Showing posts with label course design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label course design. Show all posts

Thursday, 29 November 2012

10 Most Important Education Laws in American History

Even in non-election years, education remains at the forefront of most Americans’ social, political, and economic concerns. Or it should, anyway. Seeing as how the public school system is run by the, uh, government, it ought to come as no shock to anyone whatsoever that some legislation stands as more groundbreaking than others.
Do keep in mind that this article only includes federal laws, though legislation passed at the state level can obviously still hold influence. Like compulsory education. That’s kind of a big deal. But we’re sticking with the rulings that govern all the states, because so many variations exist from one to the other it’d be hard to discuss them without keeping you here all day.
  1. Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment:

    The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, guarantees equal protection under the law across demographics and, obviously, does not exclusively cover education. But it played a major role in shaping the American public education system when invoked during many different Supreme Court cases involving state schools. Most significant of the lot: Brown v. The Board of Educationout of Kansas, which overturned Plessey v. Ferguson in 1954. This decision marked a turning point in Civil Rights by declaring “separate but equal” and otherwise racially segregated schools absolutely unconstitutional. A decision which wound up provoking backwards governors like Arkansas’ Orval Faubus and Alabama’s George Wallace to infamously attempt blocking the first black students from entering traditionally white state schools.
  2. Serviceman’s Readjustment Act:

    But you might know it better as the G.I. Bill. Because the rights of veterans remained such a nebulous milieu prior to its 1944 approval, this legislation meant to clearly define their earned entitlements upon return. Most individuals these days tend to think of the law as providing free or low-cost college tuition and living expenses for active and former members of the Armed Forces, though the benefits extend to include assistance with mortgages and business startups. These perks, particularly the ones involving education, all help them reintegrate back into mainstream American society after serving time in the military, an essential service for them and their families.
  3. The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act:

    Poor nutrition wreaks havoc on cognitive ability and academic performance, even in otherwise intelligent, capable students. The National School Lunch Act, as the legislation is more commonly known, sought to close the achievement gap between socioeconomic classes by providing free or reduced-cost meals to qualifying students. It also addressed the issue of farm surpluses, but that’s not as relevant to this article. Since 1946, it has ensured students from low-income households receive healthy breakfasts and lunches during the school year. But with the addition of the Summer Food Service Program, they are also guaranteed better nutrition even when school dismisses for a few months.
  4. Higher Education Act of 1965:

    Part of then-President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, HEA continues eliciting controversy but still remains an influential law hovering over the American public school system. It receives consistent ratification in order to accommodate current social, political, and economic factors, but at its core it seeks to fiscally bolster the college and university system with the hopes of providing more opportunities for more students. Scholarships and affordable loans are also made available to students requiring financial aid, and the legislation also established the National Teachers Corps. Because it allowed a higher number of Americans to attend institutes of higher learning, however hair-rippingly bureaucratic the Financial Aid process has proven, it’s probably safe to refer to the HEA as an influential little piece of government.
  5. Bilingual Education Act:

    With America’s increasingly diverse societal makeup, 1968’s Bilingual Education Act sometimes seems even more relevant than before. Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, to which it is sometimes referred, provided funding to schools in order to help them better accommodate students for whom English was not their first language. Because the linguistic barrier so often caused kids to lag behind in their grades (which obviously does not reflect on their overall aptitude or intelligence!), this boost helps provide equal opportunities so everyone in the public school system, regardless of their mother tongue or nation of origin, enjoys a shot at academic success.
  6. Title IX:

    Although Title IX frequently appears in discussions regarding athletics, particularly when it comes to colleges and universities attempting to subvert the regulations, its reach hits points well beyond that. Basically, it requires any institution receiving federal funding to not discriminate on the basis of gender when it comes to doling out money to extracurricular activities and other programs. That’s all the simple, straightforward Title IX asks, yet today it still manages to wind up in the center of major controversies in schools angry that they can’t fund men’s sports as much as they’d prefer.
  7. Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974:

    The Fourteenth Amendment proved pivotal in ultimately desegregating public institutes of learning, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 helped further the cause of racial equality in the public school system. Essentially, it made discrimination against faculty, administrators, staff, and students on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, or color illegal. Which is more or less what one would expect the law to be about, considering the title and everything. In 1982, it played a significant part in the Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe, ultimately requiring public schools to provide equal-opportunity education for the children of undocumented immigrants.
  8. Family Education Rights and Privacy Act:

    Students (and their parents, for those under the age of 18) enjoy more autonomy and privacy regarding their education records thanks to this 1974 legislation. FERPA, also known as the Buckley Amendment, granted them the right to refuse or permit their schools from transferring information back and forth as well as some degree of control over grades and even behavioral comments. Meaning they can legally dispute them if they feel teachers proved unfair in their assessments. Kids today tend to take this small shred of freedom for granted, but as anyone who has ever grappled with a genuinely unearned grade or unjust accusation of disruptive or dysfunctional socializing can attest, FERPA has proven itself a very good thing indeed.
  9. Education for All Handicapped Children Act:

    Originally passed in 1975 by Gerald Ford, this legislation paved the way for 1990’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), an updated revision of its tenets. Upon launch, public schools receiving federal funding were required to provide students with disabilities (mental and physical) with all the necessary resources and techniques for scholastic success, as well as one free meal per day. Parents also received more say in how the schools educated their special needs children, though for the most part the kids wound up in the environments providing the most opportunities. IDEA built upon this foundation by stressing the development of skills needed to enter into vocational and higher education training, covering students between birth and age 18 to 21.
  10. No Child Left Behind Act:

    When critics point to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, they point toward the infamous No Child Left Behind Act as evidence. The clusterbombing of crazy began in 2001 and continues widening the class gap well into this horrendous economic climate. At the core of its controversy sits a rigid adherence to standardized testing as the be-all, end-all of scholastic achievement. Since NCLBA determines where funding goes based on how well districts perform on these exams, with more money feeding into more successful schools, this means schools with fewer resources and more novice teachers (aka “low-income neighborhoods that needs the opportunities”) continue getting left behind (pun intended).

