend their classroom into their student’s own homes and give students the kind of individual support that until now only the wealthiest families had access to.

What eventually brought about a final snort of derision from me was this gem near the end of the article – 

Technology is bad at dealing with poorly structured concepts. One question leads to another leads to another, and the rigid structure of computer software has no way of dealing with this.

Clearly Kakaes has never heard of social networking, or learning management systems like Edmodo, which exist to promote discussion, and do not operate according to some strict, linear paradigm; tools which are as useful or not according to who uses them and how they are used.

I don’t often have this sort of reaction, but at the end of the article, I was nearly yelling at my screen. If this 20 year old math text is so great, why isn’t it digitized! If Vern Williams is so great, then why isn’t his every lesson plan, self created resource, and descriptions of his methodology online? Is the 0$ price tag of Google Docs too much to handle? Does clicking the “upload” button present in insurmountable challenge? And how is it not better for students to have access to the lessons and wisdom of their teachers wherever they are, over only seeing them a few times a week?

The truth is, Kakaes argument is one that I have found all too common, in my experience. In another time, Kakaes and those who think like him would react to seeing automobiles drive past by doubling down on horses and carriage makers. What is so plainly obvious to someone like me, is glaringly not obvious to those like him. Which begs the question, why?

Permit me, if you will,a few preliminary thoughts on the matter.


Why So Many Teachers Resist eLearning 

1) A key stumbling block is conceptual. The vast majority of teachers I work with don’t really grasp the breadth and scope of this paradigm. All our teachers were encouraged to embrace 1:1, but efforts in that regard seemed to be viewed more as a faddish bureaucratic requirement. Like putting up posters of student work before an observation. Changing this mindset is not impossible, but it does require patience, effort, time, and a plan.

2) The next issue is generational. It’s like a technological KT boundary. Those that are early thirty-ish and under generally get it, and those over, generally don’t. I can’t remember where I took this analogy from, maybe Scott McLeod or someone in that educational travelling visionary set, but in my training sessions I generally open things up with this statement – To teachers, a computer, is a tool. It is something you use for your job. It has a purpose and a function, like any other tool. To students, a computer is their environment, their ecosystem. It is not just something they use, it is something they use for everything. Friendship, love, entertainment, school, personal exploration, commiseration, engagement, all of it, everything, is mediated by a computer of some sort. Whether it is a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone, doesn’t matter. They are all doors and windows into this world that overwhelmingly informs everything they understand about everything around them.

The average teacher doesn’t have the frame of reference to truly grasp this. They talk about kids being “addicted” to their cell phones, or their computers, or their video games. They see the behavior as an aberration, a deviation from what they perceive is the norm. What they don’t understand, or can’t accept, is that the behavior is not a deviation, or an aberration, it is the norm.

3) The third problem, in my opinion, is behavioural. There are a variety of reasons teachers will resist change. For example, they may not want to spend their own money on buying technological tools. I used to work construction. I bought my own tools, my own gear. This is how trades work. Chefs buy their own knives. Artists buy their own brushes and paints. I buy my own microphones, and cameras, and cables. But for some reason most teachers I know feel that their employer has to pay for these things. If I walked onto a construction site and said “You gotta buy me some tools” I’d fast be finding someplace else to be. But teachers seem to see things differently. Perhaps this may be because teachers don’t see these technological things as tools of their trade yet, but as esoteric extras.

Also aligned within this behavioral subset is attitude. Teachers who are burned out, or just don’t care, won’t bother. Teachers with ten years or less until retirement don’t see a compelling reason to change their practice. Then there are the teachers who are just hanging on by their fingernails, barely able to control their classes, unsure about whether they picked the right profession, and just don’t have the wherewithal to take on something that seems so alien and insurmountable.

The above are all reasons why other teachers are resistant to this model. They. Them.

But there is, strongly feel, another, bigger reason – us. 

In every school there are a handful of techie types like myself, comfortable with technology, conversant with it, who proselytize constantly, spreading the digital good news. But how do we look to everyone else?

How receptive are you to the guy on the street corner telling you to repent now? Because that is how we can seem to our colleagues. The faithful, the converted, shouting out our news, our truth. The problem is that we are telling, but rarely ever showing. I get excited about cool new tools, as many others do. We’ll ohh and ahh, and just gush with effervescent imagination like a hippe Carl Sagan who’d just chugged two shots of Atomic Jello laced with LSD.

“Oh it’s amazing! You could snargle! With the burgleforg! And then zaxxan the piffleburp!

