Cyber-Kids – The New Education

Computer software, as we know it today, was first used in the early 1940s. Built in 1943, the Type 19 Synthetic Radar Trainer was a flight simulator manufactured to mimic on-board instrument data for pilots in training. This program would lay the basis for educational curriculum across the United States. The Type 19 was not only the introduction of applicable computer software, it was the precursor to the educational uses of computer programs and software worldwide.

The first educational curriculum fashioned for schools was the product of a joint collaboration between IBM and Stanford University. Although nominal programming languages, like BASIC and LOGO, were being taught to doctoral level students as early as 1963, the 1967 release of IBM’s project was a failure. Its prohibitive cost of $10,000 was insurmountable for the school districts of the time.

The personal computer made its debut in 1975 with the launching of the Altair 8800. This computer changed the opinion of educational software entirely by making the dream of computing without a massive mainframe a reality. The introduction of a computer costing approximately $2000, meant schools districts could begin to incorporate computers and educational software into select schools. The subsequent release of the Commodore PET and the Apple II further fueled the demand for computer-based education in schools.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the majority of educational software programs were developed for the Apple II platform. The inclusion of superior graphics and sound quality, however, spurred a phenomenal demand for fun and appealing learning games. Additionally, the ascendance of the Internet in the mid 1990s opened the market to a larger amount of learning program manufacturers. Whether you owned a PC or a Macintosh, it was easy to be bewildered by the sheer volume of available educational games.

The prevalence of educational software has resulted in its inclusion in virtually every grade level of learning. This software is often geared towards making education fun. Popular characters, vivid colors, and captivating soundtracks have revolutionized these learning games. The mixture of education and fun is what makes educational software so popular. Learning simple arithmetic is now a magical quest or a ride through the cosmos, while reading and writing comprehension are used to decode sacred scrolls that zap attacking goblins. This model of learning has made learning software a seemingly permanent facet of contemporary education.

How To Choose Permaculture Schools

What is permaculture? Well, it is a green movement that is quietly taking hold in different parts of the world. Its earliest roots may be traced to the 1970s when 2 Australians published papers that elaborated on how present day agricultural and ecological designs were creating dangerous ecosystems. In order to create low energy, sustainable, stable ecosystems, they advocated practices that were nicknamed ‘permanent agriculture’ or permaculture.

In a nutshell, the aim of permaculture is to build ecosystems that have the energy and the resources to sustain themselves and grow naturally. In this way, artificially sustained, carbon-heavy resources would die a natural death over a long period of time. Thus, the permaculture movement was born. The movement quickly grew and expanded and spread to creating agriculture ideas for communities, individual houses and other social habitats.

Permaculture teaches people much more than different ways to farm. In fact, it is a way of life that includes nurturing people, placing limits on consumption and learning to respect the Earth. It also teaches a number of leadership principles that are of great use to societies. Permaculture aims to teach people how to reconnect with nature and with the best in themselves and thus provide meaningful leadership.

A number of permaculture schools have come up in and around the country. Different schools have different kinds of courses, ranging from short term to long term courses. So, how do you choose the right school?

The best way to identify good permaculture schools is word of mouth. If previous students have only good things to speak about a school, it follows naturally that the school is good and that the teachers are competent.

Do not be fooled by shiny brochures. It’s a fact that great teachers may not always be the best when it comes to marketing their skills. So, it is up to you to check out the quality of teachers before you choose one permaculture school over the other. It is great if your teachers have any international experience in permaculture. Such a teacher can provide an enriching experience to students.

Just as you need to know whether the teachers are competent, you must also find out whether the teachers have sufficient experience. How long have they been teaching? Also, find out if the teacher who has been featured in the brochure will be conducting the course. In some permaculture schools, teaching assistants are employed and the teachers featured on the brochure hardly come into the classroom.

As with any learning experience, the greater the breadth of knowledge offered, the better the value of the course. So, find out whether the training course will feature guest lecturers and experts from the field.

Finally, it is important to talk to the educator personally and collect references of pupils. A good school will be highly recommended by students. If you find that previous students recommend the school, you need not think further. You can enroll yourself for the course straight away!

History of Educational Technology

There is no written evidence which can tell us exactly who has coined the phrase educational technology. Different educationists, scientists and philosophers at different time intervals have put forwarded different definitions of Educational Technology. Educational technology is a multifaceted and integrated process involving people, procedure, ideas, devices, and organization, where technology from different fields of science is borrowed as per the need and requirement of education for implementing, evaluating, and managing solutions to those problems involved in all aspects of human learning.