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Developing interactive-based learning through online tutoring

Interaction plays a key role in any form of education; more so in online education. Hence, in this blog, I have tried to discuss about different techniques through which online tutors can develop interactive-based learning through novel practice.

I have always wondered how video game developers create such fantastic animations with an in-built commentary that makes it even more interesting for children to play these wonderful games. Now imagine the same creativity in e-learning mechanism. This can be a path-breaking evolution of some kind wherein we understand the limitless opportunities that lie ahead of us in terms of innovation and novelty. I have always been a fan of originality and wanted to do something which was never thought before and can lead to tremendous reaction from critics and observers. It seems that finally the breakthrough is on its way and I am giving you a rough idea of what I presume will be a huge bonus for online tutoring business. So let me cut the suspense and come straight to the point.

In my childhood days I used to play cricket through video games. Not that I was not good at playing it on the field but playing it on video game was a different experience all together. And with the commentary of Barry Richards the playing experience increased by two-folds. That is what I have been trying to understand. If video game developers can use their creativity and understand that without an interactive game it is not possible to get complete attention of their target audience. Then obviously being in a teaching profession, it becomes even more imperative for us to understand that we are talking about children who love playing interactive games and so if we provide them what they crave for then there would be no question of ambiguity. In this case, if we can create courses which are lot more interactive then we find today it would be of great help to the entire online tutoring domain. What I mean to say is that providing online assistance to children is one thing but being there with them at each and every stage of learning has become even more important nowadays. Because now children have become starter they can study at their own pace. They can even opt for multiple courses according to their wish. Hence, it becomes very important to have a constant dialogue with them.

You might be wondering creating a commentary for a cricket video game can be easy because you know the different scenarios that can arise during the game but in real life case, it becomes very difficult to gauge the needs of the children; and provide instant support to them. Now the major question that arises is how to incorporate the changes in the e-learning courses in such a manner that children do not find them monotonous. The answer is quite difficult and many research analysts have tried to find out resolution for this situation but they have not found a concentrate answer for it. The reason being every child is different with a different grasping power hence; it becomes very difficult to understand their psychology and plan the questions with the answers beforehand. Let me give you a blunt example. This will make things clear in your mind: Suppose a 15 year old child has enrolled an online course; and I am the online tutor providing assistance to him. Imagine he sees a math problem with a solution but does not know how did we arrive at the solution? This situation is very bad because the child now knows the answer but is not aware of the method. Maybe he will try to cram the answer for the time being but in tests he will not be able to remember the method. In this situation, we need human commentary of the online tutor to explain each and every step of the resolution to the child so that he understands the method and then try to solve similar problem on his own. Alternatively; I have already discussed that each child is unique with different abilities. So it is possible that he does not understand the method that has been provided in the course. Hence, there should always be a back-up plan available with the tutor; so that they can showcase multiple methods for resolving the same problem.

So the source of the problem that we are currently facing in online tutoring is due to the advancement of technology. The reason for that quite simple; in the past we never had any trouble with teacher-student interaction as education used to take place in a classroom atmosphere; where there was every possibility of one-on-one interaction. But now since technology has grown tremendously, we are seeing children studying independently with minimal interaction with tutors through online medium. That has resulted in lack of interest and poor performance in tests. So what is the solution for this problem? Should we neglect the technology aspect and teach children the traditional way of classroom education? Or should be go for private tutoring? In either of these cases, it would be a backward step; if we opt for it. So the only possible solution is to look forward; and try to create new opportunities by laying innovative strategies for making education an interactive medium for children.

Now let me show you some of the ways through which tutors can build interactivity with the students through online tutoring:

  • Scenario-based learning: When you try to create a course design try to see at different alternatives through which learning can be derived from the subject. For example; if it is English Grammar there are multiple ways of framing a grammatically correct statement. Moreover, there is nothing right or wrong in grammar. It is all about the understanding. Hence, online tutors need to provide multiple scenarios to children so that they can have variety of options to get the right solution for the problem. Similarly if we are talking about a math problem; if a child is facing problem with a particular question try to solve the question using different methods so that the child can have options to learn the easiest of the solutions provided. Also try to include commentary of various steps that you took to resolve the question. This will build interaction with the child and they will have better understanding of the resolution.

·         Teaching through animations: I have already discussed about this in my previous blog titled “Determining a breakthrough teaching mechanism for English online tutors” about the different ways through which online tutors can teach children through animations. You can go through this article by copying and pasting this link on a separate browser:



I would like to conclude this blog by telling a very famous quote from vivliorasis, “Every interaction creates re-interaction." Hence, it is essential for today’s tutors to have healthy interaction with children so that the online education domain can survive the latent affects of boredom and negligence from children!

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