Listening to us “Terds” speak (Teacher-Nerds… though on reflection perhaps that is an unfortunate amalgam…Teeks, anyone?) is like listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher.

What’s worse, not only will the un-digital not understand us, but we will often be impatient with them. Our every expression and action will appear to scream “What kind of moron are you? A two year old can do this!”

It doesn’t matter that none of what they perceive is true. It doesn’t matter if you truly are a helpful person, who holds their colleagues in the highest of esteem. The actual, bedrock truth doesn’t matter. Only what is perceived to be the truth does.

I learned this the hard way. Full of energy, positivity, ideas, and a willingness to expend effort on behalf of others, I found myself constantly being sideswiped by politics in the workplace. Accusations, insinuations, lies, and some insanely mean comments. I kept being yanked into the principal’s office, and more than once thought I’d be out of a job right then and there. I had to really step back, and evaluate what I was doing, and how I approached what I did.

That was when things started to change for the better. Before I suggested something to someone, I’d put myself in their shoes, and think about how it would fit into their practice and skill level. I learned patience. I kept my door open, and any time a colleague came by, whether I was teaching or not, I’d wave them in, listen, and see what I could do.

It amazed me how fast things began to change. All I had to do was wait for the right openings. Instead of pushing solutions on to others, I’d wait until someone came around with a problem. When my department started having a mess of marks as spreadsheets got fired back and forth, and people did or did not copy and paste correctly, I set up a Google Spreadsheet, shared it, and the problem was solved.

It is not a fast process, but I found that the key was to look at small things that saved others time, frustration, and effort. Small things that did not require much of them, and offered instant, observable benefits. That’s the gateway drug, the gateway tech. That’s where it starts.

Over time, with patience, and humility, I think we can effect the change in other teachers that we seek.

And then, once we open their eyes, we can start taking the good and the great, the best practices, the amazing resources, collecting them, collating them, and promoting their use.

We don’t tell scientists to invent their own scientific method. We don’t tell architects to draw up their own building codes. We don’t ask doctors to whip up their own medicines. Professionals, including teachers, work best by building on what has come before, by implementing best practices, and not re-inventing the wheel each and every day.


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Unblocking The Future


From James O’Hearn…

There’s a well known eLearning advocate I follow, named Scott McLeod (no relation to the comic book scholar…as far as I know!) who writes a blog called Dangerously Irrelevant. Scott has spoken at Tedx conferences, and regularly presents on eLearning related topics, and one of his main pet peeves, that I have noticed, is the tendency of administrators to try to restrict and block access to technologies and services they see as disruptive, like Facebook, or You Tube.

Today he put up a post expressing his sense of frustration with this sort of of behaviour.

Yesterday it was Facebook. Today it’s YouTube. Here’s an email exchange between two district technology coordinators…

TC1: I have recently completely blocked youtube in our network. Does everyone block youtube? As soon as I blocked it, teachers started complaining. What other websites can they go to that will serve the same purpose as youtube?

TC2: It is blocked here as well!!! I know there is some good to it BUT it is my responsibility to monitor, block, etc. I do not have time to monitor students all day long every day of every week. We have a product called LanSchool and it is awesome. You can view every student that is logged on at any given time and can take over their computer and shut it down as well BUT I cannot do that every day all day long. The teachers have the same capable to monitor as well BUT they are hired to teach. I will not take the responsibility for what they CAN GET IN TO THAT THEY DO NOT NEED TO!!!

It is very disheartening to read this stuff. The federal government is not asking us to do these sorts of things. So we could trust our teaching staff (and – gasp! – our students) but instead we resort to draconian measures that penalize everyone for the potential actions of a few. As I said three years ago, we need to view school organizations like these as ones that are desperately and inappropriately blocking the future

While normally I agree with a lot of what McLeod says, I found my demurring today, and posted this comment in response (I couldn’t embed links in my response on his blog, but I have adde them below).

The school system I work for in Dubai also has this restriction, primarily for socio-cultural reasons. Personally, however, I don’t mind this restriction, because it doesn’t affect my ability to bring streaming video into the classroom. Administrators and IT departments are going to want to restrict access to technologies and services that they feel pose a possible liability risk. It’s just their nature. My view is, instead of railing against that, it is better to find another way to accomplish your objectives.  

Where I work, we created a linked system of blogs using Google’s Blogger platform. And while Blogger is sure to be seen as a bit boring and old fashioned by some, I see it as being like the Ford F-150 of blogging services – a dependable tool that is surprisingly flexible, and comes with an amazing support network.  