Educational technology, broadly speaking, has passed through five stages.

The first stage of educational technology is coupled with the use of aids like charts, maps, symbols, models, specimens and concrete materials. The term educational technology was used as synonyms to audio-visual aids.

The second stage of educational technology is associated with the ‘electronic revolution’ with the introduction and establishment of sophisticated hardware and software. Use of various audio-visual aids like projector, magic lanterns, tape-recorder, radio and television brought a revolutionary change in the educational scenario. Accordingly, educational technology concept was taken in terms of these sophisticated instruments and equipments for effective presentation of instructional materials.

The third stage of educational technology is linked with the development of mass media which in turn led to ‘communication revolution’ for instructional purposes. Computer-assisted Instruction (CAI) used for education since 1950s also became popular during this era.

The fourth stage of educational technology is discernible by the individualized process of instruction. The invention of programmed learning and programmed instruction provided a new dimension to educational technology. A system of self-learning based on self-instructional materials and teaching machines emerged.

The latest concept of educational technology is influenced by the concept of system engineering or system approach which focuses on language laboratories, teaching machines, programmed instruction, multimedia technologies and the use of the computer in instruction. According to it, educational technology is a systematic way of designing, carrying out and evaluating the total process of teaching and learning in terms of specific objectives based on research.

Educational technology during the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age
Educational technology, despite the uncertainty of the origin of the term, can be traced back to the time of the three-age system periodization of human prehistory; namely the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age.

Duringthe Stone Age, ignition of fire by rubbing stones, manufacture of various handmade weapon and utensils from stones and clothing practice were some of the simple technological developments of utmost importance. A fraction of Stone Age people developed ocean-worthy outrigger canoe ship technology to migrate from one place to another across the Ocean, by which they developed their first informal education of knowledge of the ocean currents, weather conditions, sailing practice, astronavigation, and star maps. During the later Stone Age period (Neolithic period),for agricultural practice, polished stone tools were made from a variety of hard rocks largely by digging underground tunnels, which can be considered as the first steps in mining technology. The polished axes were so effective that even after appearance of bronze and iron; people used it for clearing forest and the establishment of crop farming.

Although Stone Age cultures left no written records, but archaeological evidences proved their shift from nomadic life to agricultural settlement. Ancient tools conserved in different museums, cave paintings like Altamira Cave in Spain, and other prehistoric art, such as the Venus of Willendorf, Mother Goddess from Laussel, France etc. are some of the evidences in favour of their cultures.

Neolithic Revolution of Stone Age resulted into the appearance of Bronze Age with development of agriculture, animal domestication, and the adoption of permanent settlements. For these practices Bronze Age people further developed metal smelting, with copper and later bronze, an alloy of tin and copper, being the materials of their choice.

The Iron Age people replaced bronze and developed the knowledge of iron smelting technology to lower the cost of living since iron utensils were stronger and cheaper than bronze equivalents. In many Eurasian cultures, the Iron Age was the last period before the development of written scripts.

Educational technology during the period of Ancient civilizations
According to Paul Saettler, 2004, Educational technology can be traced back to the time when tribal priests systematized bodies of knowledge and ancient cultures invented pictographs or sign writing to record and transmit information. In every stage of human civilization, one can find an instructional technique or set of procedures intended to implement a particular culture which were also supported by number of investigations and evidences. The more advanced the culture, the more complex became the technology of instruction designed to reflect particular ways of individual and social behaviour intended to run an educated society. Over centuries, each significant shift in educational values, goals or objectives led to diverse technologies of instruction.

The greatest advances in technology and engineering came with the rise of the ancient civilizations. These advances stimulated and educated other societies in the world to adopt new ways of living and governance.

The Indus Valley Civilization was an early Bronze Age civilization which was located in the northwestern region of the Indian Subcontinent. The civilization was primarily flourished around the Indus River basin of the Indus and the Punjab region, extending upto the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley and the Ganges-Yamuna Doab, (most of the part is under today’s Pakistan and the western states of modern-day India as well as some part of the civilization extending upto southeastern Afghanistan, and the easternmost part of Balochistan, Iran).