First, when we want to use video in the classroom, we will embed video in a post that contains all the elements of the lesson instruction, practice activities, and an assessment. That one post is then used by all the teachers in the same grade and subject for that specific lesson. (Shares the load, promotes equality of instruction).  

Since the nature of blogs is dynamic, and not all students or staff have the patience or the knowhow to poke into the blog archive, we also create static pages where videos are collected and embedded, and create links to those pages at the top of a blog.  

This system has proven really versatile and useful for all our stakeholders. There’s a place for student podcasts which includes student made tech help videos, a place for eLearning resources for staff, and the system is simple enough that even the most tech averse teachers can grasp the basics of how to use it, and in a short time feel comfortable enough to use it in their everyday teaching practice.


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Class Warrior


From David Anthony Hohol…

Something I thought to be true for most of my life was debunked during my time as a student in the hallowed halls of academia.  Now moving into my 11th year of working in the same field,  such conclusions have been clarified as a misnomer several times over. The educated culture of a society is by no means more intelligent than those who never receive a post-secondary education. In fact, some of the most idiotic, hardwood stumps I’ve ever met in my life have M.A.’s and Doctorate degrees, while some of the most intelligent have been farmers or worked on construction sites.

An education can indeed fuel one with the ability to tangibly externalize the internal mechanisms of being human.  By extension, we dissect, analyze, and place within a framework of reference all we experience in order to better know the often unforgiving reflection in our mirrors. Going from the general to the specific, from macro to micro, and back again, an education, at the very least, armed me with the information necessary to better understand my world. With that said, the tools to do so can be acquired by the most foolhardy of people. As my grandfather used to say, “Just because people have a few wrenches and a good socket set, doesn’t mean they knows how to re-build the engine of a car.”

As usual, my grandfather was right. How we use the tools we acquire throughout a lifetime, whether they be acquired through a post-secondary education or the school of hard knocks, is the true mark of intelligence; to master these tools, the mark of wisdom.

The hierarchical structure of the class system also revealed itself to be an integral part of a post-secondary education and then become the ready-made template I stepped into upon becoming professionally employed. Capitalistic principles inherently produce power structures and the Utopian ideal of a classless society thus cannot exist within a cultural construct such as our own. The Postmodern world sits upon a hegemonic hierarchical system, where some must always be subordinate to others. Such a description is an empirically defend-able portrait of society, and academia is no exception. I saw far fewer representatives of the lower class stratosphere, in comparison to those from the middle and upper classes. Pursuing an education appeared to be something simply expected of middle and upper class high school graduates.  Conversely, my fellow proletariat were often the first in their families to attend university. I sometimes ran into fellow working class souls whose parents attended, but I cannot recall even once hearing about anyone’s grandparents being university educated. It seemed I was breaking some trends.

My father was raised on a small family farm and although he flirted with the lower middle class in the early eighties, he has spent the duration of his life amongst the masses of the working class. He loved to pretend otherwise, determined to be more than his father, not knowing his father was more than most men ever could be.

I was raised in this working class atmosphere, in a small town farming community, and education was never a central point of discussion. During my high school years, never once was I approached by my parents about the possibility of attending university. With a father who flunked a grade and barely made his way through high school, and a mother who dropped out after completing only grade ten, it simply wasn’t a part of how they looked at the world. Further still, my parents started charging me rent immediately after I finished high school. The instantaneous pressure to create an income further alienated me from the idea of pursuing any kind of education, and the working class waltz continued. Lower class households do produce university graduates, but they simply are not the statistical norm. Societal expectations, learned behavior, apathy, and financial limitations all combine to reduce the numbers of the working class who enroll in university. Yes, there are those who through hard work make the leap. I am one of them, but the fact of the matter is the percentage of those who have fallen from the middle class far out number those who have raised the social bar.  Further still, the number of those born into middle class families and above who receive an education are gargantuan in comparison to the working class. As I’ve already stated, being educated doesn’t make one better or even more intelligent than someone who isn’t. What it does do however, is create the opportunity to utilize intelligence.

My simple upbringing, along with ten years of post high school blue-collar employment exposed me, almost exclusively, to the proletariat lifestyle.  I never really thought about at the time, but I simply didn’t know many people who’d gone to university. I never really knew people who had money or security, or met anyone who traveled to places like Africa, Asia, or the Middle East. This all changed once I entered university life. During my undergraduate years, more than seventy percent of the students on campus had middle or upper class backgrounds. It was a bit odd for me when I first came to know these people; they were such strange souls. I soon realized just how differently we think, when separated by the almighty tax bracket.

I met people whose parents were doctors, lawyers, financial consultants, CEOs, corporate presidents, vice presidents, judges, psychiatrists, stockbrokers, politicians, scientists, as well as a variety of successful independent entrepreneurs. I heard them talk of how they spent their holidays at beach houses, cottages, and condos, along with a variety of other so-called summer homes. I took classes with nineteen year-old kids who drove sports cars and luxury sedans, and talked of trips to places like England, Italy, Greece, Spain, Japan, and Egypt. They even spoke of investing in retirement plans, the stock market, and building their portfolios. All the while, many sounded as if they somehow needed to justify themselves for having been given so many opportunities. I could always tell those who had the most money. The switch was always turned on, as they forever saw themselves as being seen. I soon saw having money as being an interpretation of style that attempts to validate and rationalize the benefits that come with it. The views many held and the causes they stood behind seemed more obliged than anything. It was almost like they looked through the catalogue of the latest charities or events, and chose what was most fashionable that year. Plastic contrivance was everywhere.

What always gave away the richest, as many did indeed try to hide the fact they came from money, was their skewed perception of finance. Beyond the obvious clue of spending a lot of money around campus, their mentality in terms of annual income was also very telling. I was once assuredly told by a twenty year-old daughter of a man who bought and sold businesses for a living, that she had some poor friends. I immediately suspected her idea of depravity would be just a little different than mine and asked what she thought it meant to be poor. She said it was always a real struggle for her classmate, because her mother was a homemaker and her father only made forty-five thousand dollars a year. I tried to explain that many people would consider that a decent living and further still, many families get by on a hell of a lot less. She looked at me in disbelief and did so honestly. By the way, the last business her father bought and sold was a McDonald’s franchise, and he was currently planning on buying a privatized post office. These naive perspectives can’t be attributed to all those with money I came across, but the majority of those I met indeed filled these uninformed parameters.

My experience with those from the other side galvanized my notions of the class system, revealing to me not just how people live, but how they think when raised with or without money. Now having made the jump, nothing has changed; nothing, that is, except for the fact that in the back of mind I always fear a financial return to where I once was. That and I have big house in the burbs.


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Adopt A School


From Philippine Congressman Mong Palitino…

Through its Adopt-A-School program, the Department of Education hopes to improve the condition of public schools by raising funds from the private sector. Since its inception in 1998, it has already attracted 300 donors generating almost seven billion pesos in pledges, commitments, and actual contributions which benefited around 22,000 public schools nationwide. On the other hand, this program is a clear proof of the state abandonment of Philippine education. Its conceptualization signals two things: the government’s unwillingness to spend more on education; and the ascendancy of the neoliberal dogma. This is further exemplified by the decision of the government to gradually increase the role of the private sector in managing the country’s education system. Since then, cash-strapped public schools have been practically begging for crumbs from the state and if funds remain insufficient, they can dream of being “adopted” by philanthropists who need tax incentives.

School donors receive tax incentives of up to 150 percent for their contributions. Furthermore, the DepEd reminds prospective donors that participating in the Adopt-A-School program will “strengthen (their) corporate image and goodwill within the school community.” Enhancing the public image of a company is essential especially if the long-term motive is to influence the innocent minds and spending habits of students. It is no surprise that the big school donors are also big businesses whose operations and profitability depend heavily on the young consumer market. For example:

– Bright Minds Read of McDonalds Charities involving the distribution of donated books to libraries, production of workbooks and learning kits in select Metro Manila elementary schools. Intended beneficiaries are Grade 1-3 students. Cost: P9,300 per school

– Gearing-up Internet Literacy and Access for Students of Ayala Foundation targeting 5,443 public high schools. The project aims to establish internet laboratories. Cost: P125,000 per school

– Intel Teach to the future program. Intel Philippines Manufacturing Inc. sponsors the integration of the use of computers into the existing curriculum. Cost: P5,000 per teacher

– ETV package. ABS-CBN ETV programs have been converted into DVD format for classroom distribution and utilization. Cost: P55,000 per school

– Txt2teach Project for Grade V and VI science classes. Project leader is Ayala Foundation while the coordinators are Globe Telecom, PMSI-Dream Broadcasting, Chikka Asia.