There is a long term controversy to be sure about the language that the Harappan people spoke. It is assumed that their writing was at least seems to be or a pictographic script. The script appears to have had about 400 basic signs, with lots of variations. People write their script with the direction generally from right to left. Most of the writing was found on seals and sealings which were probably used in trade and official & administrative work.

Harappan people had the knowledge of the measuring tools of length, mass, and time. They were the first in the world to develop a system of uniform weights and measures.

In a study carried out by P. N. Rao et al. in 2009, published in Science, computer scientists found that the Indus script’s pattern is closer to that of spoken words, which supported the proposed hypothesis that it codes for an as-yet-unknown language.

According to the Chinese Civilization, some of the major techno-offerings from China include paper, early seismological detectors, toilet paper, matches, iron plough, the multi-tube seed drill, the suspension bridge, the wheelbarrow, the parachute, natural gas as fuel, the magnetic compass, the raised-relief map, the blast furnace, the propeller, the crossbow, the South Pointing Chariot, and gun powder. With the invent of paper they have given their first step towards developments of educational technology by further culturing different handmade products of paper as means of visual aids.

Ancient Egyptian language was at one point one of the longest surviving and used languages in the world. Their script was made up of pictures of the real things like birds, animals, different tools, etc. These pictures are popularly called hieroglyph. Their language was made up of above 500 hieroglyphs which are known as hieroglyphics. On the stone monuments or tombs which were discovered and rescued latter on provides the evidence of existence of many forms of artistic hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt.

Educational technology during Medieval and Modern Period
Paper and the pulp papermaking process which was developed in China during the early 2nd century AD, was carried to the Middle East and was spread to Mediterranean by the Muslim conquests. Evidences support that a paper mill was also established in Sicily in the 12th century. The discovery of spinning wheel increased the productivity of thread making process to a great extent and when Lynn White added the spinning wheel with increasing supply of rags, this led to the production of cheap paper, which was a prime factor in the development of printing technology.

The invention of the printing press was taken place in approximately 1450 AD, by Johannes Gutenburg, a German inventor. The invention of printing press was a prime developmental factor in the history of educational technology to convey the instruction as per the need of the complex and advanced-technology cultured society.

In the pre-industrial phases, while industry was simply the handwork at artisan level, the instructional processes were relied heavily upon simple things like the slate, the horn book, the blackboard, and chalk. It was limited to a single text book with a few illustrations. Educational technology was considered synonymous to simple aids like charts and pictures.

The year 1873 may be considered a landmark in the early history of technology of education or audio-visual education. An exhibition was held in Vienna at international level in which an American school won the admiration of the educators for the exhibition of maps, charts, textbooks and other equipments.

Maria Montessori (1870-1952), internationally renowned child educator and the originator of Montessori Method exerted a dynamic impact on educational technology through her development of graded materials designed to provide for the proper sequencing of subject matter for each individual learner. Modern educational technology suggests many extension of Montessori’s idea of prepared child centered environment.

In1833, Charles Babbage’s design of a general purpose computing device laid the foundation of the modern computer and in 1943, the first computing machine as per hi design was constructed by International Business Machines Corporation in USA. The Computer Assisted instruction (CAI) in which the computer functions essentially as a tutor as well as the Talking Type writer was developed by O.K. Moore in 1966. Since 1974, computers are interestingly used in education in schools, colleges and universities.

In the beginning of the 19th century, there were noteworthy changes in the field of education. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), right from its start of school broadcasts in 1920 had maintained rapid pace in making sound contribution to formal education. In the USA, by 1952, 20 states had the provision for educational broadcasting. Parallel to this time about 98% of the schools in United Kingdom were equipped with radios and there were regular daily programmes.

Sidney L. Pressey, a psychologist of Ohio state university developed a self-teaching machine called ‘Drum Tutor’ in 1920. Professor Skinner, however, in his famous article ‘Science of Learning and art of Teaching’ published in 1945 pleaded for the application of the knowledge derived from behavioral psychology to classroom procedures and suggested automated teaching devices as means of doing so.

Although the first practical use of Regular television broadcasts was in Germany in 1929 and in 1936 the Olympic Games in Berlin were broadcasted through television stations in Berlin, Open circuit television began to be used primarily for broadcasting programmes for entertainment in 1950. Since 1960, television is used for educational purposes.