– Little Red Schoolhouse in partnership with Coca Cola Foundation. The goal is to construct a school building with three classrooms. Cost: P1,421,626 per school

– “Send-a-Child-to-School” Program of DepEd and Petron Foundation for Grade I-VI students. Cost: P5,000 per pupil

The Adopt-A-School program boosts the profitability of these companies by giving them the “prerogative of identifying the school of its choice, as well as the area and geographic location where it wishes to place its support.” This allows donors like McDonalds to choose schools which are located near their company outlets.

How can Intel recoup its school investments? Students and teachers who were taught how to maximize computers in the classrooms will most likely prefer the Intel brand when they buy computers in the future.

Coke’s ‘little red schoolhouse’ is an indirect reference to the color of its primary product. Petron’s scholarship bonanza obscures the company’s reputation of being a gang leader of an oil cartel. ABS-CBN’s ETV package expands the TV network’s viewership, especially among the young.

Globally, the Txt2teach Project is known as BridgeIT. But by using the term Txt2teach in the local setting, it risks promoting the wrong idea that IT is limited to texting. But this is a non-issue for schools and the government which are desperate for funds. It is enough that “texting” companies like Globe and Chikka have agreed to become school donors. Even for educational institutions, beggars can’t be choosers.

There is always a battle to control the content of schooling. Public debates are often focused on the official curriculum. But scholars have been asserting that the impact of the ‘hidden curriculum’ on the thinking of students is equally powerful. The official curriculum teaches students that the cost of two satellite dishes for a cable subscription is P225,000. This allows them to watch Knowledge Channel. The hidden curriculum, on the other hand, teaches students that the satellite dish donor belongs to ‘the good guys’; and the TV cable symbolized by the Knowledge Channel is associated with intelligent programming.

‘Adopting’ a school, therefore, is a wise business strategy since it improves the social standing of companies while raising their profit margins. Companies are now marketing and selling their products inside schools and more importantly, they are able to introduce their business philosophies to a special and vital segment of the population. When the government abdicated its duty to provide accessible education for all, it ushered the creepy ‘invasion’ of schools by companies which seek to exploit the financial woes of public schools. Despite the claim that the Adopt-A-School program inspires volunteerism, its real legacy is to legitimize the commercialization of public education in the country.

The Adopt-A-School model is a preview of the Public-Private-Partnership mantra of the new government. President Aquino’s radical solution to the education crisis is to expand the scope of the Adopt-A-School program. This translates into reduced government subsidies and greater intervention of big business in the schooling system. If K12 is to be implemented, it means students and teachers will be hostaged for 12 years by big business school donors. As Big Business continues to infuse more capital into education, it will acquire greater hegemony in asserting the direction of Philippine education. Business will dictate the future of the education sector. Business perspectives will dominate the academe. This will weaken the democratic potential of schooling to empower the bosses.


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Top Ten Reasons to Go to College


collegeFor many of us, going to college is a right of passage that eventually takes us into the adult world of responsibility, knowledge, money, and  opportunity. It teaches us about both ourselves and the world around us, about the homes we grew up in, and our planetary neighbors. There are also many who manage to do just fine without a college education, but as a whole, statistics plainly reveal the more educated we are,  the more productive we are in society, and thus life as a whole. Perhaps more than anything else, a university campus surrounds  young people with the multiplicity of perspective. In turn, we learn that  our own world view is but one of many and not simply the norm. Below are the top ten reasons to attain a post-secondary education, in no discernible order.

  • 1. Become More Knowledgeable in Several Areas
    Although one of the main goals in college is to gain a degree in a particular area, almost every degree will require that you study some core subjects, such as English, math and communication skills. These skills are likely to help you in a future career as you’ll excel beyond candidates who might not have had this broad range of learning opportunities. Some areas will help you in all aspects of life. For example, the ability to speak in front a of a group of people may be something you use in volunteer work for organizations or in groups of friends.
  • 2. Learn More About Your Favorite Topic
    One of the biggest reasons to go to college is to learn as much as you possibly can in your chosen subject. In a college setting, you’ll gain access to professors who have advanced degrees in their subject. You’ll find some self-assessment tools on this site, which will help you decide what you should study and if you should study at a traditional university or online. You might also want to read articles like How to Choose a Major in College and get advice from sites like CourseAdvisor.com.
  • 3. Build Self Confidence
    One of the biggest boosts from college is an increase in self confidence. Completing even a single class should be a cause for celebration and create a sense of accomplishment in the student. As a college student completes more courses and finds those areas where he or she excels, a sense of self becomes more evident. There are many ways to continue to build confidence, even after graduating from school. There are also online classes one can take to increase self reliance and sense of self.
  • 4. Enhance Employment Opportunities
    Those who graduate from college are more likely to land a better paying job, because of specialized training and today’s employment market, which prefers workers with degrees. While there are many points to consider in the debate between higher education or getting a job out of high school, it is always smart to get some specialized training to fall back on. A quick search on sites such as CareerBuilder and Monster.com will help you determine if the potential careers you are seeking require a degree or what the pay difference might be between two and four year degrees.
  • 5. Make More Money
    Among the many ways listed to make more money, getting an education shows up on nearly every list. Some careers are obviously higher in demand than others, including anything in health care. Discuss possible career choices with your college advisor, who will have up to date information about job forecasts in a particular field of interest. You may also want to do some research on sites such as Bureau of Labor Statistics, which releases job forecasts.
  • 6. Set an Example for Your Children
    Want to encourage your children to go on to higher education and get a college degree? Probably the best way to encourage this is to set the example by taking some college courses yourself. Local community colleges are a nice place to start and often offer a wide variety of courses, including items like photography and writing. You may even want to compare a four year college and a trade school education.
  • 7. Learn About Diverse Interests
    Depending upon where you completed most of your elementary and high school education, you may not have had a chance to be around other cultures. College is often a mix of many different people from many different walks of life. This can expand your horizons. Diversity is also a big part of college admissionsthese days. Since you will likely work with many different personalities and ethnicities when you begin your career, college can help prepare you for this.
  • 8. Gain Independence
    College allows students to begin to live independently from Mom and Dad, but in a still controlled environment. This can make the transition from home to living on your own much less stressful and more gradual. Participating in various youth activities can help students begin to learn the skills needed to live on their own. The decision of whether to stay home and attend a local city college or go away to school can be a tough one to make.
  • 9. Meet Different People and Make New Friends
    It has often been said that the friends you make in college are the friends that you keep for life. Whether this is true or not, college is a great opportunity to make new friends and meet new people. Learn how other people made friends in college. If you’re feeling a little uncertain about this process, you may want to arrange to meet your future roommate before school starts and read up on tips for making new friends, such as the one at FamilyEducation.com about making friends in college.
  • 10. Increase Your Network
    College friends and acquaintances can create a valuable network you can utilize for years to come in your career and social life. You may want to keep in mind some networking timetables as you move toward graduation day and get some additional networking tips. You may also want to utilize networking sites like Facebook, Classmates.com, College Tonight, Twitter and even MySpace.com.

*source: lovetoknow.com


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Top Ten Useless Degrees



Some people might argue that any education is a good education. After looking through the list of the awesome degrees below, these people just might change their minds. Offering degrees in both surfing and UFOs, RELATIVITY OnLine offers a special congratualtions to the Aussies. Aliens and surfboards are sure ways to secure your future. Cheers mate!   

  • 1. Art History – various colleges around the world
  • 2. Golf Managment – various colleges around the world
  • 3. Stark Trek – Georgetown University, USA
  • 4. Queer Musicology (study of gay music) – UCLA, USA
  • 5. Philosophy – various colleges around the world
  • 6. Surfing Studies – Sountern Cross Univeristy, Australia
  • 7.  The Phallus (study of the penis and symbolism of the penis) – Occidental University, United Kingdom
  • 8. Ufology (study of UFOs) – Melbourne University, Australia
  • 9. Parapsycholoy (study of ghosts and spirits) – various colleges around the world
  • 10. David Beckham Studies – Straffordshire University, United Kingdom

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Picturing RELATIVITY- see all photos


  • CANADA: AN EXPAT HEAVEN With our ever shrinking global village, migratory work patterns are becoming more and more a part of people’s lives. Work in one country, summer in another, then try yet another. Thinking about it? Canada, Australia and Thailand are the best places to do
  • NO KIDDING, CONDOLEEZA! In a video at the recently opened George W. Bush Library, Condoleeza Rice confirms Bush was both aware and condoned torture. Guess there’s no need to lie your asses off anymore, is there Dipshit?
  • NO MATTER WHAT, IT'S WORTH IT With its Tex-Mex menu, Taco Bell is one of the most popular fat-food chains in America. No matter what happens after you eat it..
  • TURKISH AUTISTIC ATHIESTS “Autistic children do not know believing in God because they do not have a section of faith in their brains,” claims a renowned Turkish Sociologist. Gotta love nut-jobs, like this asshole! They’re so entertaining!



Does the fact that Barack Obama is black and the son of an African Muslim contribute to the radical nature of those who oppose his policies?

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