In 1950, Brynmor, in England, used educational technological steps for the first time. It is to be cared that in 1960, as a result of industrial revolution in America and Russia, other countries also started progressing in the filed of educational technology. In this way, the beginning of educational technology took place in 1960 from America and Russia and now it has reached England, Europe and India.

During the time of around 1950s, new technocracy was turning it attraction to educations when there was a steep shortage of teachers in America and therefore an urgent need of educational technology was felt. Dr. Alvin C. Eurich and a little later his associate, Dr. Alexander J. Stoddard introduced mass production technology in America.

Team teaching had its origin in America in the mid of 1950’s and was first started in the year 1955 at Harvard University as a part of internship plan.

In the year 1956, Benjamin Bloom from USA introduced the taxonomy of educational objectives through his publication, “The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, The Classification of Educational Goals, Handbook I: Cognitive Domain”.

In 1961, Micro teaching technique was first adopted by Dwight W. Allen and his co-workers at Stanford University in USA.

Electronics is the main technology being developed in the beginning of 21st century. Broadband Internet access became popular and occupied almost all the important offices and educational places and even in common places in developed countries with the advantage of connecting home computers with music libraries and mobile phones.

Today’s classroom is more likely to be a technology lab, a room with rows of students using internet connected or Wi-Fi enabled laptops, palmtops, notepad, or perhaps students are attending a video conferencing or virtual classroom or may have been listening to a podcast or taking in a video lecture. Rapid technological changes in the field of educational have created new ways to teach and to learn. Technological changes also motivated the teachers to access a variety of information on a global scale via the Internet, to enhance their lessons as well as to make them competent professional in their area of concern. At the same time, students can utilize vast resources of the Internet to enrich their learning experience to cope up with changing trend of the society. Now a days students as well teachers are attending seminars, conferences, workshops at national and international level by using the multimedia techno-resources like PowerPoint and even they pursue a variety of important courses of their choice in distance mode via online learning ways. Online learning facility has opened infinite number of doors of opportunities for today’s learner to make their life happier than ever before.

Montessori Education FAQ’s

Can I teach Montessori at home with my children?

Many parents have started using Montessori techniques in their home, especially with day care and primary school aged children. The main idea from the ages of 0-6 is to look at life at home like a child of the same age and teach them how to do every little thing that we as adults take for granted. Each thing you teach them, give them time to try it on their own, ask them to explain it to you, ask them to repeat what you do. This reinforcement helps with self esteem building and independence. If you believe your child can explain how something works or you are happy to disassemble something- allow them to do so, to understand the logic and design of what appear to be complex ideas and material items. The most important concept is that you allow the child to teach themselves and you play an observational role that moderates when necessary.

Note that it is essential that if you choose to home school your children you also teach them to take responsibility for their actions and take care of themselves and others. Home schooling can be difficult for parents who find it hard to discipline their children in an appropriate manner. If there are no consequences outlined, it may become difficult to keep control over their learning process, so be sure to fully understand the task you are taking on. Explain to the child why each lesson is important so they can appreciate its importance.

As the child ages into the primary and secondary education levels, it is essential that you follow your state’s education requirements if you choose to home school. There are plenty of Montessori resources to work with and with time you will find what works best for your child’s learning processes to drive them to stay on track and learning to their highest capacity. As long as the environment is conducive to their learning and you continue to be a great model of positive energy, you will have a child that is motivate to learn.

Is Montessori good for children with learning difficulties?

Children with learning difficulties can definitely benefit from the Montessori Method based school. First and foremost, you should test schools before choosing a permanent school for your child. It is rare that a school will not allow a child to spend a day or even up to a week in their program to see if it is a good fit. Take some time to explore the school on your own as well as with your child to make sure the environment feels conducive to learning as well as your child’s needs. Montessori schools have been seen as a safe haven for many children with learning difficulties and you will find something that fits perfectly.

The benefit of a Montessori school is that the self-teaching style of learning. All children gravitate to specific styles of learning and although diversity of learning techniques is encouraged, so is allowing the child to learn in the manner that they seem most suited for.

This provides a nurturing environment for children with learning difficulties because there is less pressure to learn a specific way. There are also fewer constraints on time for a child to learn a specific lesson due to the 3 hour work stations that are generally found in the Montessori system.

Children are given the freedom to use tools they select for each lesson to learn freely. All students learn the same materials, but perhaps in different ways- building self confidence and an understanding and acceptance of diversity. That confidence and understanding will help your child in so many ways outside of the classroom as well.